If you travel on business, earning airline miles from your hotel stays is an easy way of running up your Avios balance.
You should never take airline miles by default, as it is normally better value to take hotel points from your stay in the relevant hotel loyalty scheme. This only makes sense, however, if you are confident of earning enough to get to a decent redemption.
If you are staying at a chain which you do not intend to visit again, you might as well take airline miles instead of hotel points.
British Airways has a number of hotel partners (and Airbnb). The list gets bigger when you include chains like NH Hotels which are partners with Iberia and who can be credited to Iberia Plus.
Qatar Airways also has a number of exclusive hotel partners which earn Avios in Qatar Privilege Club and can be transferred to a BA account – Shangri-La Hotels is the key one.
In the past, there were a number of hotel chains who did not work with Avios but who did partner with Virgin Flying Club. However, in recent years Virgin Flying Club has been culling its hotel partners.
In recent years we have lost:
- Blue Sky Luxury (rental homes in Barbados, Antigua, Dominica, Jamaica, St Barts, St Lucia and St Martin)
- Jumeirah (a bit of a loss but given that Virgin Atlantic has dropped Dubai it was becoming less relevant)
- Marco Polo Hotels (a Hong Kong and China-based group)
- Millennium and Copthorne
- Morgans Hotel Group
- Red Carnation Hotels (a small luxury boutique chain with the bulk of its global properties in London)
Which hotels chains earn Virgin Points?
There are a number of hotel programmes which are partners with both Avios and Virgin Flying Club, so you get to choose which airline to credit to, assuming you don’t want to redeem for hotel rooms. These include:
- Best Western Rewards
- Hilton Honors
- IHG One Rewards
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt
Of the major hotel schemes we cover, Accor and Radisson are the biggest outliers who offer transfers to Avios but not Virgin Points.
This is what is left in terms of hotels which offer Virgin Points but do not offer Avios:
Click here for details of the Virgin Flying Club offer. You will receive 2,000 Virgin Points per stay at a participating hotel.
This new chain is slowly rolling out in the US and and the UK. I reviewed the new Virgin Hotels Edinburgh here whilst Rhys was in New York for the opening of the Virgin Hotels in NoMad. Glasgow is opening soon.
At participating hotels, Flying Club Gold members will receive a complimentary breakfast daily and an upgrade, subject to availability. Silver members will receive a complimentary upgrade, based on availability.
Virgin Limited Edition
Virgin Limited Edition is the boutique hotel company operating Sir Richard Branson’s collection of properties around the world. Whilst the company was recently merged into Virgin Hotels, it still operates as a subset of properties and offers specialised earning rates.
You can earn a whopping 55,000 Virgin Points for a one-week stay on Sir Richard Branson’s private Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands – but it doesn’t come cheap!
Other earning rates apply across the remaining properties:
- 1,500 points per night at Mont Rochelle
- 7,000 points per night at Ulusaba
- 7,000 points per night at Mahali Mzuri
- 2,500 points per night at Kasbah Tamadot
- 4,500 points per night at The Lodge, Verbier
You will earn 500 points for a 3+ night stay at YOTEL New York.
You will earn earn 100 Virgin points per stay at the following:
- YOTEL Gatwick – we reviewed YOTEL Gatwick here
- YOTEL Paris Charles de Gaulle
- YOTEL Amsterdam Schiphol
…. as long as you book direct.
The WorldHotels consortium of independent upscale hotels gives you 500 Virgin Points per stay as you can see here.
There is currently an American Express cashback offer available for WorldHotels, offering £100 back on a £250 spend at participating properties.
Is it worth earning Virgin Points from a one-off hotel stay?
Even if you regularly stay at one of these chains, you may have decided against bothering with Virgin Points because you would never earn enough for a flight redemption to a destination you want to visit.
This is no longer the case, however. With Virgin Atlantic now part of SkyTeam, there are many more ways to earn and redeem points. The launch of Virgin Red has added additional ways to spend your Virgin Points, starting at just 200 Virgin Points for a Greggs sausage roll!
If you want to build up your balance to get a flight, you can top-off your Virgin Points with an Amex Membership Rewards, Tesco Clubcard or Heathrow Rewards points transfer or by getting the Virgin Atlantic credit cards.
You can even transfer Virgin Points into Hilton Honors or IHG One Rewards points if you want to redeem Virgin Points on hotels rather than earn them. The minimum number of Virgin Points required is 10,000 and the transfer rate is 1:1.5 into Hilton and 1:1 into IHG.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (December 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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
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.)