Is it worth redeeming your Virgin Points to pay, in full or in part, for a Virgin Holidays package? Let’s take a look.
We’ve had constant complaints from HfP readers in recent months about poor Upper Class reward flight availability on all routes except New York. The Virgin Atlantic flying network in Asia is also going to be restricted for some time to come. You may also be thinking about a holiday to a destination which is not covered by Virgin Atlantic.
These are all reasons why you may be interested in alternative ways of travelling with Virgin Points.
Virgin Holidays has a feature that might interest you – the ability to pay, or part pay, for your holiday using your Virgin Points. But is it a good deal?
Full details can be found on this page of the Virgin Flying Club website.
If you want to learn more about Virgin Holidays, however, you need to go to their own dedicated website here.
What value do I get for my Virgin Points?
Virgin Holidays does not make this information easy to find, for some reason.
You don’t discover the rate until you make a booking, start to input the guest names and then input your account number in order to earn Virgin Points from the booking. It is only at that point you are offered the chance to spend Virgin Points too.
The deal is as simple as it gets. You receive a £16.50 discount on your Virgin Holidays package for every 3,000 Virgin Points you spend. This works out at 0.55p per point.
Long term readers may remember that, when this offer launched three years ago, it offered £18 per 3,000 points. There has been a quiet devaluation.
You can use miles irrespective of whether you book online, in a Virgin Holidays store or by telephone. You can also use Virgin Points to pay down an existing holiday balance, via Virgin Holidays ‘Manage My Booking’ page.
There is no restriction on how many points you can use. If you have enough, you can pay for the entire holiday with points. This is one of the strongest benefits in my opinion.
You can get extra perks at Virgin Holidays as a Flying Club member
Before I look at whether 0.55p per Virgin Point makes sense, I wanted to remind you that there are extra perks for Virgin Flying Club members who book with Virgin Holidays. You get these whether you pay with cash or points.
The perks changed in November 2021. You would previously receive a cash discount based on your Virgin Flying Club tier. This is no longer the case.
Instead, depending on the colour of your Flying Club membership card:
Red members (you get Red just for signing up) – earn 2 Virgin Points for every £1 spent on Virgin Holidays or a Virgin Atlantic ‘flight and hotel’ package
Silver members – earn 3 Virgin Points for every £1 spent on Virgin Holidays or a Virgin Atlantic ‘flight and hotel’ package
Gold members – earn 4 Virgin Points for every £1 spent on Virgin Holidays or a Virgin Atlantic ‘flight and hotel’ package
You also earn tier points when you book
The lead booker will also receive Virgin Flying Club tier points, at the rate of 20 points for every £500 spent.
You can earn a maximum of 400 tier points per holiday.
You earn this on top of any tier points you will receive if your Virgin Holidays booking contains a Virgin Atlantic or partner airline flight.
Is it good value to use your Virgin Points at Virgin Holidays?
No, not really. I look to get around 1p per mile from my Flying Club points when redeeming for premium flights so the idea of accepting 0.55p via this route is not attractive.
0.55p per point is better value than using your Virgin points for Kaligo.com hotel redemptions, Virgin Vouchers or similar non-flying redemptions. It is also better value than transferring your points into IHG Rewards or Hilton Honors points, or redeeming them for anything via the Virgin Red app.
Imagine you earn your Virgin Points via Tesco Clubcard. You would be using £1 of Clubcard vouchers for 250 Virgin Points, worth £1.37 of holiday discount. This is not a very impressive return given some of the other Clubcard deals out there. £1 of Clubcard vouchers would get you £3 of Hotels.com credit for example.
Imagine you earned your Virgin Points via Heathrow Rewards. You would be giving up £1 of Heathrow shopping vouchers for 55p of holiday discount!
On the other hand, there are upsides:
You have no problems with reward availability. You can book any holiday offered by Virgin Holidays with no restrictions on dates or travel class.
You can pay for the entire cost of your trip. There are no taxes and charges to pay. If you have enough points, you can genuinely get a totally free holiday.
If you earn all of your Virgin Points from flying for work – so you haven’t actually paid anything for them at all – then Virgin Holidays is an option to consider.
If you earned your Virgin Points from the free Virgin Atlantic Reward credit card, Virgin Holidays isn’t a bad option. At 0.75 points per £1, you’d be getting 0.41p of holiday discount per £1 spent on your card. This isn’t a terrible deal given that most cashback Visa or Mastercard cards only return 0.25% or worse. In fact, I am surprised that Virgin Holidays hasn’t launched its own credit card offering a similar level of reward.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (December 2023)
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.
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.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.
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.
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.)