Virgin Atlantic will become the first airline in the world, I think, to let you earn tier points when you book a redemption flight on the airline using your air miles.
This will allow you to earn elite status in Virgin Flying Club without necessarily ever purchasing a cash ticket! This is possible if you earn all your miles from credit cards or other non-flying partners.
There are a number of improvements – genuine improvements – to Virgin Flying Club announced today,, so I have split them into three articles:
- This article looks at the launch of tier points when you fly on a Virgin Flying Club redemption!
- The second looks at big improvements to the voucher offered with the Virgin Atlantic credit cards
- Our 3rd article looks at the new six month extension to your Flying Club status and any outstanding vouchers
Full details of the changes can be found on the Virgin Atlantic website here.
Virgin Atlantic to offer tier points on redemption flights
This is the standout change in my mind, although the credit card changes will probably have a greater impact on more people.
From 1st September, Virgin Atlantic will offer tier points when you take a flight booked with Virgin Flying Club miles.
This is a genuine shake up for the industry. Virgin says that it wants to ‘ensure members are rewarded every single time they choose to fly with Virgin’.
This is how it will work:
You will only earn tier points when you redeem on Virgin Atlantic flights. It does NOT apply for redemption flights on partner airlines, even when those flights are codeshares with Delta, Air France or KLM.
You will NOT earn tier points if you redeem miles from other programmes for Virgin Atlantic flights. You cannot book a Virgin ticket using Flying Blue or Delta SkyMiles and earn tier points.
The tier points you earn are based on the lowest amount offered for that ticket class. For example, if you book a cash ticket in Economy on Virgin Atlantic, you would earn between 25 and 50 tier points each way. On a redemption, you earn 25 tier points each way.
You will not earn redeemable miles when you fly on a reward ticket. You only earn tier points.
How many tier points will I earn?
You can learn about tier points on this page of the Virgin Atlantic website.
On redemption flights, you will earn the following:
- Economy: 25 tier points each way
- Premium: 50 tier points each way
- Upper Class: 100 tier points each way
How many tier points do I need for Virgin Atlantic status?
There are two elite tiers in the Virgin Atlantic programme:
Silver requires 400 tier points in a rolling 12 month period. The key benefits are free seat selection in Economy Light, use of premium check-in and 30% bonus miles on cash flights. You do NOT get lounge access.
Gold requires 1,000 tier points in a rolling 12 month period. The key benefits are access to Clubhouses and the Heathrow Revivals lounge, use of Upper Class check-in, additional luggage allowance and 60% bonus miles on cash flights.
You can see full details of Silver status on the Virgin Atlantic website here.
You can see full details of Gold status here.
Is this a good deal?
Yes. You can’t argue that this is an excellent opportunity to earn Virgin Atlantic status.
Realistically, I doubt many people would redeem enough miles on Virgin Atlantic to be able to progress beyond Silver status if they had no cash flights as well.
Of course, once you have earned some tier points using ‘non flying’ miles, you may well be tempted to buy some cash tickets to push you over the next status tier.
For people who already fly Virgin Atlantic for cash and manage 400 to 600 tier points per year, Gold status could now be within reach. It would only take a couple of Upper Class redemptions within a 12 month period.
Why is Virgin Atlantic doing this? Perhaps they are nice people. Perhaps they want to encourage redemptions on Virgin Atlantic, rather than via partner airlines or into wine or Hilton or IHG hotel points. Whatever the reason, it will be interesting to watch how it works – and whether British Airways follows suit.
You can find out more on the Virgin Atlantic website here.