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Is Virgin Atlantic’s ‘Points Plus Money’ feature a good deal?

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One of the changes introduced in the Virgin Flying Club revamp in 2017 was a new-look ‘Points Plus Money’ offering.  Today I want to review whether Virgin Atlantic’s ‘Points Plus Money’ scheme is a good deal or not.

You can find full details on the Virgin Atlantic website here.

‘Points Plus Money’ was Virgin’s response to ‘Part Pay With Avios‘.  It also echoes schemes such as Norwegian Reward which only let you use your points for a discount on a future cash booking.

Virgin Atlantic Points Plus Money

British Airways has spent a couple of years trialling different variations of ‘Part Pay With Avios.  We have seen changes in the maximum number of Avios you can use and we’ve seen changes, up and down, in what you got for them.  During promotions, such as the exceptional ‘2p per Avios’ offer last week, you have occasionally been able to get real value.

How does Virgin’s ‘Points Plus Money’ work?

Virgin Flying Club has taken a simpler approach:

there is NO tapering of value per point – you get the same value irrespective of how many Virgin Points you redeem

they do NOT run any promotions – the value per point remains static from month to month

you can pay for ALL of your flight using ‘Points Plus Money’ – unlike Avios, which caps the discount you can receive

The value is fixed at £16.50 for every 3,000 points you redeem.  That means, to save you getting your calculator out, 0.55p per point.  There is no limit to how many points you can redeem but it must be in multiples of 3,000 Virgin Points.

It is worth noting that this rate has quietly got worse since ‘Points Plus Money’ was launched in 2017, when you could get 0.6p per point.

Here’s the small print:

you can only use ‘Points Plus Money’ when booking a cash ticket online, but not in the app, on mobile or via the call centre

you can only use it on Virgin Atlantic operated flights, not codeshares or partners

the ticket can be for anyone – you do not need to travel

there are no blackout dates or inventory restrictions

you can upgrade or use vouchers as you can with a standard cash ticket

your ticket will earn points and tier points as usual

There is only one catch, but it won’t apply to many people.  If you cancel a refundable ‘Points Plus Money’ flight ticket, you lose the points.  You don’t get the cash equivalent back either.  Very few leisure travellers book refundable tickets, however, so this is unlikely to impact you.  This rule does not apply if you cancel during the 24 hour ‘cooling off’ period.

You will, of course, also lose your points if you cancel a non-refundable ticket booked via ‘Points Plus Money’.  This is logical, however, as you would have lost your money if you had paid in cash.

If Virgin Atlantic cancels your flight, you will receive a full refund of both the cash and Virgin Points used.

How does Virgin Atlantic Points Plus Money work?

Is Virgin Atlantic’s ‘Points Plus Money’ good value?

No, not really.  I look to get around 1p per mile from my Flying Club points when redeeming for mileage tickets so the idea of accepting 0.55p via this route is not attractive.

It is better value than using your Virgin Points for hotel redemptions, Virgin Vouchers or similar non-flying redemptions via the Virgin Red app, where 0.5p per point is the going rate.

It is also better value than transferring your points into IHG Rewards or Hilton Honors hotel points.

However …..

Imagine you earned your Virgin Points via Tesco Clubcard.  You would be using £1 of Clubcard vouchers for 250 Virgin points worth £1.38 of flight discount.  This is not a very impressive return given some of the other Clubcard deals out there.

Imagine you earned your Virgin Points via Heathrow Rewards (1:1 transfer rate).  You would be giving up £1 of Heathrow shopping vouchers for 55p of flight discounts – not smart.

If you earn all of your Flying Club points from flying for work – so you haven’t actually paid anything for them at all – then ‘Points Plus Money’ is an option to consider.

If you have been collecting Virgin Points via a partner instead then you should be turning your nose up at just getting 0.55p per point for them.

You can learn more about ‘Points Plus Money’ on virginatlantic.com here.


HFP Virgin Atlantic Rewards credit card

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

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

Until 2nd November 2021, there is a special offer on The Platinum Card from American Express.

You will receive a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points which converts into 60,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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 (11)

  • Chris says:

    Assuming you can use the 2-4-1 on a booking made this way?

    • Sean says:

      “Here’s the small print:
      you can only use ‘Points Plus Money’ when booking a cash ticket online, but not in the app, on mobile or via the call centre …
      you can only use it on Virgin Atlantic operated flights, not codeshares or partners
      the ticket can be for anyone – you do not need to travel
      there are no blackout dates or inventory restrictions
      you can upgrade or use vouchers as you can with a standard cash ticket
      your ticket will earn points and tier points as usual”

      • ChasP says:

        possibly the only real advantage
        “the ticket can be for anyone – you do not need to travel”

  • Anwar says:

    A bit of help required.
    Got around 80k Virgin points on my wife’s account and 0 on my own one. I am going to convert Clubcard points to Virgin points. Is it better to keep all points on her account or put some in mine as well? She has 2 vouchers from The VA credit card as well and i was thinking to use the points and vouchers on one long haul trip.

  • Vern says:

    “there are no blackout dates or inventory restrictions”
    – not sure that’s true. Points Plus Money hasn’t been available on MCO flights in a long, long time – even when they operated from LGW.

  • pigeon says:

    ‘Points Plus Money’ tickets also earn Virgin Points, so if you factor this in, I reckon using this on Economy Delight brings ~0.65p worth of value (per point).

    I do think there’s value in this for someone who wants to keep things simple. For example, if they’ve got 20k in Virgin miles from an Amex transfer / previous flights, they could part-pay, using 18k for £100 credit to upgrade to Economy Delight. If it’s a longer route (a LAX say) they’ll earn pretty much all those miles back. Effectively, keeping the 20k in the Virgin account gives them lifetime free upgrades to Delight.

  • Oldman7 says:

    Might be being dopey here but is there anyway on line to see the date my virgin credit card voucher expires?

    • Will T says:

      If there is then it is not made easy! I used WhatsApp to contact them about this request and they replied with the expiry dates for all my vouchers. Think it took around a day to get the answer.

  • Oldman7 says:

    Thx Will, I’ll try that

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