Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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 (August 2022)

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 Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

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

Virgin Rewards credit card

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.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

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

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel 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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits 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.

  • Oyster says:

    The picture shows a Little Red flight on a busy day. Don’t worry it’s not normally that crowded 😉

    • James says:

      Haha come on, it’s a lot busier than it used to be… Just in time to get the chop 🙁 real shame.

      • Alan says:

        Indeed I was on their 06:35 EDI-LHR last Monday and at OLCI it seemed pretty empty yet on the day it was mobbed, certainly at the front of the plane!

        Rob – you forgot to mention the ludicrously cheap Little Red redemption rates as a Gold – only 1,250 miles and £17 each way!!

  • Robert says:

    How long do we still have to do this? i.e when are they closing down?

    • Think Square says:

      Manchester closes at the end of March, Aberdeen and Edinburgh in September.

  • steve says:

    Anyone know if there is something similar for sky team alliance.

    Bugs me that Gold Delta members get access into Virgin Lounges, but not the other way round. Delta want to charge $50 – better off going to a decent airport restaurant.

  • flibbly says:

    Does anyone know if this will work if I am already a member of Virgin Flying Club but with no status in it?

    • Think Square says:

      Yes. The form they had out on the flight doesn’t allow for this, but I emailed them and they status matched me no problem.

      • flibbly says:

        Thanks Think Square – do you mean I don’t need to deliberately take a Little Red flight, just email them and that’s enough?

        • Alan says:

          You can get it by emailing them in advance of the flight but they’d still be looking for a booking reference for an upcoming flight.

          • flibbly says:

            Thanks Alan. The thing is I have no need of a domestic flight, mainly flying long haul only (usually JNB or the MidEast) so may not be booking for anywhere that Virgin flies to before the Little Red service stops operating.

            I guess I’ll just keep it at the back of mind until an appropriate opportunity arises.

          • Alan says:

            If you’ve got any upcoming booking with VS I’d give it a shot – you might get lucky!

          • richie says:

            if you email in advance and give booking ref, do you get lounge acces on that flight>?

          • Rob says:

            As long as your status was updated online, yes – it would be reflected on your boarding pass at check-in

  • Paul says:

    Raffles, you neglect to mention that Virgin’s domestic services are being axed — Manchester at the end of March, and Edinburgh/Aberdeen at the end of September!

    • Rob says:

      I did write it! I must have forgotten to hit save. I went off and looked up the dates!

  • MrHeckles says:

    Is this Status Match standard enough to warrant doing a trip especially? Would be very disappointed to find that it was more of an optional offering rather than SOP

    • Think Square says:

      It’s standard. They announce it at the start of every flight.

      • Rob says:

        If they don’t announce it, ask for the form. If they don’t have one (they will) write in with your flight details and a scanned copy of your BA card and they will do it.

  • Think Square says:

    Once you have your status, Little Red redemptions become even cheaper. 5000 miles for Silver and 2500 miles for Gold. (That’s almost buy one get two free)

    Another nice benefit of Little Red is the £7 a day parking at Manchester.

    • Robert says:

      Yes, but that’s only good for a couple more months…

    • Alan says:

      And Fast Track security (at EDI anyway) – when I checked in at the desk (as I had bags) they put a sticker on my boarding pass 🙂

  • Smid says:

    Do they match VS Silver for BA Silver? I’m already Silver with both, and even at that, I don’t rate VS Silver as much use (no lounge access).

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.