If you haven’t ventured out of Australia much, you might now be learning that Virgin Australia has an older sibling in London-based Virgin Atlantic. But the ‘Virgin’ name is where the similarities end.
Both carriers have completely separate loyalty programs, which begs the question, why might you want to earn points with Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club? The simple answer? Partnerships. Virgin Points (not to be confused with Velocity Points) are relatively easy to transfer through American Express Membership Rewards. For quick, easy top-ups, you can buy them as well.
And as for spending those points? From cheap Business Class flights to New Zealand to a stunning First Class jaunt from Tokyo, these experiences and many more are possible with Flying Club. Once we’re finally let out of Australia, that is.
How do I join Virgin Atlantic Flying Club?
It is both easy and free to join Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, even from Australia.
- Head to the pre-enrolment page on Virgin Atlantic
- Click ‘Join now’
- Add your personal details and security info
- Hoorah! You are now a member of Flying Club
How do I earn Flying Club Points?
By flying. Jokes aside, hopping on a plane is one of the best ways to earn points. As you’d expect, Virgin Australia is a partner with Virgin Atlantic, and you can earn 50-200% of the mileage flown around Australia and to other international destinations. Singapore Airlines, ANA and Air New Zealand are also relevant partners.
If you’re based in the UK, flying Virgin Atlantic itself is also an excellent way to top up your Flying Club balance. For example, a London-New York flight will net you anywhere from 1,728 to 13,828 points, depending on your cabin class and wallet size.
You can also earn with Virgin Atlantic’s travel partners – including hotel chains, car rental companies and more.
Buying Virgin Points from Flying Club
But if any of these options fall into the too-hard basket, we’d suggest you buy the points instead. When there is a bonus or discount going on, buying points can be a great-value way to fly in Business Class sooner.
Here’s a quick peek at how much the points cost (at normal pricing):
|Points amount||Usual cost (including fees)|
|15,000 points||£240 (around $450 AUD)|
|30,000 points||£465 (around $880 AUD)|
|60,000 points||£915 (around $1,730 AUD)|
|100,000 points||£1,515 (around $2,860 AUD)|
With bonus offers, you can pocket far more points for the same cost. One of the latest deals was 70% bonus Virgin Points, so you could have purchased 170,000 points for the price of 100,000 – £1,515. We’ll keep you updated on the next points deals.
Keep in mind, you need to have existing points in your account before you can buy more points. Our tip? After signing up to the program, login to your Flying Club account. Look for a pop-up that signs you up to the newsletter for 100 bonus points. And hey presto! Within a day, you’ll be able to start buying as many points as your heart desires.
How do I use Flying Club Points?
When it’s time to start booking with your points, Virgin Atlantic has you covered. Of course, you can book reward seats and upgrades on the carrier’s own flights. Peak and off-peak pricing applies to both, so browse the linked award charts to see how many points you need.
But for Australian readers, we’re more interested in Air New Zealand and ANA. Both airlines have interesting ‘sweet spots’ that you should know about. So let us help you sweeten the deal.
Using Flying Club Points with Air New Zealand
15,000 points. That’s the magic number to fly Australia to New Zealand in Business Class. No matter the distance – from Perth or from Sydney – it’s a flat rate for direct flights.
So what’s the catch? It’s simply that Air New Zealand don’t often release Business reward seats to partners, particularly on longer routes such as from Perth or Adelaide. Taxes are also roughly an extra $100 per person, each way.
Even without a sale, you can buy 15,000 points from Flying Club for £240 (about $450 AUD), which is usually cheaper than a cash Business Class ticket. On sale, that cost could be slashed by 50% or more.
It’s very important you search for availability first before committing to buy points, unless you already have some in your account. We recommend you use the United MileagePlus website to search for Air New Zealand reward seats. Just tick ‘book with miles’ when doing your search.
Here are the Virgin Points needed for Air New Zealand reward flights (taxes are additional):
|Air New Zealand (one-way)||Economy||Business|
|Domestic NZ||7,500 pts||–|
|Australia-NZ||10,000 pts||15,000 pts|
|NZ-Pacific Islands||10,000 pts||15,000 pts|
|Los Angeles-London||25,000 pts||77,500 pts|
|NZ-Asia||30,000 pts||40,000 pts|
|NZ-Hawaii||30,000 pts||45,000 pts|
|South Pacific-Los Angeles||30,000 pts||45,000 pts|
|NZ-The Americas||40,000 pts||62,500 pts|
|NZ-Europe||60,000 pts||95,000 pts|
Using Flying Club Points with ANA
Japanese-based airlines have a great rep for impeccable service and delectable food (particularly if you enjoy Japanese cuisine). All Nippon Airways, more commonly known as ANA, offer an amazing Business and First Class cabin on longer routes, such as from Tokyo to London or the US.
Here are the Virgin Points needed for ANA reward flights (taxes are additional):
|All Nippon Airways (one-way)||Economy||Business||First|
|Domestic Japan||7,500 pts||–||–|
|Japan-South Korea||9,000 pts||17,500 pts||25,000 pts|
|Japan-China/Guam/Hong Kong/Philippines/Taiwan||11,500 pts||22,500 pts||30,000 pts|
|Japan-Malaysia/Myanmar/Singapore/Thailand/Vietnam||20,000 pts||32,500 pts||40,000 pts|
|Japan-Hawaii/India/Indonesia||22,500 pts||35,000 pts||45,000 pts|
|Japan-Australia/Canada/Western USA||30,000 pts||45,000 pts||55,000 pts|
|Japan-Europe/Central & Eastern USA/Mexico||32,500 pts||47,500 pts||60,000 pts|
A 12-hour or longer flight in First Class for just 60,000 points? That’s a steal, considering Economy costs almost half that in Virgin Points.
What status tiers does Virgin Atlantic Flying Club have?
Virgin Atlantic keeps it simple with 3 membership tiers, 2 of them being elite. The carrier is not part of an airline alliance either, but you can request a status match from selected international airlines. Status is earned with Tier Points, which you can pick up by flying Virgin Atlantic and partner airlines on eligible cash fares.
For this reason, we don’t imagine many of our Aussie-based readers will be aiming for Flying Club status. But here’s a quick overview of the perks for those who are interested.
Flying Club Red
Achieve/Maintain: Just enrolment in the program
Everyone’s got to start somewhere, right?
Flying Club Silver
Achieve/Maintain: 400 Tier Points in a membership year
In addition to base benefits, some major benefits of Flying Club Silver status include:
- 30% more Virgin Points on selected flights
- Premium check-in and priority boarding
- Free seat selection on Economy Light
- Priority baggage
- Maternity cover
- Extra benefits with Delta, Air France and KLM
Flying Club Gold
Achieve/Maintain: 1,000 Tier Points in a membership year
As the highest tier, Flying Club Gold members enjoy:
- 60% more Virgin Points on selected flights
- Upper Class check-in and priority boarding
- Free exit row seats with Economy Classic
- One extra piece of hand luggage
- Clubhouse lounge access whenever you fly Virgin Atlantic or Delta (+1 guest)
- Access to the Heathrow Revivals lounge on arrival
- Extra benefits with Delta, Singapore Airlines, Air France, Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia and KLM
How do I contact Virgin Atlantic Flying Club?
For these partner reward flight bookings that we talk about, you’ll need to call to book. To get in touch with Flying Club about a membership enquiry or flight redemption, try:
- calling +44 (0)344 874 7747 from outside the UK, or +1 800 862 8621 for the US contact centre. Anecdotally, you might also get good service from the Hong Kong office at +852 2532 3000
- sending them a direct message on Twitter or Facebook
Unfortunately, Virgin Atlantic does not have a presence in Australia, so you’ll need to call the overseas lines.
Flying Club is a rather small and niche program. But don’t let size fool you. Virgin Atlantic’s loyalty program has an excellent range of close-knit partners, with great reward seat rates. Wait for points to go on sale, and you could be snagging an ultra-cheap Business or First Class seat in no time.