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Generally, when announcements are made about airline frequent flyer programs, it’s not good news. And if the word “enhancements” is used, prepare for the worst.
However, early this morning, the Virgin Group revealed some changes to their frequent flyer program that I think everyone will categorize as delightful.
One of the challenges in the points and miles circle is often understanding how and where you can redeem your points/miles.
You’ll often hear the words “points” and “miles” used interchangeably (like I did in the previous statement) and that’s confusing.
Well, Virgin is clarifying the process and wants to make the process easier.
Today, the Virgin Group, the British multinational venture capital conglomerate founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, revealed Virgin Red, the new Virgin-wide rewards club.
That’s right, they are introducing a new “currency” that is being rolled out across the entire Virgin brand.
In addition to the new currency, the group announced Virgin Atlantic is renaming the frequent flyer program. It will no longer be named Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles, but rather, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Points.
It’s a minor change but interesting change because if you’re not familiar with the Virgin brand, they own A LOT of businesses including Virgin Active, Virgin Balloon Flights, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Galactic, Virgin Hotels, Virgin Hyperloop One, Virgin Megastores, Virgin Mobile, Virgin Rail Group, Virgin Voyages, etc.
This is complete speculation, but if the group is creating one currency, it’s would not too far fetched to assume that if you have Virgin Atlantic points, there is a possibility in the near future that you could use those points on Virgin Galactic (and go to space), avoid traffic by riding the Virgin Hyperloop One between Chicago, Columbus, and Pittsburgh and between Miami and Orlando, or cruise towards the beautiful sunset on Virgin Voyages.
VIRGIN POINTS DO NOT EXPIRE
The name change isn’t the only news that came from the Virgin Group today. They also announced Virgin Flying Club, the airline frequent flyer program, has made a modification and Virgin miles (now called points) do not expire where as they previously expired after 36 months if there was no activity on the member account.
SO WHAT HAPPENS TO MY MILES (OR POINTS)?
The next question you’re probably asking yourself is “does anything change with my miles, or points, or whatever we’re calling them?”
Nope! Everything stays exactly the same. Virgin Points have exactly the same value as Virgin Miles and members can continue to earn and redeem these across Virgin Atlantic, Delta and other partners as they did before.
VIRGIN IS FULL OF SURPRISES
In addition to name change, the Virgin Atlantic (the airline) is launching a new promotion where flyers can earn 2x (double points) on flights if booked before 1 October 2020.
Virgin Red, the new Virgin Group-wide rewards club, is an interesting development and is effective immediately.
At the moment, Virgin Atlantic is the only business that has the new currency in place. We don’t know the full details about Virgin Red (yet) but I’m super excited because the Virgin Cruises have been on my “I’m Intrigued, tell me more” list for a long time.
You may also remember that last month (August), Virgin Atlantic became the first major airline to announce that members would now earn elite-qualifying credits on award flights which was an incredible development considering other award programs only earn elite-qualifying credits on cash fares.
Given the plethora of Virgin’s brands and the possibility of earning and redeeming Virgin Points across the brands, this development has the potential to add a ton of value. We’ll just have to wait for the details when the program is fully revealed.
What do you think about this new development? What do you think about the possibility of redeeming points across the entire brand?