Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

News: BA suspends S7 mileage partnership, double Virgin Points booking train tickets

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

News in brief:

British Airways suspends S7 airline partnership

Whilst not announced at the time, British Airways suspended its partnership with Russian airline S7 on 10th March.

A statement on the S7 section of ba.com says:

“Effective 10 March 2022, British Airways has indefinitely suspended our oneworld frequent flyer programme with S7 Airlines. British Airlines Executive Club Members are no longer able to earn or redeem Avios on S7 flights.”

You have not been able to earn or redeem Avios, or earn British Airways Executive Club tier points, on S7 from that date, albeit that this is academic in the current circumstances.

S7 remains a member of the oneworld alliance, although it is not clear how long this will last – or indeed how long the airline itself will last without access to spare parts.

Virgin Trains Ticketing double points

Earn double Virgin Points with Virgin Trains Ticketing

Last year Virgin Red launched a new way of letting you earn Virgin Points – its own exclusive train ticket booking platform, called Virgin Trains Ticketing.

I’ll just pause for a moment to allow you to think about the irony of Virgin Group setting up a train ticket booking platform after it lost both the Virgin Trains East Coast and Virgin Trains West Coast franchises …..

The new train booking website (we should probably call it a platform ….) is exclusive to Virgin Red and operates via the Virgin Red app. You can join Virgin Red here.

It is a very simple structure:

  • you earn 3 Virgin Points per £1 spent
  • there are no booking fees with e-tickets (there is a fee if you choose station collection)

E-tickets (technically m-tickets, since they can’t be added to Apple Wallet etc) sit inside the Virgin Red app, which saves you from having to download a separate app to hold your tickets.

As long as the rail company you are using does not have exclusive discounts for users of its own website, you will be getting the same price as you would pay elsewhere.

From time to time, LNER and Avanti West Coast run a cashback deal on American Express and certain other credit cards. When such an offer is running, these should be the most rewarding place to book rail travel irrespective of which train company you are travelling on.

For the next week, however, Virgin Trains Ticketing should be competitive.

Until 20th March, you will receive 6 Virgin Points per £1. I’d take 5% cashback over 6 Virgin Points, but if the best credit card cashback deal you have is 3%, or perhaps you don’t have one at all, it is a very competitive deal.

You will need to download the Virgin Red in order to book train tickets and earn points. You can register here.


How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (May 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, one has a bonus of 30,000 points until 6th June 2022):

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 points bonus (SPECIAL OFFER) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 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:

American Express Amex Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Virgin Points, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

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

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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 (13)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Ancient says:

    It’s worth noting that Virgin charge a booking fee for booking train tickets, which train operators don’t.

    • Stu says:

      I haven’t seen a booking fee on my tickets using the Virgin Red app when the tickets can be fulfilled as emails/electronic tickets. Tickets that must be paper and hence physically collected may be where the charge arises.

      • JohnTh says:

        It depends on the actual train operator whether they do etickets but you don’t know until the last stage of checkout. EG Southern you pay a small fee (even though they have started doing etickets themselves.) I have asked VRed to look at this as is my local operator.

  • John says:

    The terminology used above is incorrect. In the context of rail ticketing, an e-ticket is independent of the ticketing medium, while an m-ticket is tied to an app/device.

    E-tickets come as Aztec codes, usually sent as PDF files. It is not necessary to use a dedicated app or anything like Apple Wallet. E-tickets can be displayed in your email app, or if you take a screenshot, your photo gallery app. If you have a printer, you can display them on paper. If you lose your device or it runs out of battery, you can access the ticket on another device.

    M-tickets are held within an app on a device. You cannot use a screenshot or print them, and usually must “activate” the ticket in the app before travelling. If you lose your device or are unable to charge it, you lose your ticket and need to buy a new one. For these reasons, m-tickets are inferior and are being phased out.

    • Callum says:

      Not to mention E-tickets have been around for 20 years longer than Apple Pay has existed (as the main way to issue airline tickets funnily enough), so compatibility with Apple Pay couldn’t possibly be a criteria for whether it’s an E-ticket or not!

      • Rui N. says:

        Wow, an Apple user thinking that things didn’t exist before Apple made it available several year laters. Never thought I’d seen that!

    • Stu says:

      Useful explanation!

      I came here just to say the tickets come as PDF which I can scan from the phone – no app required for the travel part (so if phone runs out of battery can use another device, just as you said).

  • janolabs says:

    Just wanted to say, the 10% back with LNER seems to be a widely available promotion as it doesn’t seem to have a cap of how many people can save it, and it’s available across all my (and supplementary) cards.

  • Andrew. says:

    Barclaycard, LNER 8% (no maximum). Virgin Money, LNER 8% (no maximum). MBNA, Avanti 3% (£30 Maximum). Halifax, Avanti 5% (£30 Maximum), LNER 5% (£30 Maximum). Amex, Avanti 10% (no Maximum), LNER 10% (no Maximum).

    All are valid once, except the Amex LNER offer which is valid every time. Barclaycard and Virgin Money offers tend to cycle every fortnight.

    PAW fans also have a 1% rebate at Trainline and Chiltern.

  • aseftel says:

    LNER is also 5% on Airtime.

  • RussellH says:

    I have 10% of at LNER on at leat two Amex cards, valid unil the middle of July.

    So, unless there is a special offer only available on another TOC’s website, this is a no brainer!

    Only slight problem – one of the cards is a gold Amex, which is coming up for cancellation before the £140 fee kicks in.

  • MilesOnPoint says:

    I currently hold S7 Airlines Gold status (Oneworld Sapphire) via a status match promotion they ran a couple of years ago, valid until February 2023.

    Time to look for another program as I think S7 Oneworld membership will be revoked soon and I no longer wish to interact with a Russian carrier for obvious reasons.

    Does anyone have experience matching to Royal Air Maroc via statusmatch.com website? Says they will match to Safar Gold but application fee of USD99 is non-refundable…

  • David says:

    “British AIRLINES Executive Club members…”

    Good to see someone at BA knows their terminology.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.