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

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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 …..


HFP Virgin Atlantic Rewards credit card

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (January 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.

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 (58)

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    Rob do you think it’s time to move all my Virgin miles into sausage rolls?

  • Magic Mike says:

    9500 sausage rolls for you Rob.

    Laid end to end these would stretch a mile.

    • EwanG says:

      And you’d need to buy a new belt Rob, as your waistline would probably measure the same!

  • Chris Heyes says:

    Virgin trial BoB 1 Sausage roll in economy with your water

  • peter says:

    Octopus is a good one, allows you to pay your electricity with Amex, and for the start it gives you £50 if you join recommended

  • RussellH says:

    Greggs looks ideal for me – I have enough points for about 4 coffees – a MUCH better deal than Costa-Bomb, as it is known in some quarters round here!

    • Dr C says:

      Well its £1.65 on its own for a Greggs coffee but if you get yourself a pasty or wrap the coffee is only 60p more, making it £2.45. So if you were buying something anyway that 60p coffee is now costing 325 points or 0.18p per mile

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        Mark this as – while perfectly legitimate and entirely accurate – the lowest point of 2020

      • Dr C says:

        Might actually be the lowest redemption value of a virgin mile possible

      • Fenny says:

        Buy a Gregg’s reusable coffee cup for £2 and get a free coffee. Then 25p off a coffee whenever you use your own cup. But they haven’t been using customers’ cups since lockdown started (or I don’t go in enough to remember to take mine now). Really, it’s a good thing I’m WFH since Waitrose stopped providing my daily free coffee!

        • Dr C says:

          Asking for a friend, did you also get 25p off on a meal deal if using a cup as well?

  • JohnT says:

    Wow how long has Nectar/Nero been back? Used to use it quite a bit but then it stopped (as did the free Nero coffee on Virgin Red).

  • Dr C says:

    Well looks like 0.5p per point which is fair enough especially if you were going to spend at Greggs anyway and better than their other transfer options at present

  • Chrisasaurus says:

    It does appear Virgin red vaults is still available to install and create and account on – for early access fans?