Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: bonus Avios at Bicester Village, Necker Island gets trickier on Virgin miles

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News in brief:

Double Avios and 10% off at Bicester Village

Until 10th February, you will receive double Avios (10 for every £4 spent) when you visit the Bicester Village designer shopping outlet in Oxfordshire.  Full details are here.  This offer has been running for a while but passed me by until last week, apologies.

You can also pick up a VIP discount card at the information centre on production of your British Airways Executive Club card.  This entitles you to an additional 10% discount at most stores, although a handful are excluded including Prada, if I remember rightly from my last trip.

You can also collect Avios at the European outlet villages run by the same group – details on here.

Bicester Village Avios

Necker Island redemptions get harder to achieve

Few people know that you can redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for holidays on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island retreat.  The details are here.

This is probably the best value Virgin redemption you can get.  A week on Necker Island during those weeks where the island is not let on an exclusive basis will cost you $30,730 plus 2.5% service charge for a couple.  That is £25,400.  Flights are not included in this price.

On that basis, 1.2 million Virgin Flying Club miles is a very good deal – you’re getting over 2p per mile.

You might think that 1.2 million miles is a lot, and of course it is.  However, it would ‘only’ require £600,000 of Amex spend on the Virgin Black credit card and I know there are a surprisingly large number of HFP readers who spend six figures per month on their cards.

In the US, you could get to 1.2 million miles almost entirely from credit card sign-ups.  That is what Greg, author the Frequent Miler site, did.  The articles from his week are here.

Virgin has decided to make life a bit harder for credit card heavy hitters.  A new clause on the Necker Island page says that you must now have Virgin Flying Club Silver or Gold status to book this award.  This is not hugely difficult but, unless you can find a promotion offering it for free, it would require you to shift some business travel towards Virgin.

PS.  If you were thinking of booking Necker Island for cash for $30,000, you can earn 50,000 Virgin Flying Club miles if you give them your number!

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (September 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 Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

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

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 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.

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.

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.

  • Jane says:

    Has anyone else had an issue with the iOS update to the Places (Le Club/Accor) app?

    Mine is unusable since the update last week, and the app is now listed as unavailable in the UK app store.

    • Cat says:

      I’m having problems too.

      I’m planning a “Happy Mondays” stay this weekend, so I got in contact with Accor on Facebook, and this is what they said:

      “Hello, we are facing a technical issue with our Places app, our IT department is working on it, if you need assistance with a check in or badge, please send us your email address and booking details via PM. Thank you!”

  • Olivier says:

    O/T I’m new to Tesco CC and want to save my points to convert them to Avios at a later date. Do I have to do anything now (set up account to automatically convert to BAEC for example but then I would miss out on future conversion bonus) ? I would not want the points to convert to Tesco vouchers at the end of the collection period which is 26 January I understand

    • David says:

      Make sure auto convert is turn off in your clubcard account.
      That way the points will remain as clubcard points for you to spend/use (including convert to Avios, etc) at a later date as you wish.

      If you have never turned autoconvert on, then it should be off already.

    • Rob says:

      As long as auto-convert is NOT turned on, Tesco will post you paper vouchers (and store electronic versions of them in your account). You can then convert at your leisure over the next 2 years.

  • Charlie says:

    OT – The Hilton reward night certificate issued with the credit card, does the stay need to be completed within 6 months of issue? Or just booked within 6 months?

  • Genghis says:

    OT. If I book a 2 night IHG points stay as two separate stays, can I easily transfer one of the nights to a (Creation) rewards voucher once it becomes available on my card anniversary?

    • Rob says:

      No, although there is a pretty decent chance with hotel rewards that free nights will still be available and you can rebook.

  • Keith says:

    Thanks Alan will give it a go. 8.4% was £60 so worth trying for more.

  • the real harry1 says:

    saw this in the morning & had my doubts – but looks to be working fine
    free £20 credit on Uber for EXISTING customers as well

    hat tip Kurt
    ‘Google Maps is offering £20 off an Uber ride for new and existing customers. No idea if its for selected accounts or everyone but I opened Google Maps, plotted a route home and selected the Taxi option (little man waving) and I got a popup saying £20 off this trip. I accepted and ordered and was asked to link to a new or existing Uber account, I linked to my existing and got the £20 discount.’

  • Zoe says:

    OT my husband recently open a Tesco bank account so that we could earn on a big tax bill (without extra costs for using a credit card). I have just seen that in theory you don’t get extra points when paying another bank or financial institution using debit card. Do I assume that they have all institutions correctly coded or is it worth paying £8 to everyone we have an account with to see if anything has slipped through the net?

    • Rob says:

      I think HMRC is not a financial institution in that sense. The rule is to stop you paying money into savings accounts with a debit card.

  • Mr Dee says:

    Not noticed before but you can earn miles with Virgin at Bicester Village, not sure if this is new though

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

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