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How to use your annual Virgin Atlantic credit card voucher for upgrades, companion travel or lounge access

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This article is sponsored by Virgin Money

One of the key benefits of the Virgin Atlantic Reward and Reward+ credit cards is the annual reward voucher.

This voucher can be hard to get your head around. Is it a companion voucher? Is it an upgrade voucher? Is it a Clubhouse pass? Is it actually all three? And how do the rules change based on your Virgin Flying Club status?

Hopefully you’ll have a much better understanding of how to use the Virgin Atlantic credit card reward voucher once you’ve finished reading this guide.

As a reminder, until 13th June the sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card has been doubled.

You will receive 30,000 Virgin Points in total – 15,000 after your first purchase and a further 15,000 after spending £3,000 in three months. Click here to apply.

The representative APR is 69.7% variable, including the annual fee.  The representative APR on purchases is 26.9% variable.

How to earn a Virgin Atlantic credit card reward voucher

As a reminder, you receive a voucher:

Vouchers are deposited into your Flying Club account within 30 days of hitting the spending target and can be used immediately.

The voucher is valid for 24 months, and you need to have booked and flown the outbound flight (if that’s what you’re redeeming for) within that time frame. Your return flight can be after the expiry date.

Unlike a British Airways American Express voucher, the expiry date – two years – is the same irrespective of whether you have the free or paid-for credit card.

What does the reward voucher do?

This is where things can get confusing, because you can use your annual Virgin Atlantic credit card reward voucher in a number of ways. These include:

  • as a companion voucher, for cash tickets AND redemption bookings
  • as an upgrade voucher
  • as a Clubhouse lounge pass if you are a Silver or Gold Flying Club member

Let’s go through them one by one:

Using the Virgin Atlantic credit card reward voucher as a 2-4-1 companion voucher

One of the best value options is to use your credit card reward to redeem a companion ticket.

This lets you book two Virgin Atlantic tickets for the price (in points or money) of one. It can offer a massive saving on what you would normally pay.

The good news is that you can book the companion ticket for anyone – you do not need to be related or share the same name. You can travel with a friend, partner, parent, child or even a work colleague.

The voucher is non-transferable and can only be used by the person who earned it, unless you have Gold or Silver status in Virgin Flying Club. A Gold or Silver member can gift their voucher to someone else.

Since 2020, Virgin Atlantic lets you use the voucher for a points or cash booking, massively increasing the flexibility of the offer. This is a BIG change that opens up a world of possibilities.

The voucher works in the same way, regardless of whether you’re using cash or points to pay for your flight:

  • there needs to be reward availability for the second seat in the class you want to book. You can check this on the Virgin Atlantic website here but you can see full calendar availability with a service like SeatSpy. This is important – if you have bought a cash ticket, you can only use your voucher to get a 2nd free ticket if a reward seat is available.
  • you must pay taxes and fees on the second ticket, irrespective of whether the first ticket was bought for points or cash

The second point is worth noting, because the taxes and fees on a reward ticket can be quite steep. On a return flight from London to Los Angeles, for example, you can expect to pay:

  • £283 in Economy
  • £464 in Premium
  • £994 in Upper Class

That said, a companion voucher still offers exceptional value, particularly in Upper Class. Given the sky-high cash prices for flights right now, £994 to take a friend with you in Upper Class doesn’t seem bad.

Using the voucher for an Economy booking is poorer value, as cash tickets are often available for little more than the taxes and charges on a reward booking.

There’s one other catch. When used for a companion ticket in Upper Class, you’ll also have to pay 50% of the points needed for a standard Upper Class reward flight, unless you have Flying Club Silver or Gold status.

That means – in our example above – you’d also have to stump up up to 77,500 Virgin Points for your second ticket to Los Angeles if you did not have elite status. It’s really a ‘buy one, get one for half price’ voucher in this scenario.

This rules does not apply to Economy or Premium cabin flights. Here, you simply pay the taxes and charges on the second ticket – no extra points required – if you don’t have Virgin Flying Club status.

Using the Virgin Atlantic credit card reward voucher as an upgrade voucher

Another great use of your annual reward voucher is to upgrade a flight.

One voucher will upgrade a single round trip – or you can choose to upgrade two one-way flights for two people. The voucher can be used to upgrade to the next cabin, where there is reward seat availability, is available to all Flying Club tiers and can be part used on single leg journeys.

You can only use the voucher to upgrade by one cabin class – so from Economy Delight to Premium or Premium to Upper Class. (The only way to upgrade by two classes, from Economy to Upper Class, is to use Virgin Points.)

You can read our review of Premium on Virgin Atlantic here as well as our review of Upper Class on the A350 here. Our review of Upper Class on the new A330neo fleet is here.

You can upgrade both cash and redemption tickets.

Once again, there are a few ground rules:

  • there needs to be reward availability in the class you want to upgrade to
  • there does not (for a reward booking) need to be reward availability in the class you are upgrading from
  • you need to pay any additional taxes and fees for the upgraded cabins compared to the one you booked

It’s easier to NOT think of this as an upgrade voucher but as a ‘book a reward ticket and pay either the cash or the ‘points and taxes’ for the next cheapest ticket class’ voucher. I admit that ‘upgrade voucher’ is snappier though ….

You can upgrade to all classes, regardless of your Flying Club tier. This means even Flying Club Red members can book into Upper Class, so long as you have bought a Premium ticket.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Heathrow bar

Using the Virgin Atlantic credit card reward voucher for a Clubhouse lounge pass

You can also trade in your credit card voucher for a Clubhouse lounge pass but only if you have Virgin Flying Club Silver or Gold status.

Whilst Virgin Clubhouses are exceptional (our review of the Heathrow Clubhouse is here) this is by far the least valuable way to spend your voucher, not least because there are other, cheaper ways to get airport lounge access.

The Clubhouse Pass is emailed to you as a code that you need to use when you check in to the lounge.

The pass is for one person only, for one visit. It is valid at any Clubhouse worldwide, although you need to be flying Virgin Atlantic, Delta, Air France or KLM internationally.

You cannot guest anyone in with you. If you’re a Flying Club Gold member, you get two passes instead of one if you choose this option, although that’s slightly redundant as you can use the Clubhouse anyway! It would only benefit a Gold travelling with three guests, as the Gold could guest one person regardless.

How to redeem your Virgin Atlantic credit card voucher

Once you’ve decided how and when to redeem your reward voucher you’ll need to call Virgin Atlantic on 0344 874 7747 to make the booking, as there’s no online functionality.


The Virgin Atlantic credit card reward vouchers are incredibly powerful, and very valuable if used strategically.

It is well worth putting £10,000 or £20,000 per year of spend on your card, depending on which credit card you hold, to ensure you trigger one.

It’s unfortunate that the wide range of options (upgrade or direct redemption, cash or reward flight, lounge pass alternative) makes the vouchers difficult to explain – and Virgin Atlantic doesn’t help by changing the rules for those without status – but hopefully this guide has helped.

Remember that the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard has doubled its sign-up bonus to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 13th June.

You can apply here.

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.

Comments (74)

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

  • BA-Flyer says:

    According to the T&Cs listed on the Virgin website, only Silver and Gold Flying Club members can use the voucher for a lounge pass.

    • Rob says:

      Correct. Not sure why that isn’t in because it is correct in our card review which this was based on. The fact that Virgin has read this article in advance – because it is sponsored – is, I think, a sign that the system is too complex by far.

  • Tom says:

    Hold on. If the UC taxes are £1000 (which is ridiculous) and you use a 241 on a reward booking… doesn’t that mean the total tax bill will be £2000 for both of you?

    • Rob says:

      Yes, same as a BA Amex 241.

      • OGP says:

        Except the fact BA has reasonable value options that don’t cost you £1000+ each

        • Rob says:

          No they don’t.

          NY for eg is 190,000 Avios + £350 or 100,000 Avios + £950. Virgin only offers 95,000 + £950.

          On a 241 the BA deal is now more attractive BUT you need to generate 190k Avios each year (or 380k for a family of 4).

          Without a 241 the BA 190k deal stinks.

      • Tom says:

        In that case PE looks like the sweet spot for a daytime flight but only ever flown UC on VA. Really hard to justify an extra £1000 for the club house and slightly nicer seats.

    • NorthernLass says:

      And unless you’re gold or silver you get hammered for 50% extra points as well!

      • VALittleRed says:

        Though if you are BA Gold they will status match if you have an upper class (Or even PE?) flight booked? Not sure when the status match actions as if it was instant you could get the status match then use the voucher before even flying saving 50% of the points on the companion ticket?

        • Rob says:

          Match is approved instantly but does not trigger until 24 hours before you fly.

  • chistery says:

    I find upgrade pricing with the voucher quite hard to understand on VS.

    So if I buy a cash PE ticket and upgrade to Upper, the extra due in taxes is the difference between PE and Upper

    PE – 55k + £520
    Upper – 105k + £1000

    So I’d pay the cash PE fair, and upgrade with voucher would be an extra £480?

  • roberto says:

    I used a voucher recently and booked two award seats back from Barbados paying two sets of “taxes and fee” and one set of miles. The strange bit was that we got two different booking reference numbers which are not linked. We are seated together.

    The voucher will also be older than 2 years by the time we fly.

  • janolabs says:

    If I close my credit card, do I lose the voucher I have already earned?

  • Tina says:

    I will very shortly earn my voucher having spend £10k. Currently, I am silver but will lose this at the end of the year. From my understanding, the tier is taken into account when you book, not when you travel so if I book whilst silver but don’t fly until after I’ve lost it, then I should still be able to use the voucher as a 2-4-1 – is that correct?

  • Ali B says:

    In the words of Duncan Bannatyne, I’m out”!

    I’ll stick to my BA 241 and look out for cheap business tickets rather than aggravate myself trying to figure all that out

    TAP go for less than £1100 DUB-NYC so I wouldn’t be annoyed with all that hassle

  • Mal Kiely says:

    Hi Rob, I cancelled my previous card over a year ago, if I sign up again do I qualify for the 30,000 bonus if I take out the plus card?

    • Rob says:

      Yes, if accepted. However Virgin take a tougher view on people who reapply than Amex, treating their applications with a degree of cynicism, and your chance of acceptance is much lower the 2nd time. No reason not to try though.

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

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