15% bonus on Tesco Clubcard transfers into Virgin Flying Club miles – worth it?

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Virgin Atlantic has launched another Clubcard transfer bonus.  Details appeared on the Tesco to Virgin Atlantic transfer page yesterday and some people were also emailed.  The promotion is open to everyone whether or not they were contacted directly.

The promotion is very simple:

You will receive a 15% bonus on Clubcard transfers to Virgin Flying Club between 1st May and 10th June.

Virgin Atlantic

15% takes us back to the bonus rate we saw last November – they offered a higher 20% in February – and this is a far cry from the 50% bonuses we saw 2-3 years ago.

A 15% bonus, all other things being equal, should not be enough to persuade you to make a transfer to Virgin that you were not already considering.

There is also a second part to the promotion.  You will receive 1,000 Flying Club miles if you opt-in to autoconvert your future Tesco Clubcard points to Virgin.

I do NOT recommend auto-converting your points, to either Virgin or Avios.  You would miss out if a conversion bonus came along in the future, or indeed a better Tesco Clubcard offer for a non-travel deal.  It is better to keep your Clubcard vouchers in a drawer until you need them, or until a good conversion bonus appears.

However, if you have a dormant Clubcard account, you should go for this.  In your personal details you can elect to have future Clubcard points sent to Virgin.  Even though your Clubcard account is empty, and will remain empty, you will still get the 1,000 miles.

Some people have managed to receive the bonus 1,000 miles for auto-convert on multiple occasions.  There is some risk in this if you do not have a dormant account as you may not cancel it in time and your next set of vouchers may get sent over.

Why build up a Virgin balance?

There are good reasons to be picking up miles in Virgin Flying Club.  You need far fewer Virgin miles than Avios points for most destinations – Virgin did not respond to the Avios devaluation last year – and taxes are about £75 per person lower on Economy redemptions.

You can top up your balance via the credit card sign up bonus, American Express Membership Rewards, opening an ISA etc.  Getting the miles is not an issue.  The credit card is currently offering up to 25,000 miles until the end of May and the ISA currently offers 12,000 miles.

Your two risks are:

that Virgin does announces a BA-style devaluation before you can book your redemption flight and

that Virgin makes further changes to its route network, with any non-US destination now likely to be at risk as Delta increases its control over the airline

If you can live with that, having a Virgin balance is not necessarily a bad move.  At the very worst, you can transfer out to Hilton HHonors (at 2:3) or IHG Rewards Club (at 1:1).  Transfers into IHG even count for status if you chasing Platinum Elite or Spire Elite.

Visiting the Upper Class lounge at Heathrow is still one of the top 10 things to aspire to in the ‘miles and points’ hobby.  As it happens, I now have a visit in my diary for June.

PS.  Remember that, until 11th May you can book a Virgin Atlantic economy redemption for 30% fewer miles.  Full details are in this article.  Virgin transfers from Tesco usually take no more than 48 hours so you could still take move some points over and book.  However, there is no guarantee that the miles will arrive immediately (the small print says 28 days) and there is no guarantee that the bonus miles arrive at the same time as the base miles, although historically they have.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  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.)

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  1. IIRC these promos are on a steady downward trend, will we ever see 50% again???

    • Yes, when the economy tanks and the airlines are desperate for cash, any cash, from anywhere.

      • JamesH says:

        Given your esteemed background in the City, I’m interested in your “when” rather than”if” comment there! I know this isn’t an economics forum, but do you believe there’s an impending tank or where you just being tongue-in-cheek? I certainly have my views!

        • Genghis says:

          Indicators point to the fact that we’re in ‘Economic Slowdown’ in the investment cycle with a recession coming.

        • I’m 45, James. Not sure how many recessions I have lived through now but I promise you that there will be more. The only people who will tell you otherwise are too young to know that this is how the world works.

        • Surely the question is not “if?” but how bad the s*0t storm from China will be?

  2. Raffles, with the delta takeover, is it possible/ easy to merge points from Delta to/from Virgin ?

    I have quita a few delta points from my USA times which im unlikely to use in the near future. Thanks

    • No. The best you could do is book one way on Skymiles and one way on Flying Club miles.

      • If you do, make sure to use your SkyMiles for the ex-US leg. Delta add a fuel surcharge on flights (one way or return) originating outside of the US.

  3. General Mayhem says:

    Apologies for novice question!!!

    My Clubcard account is set to autoconvert but I have the ‘grandfather’ rate of 800 miles rather than 600.

    If I stop autoconvert or credit some points to Virgin will I lose the benefit for future conversions?


    • Simmo says:

      I wouldn’t risk it! – imagine the difficulty trying to explain something like that on the phone to a call centre if it didn’t work!

    • Fenny says:

      No, you won’t lose them. I’m on the old 800 rate for BA, but regularly switch auto convert on and off for both BA and Virgin. Whenever I convert to BA, I still get 800 Avios/£2.50.

  4. mark2 says:

    Is it not he case that this will be the last Tesco ClubCard quarterly transfers and points will be able to be used at any time? That suggests to me that automatic transfers will die out.
    This will not stop me from registering with Virgin as soon as this quarters transfer has gone through to. hopefully, get my fourth 1000 mile bonus.

    • We don’t know yet. It does seem that the quarterly cycle is stopping but I’m not sure it will be in place by August.

      • Mucky says:

        Being that the bonus Virgin miles only appeared in the Boost pormos, would this not stop when Tesco stop the boosts? Or would the rate improve?

        • Tesco has screwed up by calling everything Boost!

          There are two Boosts:

          ‘Boost’ is what they call the in-store double-up promotions where you get 2 x face value. These are stopping.

          ‘Boost’ is ALSO what they call partner redemptions. These are NOT stopping.

        • Mucky says:

          I am still in awe how you retain all this information raffles!

        • It worries me as well sometimes!

          In fairness, I know virtually nothing about most FF schemes except BA /IB, Virgin, Emirates, Etihad and Miles & More!

      • Fenny says:

        At one point, I could convert any quantity of points to miles, but they must have changed it at some point so you can only convert in multiples of £2.50. I’m hoping that removing the quarterly cycles will mean you can go back to just converting whatever points you want to miles and don’t have to wait for the “change” to appear back in your account.

  5. Chris says:

    I’ve asked this before, but is there anywhere I can get a bonus for just opening a Virgin Flying Club account? Just wondering as I will likely take out the Virgin credit card soon so I will need to open a Flying Club account for this.

    • Neil Spellings says:

      You can get 2000 bonus points it referred for Flying Club. Feel free to use my link below..I’m sure Raffles has one too.


      • harry says:

        Are you sure? ISTR it’s when they actually fly with Virgin that points are awarded on referrals. A simple referral doesn’t generate anything AFAIK
        3.2.4 For every person you refer who joins Flying Club, you will earn Miles on the basis of the cabin in which they complete their first round trip with Virgin Atlantic: the following Miles will be awarded in qualifying classes: Economy 2,000 Miles, Premium Economy 5,000 Miles and Upper Class 10,000 Miles. Miles will only be credited once travel has been completed, not at time of booking. Miles cannot be earned on any free or reduced rate tickets including, without limitation, reward travel, upgraded reward travel including upgrades purchased at the airport and Plusgrade, travel agent or industry discounts, Charter flights operated by VAA, Vex Courier, Miles Plus Money, child or infant and complimentary tickets.  Travel on codeshare flights and partner airlines will not qualify for Miles More Friends bonus Miles.

        3.2.5 The appropriate number of Miles will only be credited to your account once your friend has completed their first flight and the Miles earned have been credited to their Flying Club account. Miles can only be earned on enrolments made through the Miles More Friends online process.

        3.2.6 For all persons referred who subsequently join Flying Club and travel, they will earn bonus Miles on the basis of the cabin in which they complete their first round trip with Virgin Atlantic: the following Miles will be awarded in qualifying classes: Economy, 1,000 Miles, Premium Economy 2,000 Miles and Upper Class 3,000 Miles. Miles will only be credited once travel has been completed, not at time of booking. Miles will be earned on the first two applicable sectors flown. Miles cannot be earned on any free or reduced rate tickets including, without limitation, reward travel, upgraded reward travel including upgrades purchased at the airport and Plusgrade, travel agent or industry discounts, Charter flights operated by VAA, Vex Courier, Miles Plus Money, child or infant and complimentary tickets. Travel on codeshare flights and partner airlines will not qualify for Miles More Friends bonus Miles.

        • @alastairtravel says:

          Harry is correct – you have to fly on VS to generate joining bonus (and referral bonus for the referrer)

      • TimS says:

        The 2000 bonus (or 5,000 for PE & 10,000 for Upper) is for the referrer. The referee only gets 1000 (or 2,000 PE & 3,000 Upper).

  6. Alex W says:

    The points guy is reporting 30% bonus on Virgin transfers from Amex MR. Will this be available in the UK?

    • Alan says:

      Sadly Amex US gets lots of lovely transfer bonus offers that we rarely receive in the UK, so I wouldn’t bet on it!

  7. The Virgin Red app has run a couple of 3k sign up bonuses – no flight needed – in recent months. If you are not in a rush that deal may come back.

  8. Tilly71 says:

    Virgin red app doesn’t work if you already have an account, incase anyone was thinking of bagging free some free miles.

  9. OT but virgin related.

    How quickly does MBNA transfer miles across once you get the sign up bonus? I need to book a reward flight.
    Same question for SPG to virgin transfers?
    Also I heard virgin can hold seats for you while awaiting miles to post….how long is this hold?

    • Not sure about MBNA.

      SPG transfers can be painfully random – I waited 28 days for a Lufthansa one once, although it is very rarely that bad.

    • They transfer immediately on your statement date – for Virgin.

  10. Dave R says:

    Fingers crossed for a CC-Avios conversion bonus.

  11. Gary Colclough says:

    If VA do cancel routes do they cancel existing booking or just announce long in advance and then stop loading new flight?

    I have return UC HK flights booked for Jan with a lot of non cancellable internal flights and hotels linked to this

    • JamesLHR says:

      When they cancelled SYD, a lot of passengers travelled LHRHKG with VS and then HKGSYD with CX. I presume that VS reprotected their bookings.

      • Gary Colclough says:

        Thanks, hopefully all will be ok

      • Nick Burch says:

        Virgin bought revenue flights with CX, even for those with redemptions, so those affected earnt avios and tier points from the second half of the LHR-SYD reward flight!

  12. Hopic says:

    If I setup to auto convert, but my current vouchers are due to expire at the end of this month, will they go through before the expiry date?

    -> when does the auto convert happen?


  13. NickM says:

    Slightly off topic, but I flew to Chicago last week in Virgin Upper and was frustrated when they swapped the 787 for the A330 on the route. The Dreamsuite on that aircraft is the biggest load of tosh I’ve ever flown. Food and crew were decent enough but the space felt like a student dormitory. The cabin was full of what seemed to be Virgin staff using concessions on one of the first flights to the city of the season all talking and bemoaning working for the airline. Quickly in to the flight there are smelly feet sticking out everywhere plus the bar area was never staffed and actually very dirty.
    One reason for choosing upper on that route was the 787 with less seats rather than the cramped nightmare suite.
    Suite and Dream were simply two words I wouldn’t associate with the experience.

    • Alex W says:

      Interesting review. How does it compare to a BA Club World dormitory? I have come across bemoaning BA staff too – although on a bus rather than on board.

      • Waribai says:

        I flew the 787 the other week from PVG-LHR and I wasn’t that impressed. I found the space too tight and could never quite get comfortable

      • Simon says:

        It might depend how many of you are flying, bases on my flights I much prefer Virgin, the whole facing someone and dividing screen in Club World just seems weird to me, if you are traveling as a couple and know the person sitting there I imagine it’s completely different.

    • Simon says:

      I’ve flown the A330 and 787 with Virgin and didn’t notice much difference apart from the Wi-Fi and everything seeming a little bit newer, I preferred the bar area on the A330, the seats seemed the same to me. Maybe it helped my flight on the A330 wasn’t full.

  14. Tilly71 says:

    In respects to transferring VA miles over to IHG for spier status, is this route definetly still working and do you need to transfer 50k VA to get the 25k IHG bonus to make 75k required as want to use for HH Platinum status match.

    • IHG is 1:1 so, from scratch, you need to transfer 75k. You would get the 25k bonus so you end up with 100k points.

      Was working 2 weeks ago which was the last report I saw.

      • Tilly71 says:

        Thanks, other than use on ihg hotel stays can you transfer those ihg points into any other airlines or hotel chain like Hilton etc?

        • You’d get better value from a hotel stay, roughly 0.5p per point. No shortage of Holiday Inn, HI Express, InterContinental, Crowne Plaza etc places around.

  15. Tilly71 says:

    Just done a quick search for partner airlines using ihg points, found a drop down list of lots of airlines but it only shows the amount of miles you would get with the selected airlines eg: BA – 2000 miles but doesn’t state how many ihg miles you need?

  16. Natalija says:

    If I transfer tesco clubcard vouchers, how long will take for them to appear in my flying club account? Looking to buy some flights on their sale but a few thousand miles short…

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