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There seems to be a secret 20% bonus on Tesco Clubcard transfers to Virgin Atlantic

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If you have your Tesco Clubcard account set up to automatically move your points to Virgin Atlantic every quarter, you may have noticed something odd.  Your points will have arrived with a 20% bonus attached.

This leads me to assume that Virgin is about to announce an ‘open to all’ 20% bonus, perhaps as soon as Monday.  So far, however, there is nothing on the Tesco to Virgin Atlantic transfer page

Just be clear, I would NOT make a transfer to Virgin Atlantic today in the hope of a 20% bonus.  It is best to wait a couple of days for the promotion to be officially announced.  There is a small chance it is just a mistake ….

Virgin Atlantic

A 20% bonus would take us back to the bonus rate we saw in February – they offered a lower 15% in May – but this is a far cry from the 50% bonuses we saw 2-3 years ago.

A 20% 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.

Why build up a Virgin Atlantic balance?

Over the last couple of weeks I have written a review of the Virgin Clubhouse lounge at Heathrow and a review of flying Virgin Upper Class on the brand new Boeing 787 fleet.  I enjoyed my experience – better than BA but not quite comparable with the Middle Eastern airlines – and it is worth trying out if you can just so you can say you’ve visited the Heathrow Clubhouse.

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 in Upper Class – 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 offers 18,500 miles on the Black version and 3,000 miles on the free White (you can have both at the same time) whilst the ISA offers 6,000 miles.  Transfer the opening bonus from a free Amex Gold (reviewed here) and you get a further 20,000 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.

As I said earlier, though, don’t initiate a transfer until the bonus is official, just in case …..

HFP Virgin Atlantic Rewards credit card

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (July 2021)

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, one has a bonus of 15,000 Points):

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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:

Nectar American Express

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

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 (82)

  • Simon Branson says:

    Can you post a link which clearly explains or step by step instructions on how to actually transfer Virgin air miles to HHonors?

    • Rob says:

      Step 1: ring Virgin Flying Club
      Step 2: er, no, there is no step 2 🙂

      • The Urbanite says:

        Yes, nice and easy and it has always taken less than 2 weeks for the transfer to complete for me.

      • mark2 says:

        step 2: wait what seems like a long time, perhaps 10 days although Tesco to Virgin is quick and, of course, YMMV.

      • Anon says:

        3) Needs to be in blocks of 10k miles..

      • Simon Branson says:

        Wasn’t clear as the link opened in a new window which I assumed showed you how to do it.

        So literally as easy as calling up Virgin Flying and asking them to convert to HHonours? How long does the process usually take to show on account?

        Have more than 60,000 miles so looking to convert and as Hilton Gold I can add to my existing points mound 😉

        Btw thanks for the rezidor status email. They instantly matched me to gold no quibbles or aggro. Unlike Accor who don’t seem to be flexible. A big no no in hospitality/service!!

        • Alan says:

          Transferring to Hilton definitely one of the easier VS options, sadly partner redemptions are the opposite extreme!

        • Rob says:

          Yup. 10 days should do it.

  • Gin and Tonic Please says:

    I can confirm that I’ve received the 20% bonus on my (auto convert) account

  • JP says:

    I see the following on the Virgin website for Singapore Airlines…

    “Redemptions in Business Class and First Class on their A380, 777-300ER and A340-500 aircraft
    types are not available”

    What about the new A350, can I book business class ?

    And can you book one ways?

    • Rob says:

      You can’t book one ways on any Virgin partner except for one (I forget which one, but not SQ).

      I get a feeling that the lack of the A350 from that list is just Virgin being slow in updating their site. If the other aircraft are blocked I’m pretty sure the intention is to block A350 as well.

      • mart says:

        any idea on avaliability on SQ routes with VS miles without ringing recently spent over 1 hour on the phone getting nowhere?

        • Rob says:

          The Virgin forum on Flyertalk has a ‘sticky’ thread at the top where people post their experiences trying to redeem on partners. It is fairly depressing reading!

    • Mikeact says:

      Not being a Virgin ‘collector’, I didn’t know that. I think I would be mighty disappointed not to be able to redeem against these flights. I guess it must seriously limit your choice of destination ?

  • Naf says:

    For those of us with the old tesco cc earning rate of 800 avios per £2.50, are we better off keeping on auto convert? Any input plz?

    • Rob says:

      Makes no difference, you retain the 800 rate anyway.

      • Naf says:

        Thanks Rob. Is the rate the same for virgin miles? Virgin is my preferred option at present as I’m already sitting on a stash of Avios.

        • Rob says:

          Pretty sure the 800 rate is attached to the Tesco account and not to either Avios or Virgin ….

        • Fenny says:

          No, there’s no former rate for Virgin. If you have been converting Tesco points to BA (formerly Airmiles, then Avios and BAEC miles) since the “old days”, you still get the 800 miles rate. Virgin are relative newbies and have always been at the same rate.

    • Egg says:

      I would keep it auto convert.
      its a 33% increase!
      Better than any promotion that has been in a while!

  • Saf says:

    I have been auto-converting from Tesco Clubcard to Virgin for around a year in order to build a Virgin balance and have always received a 20% bonus ( including the most recent, which was a few days ago ).

    Strangely, the points originally post without a bonus, then the points are taken off a day or so later only to re-appear again with the 20% bonus.

    • Tilly71 says:

      Thats really strange considering there was only a 15% bonus offer on last Q to get continously 20% bonus each Q?

  • Mucky says:

    When was the last time 30% bonus happened as have been hanging on until it came back before i transferred but it is beginning to look like a lost cause.

  • Leo says:

    Can anyone please remind me of the expiration rules of Virgin miles? Are they similar to BAs?

  • Andy S says:

    I’m trying to manually convert some tesco vouchers to VFC, I used to have it as auto until advised not to by this site! Anyway I can’t get it to accept my VFC number now, either with or without the leading zeros. What’s the secret to getting past this step ? (Am actually surprised it’s not remembered the number from when it was automatic!)

    • mark2 says:

      I have just converted some with no apparent problem, except that I lose £5 worth of voucher until the end of the quarter.

      • Andy S says:

        Ah, thanks, I’ve tried again and realised when I copied/pasted from the virgin website there was a space after my number! For the record it was accepted with the leading zeros (and no trailing spaces!)

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