Emirates First Class Champagne

What if you could walk through the airport like George Clooney in ‘Up In The Air’, without spending like a crazy business traveler, or K-pop star? Thanks to a new loyalty program twist, you can.

Virgin Atlantic has changed the way things count when you use miles to book flights, allowing you to earn to elite status ‘tier points’ when you redeem your miles, which means you could become a top tier airline lounge enjoying baller, just from points.

a room with chairs and tables by windows

Perks And Tier Points For Points Flights

Virgin Atlantic has a *fairly* simple way of earning perks as you move through their loyalty program, in the form of ‘tier points’. When you fly, or spend money on a credit card, you earn miles, which are separate. Tier Points can’t be spent, but they tell the airline whether you’re Virgin Altantic Red, Silver or Gold.

Gold with Virgin Atlantic earns Clubhouse Lounge access every time you fly, and perks on partners Air France, KLM and Delta as well, like always being able to use business class check in, and lounge access when flying internationally, even in economy.

a pink room with monitors and windows

The higher the cabin you fly, the more tier points you earn. An expensive business class ticket earns 200 tier points each way, a discount business class ticket earns 100, and so forth, and to reach Silver you need 400 points, and it’s 1000 for Gold.

But now, the same will apply when you use points to actually book the ticket.

When you use your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles, which you can of course create using American Express Membership Rewards Points, Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, Citi Thank You Points or Marriott Bonvoy Points, you’ll earn tier points, as if you’d paid cash, starting September 1st.

If you already have future bookings, don’t worry, they’ll count too. No drama.

a interior of a plane with rows of seats

Adding Up The Points

The earning will be based on what the lowest fare in each cabin would earn, so a Virgin Atlantic Economy booking using miles would earn 25 tier points each way, premium 50 and Upper Class (business class) 100 points each way, for 200 round trip.

This new loyalty perk only applies to flights on Virgin Atlantic, and doesn’t work if you use Virgin Atlantic miles to book with airline partners.

Earning Silver status has some solid perks if you fly Virgin Atlantic regularly, and earning the status with two round trips in Upper Class isn’t all that crazy. If you can push just a little bit crazier, two more round trips would earn Gold, where the major perks kick in.

What an exciting time, when a pedantic obsession with points can lead to a year full of flying perks, and A list treatment, even when you use points to book the flights. Previously, hotels offered the only loyalty programs that said “loyalty is loyalty, it doesn’t matter how you pay. Virgin Atlantic is the first airline to make this intriguing jump, and with any and all hope… won’t be the last.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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