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An odd quirk when earning Virgin Flying Club miles from Virgin Trains

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When you travel with Virgin Trains West Coast, you can choose to earn either Nectar points or Virgin Flying Club miles, assuming you book directly on the Virgin Trains website.

Following changes last year, the rate is now:

  • 2 Nectar points per £1 spent, or
  • 1 Virgin Flying Club mile per £1 spent

Nectar Virgin Trains

Since you should be able to get more than 1p from your miles, I was generally keener on crediting to Virgin Flying Club.

A reader has pointed out a quirk in the system, however.

If you take Nectar points, you get points for the entire value of the ticket you book, even if some of the travel is on another train operator

If you take Virgin Flying Club miles, you earn NOTHING if any part of your journey is on another train operator

The first point is well known and publicised on the Virgin Trains website.  The second point is not.  Our reader had been trying to retroclaim points from Virgin Flying Club when they came clean about this rule.

Make sure that you choose Nectar points as your reward if you are booking Virgin Trains West Coast and using a mix of train operators.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (June 2024)

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 18,000 Virgin Points and the free card has a bonus of 3,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

18,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

3,000 bonus points, no fee and 1 point for every £1 you spend 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 – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 40,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 40,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable 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 an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 (47)

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

  • jo says:

    thanks so much for heads up re marriott promo. nearly missed this with 10 mins remaining!

  • Cate says:

    OT as bits, I have an offer on my SPG’s dashboard of stay twice and pick up two nights at a 1-5 Category hotel free. It’s the same one Marriott held in November. I’m planning on doing two nights at the Sheraton Heathrow when I’m up there next.

    • Rob says:

      Very nice. And SPG gives you credits for up to 3 rooms per night, so if you were mattress running you could book 2 rooms for the same night.

      • Cate says:

        Yes indeed! On this occasion though we have weekend flights out of Heathrow and they will come in handy as is. Shame the certificate’s only valid till end of June though, but being resourceful and adaptable is part and parcel of this hobby 🙂

      • Jeremy says:

        Very nice offer indeed.

        Anyone know how SPG targets people for its offers? I’m Platinum off 50 nights last year but no such luck on my dashboard 🙁

        • Nick says:

          You’ve answered your own question!! If you’re platinum because you stay a lot, you don’t need a nice offer such as a free night or two to convince you to spend more with them!

        • Jeremy says:

          Well that was just luck for work! This year I’ll need some persuasion… maybe I’ll let them know…

        • Cate says:

          Both MrCate and I signed up for the previous Marriott offer. He triggered his bonus night but I couldn’t trigger mine. Perhaps it’s picking people who didn’t receive the previous offer? I think having separate accounts helps sometimes – but it’s just an opinion. Alas he hasn’t been targeted for this SPG offer.

    • Peter K says:

      Where is the SPG dashboard? Is it only on the app?
      I only use the website and have never dated at a Starwood hotel but use the points for Marriott stays. This might sway me however.

  • Lloyd says:

    Somewhat ironic timing of this article!

    • James says:

      I was just about to make the same comment! Where is Save East Coast Rewards when you need him (or her)?!

    • Rob says:

      It is a total bailout despite that article. The structure allowed them to make a lot of money in the early years but pay more back in later years. What a surprise …. they bail out before the big premium payments turn up.

      • Billy says:

        It’s actually not.

        DfT promised various upgrades when granting the franchise.

        When Stagecoach/Virgin won, DfT advised Network Rail of their promises.

        Network Rail advised that the upgrades weren’t possible.

        Stagecoach/Virgin remind DfT that their franchise committments were based on these upgrades, and er, we need to talk.

        Chris Grayling attempts to deflect DfTs incompetence with bluster.

        I’m no fan of privitisation but like it or not, the DfT have fked up. And VTEC, with the highest customer satisfaction scores (excluding open access) are taking the flack.

  • Paul says:

    OT: For those eligible for the Membership Rewards > Hilton 50% bonus, how long did the bonus element take to be awarded after the base points had been received?

  • Billy says:

    I definitely knew about the Virgin rule. So either they’ve hidden the T&C or people haven’t read them.

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

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