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- Virgin Red allows you to earn points redeemable for flights, hotel stays, cruises, gift cards and unique travel experiences.
- Virgin Red is not a replacement for Virgin Flying Club.
- Members can link their Virgin Red and Flying Club accounts together to pool points.
- New Flying Club members are automatically enrolled in Virgin Red.
Frequent flyers know the value of airline rewards programs. Most, if not all, airline carriers offer a loyalty program where members can earn and redeem rewards for flights, airline upgrades and various redemptions.
For fans of Virgin, there are now two rewards programs you can earn rewards through. Virgin Red is the newest loyalty rewards program from the Virgin Group. The program was launched in the UK in 2021 and in the U.S. later that year. Virgin Atlantic already has a frequent flyer program called Flying Club. Virgin Red is not the replacement for Flying Club. Instead, the two programs pair together for more rewards-earning potential.
In this guide, we’ll dive into the Virgin Red program, how to earn and redeem points and how to link your account with your Flying Club account to pool your points.
What is Virgin Red?
In February 2021, the Virgin Group announced the arrival of Virgin Red in the UK, a new rewards club that earns points redeemable to spend on hundreds of rewards across the Virgin Group and beyond. The loyalty program was later launched in the U.S. in November 2021. The American version is not an exact copy of the UK program, though — it’s structured with American members in mind.
The Virgin Group launched Virgin Red not to replace Flying Club but to complement the popular airline loyalty program. In fact, Virgin Red gives members hundreds of other ways to earn and spend Virgin Points, which aren’t just related to travel. Members can link their Virgin Red and Flying Club accounts to pool points to use with either platform.
How to earn Virgin Points
Virgin Red members can earn Virgin Points, the universal currency used by Virgin brands going forward, in several ways. The number of points you can earn varies depending on the offer.
- Online shopping: Virgin Red members can earn points shopping through select retail partners.
- Travel: You can earn points by booking stays at Virgin Hotels, flights with Virgin Atlantic, Delta, Air France/KLM and travel booked through Booking.com and other Virgin Red travel partners.
- Unique experiences: Virgin offers distinctive experiences that can earn Virgin Points. For example, you currently can earn 55,000 points by booking a seven-night stay at Necker Island, Sir Richard Branson’s 74-acre private island in the Caribbean.
- Transfer partners: Both Virgin Red and Flying Club are transfer partners for many popular rewards programs, including Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Bilt Rewards. All four programs allow you to transfer points to your Flying Club account at a 1:1 ratio.
- Credit cards: Virgin Atlantic offers a co-branded airline credit card that earns Virgin Points — the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®*. The card earns 3X points per dollar on Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5 points per dollar on all other purchases for a $90 annual fee.
How to redeem Virgin Red rewards
Virgin Red offers various ways to redeem points, including some noteworthy options you won’t find anywhere else. Point values vary depending on the redemption. Virgin Points don’t expire either, so you can bank your points as long as you want if you have larger redemptions in mind.
You can redeem Virgin Points for award flights through Virgin Atlantic. Redemptions start at 18,000 for Economy Classic reward seats and go up based on when and where you travel — you only pay for any taxes and fees imposed. There are also options to use points and money toward flights or redeem your points for seat or cabin upgrades on eligible flights. Virgin Atlantic is part of the SkyTeam Airline Alliance, so you can redeem points for flights on SkyTeam partner airlines. The full list of SkyTeam airlines includes:
- Aerolineas Argentinas
- Air Europa
- Air France
- China Airlines
- China Eastern
- Czech Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Garuda Indonesia
- ITA Airways
- Kenya Airways
- Korean Air
- Middle East Airlines
- Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines)
- Vietnam Airlines
- Virgin Airlines
- Xiamen Airlines
SkyTeam airlines aren’t the only airline partners of Virgin Atlantic. You can earn and redeem Virgin Points for flights with the following airline partners:
- Air New Zealand
- All Nippon Airways (ANA)
- Hawaiian Airlines
- LATAM Airlines
- SAS Scandinavian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- Virgin Australia
There are plenty of redemption options outside of flights available through both Virgin rewards programs. Virgin Red and Flying Club members can also redeem their points for:
- Virgin Atlantic Holidays
- Virgin hotel stays
- Stays at Virgin partner hotels (Marriott Bonvoy, IHG One Rewards, Hilton Honors and Kaligo)
- Transfer points to another Flying Club member
- Donate points to charity and causes
- Entertainment and experiences
- Gift cards
- Virtual culinary masterclasses
- Live events
Not only can you earn Virgin Points for a stay on Sir Richard Branson’s private island, as mentioned earlier, but you can also redeem points for an exclusive private island getaway at Necker Island. As you might expect, you’ll need to save a significant points balance and pay cash to cover this one-of-a-kind redemption. A minimum four-night stay at Necker Island costs 540,000 points plus $5,400, which includes one free night. Each additional night runs 180,000 points plus $1,800. This redemption is only available during select Celebration weeks throughout the year. A lot of fine print is included with a redemption of this nature. Read through the offer guidelines and restrictions carefully before booking a stay at this island retreat.
Getting started with Virgin Red
Anyone over the age 18 can sign up for Virgin Red for free online or through the app. You don’t need to be an existing Virgin customer to set up an account. New Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members are automatically enrolled in Virgin Red.
One of the most unique features of Virgin Red is that it pairs with the existing Virgin Atlantic frequent flyer program, Flying Club. To link your account, navigate to the “Link accounts” section of your Virgin Red account and enter your Flying Club account number. Once linked, members can view and redeem Virgin points through either program platform.
Frequently asked questions
No, you can earn and redeem points through Virgin Red without spending a dollar with Virgin brands. You earn Virgin Points for Virgin purchases, but you can also earn points shopping through select retailers online, booking travel with partner brands and transferring points from several credit card rewards programs, like Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Bilt Rewards.
You can link your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Virgin Red accounts online or through the mobile app. Log in to your Flying Red account and add your Flying Club account number in the “Link accounts” section on your account.
The bottom line
Virgin Red is a valuable rewards program that builds on the brand’s existing Flying Club program. The ability to earn points through two programs and pool your points together is unique, although many airline and credit card loyalty programs allow you to earn points beyond booking travel through their brands.
Still, signing up is a no-brainer if you fly on Virgin Atlantic or regularly shop online with any of its retail or travel partners. The program is free, and rewards never expire. Virgin Red is also an excellent option for travelers who want to redeem rewards for one-of-a-kind travel experiences.
*The information about the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.