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I have to be honest and say that I didn’t expect to be ever writing a post about how much I like the Virgin Red app. For a long time I couldn’t really see the point of it – it seemed to just contain fairly random promos (often relating to balloon rides or wine) and the “loyalty currency” was largely unfathomable.
Then there was the fact that it bore very little relation to the Virgin loyalty programme I actually cared about, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. This is the scheme that actually gets you into the air in luxury cabins via points-funded flights.
Mercifully, it does appear that someone at Virgin noticed this disconnect, and therefore they came up with the rather wonderful idea of just introducing a “pan-Virgin” loyalty scheme, with a single loyalty currency that has full coverage.
Suddenly, everything made sense. Now, if I earn a point in the Virgin Red app contests or promos, that’s a point towards a Virgin flight. Similarly, handfuls of Virgin Flying Club miles can be used for offers on the app or with Virgin partners. For example, and it’s a fairly random one, I can now clearly redeem points I’ve gained from flying for sausage rolls at Greggs. Given my focus, the main aim will be to generate points for the purposes of using them via Flying Club and flight opportunities, but this is a good example of how understandable and flexible this one, single, interchangeable points system is.
It’s also worth pointing out that with the current heavy limitations on flying, it’s sometimes well worth looking at the “non-flying” options a loyalty points scheme presents you with. Joe did this very neatly yesterday with Avios and Nectar. That said, you may also want to note Joe’s warning in relation to non-flying redemptions with Virgin points, which are of questionable value, certainly when compared to Avios/Nectar.
As a result, anyone keen to collect Virgin points should absolutely download the Virgin Red app, safe in the knowledge that all points earned from it will be properly redeemable for flights as if it were miles earned directly from Flying Club. That is a very welcome change.
Has this change made Flying Club better?
Although complimentary, this post is far more in praise of Virgin getting its act together and effectively consolidating its loyalty programmes than it is a full assessment of the quality of the new programme itself.
While Flying Club has always been a more than passable loyalty programme, it remains to be seen what exactly will emerge from the new, consolidated scheme.
The key thing for now is that earning points with Virgin has become easier and more understandable. That will also make our lives easier when flagging points-earning opportunities. I was always loathe to flag a promotion that earned you 250 Virgin Red points that earned you an entry into a draw to win a weekend balloon ride, I’ll be much more likely to flag it if it earns you 250 Flying Club miles or an entry into a draw to win a weekend balloon ride.
What’s on the Virgin Red app right now?
As noted repeatedly above, I’ll happily now flag all points-earning opportunities on the app, as they’re proper Virgin points.
We’ve previously flagged the 500 free points just for downloading and earning on the app the first time. There’s also a variety of quizzes and competitions on there that give you the opportunity to win points.
Beyond that, the most interesting offer on the app is probably the 15,000 points for switching your bank account to the Virgin Money Current Account.
Ultimately, any Virgin Flying Club member really should now get on board with Virgin Red too. This nicely consolidated Virgin loyalty scheme should make for some great earning and, hopefully, spending opportunities as it develops.
The author of this article has never been on a balloon ride. On reflection, he concedes it may actually be quite good fun.