Today, 21st June, is the last day to earn Virgin Flying Club miles for booking Virgin East Coast trains. On 24th June the franchise bites the dust and services will be operated by LNER, a Government-owned entity.
From a loyalty point of view, there is one key impact. From the time today when the Virgin East Coast website switches to LNER, you will no longer be able to earn Virgin Flying Club miles on train tickets booked on the East Coast route. Bookings for future travel made before the switchover later today WILL earn miles.
It seems that Nectar points WILL continue to be offered by LNER although this is not 100% clear.
Should you take Nectar points or Virgin Flying Club miles from Virgin West Coast?
Whilst East Coast will be no more, Virgin West Coast will continue to operate.
Both Nectar points and Virgin Flying Club miles will continue to be offered.
You receive 2 Nectar points (so 1% cashback effectively) when you book train tickets at the Virgin Trains West Coast website.
Full terms and conditions are on the Virgin Trains website here. Importantly, your trip MUST include a Virgin Trains component in order to earn points. Booking a trip which is entirely on another train operator will not earn you anything.
Virgin Flying Club:
As per the Virgin Atlantic website here, you earn 1 Flying Club mile for every £1 spent at Virgin Trains.
Full terms and conditions are on the Virgin Trains website here. Your ENTIRE trip must take place on the Virgin West Coast network – if your journey involves two operators, take Nectar points. The only way to earn miles if your trip involves a connection is to make a separate booking for the other part of your journey, although this may end up being more expensive.
In terms of value, these options are roughly equal:
Two Nectar points are worth exactly 1p in 99% of redemption scenarios – the few Nectar redemptions which are worth more than 0.5p per point are on Shopper Points here (scroll to the bottom)
One Virgin Flying Club mile should get you 1p of value and potentially more – but of course this only makes sense if you already collect Virgin miles from other sources, as you will never earn enough just from train tickets for a flight. As Virgin Atlantic has no short haul redemptions, you need to have at least 50,000 miles to hand before you can say they have real value.
As I said initially, however, you no longer have a choice on the East Coast route which will be back under state control by the end of the week.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (September 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:
Until 2nd November 2021, there is a special offer on The Platinum Card from American Express.
You will receive a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points which converts into 60,000 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.)