Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles & British Airways Avios Tesco Clubcard Promotion 2012

by Continental Club on February 16, 2012

Members of the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club loyalty programme have joined their counterparts in the British Airways Executive Club in being able to exchange UK supermarket Tesco’s Clubcard Points for airline miles/points.

And, until 31st March 2012, members of both programmes can also benefit from conversion bonuses.

First, Virgin: the conversion rate has been set at 200 Clubcard Points to 500 Flying Club Miles, so 1 CC Point to 2.5 FC Miles. There are two conversion methods; quarterly manual transfer or an automatic exchange for Flying Club miles which requires an opt-in. Opting-in to the auto-conversion system before 31st March 2012 will generate a 1,000 mile bonus.

Secondly, British Airways: the conversion rate is 250 Clubcard Points to 600 Avios, so 1:2.4. Again, there are two conversion methods; manual or automatic. All conversions undertaken by the 31st March 2012 will generate an additional bonus of 400 Avios per 250 Clubcard Points converted, so 250 Points will convert to 1,000 Avios. And, for selected Executive Club members who have received a special email, there’s also a 1,000 Avios bonus for opting-in to auto-conversion too.

Which is better then, manual or automatic conversions, and Flying Club Miles or Avios? Well, as is so often the case, the answer comes down to personal circumstances and preferences.

Stick with manual transfers and there’s that regular administration, but the flexibility to feed both programmes alternately or to favour one or other for a while is retained – or to use your Clubcard Points for something completely different each quarter.

Opt-in to automatic conversions to one or other programme and you can sit back, avoid the three-monthly keying-in of voucher codes and watch the miles/Avios flow into your airline account – but if you want to use Clubcard Points for a different reward in future, you’ll have to remember to opt back out again, before a quarter-end.

Picking between the airline programmes isn’t as simple as looking at the conversion rates, either; although it appears at first glance that Virgin’s 1:2.5 is healthier than the BA Avios 1:2.4, both programmes allow you to redeem their currencies at different rates and for different rewards.

Where you live and where you’re likely to fly on a reward booking¬† will also have a bearing on your decision: if you’re based in the North West or London, Virgin’s Manchester, Heathrow and Gatwick-based route network to the USA, Caribbean, Africa, Hong Kong and Sydney may be appealing. If, however, you live nearer to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Newcastle, as well as Manchester and London of course, or you don’t always want to fly faraway when you redeem, then British Airways’ domestic connections, shorthaul network and wider longhaul destinations list may tip the balance in their favour.

Of course, you’d have to be spending significant amounts on your weekly shop at Tesco for Clubcard to be your sole source of airline miles or points, so the biggest decision-maker in terms of which programme to favour will probably come down to how else you earn that currency. If you already earn more Avios than Flying Club Miles because you fly British Airways more frequently and/or further, then it makes sense to stick with Avios and build your pot to a useful balance – and vice versa.

And if you are a super-frequent flyer, then there’s alot to be said for keeping a healthy number of miles and points in a few airline programmes – as it’s sometimes the case that if one airline shows no availability then the other will come up trumps when you want to redeem.

Whatever you decide, the best news is that Virgin Flying Club members now have a new way to earn miles open to them, and that both they and BA Executive Club Members can earn more miles and Avios respectively until the end of March.

For full details on the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club & Tesco Clubcard promotion, click here.

For full details on the British Airways Executive Club Avios & Tesco Clubcard promotion, click here.

 

 

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6 comments

I have a Virgin credit card, and might use the Tesco point to top up the miles, so thanks for the tip. I travel to the US two or three times a year but don’t use the points to book an economy flight, as it is rarely significantly cheaper than the best deal on the route (which a quality airline). Instead I use them to upgrade to premium economy once a year or so. I think this offers the best value. I do miss the old pre APD (air tax) and fuel surcharge days when you could use miles to pay for a flight. Now it is much harder to get good value from your points, even if you generate thousands a year.

by Joanna Luton on March 14, 2012 at 10:58 AM. Reply #

You’re welcome, Joanna, and you’re absolutely right that using points/miles for upgrades and premium cabin redemptions often represents the best value. Of course, you can still avoid most of the APD, fees, charges and surcharges levied on ‘free’ flights by using the new Reward Flight Saver scheme for shorthaul flights (within Europe) with British Airways and Avios. If you’d like more information then do please post back!

by Continental Club on March 14, 2012 at 3:09 PM. Reply #

Oh! Virgin, Kenya is the only place I visit every year, now Virgin withdrew its service and I am stuck with over 12k of miles. I have looked nearly everywhere to use the miles but got no where. I have now sent me email telling my points will expire in 1215. How honest are they when I was to use then last spring but they decline to convert thus making me use a different cheaper airline (British Airways). What goes round comes round Virgin. I would appreciate any help to get rid of this nightmare points off me.

by Osman on November 12, 2012 at 11:38 AM. Reply #

Small amounts of miles can often be a bit of a nuisance, especially when they have an expiry date. In your case, I think you’d probably be looking at converting them either to Hilton HHonors Points, or perhaps to a voucher redeemable with other Virgin-branded and non-Virgin businesses.

The snag with the latter option, if you’re UK-based, is that one Virgin business that doesn’t accept the vouchers is Virgin Trains. 12,500 miles will get you a ¬£50 voucher that you might still be able to use though, perhaps at a Marco Pierre White restaurant, or Virgin Wines.

by Continental Club on November 12, 2012 at 12:00 PM. Reply #

can I use avios airmiles towards my virgin flight

by margaret hedges on July 1, 2013 at 9:04 PM. Reply #

Hello Margaret – unfortunately it’s not possible to use Avios for Virgin flights. For more information on what is and isn’t possible in terms of converting points and miles, check out . Although this deals specifically with transferring from Flying Club miles to Avios, it explains the overall situation too. Apologies for the delay in replying as well; for some reason we’ve only just received the comment notification!

by Continental Club on July 19, 2013 at 4:17 PM. Reply #

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