Virgin Atlantic Flying Club: The Ultimate Guide (2024)

On Virgin Atlantic Flights

Since Virgin Atlantic is based in London, many of its flights will be hit with high fuel surcharges. That said, you can find some deals on Virgin Atlantic flights, specifically in economy. For example, Virgin Atlantic flights from Washington Dulles (IAD) to London Heathrow (LHR) in economy class run as low as 10,000 Virgin Points and about $153.00 in taxes and fees one way.

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You can redeem as few as 10,000 Virgin Points for flights such as New York (JFK) to London.

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On Flights With Partners

Where the true value of this program lies is in its partner award charts. Virgin Atlantic uses a different chart for each partner airline, and some redemptions are better deals than others.

One of Virgin Atlantic’s partner award sweet spots is with flights on Japanese carrier ANA in its premium cabins. For a round-trip flight originating in the Western contiguous U.S. to Japan, the mileage cost is 90,000 Virgin Points in business class. For flights from the eastern U.S., the cost is only slightly higher at 95,000 Virgin Points. ANA first class is quite a bit more costly at 145,000 and 170,000 points, respectively. Taxes and fees will run you less than $300.

You’ll have to search for availability via ANA’s search engine and call into Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book, but it’s well worth the extra steps to be able to experience this top-of-the-line product. As always, make sure to call first before making any speculative points transfers. Once those points are transferred in, they can’t be transferred back to the bank’s program.

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Virgin Atlantic’s award chart for ANA. The chart reflects the mileage cost for roundtrip travel.

Fees

Fees on award flights booked with Virgin Atlantic points can be prohibitively high as they pass along carrier imposed fees. But there are a few options where you can avoid those pesky fuel surcharges. Delta flights originating in the U.S., for example, do not carry exorbitant fees along with ANA flights, Hawaiian Airlines and domestic Virgin Australia flights.

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Sweet Spots

A favorite sweet spot for Virgin Points is with its partner Delta Air Lines. Delta One, Delta’s premium international business-class product, can be booked from the U.S. to Europe for around 50,000 Virgin Points and no carrier-imposed fees. While an excellent value for your points, open flights can be incredibly hard to find.

Compare this to economy-cabin flights, which run 30,000 points and have the same $5.60 in taxes and fees.

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The award charts below are for non-stop domestic Delta flights within the U.S. when using Virgin Points to book and for non-stop award flights to the following:

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Caribbean
  • Central America
  • Oceania
  • South America

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Quirks

As far as quirks go, Virgin Atlantic’s are mostly positive. Expiration of Virgin Points, for example, no longer exists as of September 2020.

Another interesting feature of the program is aimed at new families. If a member is expecting a baby, Virgin Atlantic will cover any outstanding tier points to renew Gold status from the start date of the leave period. Members just need to contact Virgin Atlantic to enroll.

Infant Fees

With Flying Club an eligible lap infant must be under two years old at the time of travel. While extra fees are never fun, Virgin Atlantic at least makes its infant fees easy to understand.

  • Babies up to the age of two riding as a lap infant: 10% of the adult fare (plus any taxes, fees or charges). For example, if an award flight costs 10,000 Virgin Points, you will pay just 1,000 more points for your lap infant.
  • Children in their own seat, despite age, will be charged the standard adult fare.

Family Pooling

As one of the perks for Gold elite status with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, members can create a household account and add up to nine individuals to pool their Virgin Points. Miles earned through flying will be pooled automatically into the family account.

Combine Points With Another Flying Club Member

Previously transferring points to another Virgin Atlantic Flying Club member was likely more costly than it was worth. Members were charged a fee of $22 per transfer plus $13.50 for every 1,000 miles transferred. Under the new policy, members can transfer an unlimited number of miles for a flat fee of $15. That’s a massive improvement.

Transfers between 1,000 and 100,000 points must be done in 1,000 point increments. Transfers of 100,000 points to 2,000,000 are processed by Points.com while transfers beyond the first 2,000,000 will require contacting Virgin Red’s member support team at membersupport@virgin.com.

If you transfer 100,000 points or less, the transaction should be complete within 24 hours. Transfers of more than 100,000 points, meanwhile, could take up to seven days.

Other Ways To Use Virgin Points

Virgin Points can be redeemed for more than just flights, although, generally, redeeming for flights is where the best value lies.

Upgrades

Using Virgin Points for upgrades on a paid fare is one option. Note that you cannot use Virgin Points to upgrade an award-only ticket, but you can upgrade revenue fares including Virgin’s Points Plus Money tickets. The following chart shows the cost in Virgin Points for various standard season round-trip upgrades. To request an upgrade, you’ll need to contact Virgin by chat after logging into the My Booking link and clicking on the chat icon. Alternatively, you can call to upgrade.

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For peak season, you’ll pay more for upgrades:

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Spending Partners

Virgin Atlantic also allows Virgin Points to be used towards its spending partners. Hilton is one example. Flying Club members can transfer 2 Virgin Points for 3 Hilton points. You’ll need to transfer a minimum of 10,000 Hilton points in 10,000 point increments. You must call Virgin Atlantic to make the transfer. Transfers can take up to 30 days.

Another spending partner of Flying Club is IHG. Members can exchange their Virgin Points for IHG Rewards Club points at a rate of 1 Virgin Point to 1 IHG Rewards Club point. Neither hotel chain’s exchange rate is particularly compelling.

Speculatively transferring airline miles to a hotel is generally not a very good use of points. If you need to top off an account for an upcoming stay, then it could make sense, but even then, other options like using a shopping portal or spending on a credit card should be considered first.

Virgin Voyages

In recent years since the launch of their cruise line, Virgin Voyages, Virgin has occasionally made booking a cruise with points available. This is one of the few methods to book a cruise on points, and the value has been impressive with a seven-night cruise for two people starting at 80,000 points.

To find out if Virgin has any cruises available to book on points, start by logging in to your Virgin Red account and clicking the Spend tab on the top navigation. Virgin Voyages traverse over 100 destinations and are adults-only. Cruise fares include food, essential drinks, Wi-Fi, tips, fitness classes and entertainment.

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Virgin Atlantic Flying Club: The Ultimate Guide (2024)

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