Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Virgin’s ‘Miles Plus Money’ option – some good deals to be had

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The Virgin Flying Club scheme is less well known among Head for Points readers than British Airways Executive Club.  I have written occasional articles to highlight some of the more interesting parts, such as:

CombiFares – when Virgin lets you pay 50% of the cash fare for a one-way ticket if only one half of your trip is available on miles

Their regular redemption seat sales

The fact that you can redeem on partner airlines even though Virgin is not in an alliance

Miles Booster – letting you buy miles very cheaply if you have cash flights booked on Virgin

The fact that economy redemptions require fewer miles and £100 less tax than an Avios redemption

Virgin’s improved cancellation policy – which used to be terrible but is now on a par with Avios

Transfers from Amex Membership Rewards to Virgin are instantaneous, so no risk of losing that seat

Transferring INTO hotel programmes – you can move Virgin miles TO Hilton and IHG Rewards Club

The fact that some hotels chains let you collect Virgin miles but do not let you collect Avios

There is one aspect of Virgin Flying Club that I haven’t looked at before, and that is ‘Miles Plus Money’.

You may be familiar with the new Avios feature called ‘Part-Pay With Avios’.  As I explained here, it isn’t very good.  You can redeem up to 7,500 Avios points for a discount of up to £50 on a cash ticket.  This values your points at a relatively poor 0.67p each.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin ‘Miles Plus Money’

Virgin’s ‘Miles Plus Money’ is run differently.  It appears to be a way of quietly discounting seats without having to unleash a full sale.

This is what is costs:

2,000 miles to discount an economy ticket

7,500 miles to discount a Premium Economy ticket

15,000 miles to discount an Upper Class ticket (not available on Orlando or Las Vegas)

The discounts can be impressive – with the drawback that your flight will not be eligible to earn miles if you use it.  Here are some examples I found, for travel on October 1st to October 5th.

New York:

  • Economy price £464, ‘Miles Plus Money’ price £434, value per mile: 1.5p
  • Premium Economy price £1113, ‘Miles Plus Money’ price £978, value per mile: 1.8p
  • Upper Class price £2573, ‘Miles Plus Money’ price £n/a, value per mile: £n/a

Dubai:

  • Economy price £415, ‘Miles Plus Money’ price £385, value per mile: 1.5p
  • Premium Economy price £985, ‘Miles Plus Money’ price £935, value per mile:  0.67p
  • Upper Class price £2315, ‘Miles Plus Money’ price £2115, value per mile:  1.3p

As you can see, these are not bad deals at all.  The value per mile in most cases is substantial better than you get with ‘Part Pay With Avios’.

There is one big drawback, though.  You will not earn any Flying Club miles back from your flight.  This is not necessarily a problem if you are booking a one-off Virgin flight and using ‘Miles Plus Money’ with miles transferred via Tesco Clubcard or American Express Membership Rewards.

It would also not be a concern if you were booking ‘miles plus money’ for someone else from your account, if that person was not a frequent flyer and has no use for the miles.

For a long-term Flying Club collector, though, you obviously need to factor in the miles foregone into any calculations. Reports say that, in reality, you may well receive miles – but you cannot be certain.

You can learn more about ‘Miles Plus Money’ on the Virgin website here.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles? Click here to see recent articles on Virgin Atlantic, Little Red and Flying Club, and click here for the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (34)

  • Thunderbirds says:

    I’ve just been to Tokyo on Virgin UC (x4) and am left with a sense of disappointment. O.K. the lounge at LHR T3 is O.K. but I’m not sure 9 different styles of seating, a pool table and a sweet bar quite adds up to the style I was looking for. Food was good for a “business lounge” and service was O.K. On the plane the biggest advantage is of course that all the UC seats access the isle without climbing over someone else. The seats themselves (A340-600) whilst O.K. were underwhelming. Screen size was small. Anyone looking for the bar (like 007) I think would be disappointed as it is used extensively for food preparation/layout. All in all worth looking at as an option to BA given the earning ability on Black Visa and variations in destinations. I have a couple of E to PE upgrades to use and will probably use them for Boston next year. In summary I still be saving with BA as my primary source of premium flights. It is however about time BA sorted out their rewards map.

  • Grimz says:

    squills – I like your info on the Virgin wines! this would be my first time ordering the wines so what do I do to get the 3000 miles and £60 discount? Do you just cancel once you have received your first case?

  • David Faichney says:

    Looks like not available on one way trips 🙁

  • PJK says:

    How on earth did Jon get 8p per mile then …. Come on Raffles, don’t keep us in the dark 😉

    • Rob says:

      I seem to have deleted his email – for some reason he was given a very generous deal. The discounts seem to move around.

      • Jeremy I says:

        Is that true or one of those weird flyertalk secret codes meaning that the deal is too good for general riff raff to get their hands on?

  • Alan says:

    Tangentially related to this topic – BAEC status match still working for VS Flying Club, was announced on my flight on Wed, I emailed them yesterday and they called this morning to confirm it had been processed!