Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Redeem your Virgin Points at Greggs! New ways to earn and spend as Virgin Red rolls out

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Virgin Red, the new ‘all Virgin’ loyalty programme, has launched today. Whilst membership is restricted at the moment, it has released details of some of the new ways you will be able to earn and spend Virgin Points from the New Year.

Existing Virgin Flying Club members will know that their miles were renamed Virgin Points a few weeks ago. Very soon, Virgin Points will be rolled out to customers of selected other Virgin Group companies.

How to earn virgin points?

Whilst you will still be able to manage your Virgin Points balance and book flights via the Virgin Atlantic website, there is now a new company – Virgin Red – running the scheme. Virgin Red will be in charge of developing new ‘earn and burn’ opportunities.

How does this link to the Virgin Red Vaults app?

For the last few years, you have been able to download an app called Virgin Red Vaults. This was full of offers and discounts for Virgin Group businesses and other partners. You could also earn credits by completing various tasks which bought you entry to special competitions.

Starting this week, existing users of Virgin Red Vaults will be invited to sign up for Virgin Red. Virgin Red Vaults will then be closed down.

At a later stage, existing members of Virgin Flying Club will gain access to Virgin Red’s offers. Once we get into 2021, Virgin Red will be accepting fresh sign-ups from the public.

How can you EARN Virgin Points via Virgin Red?

As a reminder …. as of today, Virgin Flying Club members cannot access any of these earning or redemption offers via Virgin Red. You need to wait to be invited into Virgin Red.

Members of Virgin Flying Club will recognise a lot of these partners and already have access to them via the Flying Club website. Octopus Energy is the key one for which you will need to wait.

  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Holidays
  • Virgin Wines
  • Virgin Limited Edition hotels
  • Virgin Experience Days
  • Virgin Voyages (the new cruise business)
  • A Virgin shopping portal
  • Octopus Energy – you will be able to earn Virgin Points by taking out a single or dual fuel tariff for your gas and electricity with the well-regarded 100% renewable power company
Earn Virgin Points with Octopus Energy

What is happening with Virgin Money?

It isn’t clear. Obviously the Virgin Atlantic credit cards will continue but there is no sign, yet, of any additional products or dedicated Virgin Red credit cards.

What is happening with Tesco Clubcard?

Whilst Tesco Clubcard is NOT listed as a Virgin Red partner, my understanding is that the deal is not going away. It will remain part of the Virgin Flying Club.offering, potentially allowing Virgin Red to strike its own deals with competing retailers.

How can you SPEND Virgin Points via Virgin Red?

The spending list is more interesting. If you live near Manchester, there is an especially good one which I will come to in a minute.

Here is the most bizarre one:

earn and spend Virgin Points at Greggs

Greggs. Yes, Greggs, king of the sausage roll, will soon accept your Virgin Points.

Yes, I know, I was a little surprised as well. I think that Virgin Red wants to offer something for people who only collect very small numbers of points each month.

Nectar has its partnership with Caffe Nero which is actually the most valuable use of Nectar points in most cases. 350 Nectar points gets you any hot or iced drink of your choice, IN ANY SIZE. You can easily do better than the standard 0.5p per Nectar point redemption value (you don’t get much for under £1.75 in Nero) and can do substantially better if you really go to town.

There will be 37 different Greggs products you can get with your Virgin Points. A sausage roll will cost 200 points whilst a hot drink will cost 325 points.

On the face of it this does not offer outsize value for your points but we need to see the detailed list of what you get and how much it costs.

Earn and spend Virgin Points at Greggs

Other redemption partners include:

  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Holidays
  • Virgin Wines
  • Virgin Limited Edition hotels
  • Virgin Experience Days
  • Virgin Voyages, the new cruise business
  • Virgin Money Giving – for those who want to give their points away
  • London Theatre Direct
  • Carbon Engineering – a charitable way to support the development of Carbon Direct Air Capture technology
  • EMI Records – order vinyl records from 3,250 points
  • Eve Branson Foundation – order an artisan tote bag from 1,750 points with proceeds going to charitable causes

Further down the line will be redemption opportunities with Virgin StartUp. This will allow you to order products made by companies supported by Virgin’s small business investment scheme.

The first company from Virgin StartUp to be available on Virgin Points will be Saint Fragrance. Saint Fragrance sells mood-enhancing luxury candles that are vegan friendly and made with sustainable ingredients.

And if you live near Manchester ….

This is, for me, the most interesting new redemption option.

Virgin Red has purchased a suite at the AO Arena in Manchester. Tickets for concerts and events at the AO Arena will be available to Virgin Red members for Virgin Points.

Regular HfP readers will know that I am a big fan of the Marriott Bonvoy Suite at the O2 Arena in Greenwich. I have redeemed Bonvoy points for numerous sold-out concerts here (U2, Paul McCartney, Fleetwood Mac, Paul Simon, Sting, Celine Dion [my wife insisted!], Katy Perry, Madonna etc – good old Dad Rock!) from the spacious suite, which comes with a hot buffet and a free waiter-served bar.

If the Virgin Red can put together similar packages at a sensible price then it will be a very attractive way to spend your points.

Virgin Red suite at the AO Arena Manchester

Conclusion

This is a bit of a halfway house announcement, if we’re honest. Not all of the partners are in place and, unless you are in Virgin Red Vaults, you won’t be able to access these new options for a while anyway.

As it stands, the big new news is that you can spend your points at Greggs – but even then you’re going to have to control your excitement for a bit longer. More promising for those who earn a lot of points is the option of spending them to see top acts in a private suite at Manchester’s AO Arena.

In all seriousness, Virgin Red has put a good team in place and I am expecting interesting things from this partnership over time. Let’s wait and see what emerges.

In the meantime, I need to see how many sausage rolls I can get with the combined 1.9 million Virgin Points my wife and I are sitting on …..

Comments (54)

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    Haggis pies are back at Greggs – who cares if you can use miles!

  • paul says:

    Well this probably means Greggs not getting the BA gig anytime soon!

  • Mikeact says:

    Is Virgin Australia likely to become a partner?

    • William says:

      I doubt it. At least not for a good long while. They’re just re-launching after their tough financial woes, and the Velocity Frequent Flyer programme is pretty embedded over there. Perhaps in time they may look at it but it all depends if they survive in their re-launched form or need to revert back to their budget Virgin Blue days, in which case a frequent flyer scheme wouldn’t really make much sense..

      Having said that, Virgin Group have managed to buy a 5% stake in the re-launched business after their previous 10% was wiped out.. so anythings possible..

  • Froggitt says:

    Was surprised another large arena had been built in central Manchester. Turns out not.

    AO Arena…….AKA NYNEX Arena, Manchester Evening News Arena, Phones 4u Arena, Manchester Arena.

  • @mkcol says:

    Hopefully as an existing Octopus Energy customer there will be ongoing earning opportunities.
    In the meantime if anyone wants £50 credit to switch to 🐙 just let me know 😁

    • Kev says:

      Great to see all of these schemes under one roof. In the past some Virgin Red (Vaults) in-app monthly tokens were offered if you were a member of other Virgin schemes so this brings a family of schemes together in a more uniform way and extends spending similar to the the use of Avios. We’ve been with Octopus two years and the service is brilliant so pleased to see earning benefits will start soon alongside this great company. Get a referral from an existing customer for £50 credit.

  • William says:

    I’m excited with this. I’m hopefully that the two big Virgin companies in my area (Media and Money) can be brought onboard as earning partners.. similar to what Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer had/has with earn point per monthly spend on Virgin Mobile (when it still existed) and Virgin Money (mortgages and other products).

    Also what might be interesting to watch is the proposed joint venture of Virgin Media and O2 and what benefits and opportunities that might bring to V Red, as well as Virgin Moneys partnerships with The O2 in London (and whether this may widen to other O2 branded music venues around the country) and the SSE Hydro in Glasgow as well as the Virgin Money Unity Arena in Newcastle.. By themselves all quite interesting developments but if they were to all be brought together with Virgin Red.. could be very appealing!

    • Neil Spellings says:

      So far, all the Virgin Media/Mobile points offers are for new customers only. Hopefully they’ll expand this to include existing spend with those groups!

      • Rob says:

        And those are the same deals you’d find on all the usual incentive sites, just paying in points and not cash – basically Virgin Red has no deal at all.

        The weak link in their plan is that Virgin Group has zero or minimal financial stake in most Virgin branded companies and so has no power to force them into Virgin Red. It is possible that it will be compulsory for new Virgin-branded businesses but they can’t retrospectively enforce a deal on Media / Mobile etc.

        • William says:

          That’s very true, Rob. That should be Virgin Reds big job, to make their case to Virgin-branded companies of what cross-marketing etc could be beneficial to them and potentially drive loyalty towards these companies. It’s easy to encourage new customers to sign up with incentives, but keeping them when the incentives/promotions finish is a whole other story.. Offering ongoing points earning/experiences could go someway to keeping some customers..

  • Jake Mc says:

    Potentially stupid Q but who owns the points.

    If VA go under, what would be the impact to other redemptions?

    • Rob says:

      Virgin Red owns your points so if the airline dies then your points are not lost, technically.

      However, Virgin Red would probably be insolvent immediately since it doesn’t have enough cash in the bank (I guess) to fund a run on redemptions. Remember that every non-flight redemption it offers requires a ‘real’ cash payment out of the door.

      You should therefore assume you won’t get any real value for your points even if, technically, they still exist.

      • Jake Mc says:

        To maintain the value could they not just limit the number you can use in any one go in accordance with their bank balance?

        Wouldn’t they be throwing their own business down the drain to offer a massive devaluation?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment