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Virgin Atlantic was founded by Sir Richard Branson in 1984 and is headquartered in the United Kingdom. His adventurous personality came to personify what the airline was all about, including his famous "Screw it, let's do it" philosophy. As it launched more destinations around the world, Virgin Atlantic became "the airline you flew if you wanted an adventure."
In this guide to Virgin Atlantic, we'll explore the ways to earn points, the best ways to redeem Virgin Atlantic points and what it takes to earn elite status. Although Virgin Atlantic doesn't belong to an alliance, it partners with several airlines and hotels to earn rewards and redeem points.
Follow along in this guide to Virgin Atlantic's loyalty program, the Flying Club, to see if this rewards program is right for you.
About Virgin Atlantic
Here’s a quick overview of a few key features of Virgin Atlantic and its loyalty program:
Fare types: Virgin Atlantic offers three classes of seats — economy, premium and upper class. Economy fares are further broken down into three categories: Delight, Classic and Light. Upper class passengers receive complimentary access to Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounges.
Main U.S. routes: Virgin Atlantic operates out of 10 U.S. cities, with most of its flights routing through London-Heathrow airport. Departures from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and New York are among the most popular. Virgin Atlantic also operates limited and seasonal flights from the U.S. to Belfast in Ireland, Glasgow in Scotland and Manchester in the U.K.
Points currency and loyalty program: Travelers can participate in the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to earn and redeem points. Members earn a percent of the actual miles flown that depends on the ticket class and the traveler's level of elite status. Points can be redeemed for flights, exclusive experiences and more.
How to earn Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points
Earn by flying
Members earn Virgin Atlantic points based on the ticket class and the number of miles flown. Economy flights earn from 25% to 150% of miles flown, while premium flyers earn 100% to 200% and upper class travelers earns 200% to 400%. Additionally, elite status provides a bonus of 30% to 60% on top of that.
Here's how those earnings rates shake out:
Light - 25%
Class H & K - 100%
Class I & Z - 200%
Classic - 50% to 150%
Class W & S - 200%
Class J, C & D - 400%
Delight - 150%
Earn by spending on credit cards
The Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® is another way to earn Flying Club points. With this card, you'll earn three points per dollar spent on Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5 points per dollar on other purchases.
New applicants can earn the following sign-up bonus: For a limited time: 60,000 bonus Virgin Points after spending $2,000 or more on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. Based on spending, you can earn up to 15,000 additional points each year. An additional 2,500 points are earned for each authorized user on the account (a maximum of 5,000 points).
You'll also receive 25 Tier points (up to 50 per month) for every $2,500 in purchases on the card. You can achieve Silver status (the program's second level) based solely on spending; you'll have an easier path to Gold when you max out this opportunity.
After spending $25,000 on the card, you'll earn a one-cabin upgrade or Companion Fare. The card does have an annual fee of $90, but there are no foreign transaction fees.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
Earn by transferring
Building your point balance is easy with transfer partners. Virgin Atlantic partners with multiple brands that allow you to convert rewards into Flying Club points.
American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Citi ThankYou Points
World of Hyatt
For every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer to Virgin Atlantic, you'll receive an additional bonus of 5,000 Virgin Atlantic points. World of Hyatt has a similar offer, where you'll receive 7,500 bonus Virgin points when converting 50,000 Hyatt points.
Other ways to earn:
Online shopping: Earn points through the Virgin Atlantic shopping portal on purchases at participating retailers.
Credit travel to Virgin Atlantic: Credit flights and hotel stays with partners to Virgin Atlantic.
Rental cars: Book reservations with Hertz and Avis to earn points.
Rocketmiles: Book hotel stays and earn up to 10,000 points per night.
Kaligo.com: Earn up to 10,000 points per night at 550,000 hotels worldwide.
PointsHound: Receive up to 5,000 points per night at over 300,000 hotels.
Virgin Hotels: Earn 1,000 points per stay and receive complimentary upgrades for Silver and Gold tier status.
Purchase points: Buy points in increments of 1,000 for around $21 per 1,000, plus about a $21 transaction fee.
How to redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points for maximum value
Virgin Atlantic award flights
Virgin Atlantic operates on a fixed-price award chart, but prices do increase for peak travel dates. You may redeem flights to and from the U.K. for a fixed amount that varies depending on destination and the class you're flying.
Additionally, if you're flying with a lap child under two years old, you'll be charged 1,000 to 5,000 points each way, depending on the class of the ticket.
Points Plus Money Reservations
If you don't have enough points, one way to redeem Virgin Atlantic points is for a Points Plus Money reservation. You can book one of these flights for yourself, or someone else, with as little as 3,000 points in your account. During booking, search for eligible flights, then decide how many points you'd like to spend (in multiples of 3,000 points) and pay the rest in cash.
This option is available online only and on flights operated by Virgin Atlantic only. Points Plus Money bookings aren't yet available on the Virgin Atlantic mobile app.
Book with partners, like Delta Air Lines
Booking an award flight on Delta Air Lines is another way to redeem Virgin Atlantic points. Award flights start at 20,000 points round-trip, while one-way flights are half the price. Peak season award bookings are 20,000 points more for the round trip. Seats in Delta Main Cabin and Delta One premium class are available for booking.
Before booking a flight, take notice of the taxes and fuel surcharges that apply. Main Cabin taxes to the U.K. are $525.71, while Delta One taxes are $1,287.61. With the out-of-pocket cost so high, it may make more sense to pay cash for a flight.
» Learn more: A beginner's guide to points and miles
Other flight options may not have such large fuel surcharges and taxes. For example, a one-way direct flight on Delta from Detroit to Paris in economy is 30,000 points and $5.60 in taxes.
Other partner airlines
In addition to redeeming points on Delta, there are ways to redeem Virgin Atlantic points to travel with other airlines. Virgin Atlantic partners with the following airlines to earn and redeem points:
Air New Zealand.
All Nippon Airways (ANA).
South African Airways.
Some partner redemptions may incur fuel surcharges and taxes, but they can still be an excellent deal. This one-way flight from Detroit to Paris in business class on Air France is 48,500 points and $275.30 in taxes and fees.
Other ways to redeem
What else can I do with my Virgin Atlantic points besides flights? This wouldn't be a complete guide to Virgin Atlantic if we also didn't share some of the more unique redemptions of Flying Club points.
Convert points to hotels: Members may exchange their points with Hilton Honors (2:3 ratio) or IHG Rewards Club (1:1 ratio).
Hot air balloon rides: Redeem 30,000 points per person for a hot air balloon ride over the English countryside (U.K. members only).
Chauffeur service to or from the airport: When flying on Virgin Atlantic, you can book chauffeur service to or from the airport using points.
Sir Richard Branson Private Retreats: Book stays at exclusive resorts in Morocco, Switzerland, Kenya or South Africa.
Fly into space: Members with two million points earned on Virgin Atlantic flights can enter a drawing to redeem points for a trip into space on Virgin Galactic.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club’s elite status program
Flying Club has three member levels within its loyalty program, and members start in the Red tier just for joining Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. After earning 400 tier points, you're upgraded to Silver tier and after 1,000 tier points, you'll reach the Gold tier.
Tier points required
Tier points are earned based on the ticket class purchased, ranging from 25 to 200 tier points earned for each one-way flight. As of Sept. 1, 2020, award tickets also receive tier points toward elite status.
Tier points earned
25 to 50
50 to 100
100 to 200
As you achieve higher status, you'll receive more valuable perks as is the case with most airline loyalty programs. Higher elite status levels receive a bonus of 30% to 60% tier points on every flight.
Silver status receives a 30% bonus, premium check-in and the ability to select a seat ahead of time when flying on a Light economy ticket. The Gold tier earns the most benefits, such as complimentary extra bags, first class check-in for any ticket-level and exclusive Clubhouse passes for you and a guest.
Bonus: Chauffeur service and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses
When flying on a Virgin Atlantic-operated flight, you can book chauffeur service at participating airports using points or cash. The chauffeurs will ensure you arrive on time for your flight and whisk you through security to the Clubhouse in less than 10 minutes from when you arrive at the airport. The chauffeur service is available for all classes of passengers, but Clubhouse access is restricted to first class and Flying Club Gold members.
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses are currently closed due to coronavirus restrictions. In the past, these airport lounges offered a luxurious experience for travelers, such as spa treatments, complimentary beverages and freshly cooked food. Since there are only 10 Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses worldwide, Virgin Atlantic also partners with additional lounge operators around the world to give passengers more availability.
» Learn more: Should I use points and miles to book travel this year?
The bottom line
This guide to Virgin Atlantic shares how to earn Flying Club points, multiple ways to redeem Virgin Atlantic points, how to earn elite status and the perks you'll receive with that status. You can earn Virgin Atlantic points by flying, crediting travel to Virgin Atlantic, spending on its credit card and transferring from partners.
The Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a solid loyalty program for travelers who like to fly on Virgin Atlantic or its partners.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card