Not everyone knows that you can transfer Virgin Flying Club miles into Hilton Honors points (details are here on the Virgin site) and IHG Rewards Club (Holiday Inn, InterContinental, Crowne Plaza etc) points. See this IHG page on the Virgin website.
IMPORTANT: A change in July 2018 means that transfers from IHG to Virgin NO LONGER COUNT FOR STATUS. This article has only been left up for reference.
Tomorrow I will review the Hilton Honors transfer option. Today I want to look at the main reason why you may want to transfer points to IHG Rewards Club.
Since I tend to value IHG Rewards Club points at 0.4p to 0.5p (based on receiving £250 of value for a 60,000 point room at the InterContinental London, Paris, Hong Kong, New York etc), that is not a great result for your Virgin miles.
However, there is one upside to consider on top.
Since IHG Rewards Club changed their rules about what points count towards status, it has become more difficult to obtain 75,000 points each year to earn or retain top tier Spire Elite status. This article explains what IHG earning activity does and does not count for status.
(Getting mid-tier Platinum Elite status is very easy, because UK residents receive it for free with the £99 IHG Reward Club Premium Mastercard – review here.)
However …. transfers of Virgin Flying Club miles to IHG Rewards Club count towards status.
Every few weeks someone emails me to ask if this deal is still going. As I found out this week, the answer is ‘Yes’.
With my IHG stays for the year now virtually complete, I found myself on 46,000 status points. That meant I was 29,000 status points short of renewing Spire Elite.
I could have got the IHG credit card again and earned some points that way (credit card points count for status, except for sign-up bonuses) but at the moment I am directing my spend elsewhere.
I called up Virgin Flying Club last week and transferred 30,000 miles to IHG Rewards Club. Six days later they arrived. As you can see from this screenshot (click to enlarge):
…. they were ‘elite qualifying’ points.
This is why I did it. Apart from (hopefully) getting me better upgrades and treatment on my IHG stays in 2018, you receive 25,000 bonus IHG points for achieving or renewing Spire Elite.
In effect, I transferred 30,000 Virgin Flying Club into 55,000 (30,000 + 25,000 renewal bonus) IHG Rewards Club points.
That gives me a value of roughly 0.8p per Virgin mile plus the value of whatever benefits Spire Elite brings me next year. I consider this a good use of 30,000 Virgin miles.
The value gets better the nearer you are to Spire Elite. If you are only 10,000 status points short by December, you would effectively get 35,000 IHG Rewards Club points for moving 10,000 Virgin miles. That would get you over 1.5p per Virgin mile of value plus the Spire stay benefits – an excellent deal.
On the other hand, if – for some odd reason – you wanted to earn Spire Elite status from scratch, it is a poorer deal. 75,000 Virgin miles would get you 100,000 (75,000 + 25,000 Spire achievement bonus) IHG points, which values your Virgin miles at around 0.6p each.
That said, it may be worth it if you had IHG stays coming up at, say, a Crowne Plaza where you knew they gave Spire Elite members Club Lounge access. You can also match IHG Spire Elite to 90 days of Hilton Diamond status via this deal which may work for people who want the guaranteed lounge access that Hilton Diamond brings.
Whether it works for you or not, what I found this week is that IHG Rewards Club transfers from Virgin Flying Club definitely still count towards status.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (June 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):
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:
(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.)