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Last chance to book Air China redemption flights using Virgin Atlantic miles

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I know that a trip to China is probably not top of your agenda at the moment, but it would be remiss to not mention the ending of the Virgin Atlantic and Air China partnership on Saturday night.

As we reported when this was first announced:

book Air China redemption flights using Virgin Atlantic miles

“Our partnership with Air China is ending. Termination of the partnership is effective from the 16th March. Unfortunately, no more bookings can be made on or after the 16th March 2020 and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members will not be eligible to earn miles on Air China flights from 16th March 2020.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members who fly prior to 16th March 2020 will continue to be able to retrospectively claim miles for up to 6 months after their flight. Plus, Flying Club redemption bookings made on Air China prior to 16th March 2020 will also be honoured (subject to standard terms and conditions).

If you have any queries or would like to retrospectively claim miles, please contact our call centre.”

If this came as a surprise, it probably shouldn’t.  In 2018, Air France, KLM, China Eastern and Virgin Atlantic signed a deal to extend the existing joint venture between Air France, KLM and China Eastern to include Virgin.  This covers all routes between Europe and China.

The glory days of Air China redemptions had already passed, in any event.   Until May 2018, Air China was THE sweet spot in the Virgin Atlantic reward chart.  You could book Air China in First Class, London to Beijing, for just 75,000 miles return.  If there wasn’t availability, you could get Business Class for 63,000 miles return.

In May 2018, Virgin Atlantic decided that this was simply too generous.  It increased the rate to 135,000 miles in Business Class and 200,000 miles in First Class.  That was almost 300% higher for First.

The Virgin Atlantic / Air China partner page is here, where you can find out more.


HFP Virgin Atlantic Rewards credit card

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (May 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):

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes 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.)

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