You can now redeem Virgin miles on Virgin Holidays – but should you?

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Virgin Holidays has introduced a new feature – the ability to pay, or part pay, for your holiday using your Virgin Flying Club miles.  But is it a good deal?

This is not a surprising move.  A couple of years ago, Virgin Atlantic introduced ‘miles plus money’ for flights.  This is ‘proper’ part payment, in that you can use as many or as few miles as you want, and you can pay the ENTIRE cost if you wish.  British Airways, in contrast, caps the amount you pay for a cash flight using Avios as part-payment.

Virgin Holidays, which is being run more closely with the airline these days, has now followed.

Use Virgin Flying Club miles on Virgin Holidays

Full details can be found on this page of the Virgin Flying Club website.

If you want to learn more about Virgin Holidays, however, you need to go to their own dedicated website here.

The deal is as simple as it gets.  You receive an £18 discount on your Virgin Holidays package for every 3,000 Flying Club miles you spend.  This works out at 0.6p per mile.

The execution is a little messy at the moment however:

You can use ‘miles plus money’ when booking Virgin Holidays online

You can use ‘miles plus money’ to pay down an existing holiday balance, via Virgin Holidays ‘Manage My Booking’ page

You CAN’T (yet) use ‘miles plus money’ if you book your holiday in a Virgin Holidays shop

You CAN’T (yet) use ‘miles plus money’ if you book your holiday over the phone with Virgin Holidays

What is not clear to me is if you can book with a deposit in a shop or over the telephone and then use your miles online to reduce your future payments.

There is no restriction on how many miles you can use.  If you have enough, you can pay for the entire holiday with miles.

Virgin Holidays pay with miles

You can get good deals on Virgin Holidays as a Flying Club member

Before I look at ‘miles plus money’, I wanted to remind you that there are good deals for Virgin Flying Club members who book with Virgin Holidays.

Depending on the colour of your Flying Club membership card:

Red members (you get Red just for signing up) – save up to 7% plus earn 1 mile for every £1 spent

Silver members – save up to 7% plus earn 2 miles for every £1 spent

Gold members – save up to 10% plus earn 2 miles every £1 spent

These discounts work on top of existing special offers.  The discount triggers automatically online – visit the Virgin Holidays website and when you go through to the booking page or ‘Enter passenger details’, click on ‘Frequent Flyer information’ and enter your Flying Club number.

Is ‘miles plus money’ with Virgin Holidays a good deal?

No, not really.  0.6p is the exactly the same deal you get if you use ‘miles plus money’ with Virgin Atlantic.  I look to get around 1p per mile from my Flying Club miles when redeeming for mileage tickets so the idea of accepting 0.6p via this route is not attractive.

It is better value than using your miles for Kaligo.com hotel redemptions, Virgin Vouchers or similar non-flying redemptions.  It is also better value than transferring your miles into IHG Rewards Club or Hilton Honors points.

However …..

Imagine you earned your Virgin miles via Tesco Clubcard.  You would be using £1 of Clubcard vouchers for 250 Virgin miles worth £1.50 of holiday discount.  This is not a very impressive return given some of the other Clubcard deals out there.  £1 of Clubcard vouchers would get you £3 of Uber credit or £3 of Hotels.com credit for example.

Imagine you earned your Virgin miles via Heathrow Rewards.  You would be giving up £1 of Heathrow shopping vouchers for 60p of holiday discount!

Imagine you earned your Virgin miles from the free Virgin Atlantic Reward credit card.  At 0.75 miles per £1, you’d be getting 0.45p of holiday discount per £1 spent on your card.  A good free cashback Visa or Mastercard like the Amazon one will give you back 0.5p in shopping vouchers per £1 spent.

On the other hand, there are upsides:

You have no problems with reward availability.  You can book any holiday offered by Virgin Holidays with no restrictions.

You can pay for the entire cost of your trip.  There are no taxes and charges to pay.  If you have enough miles, you can genuinely get a totally free holiday.

If you earn all of your Flying Club miles from flying for work – so you haven’t actually paid anything for them at all – then ‘miles plus money’ is an option to consider.

If you have been collecting Virgin miles via a partner instead then I would think twice.  Even if you are struggling to find reward flights, remember that Air France and KLM reward availability should be added to Flying Club soon.

You can find out more on this page of the Virgin Flying Club website.  If you want to learn more about Virgin Holidays, their website is here.

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Comments

  1. Hilly says:

    Rob, you may want to edit: “A good free cashback Visa or Mastercard like the ASDA one or the Amazon one will give you back 0.5p in shopping vouchers per £1 spent”. Asda’s cc sadly down to 0.2% Cashback on regular spend.

  2. For me this is collecting looping back to where I really started to get interested, using Tesco points against a Virgin holiday. I hardly get any points now but can’t imagine just paying cash for travel like a ‘normal person’. Couldn’t have enjoyed so many trips without paidtoshop and latterly HFP.

    • PTS is where I found Raffles too.

      • Shoestring says:

        Much more fun meeting Raffles on the mad (but very successful in money terms) women’s thread over @ELITE 🙂

    • Peter K says:

      I know what you mean about not wanting to pay cash for a holiday. My last trip used avios, Hilton points and Tesco vouchers tripled for hotels.com credit with the Amex platinum for car hire insurance and airport lounge access.
      Total cash outlay was £160 for two people inc. car hire. Before finding this hobby I’d have gone via Thomson or similar and paid over the odds…or just not gone at all!

  3. Nick_C says:

    The best cashback credit card now is Tandem, surely? 0.5% paid as cash, not vouchers, and no Forex fee.

  4. Hi just wanted to check this is possible and work out if my maths is correct ..so lets say the balance for the holiday booking with Virgin holidays is in total £5000.
    How many Virgin points would it take to pay no cash and use all points for the booking?
    Thank you

  5. Andrew says:

    Just a very small heads up…

    When booking a Virgin holiday, there can be a pricing differential between booking it as a “holiday” on Virgin Holidays and booking it as a Flight + Hotel deal on Virgin Atlantic. Either way it’s exactly the same holiday.

    The IT does seem a touch flakey, with Delta flights not always showing and occasionally going back and forth a day resulting in price changes.

  6. Thanks for clearing that up 🙂

  7. Does topping up Revolut with a VA CC give you flying points?

    And how is this treated by VA?

    • Mr Dee says:

      As a red member seem to be getting 5% not 7%

      • It says ‘up to 7%’ with no definition of what ‘up to’ may mean in practice …..

        • Lady London says:

          just like when hotels say your status gives you a late checkout but the small print says it’s “subject to availability” whether you actually get it or not.

          So could be 0.

  8. Shoestring says:

    O/T – interesting article in Daily Telegraph today – though I personally think it’s in part a poor piece of journalism with some illogical conclusions, it does give food for thought, particularly regarding the Virgin/ AF/ KLM/ Delta relationship – and more importantly, me being able to redeem Virgin miles for AF/ LM flights!

    [Airlines in state hands will never take off: Boeing 707s, DC-9S and Hawker Siddeley Tridents. Almost empty airports, hardly any security, unlimited free peanuts and stewardesses serving after-lunch cocktails. There were probably some aspects of Sixties air travel which could make a welcome return. But the nationalised flagcarrier airlines with eye-watering fares and even bigger losses for the taxpayer weren’t something anyone ever felt any nostalgia for.
    We aren’t likely to get the 707s back, or the peanuts. But regrettably we may soon have the nationalised flag carriers. The Dutch and the French are on the brink of taking Air France-klm back into state control, and the Italians may end doing the same with Alitalia. The trouble is, it won’t work out any better than it did in the Sixties and Seventies – in fact, it is likely to be even more painful than it was four decades ago. Anyone who thought the days of governments controlling airlines were strictly in the past will have had a surprise this week. On Tuesday, the Dutch government revealed it has paid €744m (£640m) for a 14pc stake in Air France-klm, matching the shareholding of the French government.
    Predictably the French were furious, although mainly because another government was doing precisely the same kind of thing it does all the time, and it might have to buy some more shares to outvote its irritating neighbours. The net result was that the two governments now own around 30pc of Europe’s fourth largest airline between them, and as the tussle between the two intensifies it would be no great surprise if that went higher. By stealth, it is slipping back into state control.
    It may have company. As part of its latest restructuring last year, the Italian government pledged to take up to 15pc in its national airline Alitalia. In 2016, Portugal’s socialist government took a bigger stake in its national flag carrier TAP while Poland’s increasingly nationalistic government seems to have given up any thoughts of selling off its controlling stake in its airline LOT. With the German government shifting towards an active industrial policy promoting national champions it would hardly be a surprise to see it take a stake in Lufthansa. Piece by piece, European governments are taking back control of flag-carrier airlines.
    Of course, that is not completely unexpected. All over the developed world, there has been a shift back towards economic nationalism, and airlines, probably because they have the country’s name and flag plastered on the side of every A340 or Boeing 777, are always likely to be among the first targets of that. And yet it is still going to prove a mistake, and potentially a very expensive one, both for taxpayers and for travellers.
    Rewind 40 years and all the main European airlines were statecontrolled. And the result? Back in those days, the likes of British Airways, Air France and the rest were massively inefficient, controlled by belligerent unions and run mainly for the benefit of the staff. They made punishing losses, which were casually passed on to long-suffering taxpayers, while charging eye-watering prices for mediocre service on limited route networks. It was a terrible system.
    It is not going to be any better this time around. In fact, it is going to be even worse. Why? There are three main reasons. The emergence of the low-cost budget airlines means that the market is far less protected than it was. Next, passengers are far more demanding than they used to be. Flying is no longer a novelty or a privilege. We take it for granted, and expect low fares and lots of choice on thousands of routes. Finally, governments may try to restrict competition, and artificially raise prices to protect their shareholding in airlines, but any attempts to do so are likely to be thwarted by EU rules and global trading agreements that didn’t exist 40 years ago.
    The Dutch and French governments between them now have more than €1bn tied up in Air France-klm. That money will almost certainly end up completely wasted. Both of them would be better off selling the shares now before the money is all gone – and before other European governments increase their role in the industry.]

    • Doug M says:

      The Germans have done a pretty good job of protecting LH from low cost competition regardless of EU.

      • Indeed they have. ME3 have found it exceptionally hard to get into FRA or MUC.

      • marcw says:

        Qatar and EU are about to sign a open skies agreement. If approved, Qatar Airways is gonna start flying to probably each medium and large airports in Germany

    • Mark2 says:

      The arguments about nationalised airlines apply equally to all other industries e.g. Network Rail.

    • Qatari Govt has 20% of BA!

    • The only way the money could ever be ‘all gone’ is if the shares were worth zero and it’s hard to imagine AF/KLM ever in that situation..

      • Shoestring says:

        Yep the author is an idiot in that respect, after all: given inflation, population increase, business doing well etc, shares could go up by 2.5% a year or more and this investment could come out smelling or roses

    • Andrew S says:

      The NZ government owns 52% of Air NZ, they’re always at odds over domestic airfares.

      But since the government bailed them out, Air NZ have done pretty well.

  9. Mr Dee says:

    Good deal to be fair if you have excess Virgin miles

  10. BrianN says:

    Slightly OT, with reference to miles bookings from regional airports, do we expect Virgin to allow Flybe connections in London to Virgin Atlantic flights when all fully integrated?

    I’d definitely use Virgin more when flying from Glasgow if I didn’t have to collect my bags and check in again. This gives BA a big advantage at the moment.

    Thanks

  11. Morgan says:

    So could I use all me virgin flyer miles for a holiday if so how

    • As per the article, as long as you book it online you can redeem as many miles as you want, at 0.6p discount per mile.

  12. Hi,

    Can you pay just the minimum deposit with miles? without paying any cash?

  13. Also, any idea whether any member of the booked party can pay part of balance off with miles? I have 200k, my wife has 60k and daughter 20k. Only seems to be an option for lead party member as far as I could go?

    Thanks

    Nick

    • No idea – I only know what I put in the article.

      • Thanks Rob. Not yet done it, but rang customer relations to confirm.

        Only lead guest can make payments from their flying club account. Also, you can book over phone or in store and make payments with miles through my booking.

        Nick

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