Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Loyalty Program Review

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Loyalty Program Review

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Virgin Atlantic Summary Table

Branded and Partnered Credit Cards

In addition to partnering with all 4 of the major transferable point programs, Virgin Atlantic also offers co-branded credit cards.

Virgin Atlantic Credit Cards

Bank of America is the co-branded credit card partner, and it offers 2 credit cards in the Black and White credit card.

While neither card comes with a huge sign-up bonus, the cards do pair well with other transferable point credit cards.

American Express Credit Cards

American Express cards are a great way to earn points that can be transferred directly to Virgin Atlantic.

Amex has a number of valuable partners, and it regularly offers bonus miles when transferring points to airline partners — further increasing the value of the points you earn.

By putting your everyday spending on these Amex credit cards, you’ll be on your way toward your next redemption:

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

Chase Credit Cards

Chase is another valuable transferable point program that allows you to earn points with credit card spending, and then use those points to book an award flight.

Chase is right up there with Amex in terms of the number of personal and business credit cards it has that earn Ultimate Rewards points, which can be transferred directly to Virgin Atlantic.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Recommended Chase Cards (Business)

Citi Credit Cards

Citi tends to be an off-the-radar program, but it’s another one you can use to earn transferable ThankYou points.

What many people appreciate about the Citi program is that it has regular bonuses like Amex when transferring points to some of its airline partners, providing you with additional value.

The only credit card available to new applicants that earns ThankYou Points is the Citi ThankYou Premier. More information about the card can be found here:

Marriott-SPG Credit Cards

Marriott-SPG credit cards are yet another to way to earn transferable Marriott points that can then be transferred to Marriott’s airline partners.

The Marriott program is unique in that for every 60,000 points you transfer to an airline partner, you’ll receive 5,000 bonus points.

That means 60,000 points will give you 25,000 airline miles (3:1 transfer ratio + 25% bonus) to use for your next redemption.

If you’re looking to earn these transferable points, here are the credit cards we recommend:

Other Hotel Partner Credit Cards

Hotel programs like Hyatt and Hilton, in addition to Marriott, will allow you to convert your hotel points into airline miles.

In theory this sounds great, but it nearly always results in poor transfer ratios.

In short, we don’t recommend converting your other hotel points into airline miles unless you are topping off an airline account or are in a bind.

Virgin Atlantic Overview

Virgin Atlantic was founded in the mid-1980s by legendary entrepreneur Richard Branson.

The airline’s loyalty program is called Flying Club, and it operates from 2 hubs in London (Heathrow and Gatwick) and one hub in Manchester.

Virgin Atlantic’s hard product and customer service receive great reviews, and it’s an airline some U.S. customers look to when flying across the Atlantic.

Flying Club members earn both Tier Points and Flying Club Miles. Both are earned on every flight, with Tier Points going toward your elite status and Flying Club Miles going toward flight redemptions.

While Virgin Atlantic isn’t in an alliance, the airline has individual partnerships with a number of airlines, which opens up unique award flight options.

The miles that you earn when flying Virgin Atlantic or crediting partner flights to Virgin Atlantic can then be used on any Virgin or partner airline flight, hotel stay, or with the Virgin Group.

Joining Flying Club

The frequent flyer program of Virgin Atlantic is free by simply filling out this application on its website.

With your application completed, you will get the ability to earn Tier Points and Flying Club miles, as well as earn your way toward elite status.

How to Sign in to Your Flying Club Account

Signing in to your Flying Club account is easy — you’ll only need your email/Flying Club number, password, and last name.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Login Screen
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club login screen. Image courtesy of virginatlantic.com.

Hot Tip: Unlike the United and Delta websites, you’ll need to log in to your Flying Club account to search for an award flight. 

Viewing Your Account Activity

In order to see your account activity, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your account
  2. Click your name in the top right corner of the page
  3. Click My Account 
  4. Click See full Flying Club account statement 

Points Expiration

Flying Club miles expire every 36 months if there is no qualifying activity in your account.

Here are the best ways to extend the expiration date of your miles:

  • Fly on a Virgin Atlantic flight
  • Use your miles for an award flight
  • Earn miles using the shopping portal
  • Buy miles
  • Fly with a Virgin Atlantic partner
  • Book a hotel stay or car rental with a partner

Virgin Atlantic Mileage Program

Flying Club Elite Status

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Elite Tier Logo
Virgin Atlantic elite tiers. Image courtesy of virginatlantic.com.

The Flying Club program has 3 elite tiers, each of which we’ll cover in more detail below.

Red: This the base elite tier offered by Virgin Atlantic that comes with the following benefits:

  • Earn miles on every flight
  • Ability to use points for award flights
  • Dedicated Flying Club phone line
  • Discounted access to Flying Club lounges

Silver: Virgin Atlantic’s middle tier elite status offers qualifying members these perks:

  • All Red benefits plus:
  • 30% bonus miles on every flight
  • Free seat selection ahead of your flight in Economy Light
  • Premium check-in flying in any cabin
  • Tier renewal bonus
  • Priority waitlist for flights
  • Maternity and paternity membership pause

Gold: Flying Club’s top elite tier, which provides members with these benefits:

  • All Silver benefits plus:
  • 60% bonus miles on every flight
  • Free seat selection for your party ahead of your flight in Economy Light
  • Extra baggage allowance
  • Upper Class check-in flying in any cabin
  • Clubhouse passes for you plus 1 guest
  • 1 complimentary Clubhouse spa treatment plus 10% off thereafter
  • Access to London Heathrow Revivals Lounge
  • 2,000 bonus birthday miles
  • Complimentary companion ticket upon yearly renewal of Gold tier
  • Clubhouse passes for you to keep or share when you earn 1,500 Tier Points within your membership year
  • Cabin Upgrade Reward when you earn 2,000 Tier Points within your membership year
  • Complimentary Silver membership for a friend

If you want to learn more, head to the Flying Club website for the entire list of benefits available at each tier.

Value of Flying Club Elite Status

The way to value elite status with Virgin Atlantic is to ask yourself if you fly Virgin Atlantic or its partner airlines frequently enough to utilize the benefits.

If the answer to that question is yes, it may make sense to invest your loyalty in the Flying Club program.

Red and Silver elite tiers do not provide a ton of perks, so I’d recommend focusing your efforts on earning the top-tier Gold status.

With Virgin’s top-tier status, a complimentary companion ticket and a cabin upgrade reward are the most valuable perks.

Bottom Line: Virgin has a simplified elite tier structure with the most valuable benefits offered to those members who earn Gold status.

Earning Flying Club Elite Status

The Flying Club program uses what are called Tier Points for elite status qualification.

Not to be confused with the Virgin Atlantic miles that you earn from flying, Tier Points are solely used to determine whether you are a Red, Silver, or Gold member.

Tier Points will expire every 12-13 months if you are a Silver or Gold member. Red members have added runway in that you’ll have 36 months before your status expires.

To ensure that your Silver status is current, you’ll need to earn 400 Tier Points a year. If Gold is what you want, you’ll need to earn 1,000 Tier Points a year.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Elite Tiers
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Elite benefits. Image courtesy of virginatlantic.com.

Red elites looking to qualify for Silver status will need to earn 400 Tier Points in what’s called an “Upgrade Cycle”, which is calculated from the current date back to the first day of that month to the previous year.

For example, if it’s November 27, 2018, you calculate back to November 1, 2018 and then 12 months back to November 1, 2017 to determine the amount of time required to upgrade from Red to Silver.

Elite status duration for Silver and Gold resembles Red, but it’s slightly different.

Silver and Gold elites will remain in those respective tiers every year that those members earn the required 400 and 1,000 Tier Points respectively in the Upgraded Fixed Membership Period.

The Period starts on the day that you earn Silver or Gold status, and continues for the remainder of that month through the subsequent 12 months.

For each Upgraded Fixed Membership Period, your Tier Points will reset to 0. If the member doesn’t earn the 400 or 1,000 points needed, the member will drop down to the membership tier directly below the one the member holds.

For example, if you are a Gold elite and don’t earn 1,000 points within the Upgraded Fixed Membership Period, you will drop down to Silver elite status.

In addition to earning Tier Points from flying, Virgin Atlantic has a credit card that provides an avenue toward earning elite status:

  • Black Credit Card — 25 Tier Points per $2,500 spent on the card

Bottom Line: Virgin Atlantic uses Tier Points for elite status qualification and doesn’t have a revenue or segment qualification requirement like you’ll find with American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines.

How to Earn Flying Club Miles

Virgin Atlantic is one of a few airline programs that partners with all 4 major transferable point programs: Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Rewards.

What this means that you’ll have plenty of ways to earn Virgin Atlantic miles for your next award flight!

Earning Miles Through Flying

Members in the Virgin Atlantic program earn miles based on the route, ticket class, and their elite status. A full list of the mileage that you’ll earn can be found on this earning table:

  • Red member: 25%-400% of base miles flown
  • Silver member: 25%-400% of base miles flown + 30% bonus
  • Gold member: 25%-400% of base miles flown + 60% bonus

Virgin Atlantic also has partnerships with individual airlines, which allows you to earn miles when flying with those partners.

Virgin Atlantic Airline Partners 1

Virgin Atlantic Airline Partners 2
Virgin Atlantic Airline Partners. Image courtesy of virginatlantic.com.

Earn Miles With Credit Cards

Bank of America is the Virgin Atlantic co-branded credit card partner, and it offers 2 cards that earn Virgin Atlantic miles.

In addition to the Virgin Atlantic credit cards, you’ll want to consider cards offered by the major transferable point programs in Amex, Chase, Citi, and Marriott.

Earning Bonus Miles in Other Ways

Similar to most major airlines, the Flying Club program offers its members the opportunity to earn airline miles in ways that don’t involve flying.

One way to stay on top of these opportunities is to follow the airline’s Twitter, Facebook, and Offers Page for the latest deals.

Another way to earn miles is to keep tabs on offers from its other partners, which include hotels, car rentals, and financial institutions.

The last way to earn miles is to use the shopping portal and check out the partnerships with the Virgin Group.

Hot Tip: If you add your airline loyalty program to other services, you won’t also earn status points with these franchises (unless it’s a preferred car rental agency that has specifically partnered with the airline; this partnership acts as a sort of alliance between airline and rental agency).

How to Redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles

The Flying Club program has a number of ways to redeem Virgin Atlantic miles, but the best value will come from redeeming your miles for an award flight.

Virgin Atlantic has 2 types of award flights:

  • Standard Season: cheap option
  • Peak Season: expensive option
Virgin Atlantic Award Chart Seasons
Virgin Atlantic Award Chart seasons. Image courtesy of virginatlantic.com.

Standard Season is half the cost of Peak Season, so you’ll want to book an award flight during the Standard Season travel dates shown above.

What’s evident when reviewing the award chart below is how high the surcharges are when flying Virgin Atlantic.

The best value in the award chart is to fly one-way in Premium Economy from the U.S. to the U.K. Other than that, you’ll likely have better options to cross the Atlantic with another program.

Virgin Atlantic Award Chart
Virgin Atlantic Award Chart. Image courtesy of virginatlantic.com.

Hot Tip: If you’re looking for ways to leverage the Flying Club program, we have a post on the best ways to use Virgin Atlantic miles.

Partner Awards

Virgin Atlantic’s partnerships with individual airlines are where the Flying Club program really shines.

You can find the full list of partners and the redemptions rates here, and here are a few redemptions to consider:

  • U.S. to Europe/Asia one-way business class on Delta for 50,000/60,000 miles
  • U.S. to New Zealand round-trip business class on Air New Zealand for 125,000 miles
  • U.S. to Senegal round-trip business class on South African for 50,000 miles
  • U.S. to Japan round-trip business/first class on ANA for 90,000-95,000/110,000-120,000 miles

Booking Online

The Virgin Atlantic website is tricky in that it doesn’t show all destinations for its partner airlines and takes time getting used to all of its quirks.

If the city you’re looking to fly from/to isn’t shown on the website, you’ll want to research partner flights elsewhere and call Virgin Atlantic to confirm award availability.

For SkyTeam partners, use the Delta or Flying Blue (Air France/KLM) websites to search for an award flight.

Star Alliance availability can be found using the United or Aeroplan websites.

Airlines not part of an alliance will require you to call Virgin Atlantic or use Expert Flyer to search for award availability.

Hot Tip: Virgin Atlantic requires you to login to your account to search for Virgin Atlantic and partner award flights. 

FAQ

What is the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Program? Is it worth it? What are the benefits?

Flying Club is the airline loyalty program of Virgin Atlantic. By becoming a member, you will have the ability to both earn and redeem miles for award flights.

The programs elite benefits are driven by the amount of Tier Points that you earn. Once you start earning Tier Points, you’ll have the ability to achieve Red, Silver, or Gold elite status.

Elite benefits include bonus miles, lounge access, and extra baggage allowance, among other benefits.

Virgin Atlantic is not in an alliance so the points that you earn can be redeemed for Virgin Atlantic or its partner airline award flights.

In Flying Club, who are the partners? Can I transfer miles to them?

Virgin Atlantic, like most major airlines, has a host of earning and redeeming travel partners.

On the earning side, Virgin partners with airlines, hotels, retail and financial companies, and the Virgin Group.

If you’re looking to redeem miles, Virgin partners with airlines, hotels, and the Virgin Group.

While you can’t transfer your miles to Virgin Atlantic’s airline partners directly, you can use your miles to book a flight on an airline partner like Air New Zealand or ANA.

Separately, you can use your miles to book a hotel, car rental, or pay for your shopping.

What is the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club login?

Head to this page to login to your frequent flyer account.

Where can I sign up for Flying Club?

You can sign up for a free Flying Club account by filling out an application here.

What is my Flying Club number?

You can find your Flying Club number by signing in to your account, on your membership card, or through a variety of marketing emails they send to you.

If you can’t find it there, try using the “forgot my password” tool to reset your account so you can get in. Alternatively, try calling the customer service desk to find your number.

When do miles post in Flying Club?

It might take up to 6 weeks for the miles to appear in your account.

When do Flying Club miles expire?

If you do not have a Virgin Atlantic or Participating Company earning or spending activity in any three-year period, your account will be designated “inactive” and any mileage in your account will expire and your account will have a zero balance.

When does Flying Club status expire?

If you are a Silver or Gold member, you elite status will expire every 12-13 months. 

If you are a Red member, your status is valid for 36 months. 

Is there an Virgin Atlantic credit card?

Yep! Virgin Atlantic actually has two credit cards in that Black and White card.

Can you hold an award flight with Virgin Atlantic?

Yes! Virgin Atlantic will allow you to hold an award flight for 24-48 hours.

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