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How to redeem your Virgin Flying Club points for hotel rooms via Kaligo

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Virgin Flying Club has a partnership with hotel booking site Kaligo.com to offer an alternative way of redeeming your Virgin points.  You can use them to pay for hundreds of thousands of hotels globally via Kaligo.com.

This is a companion article to the one we published last week on how to redeem Virgin Flying Club points for a discount on Virgin Atlantic Holidays.

How to redeem Virgin Flying Club miles for hotels

For clarity, you will almost always get the best value from airline miles by redeeming them for flights and not other products.  Any redemption which involves the airline writing a cheque to someone else to provide you with your reward is never going to end well.

British Airways allows you to redeem Avios for hotel rooms via this special ba.com page.  You get around 0.57p per Avios if you do this.  Today I want to see what sort of value Virgin Atlantic offers.

How do you book hotel rooms with your Virgin points?

If you have ever tried to book a hotel using Avios, you will know that the booking site is very clunky and has little information on the featured hotels.

Virgin’s booking site is much more user friendly as you would expect from a Kaligo.com partnership.  British Airways uses a different hotel provider (Expedia) to Virgin Atlantic (Kaligo.com) so you should compare both sites if you are thinking of using your miles for a bed.

The Virgin Atlantic website has more details on this scheme here.

The Kaligo.com home page to redeem your Virgin miles is here.

Virgin Atlantic miles redemptions for hotels

How does it work?

Kaligo.com has placed its 550,000 hotels into three categories:

‘Standard’ – 20,000 Virgin points per night (3-4 star hotels)

‘Premium’ – 30,000 Virgin points per night (4-5 star hotels)

‘Luxury’ – 40,000 Virgin points per night (higher end 5-star hotels)

Booking is a little fiddly:

Step 1 is to check availability and pricing via the Kaligo.com / Virgin booking page 

Step 2 is to telephone Flying Club and redeem your points for a voucher code

Step 3 is to repeat the booking process, this time continuing to the end by inputting the code given to you by the call centre

Because Kaligo.com has grouped its hotels into just three pricing bands, it is difficult to put a firm value on the value you are getting.  It seems to average around 0.55p per mile.

This is a better deal than the standard Virgin Atlantic ‘non-flight’ redemptions which work out at 0.4p (eg 12,500 points for a £50 Virgin Voucher or Theatre Token).

It is the same value (0.55p) that you get if you redeem your points for a Virgin Atlantic Holidays discount.

Here are some random four-star hotels I picked in London for Saturday 17th October.  The price comparison comes from Expedia and so ignores any ‘member only’ rates the hotels may offer on their own site.

St Martins Lane – 40,000 points – £230 – 0.57p per mile

The Trafalgar – 40,000 points – £229 – 0.57p per mile

Holiday Inn Bloomsbury – 30,000 points – £121 – 0.40p per mile

The Mandeville – 30,000 points – £150 – 0.50p per mile

Rydges Kensington (Melia) – 20,000 points – £125 – 0.62p per mile

Hilton London Metropole – 20,000 points – £98 – 0.49p per mile

As you can see, the results average around 0.55p per Virgin Atlantic point.  The range is quite wide, however – far wider than I have seen it in the past when I have run this experiment.  I would put that down to coronavirus and hotels being more fluid with their pricing via the different channels.

You can convert Virgin Points directly into IHG and Hilton points

In general, you are getting better value than converting your Virgin Atlantic points to IHG Rewards Club points (at a 1:1 ratio) or to Hilton Honors (at a 2:3 ratio).  Click through to see the details of those deals.

You get around 0.45p – 0.5p per point via that route.  I value an IHG point at 0.4p and a Hilton point at 0.33p (so 0.5p per point at 2:3).  You are restricted by what availability is offered for reward nights but both chains are generally good.   Note that these points transfers do NOT count towards elite status with IHG or Hilton.

One factor to consider is that you will NOT receive any status benefits on hotel stays booked via the Kaligo.com / Virgin portal.  You would receive status benefits on IHG Rewards Club and Hilton Honors redemptions.

Conclusion

Whether using your Virgin points for a hotel room via Kaligo.com is a good deal is a personal decision.  You should get better value – as always – by using your miles for a flight.

It is certainly not worth converting Tesco Clubcard vouchers to Virgin Flying Club points purely to redeem them this way.  1p of Tesco Clubcard points gets you 2.5 Virgin points which would only get you 1p – 1.5p of hotel room.  It is far better to use your Clubcard points for Hotels.com credit at a 1:3 ratio, so every 1p of Clubcard points gets you 3p of Hotels.com voucher.

Similarly, you should not transfer American Express Membership Rewards point to Virgin Atlantic to use them for a hotel.  You get better converting converting directly into hotel programmes, eg 2:3 into Marriott Bonvoy, 1:3 into Radisson Rewards and 1:2 into Hilton Honors.

On the other hand, if you got your miles via a credit card sign-up bonus or from taking Virgin Atlantic flights, you may be happy to settle for a lower return.  Kaligo.com seems to offer better value than the other ‘non flight’ redemptions offered by Virgin Flying Club.


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.)

Comments (6)

  • Char char says:

    The bookings are non refundable so this is a big factor when compared to Ihg reward nights. I did make to get some nights rebooked due to this corona virus but it was a lot of work.

    Another factor is that the vouchers only last for 6 months and the pricing chart can change overnight, so your voucher may not be much good if your hotel has moved to the next category.

    One other thing is when searching for rooms a hotel may not show up for a multiple night start but it will if you book the individual nights

  • Marcin says:

    The Trafalgar – 40,000 miles – £229 – 0.57p per mile

    You can transfer 40,000 miles to HH and end up with 60,000 points then book the room for 56,000 (qualifying stay and member benefits).

    • Char Char says:

      Yep, you can also get status benefits as well as being able to cancel the booking

  • The Savage Squirrel says:

    Did manage to get over 0.8p/mile via this route once (so significantly better than Hilton transfer which is the obvious benchmark value comparison); it was the 30k bracket for a very central 5* London hotel which was surprising and may have been a pricing error, and for a room I genuinely would have paid the given cash rate, so was content to take that.

    The other issue at the moment is that the booking process is indeed more than fiddly. phoning up VAFC is no longer a 5 minute job. Couldn’t be bothered to even look at the moment.

    • Char Char says:

      Well the category of voucher seems to be based on the Kaligo site so if its cheap by voucher it will be cheap on the site for cash too

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        Yes, that wasn’t the case for my example which is what made me wonder if it was a pricing error.

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