On Tuesday we published details of five positive improvements to Virgin Flying Club.
- the thresholds to earn Silver and Gold status will be reduced from April 2022
- Silver members can now have a household account, a benefit which has been available to Gold members for many years
- Silver members will receive a one-off gift of a pair of Clubhouse lounge passes
- you will now earn tier points when you book with Virgin Holidays, based on what you spend
- you will earn a higher rate of Virgin Points when you book with Virgin Holidays, up to 4 points per £1
Our article was based on information provided in advance by the Virgin press office. Reader Prateek dropped me a note to highlight that there is an additional new benefit for elite members.
As you can see on the Virgin Atlantic website here (scroll down to “We will give you new benefits to make your membership even more rewarding”):
“You can now gift your Upgrade and Companion vouchers to other members.”
This is listed as a new benefit for both Silver and Gold members of Virgin Flying Club. There is literally no more information provided – on the website there is a button saying ‘Gift a voucher’ but when I click it I am simply taken to a general contact page.
I don’t have any vouchers to gift at the moment so I have no idea how this works.
I am guessing that you need to call Virgin Atlantic (“Our call centre has current wait times of up to 1 hour” says the message at the top of the website) and give the agent the account number of the Flying Club member who is to receive your voucher.
How do the Virgin Atlantic credit card vouchers work?
Your annual reward is triggered immediately upon hitting the spending target. The target is £20,000 in a card year for the free Virgin Atlantic Reward credit card and £10,000 in a card year for the £160 Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card.
You can choose one of the following options:
- A 2-4-1 voucher, valid for two years, for a Virgin Flying Club points redemption OR a Virgin Atlantic cash ticket, in Upper Class, Premium or Economy
- A return upgrade – on either a cash or points ticket – from Premium to Upper Class, or from Economy Delight/Classic to Premium. You can either upgrade 1 x return flight if travelling alone or 2 x one-way legs of two return flights if travelling with someone else.
- A Virgin Clubhouse lounge pass (requires a same-day Virgin Atlantic, Delta, KLM or Air France flight – these do not seem to be transferable)
There is small print:
- If you are a Red (no status) member, you need to pay 50% of the points for your 2nd ticket if you redeem your 2-4-1 voucher in Upper Class. This means that, for Upper Class redemptions for Red members, it is effectively a ‘2 for 1.5’ voucher. For Economy or Premium redemptions, it is a genuine ‘2 for 1’.
- If you are a Gold member, you would receive two Clubhouse lounge passes instead on one if you chose that option
- Taxes and charges need to be paid on the ‘free’ ticket as part of your 2-4-1 booking
- Vouchers are valid for two years and you must fly the outbound leg of your trip before the expiry date
Reward seat availability is required to use the voucher. This means:
- You can only upgrade a flight if there is a reward seat in the higher class (irrespective of whether you are upgrading a cash or a points ticket)
- You can only apply a 2-4-1 voucher to a cash booking if there is a reward seat available for the 2nd ‘free’ seat
If you usually travel on your own, the upgrade voucher is likely to suit you best. This can also be used by a couple to upgrade one leg per person on a return cash or reward flight.
If this does work as it reads online – that you can transfer your upgrade or 2-4-1 voucher to anyone if you have Virgin Flying Club status – then it does increase the value of the annual credit card voucher.
Unfortunately it could also lead to vouchers being sold on eBay, although I doubt many Silver or Gold members would want to put their Flying Club status at risk.
One thing worth remembering is that the vouchers are slightly less useful to a Red (base) member than a Silver or Gold member, so transferring them will reduce their value. We need to wait a while to see how, exactly, this new benefit works in practice.
You can see all the details we have so far on the Virgin Atlantic website here.
PS. Our full review of the free Virgin Atlantic credit card is here (no bonus). Our review of the fee Virgin Atlantic credit card with the 15,000 Virgin Points bonus is here. You can apply for both cards here.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (December 2022)
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, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):
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.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.
Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into 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.)