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INSIDER SECRET: You can use Virgin Atlantic miles to get outstanding value on international award flights on partner airlines.
Virgin Atlantic doesn’t come to mind as often as British Airways for air travel to and through London despite its significant presence at London Heathrow airport. Yet Virgin Atlantic, part of the Virgin business empire, is the second largest airline in the United Kingdom and its frequent flyer program, Flying Club, offers some incredible travel awards. It has a myriad of transfer partners and provides valuable opportunities for earning and redeeming miles.
The miles are easy to earn from the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®, which currently has an increased sign-up bonus of 80,000 miles after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements. I’ll show you the basics of earning and using your Virgin Atlantic miles and help you decide if it’s worth it to you to make them part of your travel strategy.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club review
Flying Club is the loyalty program of Virgin Atlantic. Here, you’ll collect your miles and accumulate elite status credit. When you’re ready to use your miles, you can redeem them toward award travel, not only on Virgin Atlantic but with several other partner airlines too.
Sign-up for a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account
If you don’t already have one, it’s easy (and free) to create a Flying Club account.
When you’re done, you’ll have a Flying Club number to use when you fly Virgin Atlantic or any of their partners, earning frequent flyer miles as you go.
Earn Virgin Atlantic miles
There are many ways to earn Virgin Atlantic miles.
1. Fly on Virgin Atlantic
You can earn Virgin Atlantic miles the old-fashioned way by flying on the airline and adding your frequent flyer number to your reservation. The number of miles you’ll earn is based on the distance of your flight, the fare class you book and whether you have any frequent flyer status with Virgin Atlantic.
For most U.S.-based flyers, this is a tough way to earn lots of miles. You would need to be flying through London often to grow your mileage balance. But if you occasionally fly with Virgin Atlantic, it’s still worthwhile to always include your frequent flyer number to earn miles.
If you do fly enough to move past the default “Red” status, you’ll earn bonuses of an additional 30% of miles for Silver status holders and an additional 60% in bonus miles for Gold status holders.
2. Use the Virgin Atlantic credit card
You’ll earn Virgin Atlantic miles when you open and spend money on the Bank of America Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®.
The quickest way to earn Virgin Atlantic miles is by spending on this card or earning the lucrative sign-up bonus. You can find all the details about the current increased bonus and other card details in our full review of the Virgin Atlantic credit card.
3. Fly with Virgin Atlantic’s airline partners
When you use your Flying Club number on partner airlines, you’ll earn Virgin Atlantic miles. How many you’ll earn varies by airline, fare type, and cabin of travel.
Virgin Atlantic is not part of a traditional airline alliance, but it partners with these airlines:
- Air France
- Singapore Airlines
- Air New Zealand
- Virgin Australia
- South African Airways
- Air China
- Hawaiian Airlines
4. Spending with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club partners
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club will also reward you with frequent flyer miles when you spend money online or book travel with several of their non-airline partners, such as hotel booking websites. You can also earn miles by purchasing Virgin Wines, shopping through the Shops Away site or by booking with partner car rental agencies.
If you don’t already shop through a shopping portal or make travel reservations through an online portal, I recommend you look at how to Earn with Partners on the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club website.
Some of the partners include:
Check here for more information and to explore the full list.
5. Transfer points from a flexible points currency
Possibly my favorite aspect of Flying Club is that you can transfer miles to Virgin Atlantic from each of the four major transferable points currencies. These are:
This means you can earn Virgin Atlantic miles by spending on cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, and then you can transfer your points directly to Virgin Atlantic.
This is also an easy way to top up your account if you’re close to an award.
How to Use Virgin Atlantic miles
Now for the fun part — redeeming your miles for something awesome.
1. Award flights on Virgin Atlantic and partner airlines
The best and most common way to redeem your Virgin Atlantic miles is for award travel. Although you can typically get excellent value redeeming your miles for flights on Virgin Atlantic, try to avoid departing from London because the taxes and fees will be high.
You’ll generally get the best value when redeeming for international flights on partner airlines in premium cabins (like business class and first class). One of my favorite uses of Virgin Atlantic miles is to redeem them to fly to Japan on ANA.
Keep in mind that you can only book award flights on Virgin Atlantic and Delta on the Virgin Atlantic website. For bookings on any other partner airlines (such as ANA, Air China or Hawaiian Airlines), you’ll need to call Flying Club at 800-365-9500.
You can also book flights with Flying Club’s “Miles Plus Money” option, which can sometimes be a good deal. Overall, you’ll get the most bang for your buck when redeeming your miles for award flights.
2. Redeem miles for chauffeur service
If you want to feel like a high roller, you can redeem 17,500 Flying Club miles to get chauffeur service within 75 miles of most airports served by Virgin Atlantic. This typically won’t be a great value and you might be better off saving your miles and using Uber or Lyft.
3. Redeem miles with Spend Partners
Finally, you can choose to redeem your miles for things like spa services at the wellness spas in select Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses. Or you can use your miles on unique spending partners such as Virgin Wines or Kaligo.com.
These options typically yield less than 1 cent per mile, a poor value and something we recommend you avoid. If you’re still interested, you can check out the Spend Partners on the Flying Club website.
Do Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles expire?
Unfortunately, Flying Club miles will expire after 36 months of no account activity. But you can simply transfer in 1,000 miles from one of the many transfer partners before three years are up to keep your account active and your miles safe. That is an easy way to ensure that your miles don’t disappear.
How many miles do you need to travel?
Virgin Atlantic offers numerous award flight options (even from the United States to London), starting at just 10,000 Flying Club miles per person, one-way in economy class.
That’s a great deal and a compelling reason why Virgin Atlantic miles are valuable. You can even find Upper Class (Virgin Atlantic’s name for traditional business class) seats for less than 50,000 miles one-way, but keep an eye out for hefty taxes and fees.
You can also book award flights on Delta within the continental U.S. and pay just 12,500 miles one-way in coach. But Virgin Atlantic bases the cost on each flight segment, so try to stick to nonstop award flights to get the most value.
You can search for award flights directly at VirginAtlantic.com and you can even see availability without needing to log in to your account. This makes booking flights simple and easy, and is another reason why the Flying Club program is so user-friendly.
Just remember that for the outstanding value awards (such as round-trip in first class from London to Beijing for just 75,000 miles), you’ll need to call up Virgin Atlantic Flying club to book the partner award flight.
Who should collect Virgin Atlantic miles?
I recommend that you look into Virgin Atlantic miles or start collecting them if you have any plans to take a one-way flight to Europe because award flights from the U.S. to London are so reasonably priced and award space is reasonably available.
There are definitely Flying Club “sweet spots,” like round-trip flights to Tokyo in business class. If you need to top up your account (or fund it entirely), you can always transfer in some miles and points from one of your flexible points currencies.
Because of their high value and ease of accumulation (based on generous sign-up offers and transferability), everyone should know about Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and be ready to use these miles.
And don’t forget, with the limited-time offer on the Virgin Atlantic credit card, you can earn up to 80,000 Virgin Atlantic miles after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements.
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