How to earn Flying Club miles with the (improving) Virgin Atlantic 1 year Flying Club Savings Account

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One of the more interesting ways of earning Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles is with the Virgin Atlantic 1 year Flying Club Savings Account.  

We haven’t covered this for almost a year so, as you can now redeem Virgin Flying Club miles for Air France and KLM flights, I thought it was worth highlighting it again.

The deal has also got more interesting.  Whilst savings rates have dropped over the past 12 months, Virgin Money has not reduced the earnings rate on this account.

What does the Virgin Money and Virgin Atlantic partnership cover?

There are now a range of Virgin Money products which earn Flying Club miles:

we have covered the two new Virgin Atlantic credit cards in depth as they are exceptionally good – read our overview hereUntil 28th February, you will earn 25,000 miles as a sign-up bonus with the Reward+ Mastercard.

the current life insurance deal is also decent with a bonus of up to 25,000 Flying Club miles

earn up to 50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles for an International Money Transfer 

Earning Virgin Atlantic miles with a savings account

Today we want to look again at the Virgin Money Savings Account.  I was always intrigued by the ability of earning miles as you save rather than as you spend.

The Virgin Atlantic 1 year Flying Club Savings Account was launched in June 2018, but the earning rate wasn’t that great initially. Virgin Money relaunched the offer last year with a far better underlying interest rate.  It then held the rate as other banks cut their best deals, making their deal even better in comparison.

Full details are on the Virgin Money website here.

How the Flying Club Savings Account works

You make a one-off deposit of between £1 and £1 million into a one year bond. No further deposits and no withdrawals are allowed over the one year period.

Instead of cash interest, after one year you will receive 1,600 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for every £1,000 you save.

Virgin Atlantic 1 Year Flying Club Savings Account review

In case you are wondering exactly how this works, and whether you can escape Income Tax if you pay it on your savings (you can’t), this is your answer:

Virgin Money pays you interest based on a rate of 1.36%

Your interest is immediately taken back and used to purchase Flying Club miles at – effectively – 0.85p per mile

In terms of the income tax position, the interest should be included on any tax return and will count towards your Personal Savings Allowance, like any other savings interest

In general, I would be a buyer of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles at 0.85p – except for the fact that I am sitting on over 1.5m of them between my wife and myself and that’s probably enough for now!

As always with these offers, if you know that you will generate more than 0.85p per mile when you redeem (which isn’t difficult) this could be worthwhile.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1-Year Savings Account

Are you really paying 0.85p per mile?

The 0.85p per mile valuation only holds if this account is ‘top of the market’.

Looking at Moneyfacts, the top 1 year bonds currently on the market from what I consider ‘blue chip’ institutions (although this depends on your personal definition of ‘blue chip’) are no better than 1.1% (Skipton).  On this basis, the Virgin Money account – at 1.36% – is competitive.  1.36% is also on a par with the best instant access account, which is Marcus (Goldman Sachs) at 1.35%.

You can, of course, get higher rates from lesser known financial institutions which also have FSCS protection up to £85,000.

The higher you value a Virgin Flying Club mile, the better this deal looks

Let’s imagine that you’d be willing to pay 1.25p for a Flying Club mile, because you regularly redeem in a particular way which gets you a higher valuation than usual.

On this basis, you’d be getting the equivalent of (1,600 miles per £1000 x 1.25p per mile) 2.0% interest on your money, which is exceptionally high in the current market.

If you would pay 1p for a Flying Club mile, which is arguably more realistic, you’re getting the equivalent of 1.6% interest on your money.  Good luck finding an account to beat that.

One point to remember is that you won’t receive your miles for a year.  You need to keep in mind the risk of any potential Flying Club devaluation – there isn’t an option to stop the conversion of your interest into miles at the end of the year.

Get access to Virgin Money lounges

You will also get unlimited free access to all Virgin Money lounges if you open a Virgin Money Savings Account. To find your nearest lounge visit the Virgin Money website.  You can also get this benefit by taking out the free Virgin Atlantic credit card, however, so don’t put too much value on it.

Conclusion

This product originally launched with a whimper, as the mileage return was too low.  Virgin Money then increased the mileage rate, making it look OK.  Other bank have now cut their own savings rates and – finally – the Virgin Money 1 Year Flying Club Savings Account is worth considering.

You can find out more on the Virgin Money website here.

Virgin Atlantic credit cards

How to earn Virgin Atlantic miles from UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Flying Club miles from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Flying Club miles.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

It is also worth reading our recent article on 10 good reasons to get the free Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard credit card.

(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.)

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Comments

  1. David Aames says:

    Morning Rob,

    As there is a bit of focus on Virgin, could you maybe do an article or bits on transferring Virgin Flying Club Miles between family members accounts etc? Could a family member open a Virgin Bank account but credit the miles to another name etc? Thanks

  2. Just taking the bits of info. Deposting £1,000,000 will earn you 1,600,000 Virgin Miles.

    If FlyBe does eventually join the Virgin Miles scheme and the mileage is set at 9,000 for an economy return. That”s almost 180 economy returns. Essentially you could get a “free”+tax daily commute from Edinburgh to Docklands for almost a year.

    • joe bloogs says:

      The vend diagram intersection of people who have £1M to put away for 12 months, and people who require to fly daily EDI -.>LCY, is likely “small”

      • The Original David says:

        And if I had 1.6m avios to burn in a year, I can think of many better ways of spending them than a daily EDI-LCY!

        • The Original David says:

          Or even 1.6m VFCs…

        • PerkyPat says:

          13 first class return flights to Japan for starters.

          • CarsCarpal says:

            You’d have to have huge amounts of disposable cash to be in a position where you are willing to risk storing anything more than £85k in a single institution… i.e. Have maxxed out all other options first.

      • This is true. But at the same time, wasn’t there an IOM airline who offered “free flights” between Douglas and LCY for people who deposit £1M with their bank?

    • I fear that the taxes, fees and charges will be substantial

    • aDifferentSimon says:

      Alas my ms curve card limit is only 50k…

  3. Shoestring says:

    Halifax have a 2% 1-year product as well – Regular Saver – limited to £250/ month savings, though

    • TGLoyalty says:

      which is actually 1% if you had the full £3k to invest at the start of the year.

      • Shoestring says:

        I get what you’re saying but you would always pro rate the interest, so 2% is true enough

        ie annualised yes you’d get 2% on everything, but actually only receive 2% on the first month’s contribution (the interest is paid on the 12 month + some days anniversary of the first contribution)

        11/12 of 2% on the second month’s £250 contribution, etc

        certainly not as good as the headline figure, which makes you think you could earn 2% on £3K

  4. Is it really that good? Need to think outside the box.

    For example, we pay our investors at least 8% per annum, and can be up to 15% for loans.

    Equity investors have had 100% return.

    So compared to investing like this and then buying Avios or Virgin this is actually very weak.

    Of course the one big benefit is that your money is protected up to 85k thanks to the EU.

    Easy to get these type of investments for those people who have spare cash and want a better return.

    • The Original David says:

      You can’t compare a 12 month guaranteed return with an equity investment though, it’s a totally different product! If your investors had stuck it all into Bitcoin in the early days and sold it at its peak, they’d have made millions more than your paltry 100%… I’m not sure that’s relevant though.

    • And if I had bought amazon stock 10 years ago I would have made a fortune.. saving vs investing. Very different

    • who are “we”? LEON bond also pays me 8% in LEON vouchers – it’s not bad but liquidity is low (though I can’t complain as lots of lunches are sorted automatically anyway)

  5. Saga and post office have 1 year fixed rate savings of 1.5% and 1.35% respectively. Not too sure why you’ve gone as low as 1.1% for Skipton. Also, as long as it’s FSCS protected, what’s the issue? 1.65% available from Atom.

  6. ANA Award availability in First using VS miles is wide open in summer from MUC.

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