Can I use Avios on Virgin Atlantic?

One of the most common questions I receive via email from new readers is whether they can use Avios points to fly on Virgin Atlantic?

The simple answer is ‘No’.  Virgin Atlantic is not an Avios partner – hardly surprising, as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are not exactly the best of friends.

However you should think about WHY you want to redeem your Avios on Virgin Atlantic because there may be an alternative.

Is it because you cannot find seat availability with Avios on British Airways?

British Airways seat availability via Avios is not bad.  BA GUARANTEES that, 355 days before departure, at midnight, it will make two Business and four Economy seats available for redemption.

More seats are likely to be made available over future months as BA gets a better idea of how a flight is selling.  Unless you are tied to very specific dates there is likely to be something coming up.

You should also consider whether you are being flexible enough.  Cannot find seats to Orlando?  Have you looked at Fort Lauderdale, Miami or Tampa?  You may need to change around your holiday a little but that is not always a bad thing and you may get to explore somewhere different.

Are you unhappy with the British Airways seat or service?

I don’t necessarily blame you.  However, BA is a member of the oneworld alliance and you can redeem Avios on many other airlines apart from British Airways.

You can’t book most of these via avios.com.  You would need to use ‘Combine My Avios’ to move your Avios to British Airways Executive Club and search from there.

My ‘Avios Redemption University’ series (click here) goes into some of these tricks and hacks in more detail.

Is it because you don’t have enough Virgin Flying Club miles for a Virgin redemption?

Are you sure about that?  Remember, Virgin allows one-way redemptions (as does Avios).  You could book a one-way ticket to where you want to go on Virgin miles, and then come back with Avios points.  A one-way in economy to New York is only 17,500 miles.  This actually gives you more flexibility than just using Avios because you have more chances of finding available seats.

Virgin also offers ‘miles plus money‘ redemptions which reduces the amount of miles you need even further.

Do you know that you can top-up your Virgin miles via Tesco Clubcard voucher conversions, Heathrow Rewards points transfers or American Express Membership Rewards transfers?

Tesco Clubcard and Heathrow Rewards both offer you an easy way of topping up your Virgin account.   Clubcard points convert at the rate of 1p = 2.5 miles and there is often a 10%-20% bonus on offer too.

You can also get 20,000 FREE Virgin Atlantic miles with the Amex Gold charge card!

Remember that the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year and comes with 20,000 Amex Membership Rewards points for signing-up.  See my review of American Express Gold here.  Those convert at1:1 to 20,000 Virgin miles.  That should be enough to turn your existing Virgin Flying Club miles collection into something useful.

Virgin also has its own credit cards, run by MBNA (EDIT: these were closed in November 2017 and will relaunch in early 2018 under the Virgin Money brand).  Few people know that – unlike the BA Amex cards – you are allowed to have both at the same time, and so earn two  sign-up bonuses.

Conclusion

Whilst you cannot use Avios points to book flights on Virgin Atlantic, I hope I have shown you that there are alternative routes which get the same result – whether that is being smarter over how you spend your Avios or by using some of the routes above to earn some Virgin Flying Club miles quickly.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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About Head for Points

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