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

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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.

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.

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.

Spire Elite card

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.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  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)

  • Nick says:

    For maximum ‘longevity’ in IHG Spire Elite, can someone please confirm if I am correct in believing that the best time to hit the 75,000 IHG points requirement is the 1st January in any year, as you would then get that full year + the following year? Eg. hit the 75,000 requirement on the 1st January, 2018 and get Spire Elite status for the whole of 2018 and up to 31st December, 2019??

    • Genghis says:

      Yes if the Virgin transfer method is your only way to earn IHGs. I’d suggest that most wait till nearer year end when you know how many IHGs you then have and then top up from Virgin.

      • Nick says:

        Many thanks for confirming that Genghis!
        Nick

      • Genghis says:

        Or perhaps if you don’t already have SE and would like it for upcoming stays then do the transfer at the start of the year. If renewing, definitely wait till end

        • Rob says:

          I agree. I only did it now because I know I won’t have much in the way of IHG cash stays before the year end and I wanted to lock down the offer now, just in case Virgin pull it or IHG changes the rules on the points counting. I don’t think they will but it was a pointless risk to take.

  • Philip White says:

    Quick query. I’m about 12k short of Spire, with some points to land soon from CC spend. But have 4k of Virgin FC points as well…

    What period does the IHG year run? (Jan-dec or is it personal based on your sign-up date).

    What is the smallest transfer you can do from Virgin FC to IHG?

    • Genghis says:

      Calendar year and 10k min IIRC

      • Philip White says:

        Cheers

      • HayMow says:

        Thx Genghis & Roger. I’d be happy just to use the converted points to retain IHG Gold 🙂 and had been wondering about starting to collect Virgin miles in dribs and drabs, but if it’s a 10k minimum then I’m unlikely ever to get there! especially without V flight activity / before points expired 🙁

        • Genghis says:

          Virgin miles are quite easy to pick up (the occasional V white, wine, ISA etc).

          • HayMow says:

            Thanks Genghis – am not in the cards/ISAs game, but wine always a good plan!

  • Jon says:

    I’m currently on 45k and starting to think about how to top that up, possibly via a Virgin transfer. But oddly my account says “Elite status expiration date: 31 December 2018”, which would suggest I don’t need to worry about it until next year. Or will I find myself dropped to Platinum on January 1st 2018 if I don’t? I’m assuning it may have something to do with my Ambassador year running from April, perhaps. Any ideas? And most importantly, do I need to hit the 75k if I want to keep Spire Elite next year?

    • Alex W says:

      Ssshhh

      • Rob says:

        If you buy Ambassador for the first time, it appears – accidentally? – to extend your Elite status for another year. You should therefore retain Spire next year. I assume you haven’t been given the menu option (under ‘Spire Benefits’) to claim another 25,000 points though?

        • Sean says:

          My Platinum status has continued to renew with my Ambassador renewal each year. Not sure if there is some sort of grandfathering here.

        • Pid says:

          My Spire has renewed for two years due to the Ambassador renewal. Do not get the 25,000 pts but saves having to top up with Virgin pts.

          • Leo says:

            Same here – last 2 years. Although am just about to hit 75K points due to tax on the credit card. I’m expecting/hoping to be offered the 25K points at that point.

        • Jon says:

          Hmmm, fairly sure I’ve had two lots of 25k Spire benefits so far… And I’m on year 2 of Ambassador – was due to renew originally in December 2016 but after I complained about them taking six months to send my welcome pack, they extended to April 2017, so I renewed for 2017/18 then. Maybe that triggered a Spire extension too… Not complaining anyway 😉 But would be irritating to get to Jan 1st and discover it was an IT glitch, by which time it would be too late to top up 😉

  • Alex W says:

    I know we’ve had this discussion before but I still think your undersell the value of the IHG points. Whilst they can be purchased for ~0.44p each when there is a 100% bonus, I would fairly consistently get 0.55p value when redeeming them. That doesn’t include the 5000 points per night PointBreaks redemptions – I recently made a booking that got about 1.9p per point.

    • Genghis says:

      If you can buy points for 0.44p (less say a 10% discount as reward stays do not earn points back, the % being affected by your split of Accelerate (can v profitable) and non accelerate stays and your specific accelerate targets etc) 0.4p is therefore the ref point for any other purchase (mattress run) / transfer (Virgin). I’d think of valuing points at lower of cost and NRV and then making a gain / loss on disposal.

      • Alex W says:

        I take your point. Though if I buy points at 0.44p, perhaps it could be argued that it’s costing me 0.73p as the tax man has already taken 40% of that money!
        It’s a moot point, as I wouldn’t buy 55000 IHG points – I just wouldn’t make the hotel stay. However, I would transfer 30000 Virgin miles, and have done.

        • John says:

          Huh? That only makes sense if you can reclaim your income tax on paid stays too.

          And your valuation of 1.9p only works if you really would have paid £100 (which would earn points) for that stay. I wouldn’t pay much more than £50 for the majority of hotels on the latest pointsbreaks list… Thus regardless of what the hotel was actually charging, I would only be getting around 1p per point if I redeemed there.

          • Alex W says:

            Yeah I know, the tax thing was a bit tongue in cheek.

            It’s a genuine saving as I got the HIX in Croydon when I would otherwise have paid for a hotel on London.

  • Joseph says:

    Recently Asian Escort Babes is Vegas’s number one escort agency. They offers access to many of Nevada’s most elite young ladies. Their service at [] is high-class and discreet. Asian Escort Babes is the place where you will find the most sexy dates in Sin City.

    • John says:

      Shouldn’t you have posted this on the Telegraph website, where government ministers with expenses accounts are more likely to see it?

    • LB says:

      Eerrr. Excuse me?

      • Nick says:

        Our correspondent is helpfully informing us of the excellent service offered by a company called Asian Escorts Babes in Las Vegas. It seems that the discreet and high class service is now ‘number one’ in that city, although it is unclear if this means it has won some sort of industry award, or whether it is the biggest by reference to number of escorts or turnover. In any case, this is very helpful stuff for any readers looking for sexy dates with elite young ladies. In future I would encourage the poster to put ‘OT’ at the start posts like this that do not relate to the article itself, or instead wait for Rob to write an article on the relative merits of the myriad of Las Vegas escort agencies and comment then. I would also encourage the OP to remember that the underlying purpose of the site is to discuss loyalty schemes, so telling us what he knows of the Asian Escort Loyalty scheme would be very helpful.

    • Wivus says:

      ”Recently”?? How recently? Is this like the Premier League table printed after one game? It’s a marathon not a sprint you know? Also, can you enlighten me as to how it arrived at number one? the points are scored?…On second thoughts, maybe not

    • Matt says:

      Thanks Joseph. That’s great info and very timely as I’m in my room in Caesars Palace and I can hear sounds of 1am debauchery coming from Cleopatra’s Barge downstairs.
      Actually can’t wait to get out of LV in the morning and head to Zion. I’m on my first J redemption holiday so proper thanks to Rob and everyone else on HfP who has helped get me here. Rather than following Joseph’s tip what I’m actually doing is booking J to JNB for next summer 😀 Have fun back in Blighty y’all.

    • Fenny says:

      Do they take Amex and would the transaction count as a purchase or a cash advance?

  • Roger says:

    OT- Curve at UK Airport

    Has anyone used Curve with Lloyds Avios card with currency set as EUR and withdrawn EUR from Airport ATM which has such an option?
    I assume this withdrawal will not attract any fees if you are withdrawing within the withdrawal allowance of £200?

    • Alex W says:

      I would have thought that’s fine, but won’t the cash point charge you a high fee?

    • John says:

      I think the majority of UK airport ATMs do not allow withdrawals in euros but rather serve as euro banknote vending machines.

      Would be safer to just withdraw from a proper euro ATM in the eurozone

    • Alan says:

      I thought those machines issued EUR at some ludicrously poor rate but still charged in GBP? I’d say safer to stick to withdrawing when abroad.

    • the_real_a says:

      If it charges the underlying card in Euro`s then it will be fee free. The issue is when i tried they were charging an unavoidable ATM fee, or a hard to decline (i couldn’t find a way!) dynamic currency conversion (charged in pounds) – however people on here did report success when curve was launched. There are Euro ATM machines around canary wharf / central London branches if you are in the city and want to test it out with a smaller amount.

    • mark2 says:

      and also have you checked for cash advance fee which is normal on credit cards?

      • Alan says:

        There won’t be a cash advance fee when using Curve though, that’s the benefit of it – puts the transaction through as a purchase on your card 🙂

  • Roger says:

    Rob,

    I have exactly same entries in my account with same date.
    Only difference being I have used 15K VS miles instead of 25K.

  • NickM says:

    Slightly dumb question – can you transfer Virgin points in to get Spire Elite and then transfer them back out to Virgin again?