Is there any value in using Virgin Points for non-flying redemptions? Let’s take a look.
This article is Part 11 of our new ‘Virgin Redemption University’ series to run alongside our existing ‘Avios Redemption University’ – which itself will get a much-needed update next month.
If you want to earn more Virgin Points, our review of the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard credit card is here (15,000 bonus points) and our review of the free Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard credit card is here.
Here are the other 12 articles in the series:
- How does Virgin Red differ from Virgin Flying Club?
- How many Virgin Points do you need to fly to ….?
- How to redeem Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic flights
- How to redeem Virgin Points on SkyTeam flights
- How to redeem Virgin Points on ANA and other partners
- How to upgrade your Virgin Atlantic flight with Virgin Points
- How to convert Virgin Points to Hilton or IHG hotel points
- How to use Virgin Points for a Virgin Holidays discount
- How to redeem Virgin Points for hotel rooms via Kaligo
- Is Virgin Atlantic’s ‘Points Plus Money’ feature a good deal?
- What is the cheapest way to top up your Virgin Points?
- Get cheaper Virgin redemptions with a credit card voucher
Earlier parts of this series have looked at flight redemptions (on Virgin Atlantic, on SkyTeam alliance partners and on non-alliance partners) and on items directly linked to a flight (reducing the cost of a cash flight with Virgin Points, booking a hotel, transferring to hotel loyalty programmes, reducing the cost of a Virgin Atlantic Holiday).
In this article, we want to look at using your Virgin Points for something which isn’t linked to a flight or a hotel.
After all, the launch of the Virgin Red app brought a huge number of new ways to spend Virgin Points – but do they offer real value?
Other Virgin Flying Club partners
Before we get into the Virgin Red app and its partners, I want to look briefly at other Virgin Points redemptions which need be ordered via Virgin Flying Club.
Ignoring the flight and hotel options which we’ve covered in earlier articles in this series, here are your options (full details are on the Virgin Atlantic website here):
You can redeem Virgin Points for Eurostar vouchers at the following rates:
- 12,500 points = £50 Eurostar e-voucher
- 25,000 points = £100 Eurostar e-voucher
At just 0.4p per Virgin Point this makes little sense. Even if you ignore flying options, you can get 0.5p per point via various other Virgin Red redemption choices.
You can redeem Virgin Points to spend on their Retail Therapy duty free site, for delivery to your seat in-flight or to your home. The rates are:
- 6,250 points = £25 Retail Therapy voucher
- 12,500 points = £50 Retail Therapy voucher
At 0.4p per point, the same comment as per Eurostar applies.
Virgin Gift Cards
These can be ordered in various denominations at 0.5p per Virgin Point:
- £10 voucher = 2,000 points
- £15 voucher = 3,000 points
- £25 voucher = 5,000 points
- £50 voucher = 10,000 points
- £75 voucher = 15,000 points
- £100 voucher = 20,000 points
Whilst you can use these at Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays, it makes no sense – you get a higher redemption rate (0.55p per point) by spending your points directly with these companies (see here for Virgin Atlantic, see here for Virgin Atlantic Holidays). Other redemption options include Virgin Pure (water filters), Virgin Experience Days, Virgin Wines and Virgin Balloon Flights.
You can also redeem Virgin Points for standalone Virgin Wines vouchers at the same 0.5p rate, but this makes little sense given that a Virgin Gift Card is more flexible.
The best Virgin Red redemptions
Virgin Red is an app-based reward scheme – although you can also operate it via a website if you wish – which is aimed at the non-flying general public. It lets you collect and spend Virgin Points through a variety of day to day shopping partners.
If you have not already done so, we recommend that you download the Virgin Red app (UK and US addresses only) and link it to any Virgin Flying Club account you have. This will allow you to see your Virgin Points balance and recent activity, and redeem your points for a wider range of items.
The majority of Virgin Red redemptions are worth 0.5p per point
There is a huge variety of stuff on Virgin Red. However, the vast majority gets you exactly 0.5p per Virgin Point.
If you are looking to empty out a Virgin Points balance, the most straightforward of the ‘0.5p per point’ options is Virgin Trains Ticketing. You can book a ticket in the Virgin Trains Ticketing app and pay in part or in full with Virgin Points by linking your Virgin Red details. You can run down your Virgin Points balance on something which you were going to buy anyway.
Some Virgin Red redemptions give outsize value
There are some opportunities – usually special offers – which offer far better value than 0.5p per Virgin Point.
Cruise with Virgin Voyages
By far the best value redemptions we see are for Virgin Voyages cruises.
Virgin Voyages is a new Virgin Group business. To encourage people to give it a try, it has been running exceptional occasional deals.
The most recent one is here. You would pay 80,000 Virgin Points for a seven night all inclusive (except alcoholic drinks) cruise FOR TWO PEOPLE around the Mediterranean.
Cash rates were up to £3,000, so you were getting well over 3p per Virgin Point.
A lot of HfP readers jumped on this redemption. The feedback in our forum has been fantastic – from young and old, from those who wanted a bit of a party to those who simply wanted a quiet break after a tricky couple of years.
There is no guarantee that this offer will come back for Summer 2024, but if it does you can’t beat it.
‘Red Room’ VIP concert packages at the AO (Manchester) Arena
Virgin Red has a private suite at the AO Arena in Manchester. Tickets for upcoming events are offered for points via the Virgin Red app.
The price varies but currently includes, for example, Deacon Blue and S Club for 30,000 points for two people.
Whether this is good value depends on the premium you place on being in a VIP suite rather than on the arena floor, but if it works for you then it is excellent value for your points. Note that no food or alcoholic drinks are included (you can order items for cash in the suite, soft drinks seem to be provided) but packages do include a reserved car parking spot, VIP entry and use of a cloakroom. There is even a private en-suite bathroom!
Virgin Wines cases
Whilst Virgin Flying Club will give you a Virgin Wines gift voucher for 0.5p per point, Virgin Red has access to regular special cases. These generally give you a decent value per point, well above 0.5p.
A range of cases are always available outside of promotional periods. Here are some of the options:
- Classic six bottle white or red wine case: 9,000 points
- Exclusive six bottle mixed wine case: 12,000 points
- Exclusive six bottle Prosecco case: 12,000 points
- Classic 12 bottle white or red wine case: 19,000 points
These cases tend to get you nearer 0.5p per Virgin Point based on the regular Virgin Wines selling price and so do not offer outsize value.
Get down to Greggs
Yes, bizarrely some of the best value for your Virgin Points can be found at Greggs.
You redeem your points in the Virgin Red app. In return you get a QR code which can be scanned at the till in Greggs as payment for an item.
Greggs pricing tends to vary across the country, but the points price is static. London readers may therefore get better value.
- 300 Virgin Points for a regular hot drink
- 200 Virgin Points for a sausage roll
- 300 Virgin Points for a savoury
- 385 Virgin Points for a breakfast roll deal (hot roll plus choice of drink)
- 200 Virgin Points for a doughnut or muffin
For more information, read our guide to redeeming Virgin Points at Greggs.
Virgin Limited Edition hotels
We said that we wouldn’t look at flight or hotel redemptions in this article, but it would be amiss not to squeeze this one in as we haven’t covered it yet in this series.
In the mood to splurge? Virgin Limited Edition gives you access to some exclusive boutique hotels owned by Richard Branson himself, from safari lodges in Kenya and South Africa to private island escapes.
The following properties are currently available:
- 3 nights at Mont Rochelle, South Africa for two: 110,000 points low season / 180,000 points high season
- 3 nights at Mahali Mzuri, Kenya for two: 540,000 points
- 5 nights at Mahai Mzuri, Kenya for two: 860,000 points
- 3 nights at Ulusaba, South Africa for two: 540,000 points
- 5 nights at Ulusaba, South Africa for two: 860,000 points
- 3 nights at Kasbah Tamadot, Morocco for two: 220,000 points low season / 250,000 points mid season (not available in high season)
- 3 nights at Son Bunyola, Mallorca for two: 220,000 points mid season / 250,000 points high season
There is also a special ‘cash and points’ deal available at Necker Island. A four night stay for two people, all inclusive, is 540,000 Virgin Points plus $5,400 in cash. Additional nights cost 180,000 Virgin Points plus $1,800.
These properties are not cheap and, whilst the exact value depends on the time of the year and the property chosen, I’d be surprised if you were not well above 0.5p per Virgin Point. The Necker Island deal is exceptionally good given that rooms start at $5,400 per night for cash.
We hope this article gave you a few ideas if you really can’t face any more flights or hotel stays on top of the ones you already did to earn your Virgin Points!
Head for Points will always write about new or limited time Virgin Red redemptions which offer outsize value for your Virgin Points, so keep an eye on the site or sign up for our daily or weekly email newsletters.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (September 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):
SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.
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.)