Virgin Red vs. Virgin Flying Club: Unpacking The Programs


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For Virgin loyalists, the introduction of the Virgin Red program next to the already existing Virgin Flying Club might seem like a twist in the plot. Both programs operate under the banner of Virgin Points but serve different purposes.

In the complex universe of Virgin loyalty programs, Virgin Points serve as the singular currency, seamlessly bridging both Virgin Red and Virgin Flying Club. What might surprise you is that Virgin Red is technically the custodian of all Virgin Points. This makes Virgin Atlantic more of a business partner, buying points from Virgin Red to reward its flying clientele.

The Tried and True: Virgin Flying Club

Virgin Flying Club is essentially Virgin Atlantic’s frequent flyer program, designed with air travel aficionados in mind. It operates like a traditional frequent flyer scheme. This is where you can earn points through air travel and spend them on flights or flight upgrades. If you’re a frequent flyer who prefers earning points at 30,000 feet, this is your program.

The Virgin Flying Club also offers status levels—Silver and Gold—that come with their own set of advantages (even more so now that Virgin has joined SkyTeam). You can climb up these tiers based on your flying activity with Virgin Atlantic and its SkyTeam airline partners. These tiers open up a realm of possibilities for additional perks like lounge access, priority boarding, and extra baggage allowance.

You can manage your Flying Club account through the Virgin Atlantic website or via their call centre. This is your go-to for booking any flight rewards, checking your points balance, and climbing the status ladder. If you’re keen on elite perks and focus mostly on air travel, this is where you’ll find your sanctuary.

A New Challenger: Virgin Red

While the Flying Club woos frequent flyers, Virgin Red takes a different route. It aims to attract a broader spectrum of consumers, not just those who are accumulating air miles. Launched primarily as a smartphone app, Virgin Red opens up new avenues for earning and spending points.

Virgin Red is essentially an online shopping portal that grants you points for every pound spent at a plethora of online retailers. But it doesn’t stop there; Virgin Red has ventured into non-flying ways of spending your points. The platform offers a range of lifestyle experiences, like dining, retail partnerships, and special events. It’s directly competing with cashback sites and other travel shopping portals, but it comes with the added spice of unique redemptions.

Virgin Red operates without the concept of status levels. It’s egalitarian in that sense; whether you’re a Gold member of Flying Club or new to the whole Virgin ecosystem, you get the same options here.

Synchronizing Your Loyalty: The Linking Protocol

The key to maximizing your Virgin Points is to link your Virgin Red and Flying Club accounts. This allows you to pool your points, giving you access to benefits from both programs. The process is irreversible, but with the variety of earning and spending opportunities on the table, there’s no downside we can see.

Final Verdict: Why Choose When You Can Have Both?

In the end, the real advantage lies in participating in both programs. Virgin Flying Club gives you depth, with its elite status tiers and airline-specific benefits. On the other hand, Virgin Red offers breadth by opening up varied avenues for earning and spending points. By linking your accounts, you’re essentially getting the best of both worlds. So, why limit yourself? Double up to maximize your rewards and redefine your travel and lifestyle loyalty strategy.

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