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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)

  • Charlie Stead says:

    I’m a big fan of flying Virgin Upper Class on points and have done so to NYC and LAX on a number of occasions. The Clubhouse at Heathrow genuinely feels glamorous and adds to the sense of occasion. Last time I flew with them to LAX it happened to be Oscars weekend and the UC cabin was almost like a private party of nominees. I find it relatively easy to find availability if I’m travelling alone. When I’ve needed two seats. Flying Club goes out of its way to be helpful if you phone.

    A good tip is that you can use something called ‘Miles Booster’ to buy miles based on the distance of your trip. Even if it’s a redemption booking. For instance, on my current reservation to LAX it shows that I can buy 21,800 miles for £218 (that’s double the base miles flown). However, it’s best to wait for one of Virgin’s regular promotions when they give you 20% on top. As you can use MIles Booster up to 6 months after the flight, I’ve never failed to take advantage of this.

    So together with Tesco collection opportunities, the Virgin black credit card and Miles Booster I find it relatively easy to travel UC two or three times a year (though I tend to book way in advance). Compared to BA’s Avios availability to the West Coast, Virgin beats them hands down.

    • Fenny says:

      Yes, I did a Miles Booster purchase with bonus last year when I went to Leftpondia. Helped to replenish the points used for UC.

    • Christy says:

      Ahh good to know you can boost miles up to 6 months after flight. I’m flying at end of month on rewards flights & want to boost but was waiting until they have bonus on again. Any idea how regularly they do it?

  • Charlie Stead says:

    I meant to add that ‘Miles Booster’ is rather hidden on the Virgin website. To find it, simply log in to your booking and scroll down to ‘Treats’. Click on the link and you’ll get to Miles Booster. I haven’t a clue why they chose to put it there.

  • mark2 says:

    My manual transfer from Tesco to Virgin yesterday has now appeared on my Flying Club account with the ‘secret’ 20% bonus.

  • Dave says:

    Just got an email from Virgin making this “secret” offer official!

  • Todderz says:

    Email also says:

    “You could also earn a 1,000 mile boost to your account when you choose to
    Auto Convert**

    **You must sign up for Auto Convert between 1 August and 16 September 2016 to qualify for the 1,000 bonus miles. The bonus miles can be earned only once.”

    No mention of what happens if you subsequently turn off auto-convert.

    • mark2 says:

      For the last four quarters I, and many others, have switched on and off each quarter and got the 1000 points.

      • Todderz says:

        Like Mr Burns says: Excellent…

      • Genghis says:

        Mark, at what point did you turn off the auto convert yet still get the bonus points? After the end of the “turn on auto convert” period? Cheers.

        • mark2 says:

          I take it off as soon as the bonus points are added to my Flying Club account, then put it back on after the next quarter conversion to get another bonus.

          • Genghis says:

            Cheers Mark. But has any one got the 1k bonus points without actually having to autoconvert to Virgin?

          • Tilly71 says:

            From experience the 1000 auto conversion bonus takes about 2-3 weeks to post into accounts, well thats how long it took mine last Q.

          • Genghis says:

            Is that 2-3 weeks after switching on auto convert or 2-3 weeks after the end of the period in which you could switch on autoconvert?

          • mark2 says:

            I have never auto-converted.
            I did not explain very well. Now that my points have been converted to virtual vouchers, I have set to auto convert which has no effect since I have zero points. Once the 1000 points show on AwardWallet in a few weeks time I shall take off the auto convert and at the end of this new quarter points will be converted to vouchers (unless the system has changed as threatened).

          • Genghis says:

            Thanks for confirming Mark.

  • Tilly71 says:

    Did the email from VA state any time period the redemptions had to be made by as no mention on the clubcard site this morning of this offer?

  • Floridaglen says:

    I have received the email from Virgin Atlantic about the 20% bonus but looking at Tescco’s Clubcard website for Virgin rewards there is no mention of the 20% yet just 625 miles for a £2.50 redemption. I think I will play safe and wait a while for it to hopefully say that at some point!

  • Tilly71 says:

    And its not on an open website, its only email at present.

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