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How I earned 6,337 Virgin Points from one lunch booked via SquareMeal

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Back in February we covered the launch of a new partnership between Virgin Red and SquareMeal, the restaurant booking service. This would allow you to earn Virgin Points when you eat out.

It has taken us three months, but I finally got to try this out on Monday when we headed up to the roof terrace of the HfP office building for lunch at Coq d’Argent, for a little 10th birthday celebration.

SquareMeal Virgin Points

There are three ways to earn points via SquareMeal.

You can, as you would expect, earn 100 points when you book a restaurant via the SquareMeal website. You can get an extra 25 points by leaving a review afterwards.

More interestingly, you can earn points when you pay with a registered credit card at selected restaurants – even if you didn’t book via SquareMeal.

How does the offer work?

If you don’t already have a SquareMeal account, you can register via this page of the SquareMeal website.

The link above is my refer a friend link, which will earn you an additional 500 points after your first meal booking.

During registration, you will be asked if you want to earn SquareMeal points, worth 1p each towards future meal bookings, or Virgin Points.

Coq D'Argent

You need a Virgin Red account

In order to earn Virgin Points from SquareMeal, you need a Virgin Red account. It isn’t enough to have a Virgin Flying Club account.

If you are not already registered with Virgin Red, download their app, create an account and link it to your Virgin Flying Club account. You should do this anyway, as Virgin Red has lots of additional ways to earn and spend Virgin Points.

SquareMeal will ask for the email address linked to your Virgin Red account as part of the registration process.

What did I earn from our birthday lunch?

Here are the earning options for Coq d’Argent:

There are two things to note here:

  • the offers do not stack – you only receive the most generous one
  • when a restaurant is part of SquareMeal’s ‘card linked offers’ scheme, as this one is, it is almost certain to be the option which is triggered

From our team birthday lunch, I received 6,337 Virgin Points.

This is based on the full bill of £422 (we had external guests, it wasn’t just Rhys, Sinead and me!) including VAT and service, which is what you’d expect as it’s a card-linked offer. SquareMeal only sees the total charged to the credit card and not what was spent on it.


SquareMeal doesn’t have the range of OpenTable – it is primarily used for booking business lunches – but it offers an easy way of picking up some extra Virgin Points.

6,337 Virgin Points for one – admittedly expensive – lunch at Coq d’Argent isn’t bad going, especially as 90% of people paying for a meal there will be reclaiming the cost on expenses.

You can register for SquareMeal via my referral link here which will get you an additional 500 points after your first completed booking.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (March 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):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

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 Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four 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 from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable 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.

Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) 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 (18)

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

  • ChrisC says:

    How many Greggs sausage rolls will that get you?

    • Brighton Belle says:

      A lot ….. and a bonus heart attack

    • TimM says:

      Are you suggesting that all points should be valued in terms of Greggs sausage rolls? It would work as a notional currency but not a practical one – there is no two-way conversion and they don’t hold their value with time.

      • ChrisC says:

        Well the cost of. Greggs sausage roll is fairly stable but it was more a reference that usually when he mentions VS points Rob adds in a comment that you can use them at Greggs.


    • ankomonkey says:

      Enough to cover another celebratory lunch 🙂

  • Neil says:

    This may be a silly question, but does adding a card to a SquareMeal account mean that it will clash with, say, Nectar Connect or Virgin Shops Away?

  • Peter K says:

    Any one else struggling to add their Virgin Atlantic account number to Tesco or to log into shops away? It’s the correct number I’m using but it’s acting like it isn’t!

    • Alan says:

      Yes, has been an issue for months. I’ve been in touch with them multiple times on Twitter and they have promised to try and set it up manually. Only seems to be an autoconvert issue, one off transfers recognise it OK.

  • Jonathan Price says:

    A similar issue with the BA Rewards app on my phone. Every time I try to use it, it asks me to give it permission in my phone Settings, but I have checked and there is nothing that I need to do.

    • Mike Ward says:

      I had the same issue – it probably means you have tracking turned off on your iPhone, you need to turn it on then allow BA Rewards to track you – you can then go back to the iPhone settings and turn it back off as default

  • Harrier25 says:

    Signed up to SquareMeal using Rob’s link. One question I have….I’ve noticed that the points earned via Virgin Red also appear in my Virgin Atlantic account. Does this mean that they can also be transferred into Hilton Honors points along with my credit card points?

  • Melvin says:

    I have an existing reservation for a restaurant on their list. Will this track or do I need to rebook to earn the extra points?

  • masaccio says:

    Account linking between Red and Flying Club says “Oops, something went wrong. Please try again later”. Ideas anyone?

    • Harrier25 says:

      Yes, contact Virgin Red customer services. Took them a few days to sort for me, but they did. The issue is the Virgin Atlantic app. It’s shockingly bad

  • David says:

    You are lucky
    Virgin Atlantic flying club and do not reply to anything and have never credited me with flights , wine or any other activity in the wretched virgin family
    Avoid this lot their Rewards do not exist

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

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