Other Uses for Virgin Atlantic Miles Besides Flights
Last week I wrote about a great use for Virgin Atlantic miles, booking Delta flights. Today I want to talk about a few other uses for Virgin Atlantic miles that don’t involve flights.
This is information that could be useful if you have a stash of Virgin miles that are about to expire. Or if your Virgin Atlantic miles have just been sitting there collecting dust. I will also give you a tip on how you can turn ThankYou points into IHG Rewards club points and when that would be beneficial to you.
Had to update the post since it looks like Virgin Atlantic transfers no longer count towards IHG status.
Transferring airline miles to hotel partners is usually a terrible option. That is because airline miles are more valuable than hotel points a majority of the time. Having said that the only worthless mile is the one that goes unused. If you find yourself stuck with some orphaned Virgin Atlantic miles or need to boost your hotel point portfolio here are a few options for you:
Virgin Atlantic miles transfer to Hilton Honors points at a rate of 1 to 1.5. You have to transfer them in 10,000 mile chunks.
This is not a great option because Hilton points are worth only $0.005 a piece on average. Giving you a puny return of $0.0075 per mile. If you only had a few miles left over or needed a quick way to top off your Hilton account for an upcoming award this could be an option. Most of the time it is not going to be a worthwhile transfer though.
You can also transfer Virgin Atlantic miles to IHG Rewards points. They transfer at a 1 to 1 rate with a 10,000 minimum transfer and then in increments of 5,000 after that.
The interesting perk of this transfer is that the points transferred count towards IHG status. Meaning that if you transfer 75,000 miles to IHG Rewards you would earn Elite Spire status. One of the gift options for achieving Spire status is 25,000 IHG Rewards points. You could essentially turn 75,000 Virgin Atlantic miles into 100,000 IHG Rewards points for a rate of 1 to 1.33. This is also an option if you are just short of IHG status and need to get yourself over the top. Although IHG status isn’t worth much so take that into consideration.
Per Head for Points this recently ended.
The Process –
The only bad part of all of this is that you have to call into to Virgin Airlines to make hotel transfers. The transfers can take a week or two to go through as well. Be prepared for that when/if you decide to initiate the transfer.
Did You Say ThankYou Points?
Now you are probably wondering where ThankYou points come into this. Chase Ultimate Rewards are the only transferable currency that partners with IHG Rewards. Virgin Atlantic, being the promiscuous transfer partner that it is, partners with all of the major transferable currencies. That means you can transfer ThankYou Points to Virgin Atlantic and then to IHG Rewards.
But Should You?
I chose ThankYou points because they are the least valuable of the transferable points community. They are worth 1.25 cents per point through the Citi portal so be sure you are getting more than that before transferring them out.
You may be able to get that type of valuation using the points towards point break hotels or holiday bookings with extremely high rates.
If you have an IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card remember that you get the 4th night free with the newer version or 10% back in points with the older version. That should be included in your calculations.
Assuming you have the old version of the IHG card (most of us do) you would be getting a 10% discount on your points. That means that you would need to get a redemption of 1.125 cents per IHG point before making the ThankYou point transfer to come ahead vs just booking the room through the Citi portal.
If you have the newer IHG Premier card and only book 4 night stays you would need to get .94 cents per point to come out ahead on the ThankYou point transfer.
Don’t forget that ThankYou sometimes has promotions for transfers to Virgin Atlantic which could drop these rates even further.
This deal won’t work for everyone but it will be useful for some people:
- Anyone with unused Virgin Atlantic miles and no redemption in sight
- IHG Rewards credit card holders (old version) who get more than 1.125 cents per point
- IHG Premier credit card holders (new version) who book 4 night stays at .94 cents per point or higher
It is something to keep in your back pocket should you need it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.