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Virgin Hotels opens in Las Vegas – as a Hilton

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I know that hotel branding is a complex business these days, but Virgin Hotels is taking it to a new level.

The new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas opened this week. Located off-strip, it has taken over the failed Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. It retains a ludicrous – although not by Las Vegas standards – 1,500 rooms, spread across three towers.

The oddest thing about the hotel is that Virgin Hotels, which is slowly building up its brand, has chosen to link this hotel with Hilton.

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas

The official name is ‘Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Curio Collection by Hilton’.

You can book it on the Hilton website here, and your Hilton Honors benefits will be respected. You will also earn points from your stay.

At the same time, you can also book via the Virgin Hotels website. It wouldn’t be surprising to see pricing differ between the two channels from time to time.

In terms of rewards, you can earn 1,000 Virgin Points if you book via Virgin Hotels as you can see here. Gold and Silver members of Flying Club receive extra benefits in terms of breakfast and upgrades, but I imagine Hilton Gold or Diamond status would trump this.

I assume that you would not earn Hilton Honors points unless you book via the Hilton website, but I am not 100% sure. After all, the Virgin Hotels website would arguably count as ‘booking directly’ which would usually qualify for points. It’s all very complicated ….

The hotel website is here.

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (December 2023)

There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.

You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Hilton points is 1:2.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Hilton Honors points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (46)

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  • ChrisC says:

    The reduced deposits seem to have snuck in under the radar. I was charged £120 last Sunday for a £650 booking but didn’t query as this was a phone booking to use a voucher for £150 and just used the whole thing anyway.

    Same in January I was charged £150 for a booking for £1250 which previously would have been £300. Again I thought it was a phone thing.

    These reduced deposits look to be only UK departures. A trip I priced up starting in DUB was €300 even though in Sterling it was in the £150 band.

    O/T anyone have any advice on which is best when visiting Washington DC to land at Dulles or Baltimore? Price wise it’s the same so it would come down to ease of getting to downtown DC via public transit (I do not drive) (Reagan National would be my #1 choice but BA website not playing ball with that one)

    • HPN-HRL says:

      The best DC area airport for access to downtown DC is clearly DCA (Reagan National, which is directly on the Red subway line), but flights from Europe are not allowed to land there so you would have to first fly to JFK/BOS/PHL etc. and connect via AA.. It will be a few more years until IAD (Dulles) gains Silver line subway access to downtown DC; if you prefer public transport vs. a taxi I think BWI (Baltimore) is a bit better even if potentially longer in time as there is a free 5-minute bus ride from BWI to the BWI train station, connecting to either AmTrak or MARC (formerly Maryland Rail Commuter) trains to Union Station in DC. On the other hand, there is no BA lounge at BWI while there is one at IAD.

      • ChrisC says:

        Thanks for that. Lounge at BWI not an issue as I’ll be flying back to the UK from JFK,

        I’ll try and force BA holiday multi city to give me options by selecting LHR- JFK then JFK-DCA but you know what it’s like for throwing a fit.

      • Mikeact says:

        Definitely a connection to get into DCA, assuming downtown is your destination and you’re happy with walking or public transport….it’s dead easy to get around.

        • Dubious says:

          There is also a handy bicycle rental scheme – CapitalBikes – that you can use – intended for short rides hence $1 daily charge then first 30 mins of each ride free. Download the app in advance.

          There’s a cycle track that connects all the way from the Mall through to Crystal City, DCA airport and onwards to Alexandria. It’s also possible to ride the bridge over to Maryland if you want to cycle through all three states.

          • The cyclist says:

            Great trick if you can do it, riding a bike with two suitcases in tow

    • Anna says:

      We were probably unlucky but the one time we flew into IAD (on a boiling hot August day), the biometric scanning machines weren’t working and the queue for immigration was 2 1/2 hours. Arrivals hall was pretty horrible. Also it’s a fair way from DC though we were visiting Virginia as well so that didn’t matter for us. I would definitely consider BWI in future, though one consideration might be that there’s no F cabin on the flight.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Baltimore is worth a day if time allows. It is an interesting city, has a really nice harbour area, and has more than enough attractions to warrant a 24hr stop before heading elsewhere.

      • Kevin C says:

        Baltimore’s great and has a very good Four Seasons.

        You can spend a long while getting through Dulles. Baltimore airport is tiny and easy by comparison.

    • AJA says:

      I agree with others go for BWI over IAD. Dulles is enormous and has stupid immigration queues (I don’t have global entry, not sure if that makes it easier).

      Also would choose BWI over IAD if just connecting to an onward internal US flight as IAD has stupid bus transfers between terminals. Awful airport. Only saving grace is the lovely BA lounge but that’s only applicable to departures.

      Central DC is an interesting city for a few days with lots to see and the museums are fantastic. It is like New York for that “I feel like I’m in a movie” feeling as it features in so many. It is much more spread out though flat so great to walk about or go on a segway tour.

    • Rhys says:

      BWI was my old haunt during my study abroad program! Lovely little airport and as noted good connection to DC via the trains.

      Dulles has a nice building but I’ve had some terrible experiences both arriving and departing. For some reason they can’t staff the terminal adequately (but then that’s always an issue at US airports. You can get through Heathrow security within 20 minutes even on busy days usually – whereas you’d be feeling lucky with a 20 minute queue at many US airports!)

    • Andrew says:

      DCA everytime for me. (Unless you really want to bag a shot on IAD’s weird mobile lounges).

      I once “raced” a colleague to our hotel at Crystal City. I went United to DCA via EWR, he went BA Direct to IAD. The outbound flights from LHR departed within 5 mins of each other.

      Even with me walking the final stretch from DCA to the hotel (through the car park, a subway, onto the Mt Vernon Trail, then into Crystal City), I still got there a good hour before he did.

    • Oh Matron! says:

      Want to add my tuppence…

      Having lived in Herndon, which is a stone’s throw from IAD…

      If I have the choice, I’ll connect and ensure I can fly into DCA. It’s so convenient, and downtown DC. It’s only a 25 minute run to the National Mall from the Westin at Crystal City, as well as a very short walk to the metro.

      If I’m flying direct into IAD, I’ll get an Uber to Reston and get the silver line from there.

    • Doug M says:

      Another vote for a connection and onward hop to DCA. I’ve not had problems at IAD that others mention. Only did BWI once and I found it a really easy experience, I think with GE I was through the airport in a few minutes at most. However I didn’t find it easy to then get into DC, the arrival time of the BA flight was 8PM ish from memory, and the train schedule looked rubbish, so I got a bus to the Greenbelt metro and had a long but not unpleasant metro ride. I should add I always prefer public transport where possible, and don’t take loads of luggage, so may not be what others want.
      Another vote for a side trip to Baltimore if you have time. The baseball stadium was one of the first that reversed the trend of putting stadiums out of town on cheap land with road access, to putting them back into the heart of the city to trigger redevelopment surrounding them.

    • Adam says:

      I have done all 3 airports quite a few times from the UK. I’d always try and fly in to BWI as often out of the terminal building within 10mins of the plane arriving at the gate (no joke). In comparison, at Dulles I once had a 2.5 hour wait to get throuth immigration which is no fun after a long haul…that was before I had global entry though.

      I’ve taken the MARC many times and it’s fine – easy into Union. I’ve also taken the light rail from BWI into downtown Baltimore – again easy if you pick the right hotel and know where you are going when you get off. If you do go to Baltimore try and visit fells point. Also it’s nice to see more than the inner harbour which although safe is a bit fake and doesn’t give you a real feel for the city.

  • Mike says:

    have flown into both as have a cousin in Columbia, Md.
    Dulles is huge, multi everything, my experience was long lines for check in and security.
    BWI is much smaller, minimal queues.
    As I was picked up by my cousin unfortunately I cannot comment on getting to downtown DC other than to say the BA flight lands at BWI relatively late in the day, so public transport may be more limited

    • Doug M says:

      MIke, if I was your cousin and you chose IAD you’d be making your own way…….. 🙂

  • Mouse says:

    Interesting analysis by Andrew. If the new peak pattern catches more people then it’s a clever stealth devaluation by BA. Hopefully means a wholesale front-door devaluation is delayed a little.

    • Anna says:

      They seems to have done the maths and looked at where the demand for avios and that for cash tends to lie, e.g. clearly there are more people in general flying at weekends than during the week. Presumably if they push the demand for avios seats onto quieter travel days, that frees up potentially more seats for cash buyers?

      • Mouse says:

        Yes, that would make sense, I guess they’re thinking that business travel demand will continue to be weaker in 2022 therefore more weekday capacity to fill than in previous years.

      • Rhys says:

        Why would it open more seats for cash buyers? BA commits 2 Club and 4 economy tickets per flight – regardless of peak/off-peak. Nobody is forcing BA to release more seats on peak days!

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Rhys But We book either First or Business seats on “all our flights”
          We have never had a problem getting 3 seats ok mainly Business seats
          Could it be we always travel off peak ?
          Mainly September, May/June occasionally January/February
          One thing is we can travel anytime so when we ring up, we ask when 3 seats will be available
          In fact for our trip to Denver this Summer 6 Business seats was available

          • Rhys says:

            You can be sure BA wouldn’t offer additional Avios seats if it thinks it can sell them for cash!

        • Mouse says:

          Then what is the point of peak/off-peak pricing if not to manage demand?

          • Rhys says:

            Peak/Off peak pricing only manages demand within Avios availability. It doesn’t affect BA’s cash pricing, unless BA want to offer more Avios seats than the guaranteed 6 in which case BA probably doesn’t think it can sell those for cash and wants the incremental revenue that opening those seats up for Avios would drive.

          • Mouse says:

            They do need to release more than 6 per flight on average however, otherwise the programme has way too few redemption opportunities, so those extra seats need to be released somewhere in the network. And I have been in full cabins on avios tickets many times so it seems like they are not perfectly able to put redemption seats only where there is no cash buyer, even if that would bee their general aim.

          • Mouse says:

            BTW I’m not saying you’re wrong Rhys, just I think it’s more complicated

        • Anna says:

          There are 6 and more avios seats in J to many destinations throughout the next 12 months at the moment though! I think BA might be giving people a nudge towards the quieter flights.

          • Anna says:

            And there are plenty of instances of flights where the avios seats are never booked.

      • Andrew says:

        When I wrote that blog post I didn’t consider why BA are making these changes. I often use my Avios for last minute short haul redemptions, when there can be a reasonable amount of Avios seats available.

        Making more weekends into Peak seems easy to answer – BA think that they will still achieve the Avios redemptions they want, especially as the comparison with higher weekend cash fares will still make redemptions attractive.

        Making more weekdays into Off Peak is more interesting. Were the mid week redemption levels lower than BA wanted, and they were flying with more empty seats than they would like? If so, then presumably this will continue in future years. Or is this just a covid19 reduced business travel impact for 2022?

        • Rob says:

          When peak and off-peak launched, I think EVERY Tue and Wed, all year, was off-peak. After a year or so they decided this was a bit blunt.

  • aceman says:

    went to virgin the other day, totally lacking in character and atmosphere. Some hilton branding on the covid signs, but dreary and the mexican restaurant was rubbish. Save your points for the Resorts World opening as hilton/conrad soon.

    • Travel Strong says:

      That’s a shame! The promo shots looked so good! What areas did you visit, any pool/rooms/gym insight? or was it a casino and restaurant in and out visit?

      • Aceman says:

        Casino and restaurant in and out. Some restaurants like Olives still not open yet. But literally no reason to go back. From the looks of the clientele the nobu won’t last long there either

    • gareth says:

      using points in vegas is generally a bad idea regardless with the number of offers/options available

  • kitten says:

    Looks like BA is trying to ‘extend the peaks’ into months either side even if it means flattening the existing Jul-Aug peaks a bit.

    So they want a longer season over which days earn more as it looks like that will earn more for them.

    Interesting that they seem to think thre day least likely to be peak is Wednesday. It used to be Tuesday.

    • Andrew says:

      Not surprising really.

      It was always useful that they seemed to forget that Scottish Schools start their holidays 2-3 weeks ahead of English schools in June.

      There’s also mass dash to leave the country in September when the prices are slashed for those without kids too.

  • LST says:

    Hi. Do bookings via BA holidays qualifier for Bonvoy/Hilton points and will the hotels honour status?



  • The Savage Squirrel says:

    Last analysis I saw was that traffic through McCarran (LAS) was still 60% lower, although road traffic along i15 to SoCal is as busy as ever. I’d imagine that as Vegas has had to pivot away from the international market, the Virgin brand (mainly a UK brand) and the initial plan that Virgin Holidays would fill a lot of those rooms has had to be ditched in a hurry.

    It’s still the rebranded Hard Rock, offstrip but attempting to charge Strip prices. Possibly too early to judge much how well it will manage it right now as it will be in new property shakedown phase. For anyone wanting to stay midmarket off-strip but fairly close, the Orleans, and Palms are likely to offer a similar experience at a competitive price, while Red Rock and Green Valley Ranch should offer a better experience a little further away.

    • Stagger Lee says:

      The Orleans has been my go to Vegas hotel for 20 years. Great six, lots of bars restaurants, a cinema and bowling alley. Quick and easy to get to the step with Uber.

      You can get great deals by joining their B Connected loyalty scheme.

      That only downside is almost ubiquitous Resort fee so always add that in to your calculations

      • Sean says:

        Much depends on your level of play though. For similar levels (where used to get 4 nights at orleans but had to pay resort fees) I now get 4 nights free (No resort fees) and $250 of freeplay and $250 dining credit at any MLife (MGM) property on the strip. Aria is awesome.

        • Jonathan says:

          Presume you’re not playing $5/hand blackjack to get that treatment though!

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