Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Virgin 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 (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.

  • Cosmo74 says:

    Does anyone know if Virgin would status match a Marco Polo gold card or is it strictly BAEC?

  • jason says:

    Has anyone on here managed to get Virgin silver match to a BA silver equivalent?

    • Alan says:

      For a while they were certainly offering this, but with a smaller number of free miles than they were offering for Gold.

      • Alan says:

        Sorry, misread that – hasn’t realised you were wanting to match INTO BA – in that case, no – BA hardly ever offer matches.

  • Ronster says:

    Hi Rob

    I have the Cathey Pacific gold card

    Do you or does anyone else know if that will work with the Virgin status match?


    • Robert says:

      Already asked above and seems the answer is no…

    • Rob says:

      It won’t work with this Little Red status match. Whether they would match if you asked them separately is a different question. Good old is handy in these scenarios.

    • CV3V says:

      I did try a match after a Little Red flight, but not using the form, I emailed the Flying Club and was offered a status match challenge which required booking one long haul flight in Upper.

      A better option with the Marco Polo Gold card may be to status match to Gulf Air, and then use the Gulf Air card to status match to Air Berlin (if wanting to maintain some sort of free status).

  • Colin JE says:

    I emailed Virgin CS last week to see if I could get status match but as yet no reply. I don’t have a little red flight booked but I do have a Virgin flight to Chicago booked later in year. Will they allow this or is the status match strictly dependent on Little Red flight?

    • Rob says:

      It has been driven by Little Red but as they are doing them anyway you might get lucky.

  • Adam (sigma421) says:

    How long does this generally take to process? I filled in the form on a flight on Christmas Eve but haven’t heard anything. As I’ll be flying with them again this week I’d like it to come through!

    • Will says:

      Send an email to them, I gave mine 4 weeks and heard nothing so emailed them with flight details and a scan of my BA card and it was done then within 2 weeks. Wonder if they’ll renew via this method when it lapses?

    • Rob says:

      Mine did not get done for some reason. I emailed to chase, they emailed back same day asking for a card scan, I sent the scan the same day and it was upgraded same day!

    • Alan says:

      The forms quite often seem to go AWOL (either internal mail issues or crew unsure what to do with them!) – I emailed towards the end of last year and they phoned me the following morning to confirm the upgrade! I was extremely impressed/shocked at such a quick reply!

  • Stuart says:

    Tempted to do a weekend in Manchester just to gain this, but have a dilemma:

    I am 3064 miles short of the 7500 needed for the return flight.

    I can BUY 3000 and get 750 bonus for £60


    Transfer 4000 Amex Rewards.


    • richie says:

      How much is the actual flight cost? Iv seen then very cheap

      • Stuart says:

        £150.77 for the same flights, so

        £150 – Buy Miles – Miles Tax
        £150 – £60 – 34 = £56 value out of 4000 miles…

    • Rob says:

      Is there a ‘cash and miles’ option with Virgin?

      What are the separate cash prices per leg? Given that you need to pay their £17 taxes fee, if a cash ticket on either leg is less than £50 it would make more sense to redeem one-way and pay cash back.

      Or why not use Avios to fly back? Or take the train as there is a station in Manchester Airport which goes direct to Euston?

  • Fiona Harte says:

    I came across this INSTANT Virgin Silver & fast track to Gold status yesterday. I was skeptical but I went ahead and tried anyway. The person who upgrade me was polite enough and Voila! I’m Silver now with fast track to Gold.

    ….Just thought it might be worth mentioning incase someone was interested. 🙂

  • DS says:

    I might be flying with a mate, neither of us have a Flying Club account, if he
    opens an account first and then invites me via this link he’ll get an additional 1K ?

    “Tell your friends about Flying Club and if they join you’ll get
    1,000 miles if their first round trip is on Little Red.”

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