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Virgin Atlantic status match still running if you fly Little Red – and why you should do it

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The major Avios devaluation last week has left many people questioning their future loyalty to British Airways Executive Club.  Many are worried if they can retain status under the new tier point arrangements.

It is very timely to remind you that Virgin Little Red is still offering on-board status matches to Virgin Flying Club to anyone who flies with them (cash or reward ticket) and is carrying their BA Gold or BA Silver card at the time.

In addition, a BA Gold receives 10,000 Virgin Flying Club miles (worth around £100) and a BA Silver receives 5,000 Virgin miles (worth around £50).

Little Red

A Virgin Gold member also receives 2,000 bonus miles on their birthday, so arguably the status match for a BA Gold is worth 12,000 Virgin miles in total, or £120 of value.  I did this match in 2014 and it worked OK.

If you know that you won’t retain status with BA now, you may want to lock in a year of Virgin status by doing this.  It is especially good if you are Virgin Gold and fly domestically.

As a Virgin Gold, you would have access to the very smart new Aer Lingus lounge in Terminal 2 when flying Little Red.

More prosaicly, a Virgin Gold also gets lounge access at Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Manchester when flying Little Red. At Manchester Terminal 3, you can use the attractive Escape lounge that I visited in 2013.

If you need to travel to Manchester, Aberdeen or Edinburgh in the near future, and have British Airways status, you may want to consider moving at least one leg to Little Red.  Remember that Manchester flights end in late March and Aberdeen and Edinburgh flights end in late September.

It is probably better flying INTO London with Virgin, because otherwise you would be giving up your access to the British Airways lounges at Heathrow on your outbound.

If you are BA Gold and have time on your hands, you might even want to do a Little Red flight just for miles and the status. A return redemption on Little Red will only cost you 7,500 Virgin miles plus £30, so this will be totally offset by the 12,000 miles you will receive for being matched.  Cash tickets are also very cheap, even at short notice.

You would have Virgin Gold for 13 months – which would get you Virgin Clubhouse access if you flew them longhaul, even in Economy, and use of the Aer Lingus lounge on any future domestic flights.

There is one more reason to get Virgin status.  You won’t find another oneworld airline willing to match your British Airways status.  However, it is possible that you may be able to persuade airberlin or another oneworld airline to give you status based on your new Virgin card – and that will enable you to continue accessing British Airways lounges.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (December 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (53)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • pazza2000 says:

    Little knows benefit of VS Gold is that you can refer a family member to VS Silver.

    • Rob says:

      That’s true. However, they must be ‘genuine’ family members living at the same address. I didn’t bother getting my wife one as I didn’t see when she would use it.

  • Joe says:

    I am doing a day trip on Sunday to try and do this so fingers crossed… up to Edinburgh (avios tix) and vs back (ended up booking cash as for £54 was cheaper than redeeming at 1p/mile). I’m Virgin silver currently so hope they will offer it on the flight…

  • David Barron says:

    The following has now appeared on the Virgin Atlantic site so if you are wanting to do a status match then best do it quick!

    Virgin Atlantic announces plans to stop its short-haul service, Little Red, in 2015

    Little Red was launched in March 2013 as an attempt to reintroduce consumer choice on key domestic services after British Airways’ takeover of bmi gifted them a monopoly on these routes.

    Over the past eighteen months, Little Red has delivered for consumers, leading the way on customer service and on-time performance at Heathrow. Flying well over a million passengers between London, Scotland and Manchester, Little Red offers convenient onward connections to the rest of Virgin Atlantic’s worldwide network.

    Bookings grew steadily for the service in the first part of 2014 with the airline enjoying excellent customer feedback. However the demand has been predominantly in direct – point to point – customers rather than connecting traffic. High levels of connections onto Virgin Atlantic’s long haul network have always been important to the success of Little Red.

    Chief Executive Craig Kreeger has committed to returning Virgin Atlantic to profit by the end of this year and the airline is on track to deliver that, however Little Red has unfortunately not been able to make a positive contribution to Virgin Atlantic’s network.

    Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Craig Kreeger said:

    “Little Red came about through an enduring passion at Virgin Atlantic to make a difference for our customers. We really wanted it to be a success and everyone involved worked extremely hard and gave it their best efforts.

    “It was always a huge challenge on behalf of the consumer, as the totally inadequate number of slots made available by the European Commission did not deliver close to BA’s network position, even when supplemented by our own slots to fly between Heathrow and Manchester. The time lag between the takeover of bmi and our entering the market also meant Little Red initially faced an uphill battle to win recognition and convert customers to its services.

    “While this challenged environment meant Little Red ultimately did not deliver the results we had hoped, this certainly will not dampen our enthusiasm to try new things in the future. We have always fought for what we believe is best for our customers and we will continue to do so.

    “We’re very grateful for all of the support and goodwill shown to Little Red in Scotland and Manchester, where we received a warm welcome. I would also like to personally thank the Little Red team, including the cabin crew who have been fantastic ambassadors providing exceptionally high levels of customer service. We are working to offer them roles on our long haul operation when these services end.”

    The President of Virgin Atlantic, Sir Richard Branson, said:

    “When the competition authorities allowed British Airways to take over British Midland and all of its slots, we feared there was little we could do to challenge BA’s huge domestic and European network built through decades of dominance.

    “To remedy this, we were offered a meagre package of slots on a short-term basis and decided to lease a couple of planes and give it our best shot. The odds were stacked against us and sadly we just couldn’t attract enough corporate business on these routes. We will stop flying the Little Red services between Manchester and London at the end of March 2015 and the Aberdeen and Edinburgh services at the end of September 2015.

    “The team did their absolute best to make a go of it and I thank them all for their amazing efforts. In the meantime, keep flying on Little Red where you’ll continue to get amazing offers and great service.”

    Virgin Atlantic would like to thank its customers and teams in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Heathrow and Manchester for their loyalty and commitment to Little Red and looks forward to continuing to work with them on the service over the next 12 months.

    Passengers can continue to book with Little Red with confidence until this time and frequent fliers will be able to enjoy special loyalty benefits for doing so. There will be an increased earning incentive per-sector as well as a significant reduction in the number of points needed to redeem a flight.

    The airline remains committed to its operations in both Manchester and Scotland. Its existing services from Manchester to Orlando, Barbados and Las Vegas will continue, with the addition next summer of a new daily Virgin Atlantic flight between Manchester and Atlanta. In Scotland, the popular seasonal service from Glasgow to Orlando will continue with eight extra return flights just announced for summer 2015, alongside a new five rotation operation between Glasgow and Las Vegas.

    The decision on the airline’s short haul carrier follows a major review of Virgin Atlantic’s wider network. Last month the airline announced a network update delivering five new daily transatlantic flights and an ambition to grow to record levels of sustained profitability by 2018. This will be supported by a major programme of work that will see £300m invested into customer experience.

    Passengers who are concerned about their existing Little Red bookings should contact our Reservations team.

    • Alan says:

      That looks like the announcement from the end of last year, perhaps they’ve just reposted it?

  • Wozza says:

    I flew down from EDI on Saturday night and confirm that this was announced by the cabin crew and that they provided forms with a section for the crew to fill in your BAEC details; they also asked to see my BAEC card. Will report back when I hear from Flying Club.

  • Lux says:

    By chance I did this last week, before Raffles mentioned it. Avios redemption up and a £30 fare back down on Virgin, with some business in between. The crew forgot to bring me a form but it was all easily sorted out by email to, quoting my PNR and Flying Club number. They later asked for a scan of my BA Gold card.

    Grab one while you can!

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