Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Is it worth converting Virgin Points to Hilton Honors or IHG One Rewards hotel points?

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Virgin Atlantic has a rare feature that allows you to transfer your points into hotel loyalty schemes.

The first thing to say is that it is VERY rare for an airline to allow you to transfer to a hotel scheme.   Finnair still lets you transfer to IHG One Rewards but at a very poor 2:1 rate, and they also have a tie-up with Accor.

Accor has done deals with a lot of airlines, and Eurostar, over the last couple of years – and with Qatar Airways adopting Avios there is now a route to go Avios to Accor.  Accor is very much the exception to the rule however, and as a revenue-based scheme (1 Accor point = 2 Eurocents of hotel room) it rarely makes sense to convert.

Virgin Atlantic 747 Pretty Woman G-VROY

You can, of course, book hotel rooms with your Avios points via Nectar Hotels and receive around 0.8p per Avios of value. Do not, under any scenario, use Avios to book hotels via because this only gets you 0.55p per Avios.

To some extent, we should be grateful that Virgin allows you to do any sort of transfer out.  It is a valuable option for people who earn a lot of Virgin Points through their work but do not want to redeem them for further flights, possible due to family issues, availability or frustration with the Virgin Atlantic / Delta / KLM and Air France route network.

Transferring to hotel schemes is also a good exit for anyone who picks up some Virgin Points through business travel but feels that they will never earn enough for a decent long-haul redemption in a premium cabin.

When Virgin Atlantic was in financial difficulties in 2020, many HfP readers decided to hedge their risk by transferring their Virgin Points into Hilton or IHG points. They lost some value but it removed the risk of losing everything.

Hilton Honors

Transferring Virgin Points to Hilton Honors

Here is the Hilton page on the Virgin site.

You will see that the transfer rate to Hilton Honors is 2:3.  The minimum transfer is 10,000 Virgin Points and then in increments of 10,000 points.

I tend to value Hilton points at 0.33p.  This is based on needing 80,000 points for a five star hotel selling for £250 cash.

My valuations are based on redeeming at the higher end luxury hotels.  Historically Hilton has offered better value at the lower end of the scale, but there have been some substantial increases over the last couple of years and this is not necessarily the case any longer.

It is worth noting that Hilton will regularly sell points for 0.5 cents (0.40p) each by offering a 100% bonus. You can buy them with a targetted 80% or 100% bonus via this link until 19th July.  This puts a cap on what you can value them at – if you can buy points for cash for 0.4p for much of the year, you shouldn’t value them more highly.

(The only exception would be if you needed more points than you can purchase in one year. However the current offer lets you buy a chunky 320,000 points. Your partner could buy a further 320,000 and use ‘points pooling’ to transfer them to you, so this will rarely be an issue.)

Based on my 0.33p valuation, you get 0.5p of value per Virgin Point when converting to Hilton Honors.  This is not great. Even at the highest valuation you can place on a Hilton point – 0.4p, the price you can buy them for – you are only getting 0.6p of value per Virgin Point.

I would only recommend a Hilton Honors transfer if you are topping off an account to reach the amount you need for a reward.

Transfers can take 2-4 weeks to go through so this is NOT a good idea if you need Hilton points quickly to lock in a redemption room you spotted.

Points transfers do not count towards Hilton Honors status.

Transfer Virgin Points to IHG One Rewards

Transferring Virgin Points to IHG One Rewards

Converting to IHG One Rewards is no better.  This would let you redeem at Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza, Kimpton, InterContinental etc hotels.

I value IHG points at 0.4p, based on using around 70,000 points for a top five-star hotel.  The transfer ratio from Virgin Points is 1:1.

0.4p per Virgin Point (based on the 1:1 transfer rate) is an even worse return than transferring to Hilton Honors.  However, if you are topping off your IHG balance, it is an easy way to get to the points required for a room.

IHG points can also be bought for 0.5 cents (0.40p) when they are sold with a 100% bonus – which is quite often at the moment. The IHG ‘buy points’ page is here but there is no offer this week. This makes it very hard to justify a higher valuation.

As with Hilton transfers, it can take a couple of weeks for your points to arrvive.  This isn’t a solution if you need to book a room quickly.

Points transfers do not count towards IHG One Rewards status.

Kaligo Hfp offer

Using Virgin Points via

There is another way of using your Virgin Atlantic miles for hotel booking.  Virgin Atlantic has partnered with hotel booking site to let you redeem Virgin Points for many hotels in their portfolio.  You can find more details in this article.

In general, based on tests we have run in the past, will get you around 0.6p per point of value.  The value varies because hotels are placed into pricing bands – those near the top of their band are better value than those at the bottom.

The route may get you better value than going via Hilton Honors or IHG One Rewards.  The downside is that bookings made via are treated as ‘third party bookings’ so you won’t receive any status benefits from the chain you use.

(PS.  For completeness, it is worth noting that there are some other Virgin Flying Club accommodation redemptions.  These include Ulusaba, Richard Branson’s private game reserve, Mahali Mzuru in Kenya, Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco, The Lodge in Verbier and Mont Rochelle in South Africa.  Necker Island is not currently available as the property focuses on clearing a backlog of cancelled bookings from the pandemic.)

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 (34)

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

  • Not funny! says:

    Does anyone know if it is possible to transfer Avios from a BA household account to a Nectar one? And if yes, is it doable online or you need to call someone?

    • memesweeper says:

      Any HH member can link their BA to their Nectar. Transfers work fine, in the normal way, and I think they debit across the household like other Avios spending.

  • memesweeper says:

    If you can’t or won’t fly what better alternatives are there to 0.6p/point from a Hilton transfer for unused Virgin miles? Almost everything I’ve looked at in the Virgin Red app is even less good – very often 0.5p. Kaligo is also 0.6p-ish. There’s no Nectar-like 0.8p of value option I’m missing, is there?

    • aseftel says:

      Nothing Nectar-like that I can think of. The cruises and AO Arena tickets can offer outsized value.

    • Rob says:

      If you don’t want a flight, or a cruise, then you won’t do better, easily.

      I get a feeling that some of the Virgin Luxury Collection hotels offer good value because they are fixed price redemptions and of course pricing is crazy for cash now, but only a handful of properties.

    • Lady London says:

      the cruises look to have been the best surprise value recently

  • Alex Sm says:

    I still regret that I blinked in 2020 and moved my Virgin points to IHG…

    • Paul says:

      I don’t regret the move and used the points for 10 day stay at an all inclusive resort in Turkey that year. I got very good value out out them and I was unlikely to fly VS, as I never have.

      Moreover their credit card, where I got most of the points, restricted me on how I use the vouchers and so despite having 2, have never used them, and had no incentive to do so.

      The biggest issue with the transfer to HH or IHG is the need to call VS to do it. Right now the wait times are mad and so my wife rightly wont waste her time and I cant do it on her behalf.

  • trickyuk says:

    I could not find any Virgin reward seats so moved to IHG , I have been able to enjoy free hotel stays instead of wasting em.

  • robkeane says:

    For collecting hilton points via non-amex credit card spend, the VS card remains the best option. And if limiting to high end redemptions, I’d suggest the 0.4p per hilton is more relevant . @2.25 hilton points per £1 spent on the VS card, thats 0.9p on hilton value.

    Don’t know if there is a non-amex credit card that provides unlimited 1% cash back, which would be better a return.

    • RussellH says:

      How do you get 2.25 Hilton points per £1 spent on the VS card?
      0.75 VS points per £1==> 0.75 x 1.5 = 1.125 HH points.

      Unless you are talking about the paid-for card, in which case you need to take the high cost of the card into your calculation.

      • robkeane says:

        Paid card. The recent sign-up bonus was 30K VS (45K Hilton), which at £180 for the card means (surprise surprise) 0.4p per hilton point.

        So for a hilton points collector, that sign-up bonus is buying points at the cheapest buy-rate that hilton allows, and gives access to a return rate of 2.25 hilton per £1 spent on a non-amex credit card, or 0.9p of hilton value.

        Then review the annual fee prior to year two, see if its worth it, if not possibly get player 2 involved and another sign-up bonus when it is enhanced.

      • Ryan says:

        £160 is pretty irrelevant if you have say £10k limit and “spend” that each month

        • RussellH says:

          £160 is NEVER irrelevant.

          If you are single and under 25, the government expects you to be able to live on £265.31 a month.

  • Alex B says:

    Has anyone stayed at the Virgin Limited Edition/Richard Branson properties? Any good/worth the money or points?

    • Rob says:

      Kasbah Tamardot in Marrakech is well regarded, although I’ve never stayed. It has won ‘No. 1 Resort Hotel in North Africa and the Middle East’ in the Travel + Leisure mags reader survey for the last couple of years.

  • Roberto says:

    The best way to get HH points with a card is to pay with Amex for 2 points per pound and then pay your amex bill with curve backed by Hilton BC for a further 2 points.

    • robkeane says:

      Leaving aside the fact that the hilton card has been closed to new applications for many years now, Did you miss the “non-amex credit card” in the first sentence ?

  • The Savage Squirrel says:

    As above, 2.25HH/p is the best available non-Amex collection rate, so it entirely makes sense to collect Virgin points and then transfer if accumulation of HHs is your starting goal.

    There are also HUGE liquidity value differences. Something being difficult/awkward to spend undoubtedly loses value. For those whose air travel is mostly in a group larger than 1 or 2, VS availability is obviously even tighter. Getting 1p/point of “value” on heavily restricted dates/destinations that were all you could get is massively different to getting 0.6p/point of hotel “value” in the exact location and day you want at pretty much any typical destination on Earth.

    I’ve shoved loads of Virgin points towards HH and will continue to do so as it’s what works best for me.

    • Sussex bantam says:

      Quite – Virgin points have very little value for me having failed to actually redeem them for anything valuable ever !

      Quite happy to swap them for Hilton…

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