Can you convert Virgin Points (formery Virgin Flying Club miles) to Avios points?
One of the most common questions I receive via email from new readers is how can you swap your Virgin Points into Avios points. I thought it was worth looking at this topic today.
The first thing to say is that you can transfer Virgin Points to Avios points, but the exchange rate is poor. I will explain how later in the article.
Before that, though, you should think about WHY you want to move your Virgin miles to Avios.
Is it because you don’t have enough Virgin Points for a free flight?
Are you sure about that? Remember, Virgin Atlantic allows one-way redemptions (as does Avios). You could book a one-way ticket to where you want to go on Virgin Points, and then come back with Avios points. A one-way in economy to New York is only 10,000 miles 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.
Is it because Virgin Atlantic does not fly to where you want to go?
OK, fair point. Ever since Delta Air Lines bought 49% of Virgin Atlantic a few years ago, the airline has been dropping its non-North American routes in favour of more destinations which drive connecting traffic from Delta.
However, have you considered flying somewhere else in the same region and buying (or using Avios on a oneworld airline) a cheap connecting flight?
Virgin Atlantic doesn’t fly to Kuala Lumpur, for example. You can fly to Hong Kong, however, and connecting flights to Kuala Lumpur are easy to find.
Do you know that you can top-up your Virgin miles 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.
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 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, run by Virgin Money – click for details. The paid card comes with a generous sign-up bonus and one of the two cards is FREE.
If you really DO want to convert Virgin Points to Avios points ….
Moving Virgin Flying Club miles to Avios points is a two stage process. You will need at least 10,000 Virgin Points to do it.
Stage 1: Open an IHG Rewards account
Stage 3: Transfer your IHG Rewards points to Avios at the rate of 5 to 1
20,000 Virgin Points would get you 20,000 IHG Rewards points which gets you 4,000 Avios points. The rate is effectively 5 : 1 which is pretty terrible.
There is a second route which is no better:
Stage 1: Open a Hilton Honors account
Stage 3: Transfer your Hilton Honors points to Avios at the rate of 10 to 1
The net conversion rate is awful, of course. 20,000 Virgin Points gets you 30,000 Hilton Honors points which gets you 3,000 Avios points. The rate is effectively 7 : 1 which is even worse than the IHG Rewards route.
You would be far better off using the IHG Rewards or Hilton Honors points to book yourself a free hotel room rather than converting them to Avios.
Virgin Red may be a better solution
Fortunately, it is now a lot easier to spend small numbers of Virgin Points.
In 2021, Virgin Red was launched. Virgin Red is a new rewards app which lets you spend small amounts of Virgin Points, from as few as 200 points for a Greggs sausage roll! There are also more enticing options, such as seats in Virgin Red’s private suite at the AO Arena in Manchester for top concerts. Sign up now and try it out.
(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 2.3 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 (January 2023)
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:
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
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 10,500 Avios.
SPECIAL OFFER: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.
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.