This is actually a serious article, although I accept that you may have your doubts ….
When the Virgin Red app launched two years ago as the new ‘home’ for your Virgin Points, the ability to redeem your points at Greggs became – for better or worse – the highest profile redemption.
Whilst most Head for Points readers would see redeeming for ANA’s amazing new business and First Class seats to Tokyo to be the ultimate redemption, it was Greggs that people were talking about.
If you are not a Virgin Red member, you can register for free here.
How do you redeem Virgin Points at Greggs?
I was interested to see how the redemption process works and how smooth it is. It is two years since I last wrote about this, and I can honestly say I haven’t had a sausage roll in the intervening period!
A Greggs sausage roll costs £1.15, at least on Cheapside by our office, and it requires 200 Virgin Points. You’re getting 0.575p per point.
The first thing to say is that Greggs redemptions are not great value. 0.575p per Virgin Point is weak.
You can smash this with a premium cabin flight redemption in most cases, where you should be aiming for 1p.
Redeeming via the Virgin Red app
Assuming that you have registered for Virgin Red and then downloaded the Virgin Red app and linked it to your Virgin Atlantic account, the first thing to do is find Greggs products on the long list of redemptions. Unless you filter by ‘Food and Drink’ it will take a while.
This is what you are looking for, if a sausage roll is your goal:
Click into it and you see a big ‘Redeem’ button.
The points are deducted from your account and a QR code created. It pops up on screen, and I would recommend saving it as a screenshot in case you have reception problems when you are inside the store:
The voucher is valid for a month. You can also see it inside the ‘Vouchers’ section of the Virgin Red app:
There is some small print which is emailed to you after you have redeemed. Here are the highlights:
- Code is only valid for either a single Sausage Roll or Vegan Sausage Roll
- Code is redeemable with Greggs up until the ‘Valid Until’ date noted on the code
- You must display your code to a member of staff at Greggs
- Code is valid for one use only
- Only one code can be used per person per visit
- Subject to availability and while stocks lasts. If there are no Sausage Rolls or Vegan Sausage Rolls available, an alternative product may be supplied by Greggs (at equal or lesser value) but this is not guaranteed
- Valid for take away only – product cannot be consumed in store
- Please note, Virgin Red codes are not valid / accepted at Greggs stores located within service stations
- Code is non-refundable, non-transferable and has no cash value (or cash value equivalent)
- Codes do not qualify for a Greggs Rewards stamp and they cannot be added to the Greggs Rewards app
How does it work in practice?
It is a slick process, I have to admit.
Having tracked down a branch of Greggs, I asked for a sausage roll and scanned the QR code on a scanner at the till when asked to pay.
It scanned first time and I was left with nothing to pay.
Caffe Nero redemptions with Nectar points work in exactly the same way. Using 350 Nectar points for a Caffe Nero drink – any drink, any size – is the best way of spending Nectar points. This offer comes and goes, however, and is not currently available.
(EDIT: As per the comments, it IS currently available but it is not being promoted via the app under ‘Partner Offers’. You need to type ‘Nero’ into the search box for it to come up.)
Using your Virgin Points at Greggs isn’t a great way to redeem if you’re looking to maximise the value you get.
However, I am impressed by the technology behind it and by the way that Virgin Red has got it working. I’m sure there are other retailers who would be interested in similar spontaneous redemptions, especially those who – like Pret – already have QR code scanners in place at their tills.
What Virgin Red needs to do is find someone like Caffe Nero who is willing to offer outsize value in the hope of picking up additional sales. It’s the croissant or cake you buy with your coffee that encourages Nero to offer such a good deal to Nectar in the first place.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (January 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.
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.)