Like many other airlines, Virgin Atlantic puts on frequent promotions for buying points through its buy, gift, or transfer Virgin Points feature.
As is always the case, speculatively buying points might not be the best idea; however, it can be lucrative to take advantage of sweet spots in premium cabins, or to top up your account for an upcoming redemption.
With the latest promotion, Virgin Atlantic is selling Virgin Points with a 70% bonus for a limited time, and will then lower the bonus down to 60% for a longer duration.
Buy Virgin Points with a 70% Bonus
Until October 3, 2023, Virgin Atlantic is offering up to a 70% bonus on purchased Virgin Points.
You’ll receive a greater bonus as you purchase more Virgin Points, which is structured as follows:
- Buy 5,000–24,000 Virgin Points and get a 20% bonus
- Buy 25,000–69,000 Virgin Points and get a 40% bonus
- Buy 70,000–124,000 Virgin Points and get a 60% bonus
- Buy 125,000–200,000 Virgin Points and get a 70% bonus
It’s worth noting that this is advertised as an “early bird” deal. From October 4–23, 2023, the biggest bonus you can receive drops down to 60%.
A 70% bonus on purchased Virgin Points is in line with the best-ever offers, so it’s worth considering if you stand to benefit.
Normally, Virgin Atlantic sells points with a base price that varies, depending on where you live.
If your account is registered in the UK, the standard rate is £15 (~$18 USD) per 1,000 Virgin Points, prior to taxes, fees, and any bonuses. This works out to a cost of 1.5 pence per point, which is equivalent to 1.8 cents per point (USD).
If your account is registered in the United States, the standard rate is $25 (USD) per 1,000 Virgin Points, prior to taxes, fees, and any bonuses. This works out to a cost of 2.5 cents per point (USD), not accounting for any taxes and fees.
No matter where your account is registered, there’s a transaction fee of £15 or $22 (USD), which is added to the total cost of your purchase, and increases the cost per point accordingly.
If you were to take advantage of the 70% bonus promotion, you’re reducing the acquisition cost down to 1.48 cents per point (USD) for transactions in US dollars, and down to 0.89 pence per point for transactions in British pounds.
0.89 pence is equivalent to around 1.08 cents (USD), which is clearly much lower than the acquisition cost for accounts subject to purchases in US dollars.
It’s worth noting that you need to have made at least one qualifying earning or spending transaction in your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account to be eligible to purchase points. If you have a new account without any activity, you aren’t able to buy Virgin Points.
How many Virgin Points can you buy?
Typically, members are limited to purchasing a maximum of 100,000 Virgin Points each year. However, that number has been doubled for this promotion.
If you were to max out this promotion, you’d earn a total of 340,000 Virgin Points, with a cost of either $5,022 (USD) or £3,015 ($3,679 USD), depending on where your account is registered.
It’s worth noting that Canadian accounts appear to receive the UK pricing, which is superior to the US pricing.
Which credit card should you use to buy Virgin Points?
As with many loyalty programs, Virgin Atlantic sells Virgin Points through Points.com. Therefore, you won’t be able to benefit from travel category bonuses on your credit card.
When buying or gifting Virgin Points, it’s recommended that you use a US-issued credit card for purchases in US dollars.
If you’ll be charged in British pounds, then it’s best to use a credit with no foreign transaction fees. This way, you’ll avoid the 2.5% foreign transaction fee you’d otherwise be subject to.
You might want to use a credit card that has a high base earning rate, or one on which you’re working to meet the minimum spending requirement.
When Should You Buy Virgin Points?
Sometimes, buying points can result in a great deal, but it’s generally not recommended to speculatively buy points without a specific use in mind.
For example, buying points can be worthwhile if you’re short by a few Virgin Points for an upcoming booking, and you have no other way to top up your account. During a promotion such as this, the standard cost is lowered, and you wind up getting a better deal.
Furthermore, buying points during promotions can sometimes result in a significant discount on what travel in premium travel would otherwise cost if you were to book a revenue fare.
Just remember that as long as you redeem your points for a flight with a value that’s higher than your acquisition cost, you’ll wind up in the black.
The most widely known sweet spot in Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is for booking ANA business class and ANA First Class flights between North America and Japan.
For these flights, pricing through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is much lower than with other programs with access to ANA awards, including Aeroplan and Avianca LifeMiles, even after Flying Club’s recent devaluation to ANA First Class awards.
For example, a one-way flight from Western North America to Japan in ANA First Class costs 72,500 Virgin Points, and a one-way flight from Eastern North America to Japan prices out at 85,000 Virgin Points.
With the current promotion, buying 72,500 Virgin Points would cost around $1,138 (USD), while buying 85,000 Virgin Points would cost around $1,335 (USD). In either case, that’s a massive discount to the cash fare for one of the best First Class products available, which can sell for upwards of $15,000 (USD).
ANA business class pricing is also excellent through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, at 45,000 Virgin Points from Western North America to Japan, or 47,500 Virgin Points from Eastern North America to Japan.
With the current promotion, you could buy 45,000 Virgin Points for around $806 (USD), or you could buy 47,500 Virgin Points for around $850 (USD).
Again, that’s certainly going to work out to be much cheaper than paying cash for the same flights.
It’s worth noting that award availability on ANA business class and First Class is quite difficult to come by these days. Therefore, you’d want to make sure you’ve found award availability before you purchase Virgin Points, especially since there could be another devaluation at any time.
Naturally, you can also book Virgin Atlantic flights through Flying Club; however, you’ll be hit with upwards of $2,000 (USD) in taxes, fees, and surcharges in Upper Class, which erodes a lot of the value.
For example, the lowest cost of a round-trip flight in Upper Class from New York to London prices out at 95,000 Virgin Points, plus around $2,269 (USD) in taxes and fees.
If you were to buy 95,000 Virgin Points with a 60% bonus, you’d wind up paying around $1,491 (USD) for enough points for a round-trip flight in Upper Class. Then, you’d then have to pay $2,269 (USD) in taxes and fees, with a total out-of-pocket cost of around $3,760 (USD).
On the other hand, you could simply pay cash for those same flights, which in this case, price out at just over the same cost amount of taxes, fees, and surcharges on the award booking.
It goes to show that you should always check the cash price of flights before buying points, as it may wind up being cheaper in some circumstances.
Other Ways to Earn Virgin Points
As is always the case, it’s worth exploring other ways to come across Virgin Points aside from just outright buying them.
US Credit Cards
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a transfer partner of many US credit card transferable points currencies. Therefore, you can earn points from your credit card through welcome bonus and daily spending, and then transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to Virgin Points.
The following programs have Virgin Atlantic Flying Club as a transfer partner:
Many of these programs also offer occasional transfer bonuses when transferring into Virgin Points, typically with a bonus of 30%.
If you’re able to hold out for one of these promotions, you’re effectively reducing the cost of a Flying Club redemption by 30%, which can be an outstanding deal.
Transfer from Marriott Bonvoy
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is also a transfer partner with Marriott Bonvoy.
Marriott Bonvoy points can be easily earned in Canada and the United States, either through credit card welcome bonuses and spending, or by converting transferable points into Marriott Bonvoy points.
You can transfer Bonvoy points into Virgin Points at a 3:1 ratio; however, your best bet is to convert them in chunks of 60,000 Bonvoy points, as you’ll get a bonus 5,000 Virgin Points.
For example, by converting 60,000 Bonvoy points, you’ll get 25,000 Virgin Points: 20,000 from the standard 3:1 ratio, and 5,000 as a bonus for transferring 60,000 points.
You’d need to convert 120,000 Bonvoy points to Virgin Points for an ANA business class redemption, 180,000 Bonvoy points to Virgin Points for an ANA First Class flight from the West Coast, or 240,000 Bonvoy points to Virgin Points for a one-way First Class flight from the Eastern United States to Japan.
As you decide whether or not this promotion is a good opportunity, here’s a look back at Virgin Atlantic’s past bonuses for purchasing Virgin Points:
70% more purchased points
60% more purchased points
70% more purchased points
70% more purchased points
60% more purchased points
Virgin Atlantic is currently offering a bonus of up to 70% on purchased Virgin Points, from now until October 3, 2023. From October 4–23, 2023, the maximum bonus will drop down to 60%.
Buying Virgin Points can be a great deal in some situations, especially if you’re able to find award availability for ANA First Class or ANA business class.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of the promotion, you’ll need to act quickly, because the 70% bonus is only live until October 3, 2023.