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.
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.
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.