Is Virgin Atlantic’s new ‘Miles Plus Money’ feature a good deal?

One of the changes introduced in the Virgin Flying Club revamp earlier this year was a major revamp of ‘Miles Plus Money’.  Today I want to review whether Virgin’s new ‘Miles Plus Money’ scheme is a good deal or not.

You can find full details on the Virgin website here.

This was Virgin’s attempt to respond to ‘Part Pay With Avios‘ and, to some extent, schemes such as Norwegian Reward which only let you use your points for a discount on a future cash booking.

British Airways has spent a couple of years trialling different variations of ‘Part Pay With Avios.  We have seen changes in the maximum number of Avios you can use and we’ve seen changes, up and down, in what you got for them.  During promotions you have occasionally been able to get more than 1p per Avios point which was an excellent result.

Virgin Flying Club has taken a simpler approach:

there is NO tapering of value per point – you get the same value irrespective of how many you redeem

they have NOT run any promotions – the value per point remains static from month to month

The value is fixed at £18 for every 3,000 miles you redeem.  That means 0.6p per mile.  There is no limit to how many miles you can redeem.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles Plus Money review

Here’s the small print:

you can only use ‘Miles Plus Money’ when booking a cash ticket online

you can only use it on Virgin operated flights, not codeshares

the ticket can be for anyone – you do not need to travel

there are no blackout dates or inventory restrictions

you can upgrade or use vouchers as you can with a standard cash ticket

your ticket will earn miles and tier points as usual

There is only one catch, but it won’t apply to many people.  If you cancel a ‘Miles Plus Money’, you lose the miles.  You don’t get the cash equivalent back either.  Very few leisure travellers book refundable tickets, however, so this is unlikely to impact you.  This rule does not apply if you cancel during the 24 hour ‘cooling off’ period.

Is Virgin’s ‘Miles Plus Money’ good value?

No, not really.  I look to get around 1p per mile from my Flying Club miles when redeeming for mileage tickets so the idea of accepting 0.6p via this route is not attractive.

It is better value than using your miles for Kaligo.com hotel redemptions, Virgin Vouchers or similar non-flying redemptions.  It is also better value than transferring your miles into IHG Rewards Club or Hilton Honors points.

However …..

Imagine you earned your Virgin miles via Tesco Clubcard.  You would be using £1 of Clubcard vouchers for 250 Virgin miles worth £1.50 of flight discount.  This is not a very impressive return given some of the other Clubcard deals out there.

Imagine you earned your Virgin miles via Heathrow Rewards.  You would be giving up £1 of Heathrow shopping vouchers for 60p of flight discount!

Imagine you earned your Virgin miles from the free Virgin White credit card.  At 0.5 miles per £1 on the Visa, you’d be getting 0.3p of flight discount per £1 spent on your card.  A good free cashback Visa or MasterCard like the ASDA one will give you back 0.5p per £1 spent.

If you earn all of your Flying Club miles from flying for work – so you haven’t actually paid anything for them at all – then ‘Miles Plus Money’ is an option to consider.  If you have been collecting Virgin miles via a partner instead then you should be turning your nose up at just getting 0.6p per mile for them.

You can learn more about ‘Miles Plus Money’ on virginatlantic.com here.

Important dates for your diary - offers about to close which you shouldn't miss
Bits: last call for these offers, first World of Hyatt promo, $75m slot sale
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. Tariq says:

    For the occasional leisure traveler who flys with Virgin maybe once every 24 to 36 months and who has a small pot of miles from their last flight, this gives them the opportunity to realise some value from e.g. 6000 miles as a £36 discount off a £400 economy flight – circa 10%. For those of us working with big numbers of miles though, agreed it doesn’t look good value in context of the big ticket redemptions.

  2. rams1981 says:

    My parents have some miles they won’t use. Is this the only way I can use them?

    • They can do the other things I mention – hotel booking for you, Virgin Voucher if they have 12500 etc

  3. gumshoe says:

    Rob – you imply that Miles Plus Money is new: it’s not, it’s existed for years. What’s changed, for the better, is the ability to redeem any number of miles: up until November you could only redeem a (very small) fixed amount for a pretty paltry discount.

    True, it’s not a great use of miles but it’s not really aimed at the savvy HFP-reading business traveller, rather at the once-a-year holidaymaker on a budget who’s managed to accrue a few thousand miles and wants to save a bit of cash.

    One big advantage is you can now use miles to pay for the entire ticket – including the taxes & fees – which could be useful if you’re miles rich but on a tight budget.

    • Yes, that’s true – I oversimplified it.

    • Hmmm only 0.6p / mile.. Hard to justify esp as VS can be used for Hilton’s.

      However, as Gumshoe indicates with the ability to pay the taxes, this could be a good route for Tesco Tourists.

      Think I’ll hold off for the remote possibility of a TCC–> VS bonus reappearing later this year.

      That Boston redemption fare is a cracker tho…

    • David says:

      Hi Gumshoe,
      Ive just tried to make a dummy booking LHR-HKG using Miles but I dont see any option to also pay the taxes with points. How do you do this ?

    • Really? You can pay for taxes with miles?! Please tell me how! I got so many miles and tight budget. LHR-NEWARK-LHR taxes only fare about £260 pp. I have about 30,000 miles – 20,000 off peak fare for this journey.
      Thanks!!!

  4. Alex W says:

    Good if you’re on a tier point run – but i don’t think virgin has enough destinations to make status worthwhile. I just wouldn’t fly them often enough.

    • Oh! Matron! says:

      But your status is also good with Delta, which really does open up more opportunities

  5. As this is Virgin, their new Dreambird 1417 plane design looks unbelievable! 😉

    http://www.virginatlantic.com/flapenergy

  6. Alex W says:

    Rob, can miles plus money be combined with the credit card companion voucher? That could potentially turn 2 rubbish deals into one good one….

  7. I think Virgin had a better offer before were you could pay for 1 leg of your journey with miles and the other cash. I’ve had great redemptions in the past but with the changes now you can only do miles plus money. Bring back the old system.

    • Alex W says:

      I believe with that system you didn’t earn miles or tier points.

    • That’s why I’m looking at Norwegian premier – you can buy a single and use with a one way redemption for the East and West Coasts of the States at least.

    • Stuart F says:

      Ah, the combo fare. A brilliant idea killed off because the Delta IT couldn’t support it.

      You weren’t supposed to earn miles or TP on the OLD miles plus money fares (the ones where you used a silly 3000 miles for a tiny discount) either but you did.

  8. Online you seem to be limited to multiples of the lowest fare, so if travelling with children the maximum discount is the childs fare for each person.

  9. Jonathan says:

    O/T Has anyone had Virgin Flying Club miles earned via Waitrose (£1 to 4 miles) hit their account yet?

  10. I was looking for virgin flights to Delhi next week. Cheapest fare was £ 813/- Economy that 138000 miles. Will that get me 1.69 p per mile, or am I getting something wrong?

  11. You don’t mention that the White Card gives 1 mile per £ when using the Amex card.

    I think its a good way to use VM if you have to travel during peak times (kids in tow etc) when you are unlikely to be able to find redemption seats available.

    I have been saving these points for a short while, using Amex Gold card churn and the VA White card with the initial intention of using them for redemptions to Florida in 2019. At least I will be able to use the points whether reward seats are available or not.