Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club program might not immediately seem practical for Aussie-based travellers, but don’t let appearances deceive you. Virgin Points are the key to unlocking a range of great-value redemptions. Even better, the points purchases are refundable within 14 days, so you can rest easy if the reward seats are proving to be elusive.

Read on for all the tips and tricks you need to know for buying and using Virgin Points. (If you’re new, be aware that Virgin Australia’s Velocity Points are a completely separate system. Don’t get them mixed up!)

How do I buy Virgin Points?

To purchase Virgin Points, you first need an account with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Next, you need to earn at least one point before you can buy more – we recommend doing this ASAP so you have some activity on your account before the next time you want to purchase points.

Easy ways to earn some Virgin Points without flying include:

When it’s time to buy points, simply visit the ‘Buy Points’ page and sign in to your account. You’ll be transferred to a landing page where you can buy the points required.

An example deal with buying Virgin Points in March 2023.

See the latest Virgin Atlantic ‘buying points’ promotions →

How much do Virgin Points cost?

The cost of buying Virgin Points varies whether your account is based in the UK or US. We recommend having a UK-based account as you will have lower rates when buying points.

You can purchase up to 100,000 points a year (before any bonuses), but this is usually increased to 200,000 points when there is a bonus points promotion. The standard rate for buying points is a flat £15 per 1,000 points, for both small and large purchases. Instead, it’s usually the bonus offer that is tiered, so you’ll earn a lot more bonus points when you buy a larger chunk during a promotion.

With a UK-based account, here are some of the price points for buying Virgin Points (before any bonuses):

  • 1,000 points: £15.00
  • 10,000 points: £150.00
  • 50,000 points: £750.00
  • 100,000 points: £1,500.00
  • 200,000 points: £3,000.00 (only offered during certain promotions)

Finally, there is also a £15 ‘handling fee’ that is charged regardless of how many points you purchase. This does make smaller purchases less worthwhile, unfortunately. But unusually, Virgin Atlantic offer refunds of purchased points within 14 days, as long as you haven’t redeemed any of them. That’s great for peace of mind, in case you can’t find available seats to use the points on.

How do I book with Virgin Points?

Unfortunately, only a few airlines can be booked online with Virgin Points: Virgin Atlantic, Delta, KLM, Air France, Korean Air and Middle East Airlines.

For all other partner airlines, you need to call up to book. We recommend searching for reward seat availability through other airline websites. If there’s a seat available to a partner, chances are Virgin Atlantic will be able to see it too (though this is not guaranteed).

Call Virgin Atlantic on +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.

What are the best uses of Virgin Points?

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club publishes points tables for partner airlines, so you can easily find out how many points you need for a particular route. For Australian-based travellers, ANA is likely one of the best partners to use Virgin Points on.

It’s important to note that bonus offers and currency exchange rates will vary, so the actual price will differ depending on when you buy the points. The below costs are based on a 70% points bonus.

Carrier charges will usually also apply in addition to the usual fees and taxes. This is especially the case for Virgin Atlantic’s own reward seats, which have very high carrier charges.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, Virgin Points
Though the new Virgin Atlantic Business Class is fancy, you’ll need to pay a lot on the side when using Virgin Points.

Using Virgin Points on ANA

For example, here’s the points table for All Nippon Airways (ANA) flights as of 20 March 2023. All figures are for return journeys, so halve them for one-way.

Domestic Japan15,000
Japan – South Korea18,00035,00050,000
Japan – China / Guam / Hong Kong / Philippines / Taiwan23,00045,00060,000
Japan – Malaysia / Myanmar / Singapore / Thailand / Vietnam40,00065,000105,000
Japan – Hawaii / India / Indonesia45,00070,000115,000
Japan – Australia / Canada / Western USA60,00090,000145,000
Japan – Europe / Central & Eastern USA / Mexico65,00095,000170,000

As you can see, flying ANA Business Class from Australia to Japan costs 90,000 miles return (45,000 miles one-way).

If there was a 70% bonus with buying Virgin Points, you could get six of these flights – three return journeys – for around AU$822 each, all-inclusive. (That’s approximately AU$727 worth of Virgin Points and AU$95 in taxes, per flight).

Or if First Class is more your style, just 85,000 miles will score you a seat in ANA’s incredible First Class cabin between Japan and the US or Europe. By buying Flying Club Points at the highest tier (and when the usual cap on buying points is increased), you could have enough for four First Class jaunts at the cost of AU$1,370 each way before taxes.

ANA’s new First Class is incredibly spacious.

That’s 340,800 miles for £3,015 or A$5,477, which is enough for four one-way First Class flights.

You can easily search for ANA reward seats through the United MileagePlus or Avianca LifeMiles websites.

Using Virgin Points on Air New Zealand

Theoretically, you only need 15,000 Virgin Points to fly Australia-New Zealand in Business Class (as low as AU$243 each way, before taxes, buying the highest number of Virgin Points possible during a 70% bonus sale). The only issue is the lack of reward seats on that route, but it highlights the value of Flying Club miles.

Because the chart is region-based, the cost remains 15,000 Virgin Points, whether you’re flying Perth-Auckland or Sydney-Wellington. Finally, a deal worthy for Western Australians!

Air New Zealand Business Premier Service
While reward seats are rare, Air New Zealand is a good deal with Virgin Points.

You can search for reward seat availability on the United or Singapore Airlines websites.

Using Virgin Points on Garuda

Jet off to Bali from Sydney in Melbourne in style. You can fly on SkyTeam partner, Garuda, for 40,000 Virgin Points one-way in Business Class. That’s around ~AU$645 worth of Virgin Points during a 70% promo, before taxes.

Try using the Delta website to search for reward seats before calling up.

Using Virgin Points on South African Airlines

With Qantas exiting its short-lived experiment on the Perth-Johannesburg route, South African Airlines is expected to restart its own non-stop service from 31 March 2023. You can book a Business reward seat for 55,000 Virgin Points, one-way. With a 70% bonus, that’s ~AU$886 in points + taxes, per person.

Like Garuda, try using the Delta website to search for reward seats before calling up.

Summing up

Virgin Points really offer the best of both worlds – with access to both a large alliance (SkyTeam) and a curated list of other partner carriers around the globe.

In most cases, the points needed for routes are quite low, particularly for partners with ‘region-based’ charts such as ANA and Air New Zealand. Just be aware that most partners can’t be booked online, so you’ll need to find availability through other partner airlines before calling Virgin Atlantic to book.

See the latest Virgin Atlantic ‘buying points’ promotions →

Your guide to buying Virgin Atlantic Points was last modified: March 21st, 2023 by Brandon Loo