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Virgin Atlantic transfers to IHG Rewards Club DO still count towards status

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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.

Virgin Flying Club miles to IHG Rewards Club

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.

On paper, transferring Virgin miles to IHG is not attractive.  You only receive 1 IHG Rewards Club point for every 1 Virgin Flying Club mile you transfer.

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):

IHG screenshot

…. 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

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (February 2023)

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 & four 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.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable 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 £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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 (111)

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

  • the real harry1 says:

    O/T no name changes allowed on BA tickets

    as it happens a couple of years ago I did get those nice people in BA CS to change a name foc on one of our 5 tickets

    but then again I didn’t rant madly at them like some talentless over-rated ‘TV star’, just asked pleasantly

    • Genghis says:

      “Star?” Never heard of him. But if the story is true and he bought a “flexible ticket”, surely a refund is possible?

  • ambient says:

    O/T but Virgin related.
    Myself and my partner needs 170,000 Flying Club points for two UC redemptions. In one account we have 143,000 points and in another 33,000. Pooling the points doesn’t seem to be allowed, and transferring the 33,000 to the other account costs nearly £250.
    Is there another trick that i’m missing?

    • Genghis says:

      Can’t one person book one leg of the other person (therefore cost 42,500 to the person with the fewer miles) so would need to find another 10k from somewhere?

      • Louise says:

        Used to be able to, have been reports on v flyer of the new delta system not allowing this

        • Genghis says:

          I’d suggest calling Virgin. I enquired recently and was told this is the case (but didn’t book – just planning a redemption). Alternatively could be constructed as two singles, one paid by person with larger balance and one by person with smaller balance?

    • Alex W says:

      You can only pool if you are Gold. You could sign up for the black credit card and you’d have most of the points you need. Minus the £140 fee but it’s cheaper than your £250 transfer.

    • pointsarb says:

      Find a friendly UC agent and they will transfer the miles for you between accounts there and then free of charge while you’re on the phone. I did this around 2 months ago so not sure if things have now changed but worth a try?

  • mhuk01 says:

    O/T :
    I have a free BA Amex card and have spent around £9,800 on it. My understanding is that by upgrading to the BA premium card, that I will receive the 2-4-1 voucher once hitting the £10,000.
    I want to pay as little as possible for this. Therefore my question is do I need to basically upgrade just before hitting the 10k trigger, then downgrade as soon as the 2-4-1 voucher is posted? Therefore it will only cost me a few days/week of having the BA premium card? Thanks for your help!

    • Rob says:

      Should work either way. If you are already over it triggers immediately.

      • mhuk01 says:

        Great, thanks. And what is the turnaround time for getting the BA 2-4-1? Is it doable to get the 2-4-1 and downgrade the BA card within 1-2 weeks?

        • Genghis says:

          The 241 can take a few weeks to post (sometimes days though). I’d perhaps allow a month’s fees, but a bargain at say £16!

          • Genghis says:

            And depending on your circumstances you might want to pay the taxes on the BAPP for 3 avios/£.

        • Louise says:

          I just did this within the last month. 2for1 posted to BA account a few days after I hit the spend on card.
          I haven’t downgraded yet, probably will next month.

  • Rick says:

    Any ideas on spending £150 at Heathrow?
    Flying out soon and hoping can buy a GC or something and earn Heathrow rewards bonus.

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

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