Virgin lower tier points for Silver & Gold status

Virgin Atlantic announced that they’ll lower the number of tier points required to earn status in their Flying Club loyalty programme in 2022.

Flying Club members will need 300 tier points to reach silver status (instead of the usual 400). You’ll need 800 tier points to reach the benefit-ladened gold status. That’s 200 fewer than the 1,000 tier points usually required.

This promotion comes hot on the heels of a competitive status match campaign that we took advantage of early in 2021. Read about our experience of Virgin’s Heathrow clubhouse and Upper Class cabin.

Existing Flying Club members have also been offered an extension to their status until next year.

Better for Reds?

The offer runs for 12 months and begins with the point collection year starting 1st April 2022. Tier points expire 12 months after earning them. If you currently have the entry-level red tier status, you have have a full 12 months to earn the required tier points and receive the upgrade. So, from the date you start flying you have 12 months to earn 300 points for silver or 800 for gold.

Things are a little more complicated if you’re already silver or gold. Virgin announced a 6-month extension to silver and gold memberships, but that will barely run past April 2022 for some. If you have extended Flying Club status expiring before April 2022, you’ll need the full 400 tier points for gold and 1,000 for gold. Expiries beyond that require the new lower threshold, but the window to earn them before you drop down is shortened. We can see a few situations where existing silver and gold members have to drop down until they accrue enough tier points.

Industry standard

While great news, direct competitor British Airways had already cut the earning thresholds for its loyalty programme. We think it was only a matter of time before Virgin caught up. Bookings are down and people travelling less, so a relative reduction in the value of the points system makes sense. While only a temporary change, we hope it’s enough to encourage travellers to stay in the air.

In their own words:

From April next year it will take just 300 Tier Points instead of 400 to upgrade from Red to Silver status – and lots of added perks. You could earn those with three return flights in Economy* over a year. Or treat yourself to two flights in Upper Class** and glide straight to Gold status for 800 points instead of the usual 1000.

This reduction will remain in place for 12 months from 1st April 2022, so you have plenty of time to upgrade your membership.

Earn status points on holiday bookings

There was also some interesting news in the press release about earning tier points on Virgin Holidays. From 9th November, you’ll receive 20 tier points for every £500 spent on holiday bookings. There’s a 400 point limit, which equates to £10,000 per year. This is in addition to the tier points you’ll earn from the flight.

Holiday bookings will now also earn 2 Virgin Points (miles) per £1 spent.

In what has been a difficult year for travel, Virgin are upping their game on loyalty. They’ve radically transformed the Flying Club loyalty programme. From how you earn Virgin Points to the associated membership benefits, it’s a very different programme now to what it was before the pandemic. Now the number of tier points have been cut to achieve status, it makes the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club highly competitive against BA’s Executive Club. While travel is still facing a far from certain future, we hope to take advantage of some of the changes announced above.

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