One of the most common questions I receive via email from new readers is whether they can use Avios points to fly on Virgin Atlantic?
The simple answer is ‘No’. Virgin Atlantic is not an Avios partner – hardly surprising, as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are not exactly the best of friends.
However you should think about WHY you want to redeem your Avios on Virgin Atlantic because there may be an alternative.
Is it because you cannot find seat availability with Avios on British Airways?
British Airways seat availability via Avios is not bad. BA GUARANTEES that, 355 days before departure, at midnight, it will make four Business, two Premium Economy and eight Economy seats available for redemption.
More seats are likely to be made available over future months as BA gets a better idea of how a flight is selling. Unless you are tied to very specific dates there is likely to be something coming up.
You should also consider whether you are being flexible enough. Cannot find seats to Orlando? Have you looked at Miami or Tampa? You may need to change around your holiday a little but that is not always a bad thing and you may get to explore somewhere different.
Are you unhappy with the British Airways seat or service?
I don’t necessarily blame you. However, BA is a member of the oneworld alliance and you can redeem Avios on many other airlines apart from British Airways.
You can’t book most of these via avios.com. You would need to use ‘Combine My Avios’ to move your Avios to British Airways Executive Club and search from there.
My ‘Avios Redemption University’ series (click here) goes into some of these tricks and hacks in more detail.
Is it because you don’t have enough Virgin Points for a Virgin Atlantic redemption?
Are you sure about that? Remember, Virgin allows one-way redemptions (as does Avios). You could book a one-way ticket to where you want to go on Virgin miles, and then come back with Avios points. A one-way in economy to New York is only 20,000 Virgin Points off-peak.
This actually gives you more flexibility than just using Avios because you have more chances of finding available seats.
Virgin Atlantic also offers ‘miles plus money‘ redemptions which reduces the amount of miles you need even further.
Do you know that you can top-up your Virgin Points via Tesco Clubcard voucher conversions, Heathrow Rewards points transfers or American Express Membership Rewards transfers?
Tesco Clubcard and Heathrow Rewards both offer you an easy way of topping up your Virgin account. Clubcard points convert at the rate of 1p = 2.5 miles and there is often a 10%-20% bonus on offer too.
You can also get 20,000 FREE Virgin Points with the ‘free for a year’ Amex Gold credit card!
Remember that the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year and comes with 20,000 Amex Membership Rewards points for signing-up. See my review of American Express Gold here. Those convert at 1:1 to 20,000 Virgin Points. That should be enough to turn your existing Virgin Points collection into something useful.
Virgin Atlantic also has its own credit cards. The paid card comes with a very generous sign-up bonus and a great day-to-day earning rate. As a Mastercard, they are accepted everywhere.
Whilst you cannot use Avios points to book flights on Virgin Atlantic, I hope I have shown you that there are alternative routes which get the same result – whether that is being smarter over how you spend your Avios or by using some of the routes above to earn some Virgin Points quickly.
(This article is part of our ‘BA Q&A’ series which explains how British Airways Executive Club works. You can see all of our ‘BA Q&A’ articles here. )
(Head for Points is the UK’s biggest frequent flyer website with 2.0 million monthly page views. Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios? Click here to read our latest news stories, click here to join our email list and click here to read our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.)
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 2022)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also good bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These are available to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.