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New Virgin Points redemptions – Virgin Hotels Edinburgh and cinema tickets

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It is finally possible to redeem Virgin Points at the new Virgin Hotels Edinburgh property. It is in the India Buildings on Victoria Street.

This is a temporary offer. The rules are:

  • you must book via the Virgin Red app or website
  • you must book by 28th February 2023
  • you must stay between 2nd January and 30th April 2023
  • you are redeeming into a ‘room only’ Chambers King for two people
  • you must book at least three days in advance
Redeem Virgin Points at Virgin Hotels Edinburgh

The cost is 35,000 Virgin Points per night.

The T&C say that you can upgrade your room at the time of booking if you wish. It isn’t clear if this is at a fixed rate or based on the difference in cash cost between a Chambers King and whatever room type you want.

It is not clear if this offer combines with the benefits offered to Flying Club members on cash stays:

  • Flying Club Gold and Silver members receive a complimentary upgrade, subject to availability
  • Flying Club Gold members also receive a complimentary breakfast

(EDIT: No, you won’t get the Flying Club benefits above, because bizarrely Virgin Hotels Edinburgh – in the country with the most Flying Club elite members – has an exemption from offering them!)

This is a good value redemption in some cases. Cash rates vary from £187 to £312 during the promotional period. However, promo code BOOK-DIRECT knocks off 10% so the range is really £170 to £280.

This means that your ‘pence per point’ rate varies between 0.5p (no better than other Virgin Red redemptions) to 0.8p (not bad).

We are hoping to take a look at Virgin Hotels Edinburgh and the ‘opening soon’ Virgin Hotels Glasgow.

Virgin Red adds cinema redemptions

If Virgin Hotels isn’t your thing, Virgin Red has added three options for cinema redemptions.

You can use your Virgin Points at 140 participating Cineworld, Picturehouse and Showcase cinemas.

Pricing varies by chain:

  • 1,900 Virgin Points at Cineworld (Leicester Square excluded)
  • 1,800 Virgin Points at Showcase (Bluewater excluded)
  • 2,250 Virgin Points at Picturehouse (Fulham Road and Piccadilly Circus excluded)

Virgin Red already has a partnership with Vue:

  • 1,350 Virgin Points at Vue (Leicester Square excluded)

Voucher codes can be redeemed online or in person once claimed. Each chain has different rules over voucher expiry (minimum 28 days). Cineworld charges 75p for online bookings whilst Picturehouse charges £1.50. 3D and other special screenings are excluded.

The value you get will obviously depend on the cost at your local cinema. Virgin Red redemptions are typically worth 0.5p per Virgin Point, which is well below our target for premium cabin flight redemptions of 1p.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (April 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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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 (41)

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

  • Andrew J says:

    I always see Nero as an option, so I’m not sure it ever went anywhere.

  • Matt says:

    The 25% Nero discount on the Meerkat app dilutes the value of the Nectar offer, although you still get more than 0.5p per point unless you’re ordering something very cheap like a cup of tea!

  • Mike says:

    Virgin Hotels Edinburgh refused me free breakfast (and the upgrade) last month saying they don’t give the published benefits to FC Gold “as we’re a new hotel”. I tried several times, each time they checked (wandered out the back, chatted, came back) and said no.

    I knew I wouldn’t get the 2000 points per stay, but with my FC account linked to The Know one, I thought I had everything lined up. I’m going to check with their NYC hotel before I stay in March to see if they’ll give me breakfast.

    • GM says:

      That’s so disappointing! Emailed Chicago one ahead of visit the other week and told them I was Silver and had joined In the Know. Got upgraded to the next level room, which was v nice. Might be Gold if I’m there again next year.
      Find the whole benefits with Virgin elsewhere tricky in general though. Added number to domestic Delta booking on the same trip and was told absolutely no Sky Priority etc coming up on it.

    • Rhys says:

      The Virgin Hotels integration with Virgin Red has been pretty crap so far, as you can tell from the fact that this is a short-term promotion and not a long term offer…

      • GM says:

        I think I only got upgraded because they’d made the mistake of answering from specific person email addresses. Doubt there would have been a hope otherwise. Didn’t seem to actually be integrated!

  • Andrew J says:

    And worth remembering that when using a Nero nectar voucher you also earn a loyalty stamp, if you scan your Nero loyalty first, so your tenth one is free.

  • Nick M says:

    How long are the Cafe Nero codes valid for? – is it best to order one just before getting a coffee or can I order one now so it’s sitting in my account for a later date?

    • CamFlyer says:

      The vouchers are valid for 366 days, IME. The ability to remove used vouchers from the app seems to have disappeared, so you need to remember what was the last one you used.

      The offer has been available for me for most of 2022, though it does periodically disappear.

      • Andrew J says:

        You can tell it that you have used the voucher once you’ve scanned it, and then it shows as a “used” date rather than a “valid until” date so you can see which you have still to use. But would be easier if you could just delete them.

    • Dave Barron says:

      They are valid for 12 months. Given current inflation I’d expect the cost of a drink (like everything else) will rise over next 12 months so value if this deal likely to only
      improve if you lock in at current redemption rate. Codes are stored on the nectar app. All very straightforward in my experience.

    • Nick M says:

      Super, thanks!

  • dougzz99 says:

    Chain coffee is so poor. Maybe OK if you like flavoured frothy milk which is really what these places are selling.

    • Rob says:

      What do you mean? Nero is a hot desking company which charges £3 per hour for workspace with an average coffee provided for free. Also good if you need an open plan meeting room for the same price – met Simon Calder in Gloucester Road just last month.

      • Bob Bilby says:

        This is such great economics. Besides, of all the UK High Street chains I think it does the best coffee.

      • John says:

        I usually pay £3 for 4 hours 🙂 Before covid I also did a trade in completed nero stamp cards…

  • Harrier25 says:

    Don’t forget you can also redeem 300 Nectar points all day, every day for 5p off a litre at any Esso petrol station (excluding Tesco Express outlets) when paying at the till.

    • RussellH says:

      Which only makes any sense if you are buying over 30 litres of fuel.

      I suspect Esso are making a useful amount out of people who do not do the calculation.

      • Harrier25 says:

        With today’s fuel prices, most people are purchasing 30 litres of fuel easily.

        • RussellH says:

          I would have thought the exact opposite. I find I usually buy around £20 worth

          • Harrier25 says:

            You can’t do that many miles then. Nothing worse than standing at a petrol pump twice in a week!

          • RussellH says:

            It was 2 weeks today when I last bought any fuel – I have used perhaps 35-40% of it so far.

          • RussellH says:

            And the Esso stations are all significantly more expensive too.

          • Rob says:

            This generally isn’t the case since the supermarkets jacked up their prices following the private equity takeovers of Morrisons and Asda. They are now trying to make money on petrol, radically.

          • RussellH says:

            I have not seen an ASDA supermarket station since last February, so cannot comment on that, but I would agree that locally Morrisons is now routinely 1p or 2p more than Sainsbury’s or Tesco. But obviously Morrisons cannot go much higher than that.
            The local Esso places are all EG, but the one that has changed its shop from Spar to ASDA is significantly less than the ones that are still Spar.
            And the Jet garage is becoming competitive again.

    • the_real_a says:

      In the Morrision’s days people would line up 3 cars and fill from the same pump… Then Jerry cans.

    • BP says:

      Always buy my petrol at Costco which is generally cheaper than other places by at least 5p per litre.

      • Thegasman says:

        If it’s anything like my local Costco you’ll be queuing for 30mins+ so you have to value your time below minimum wage to be bothered by the discount!

  • Don says:

    Side question on Virgin Points, maybe addressed elsewhere. Can Flying Blue (KLM/AF) miles be converted into Virgin Points?

    • Rob says:

      No, but they can be used for Virgin flights. You can also convert them to Accor points for a cash discount off a hotel room (or for onward conversion to Avios, albeit the net rate is 4 FB to 1 Avios).

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