Virgin Red: New free rewards club has some bumper points offers – how does it stack up to other schemes?
Virgin Red is one of the newest reward clubs on the market It is currently offering 12 points for every £1 spent on Booking.comWe reveal whether this is a good deal – or if other reward schemes offer more
Virgin Red is one of the newest rewards club to hit the market with Booking.com becoming the latest partner to join the service.
The partnership will reward holidaymakers with 12 Virgin Points for every £1 spent on accommodation for any domestic stays and European city breaks booked before 30 September 2021, which Virgin claims is a market-leading rate for holiday bookings.
It said this means a five-night stay in Cornwall, with the accommodation costing between £600 and £800, could earn users enough points to book a free flight to a European city or a three-course meal for two at a Raymond Blanc brasserie.
However, is the rewards club the best on the market – or can others beat it?
Virgin Red is offering consumers a number of deals – but how does it compare to other schemes?
What does Virgin Red offer?
Anyone can sign up to Virgin Red and it is free to join – it has been part of a recent advertising blitz.
Once you are a member, you can earn and spend Virgin Points across hundreds of different rewards.
It has partnered with a number of brands including John Lewis and Partners, eBay, Asos and Just Eat which means you get Virgin Red points anytime you shop with these brands.
Virgin Red also has partner offers that enable customers to earn a number of points at once including up to 7,400 points when switching to Octopus Energy, 15,000 points when switching to Virgin Money’s M Plus account or 21,000+ points on Upper Class Virgin Atlantic flights to LA.
They have also partnered with Booking.com to give people points with existing customers able to access their Genius benefits, as well as being able to earn Virgin Points.
There are currently more than 150 rewards to choose from, across five different reward categories.
They start from 200 points and customers can sign up online or by downloading the Virgin Red app.
To redeem rewards online, customers must visit the website they are looking to claim points at via Virgin Red’s website.
If it is an in store purchase, customers must use the app or website to redeem the points after which they will receive a code they can show to a team member when purchasing.
However, whilst there are some deals offering top end points, other purchases offer much less.
For example, users only get 1 point per £1 spent at both Boots and on eBay.
Another issue is that there is no cash conversion for the points with the value varying from partner to partner depending on the reward on offer.
This could make it tricky for consumers to understand how much benefit they are actually getting from the scheme.
WHAT VIRGIN RED POINTS COULD BUY YOU £s Points Reward £300 3,600 18 sausage rolls or two tickets to the cinema £500 6,000 A driving experience £600 7,200 Raymond Blanc Meal £800 9,600 A business flight to Paris £1,000 12,000 Three flights to Amsterdam £1,500 18,000 Virgin Active yearly membership £2,000 24,000 Flight to New York (exc. taxes, fees and charges) or 120 Greggs Doughnuts £3,000 36,000 Exclusive use of the Virgin Red Room – a private members suite at Manchesters AO Arena £4,000 48,000 Three flying lessons or five cases of wine Source: Virgin Red
How does this differ from competitors?
Whilst the Virgin Red rewards scheme may look appealing, there are a number of other companies on the market offering similar incentives.
Rob Burgess, Head for Points, said: ‘The best way to think of Virgin Red is simply as another cashback or rewards portal.
‘Despite how it is branded, it simply isn’t any different to TopCashback, Quidco, Nectar estores or Avios estore except that Virgin Points are far less flexible than the cash that Quidco or TopCashback would give you.’
For comparison, TopCashback is currently offering 7 per cent cashback on UK and European hotel bookings via Booking.com.
Meanwhile, the British Airways estore is offering 10 Avios per £1.
By comparison, Nectar is offering, for every 400 Nectar points – the equivalent to £2 in cash – 250 Avios points – much more than British Airways.
Ultimately, it is up to customers to decide whether Virgin Red would be worthwhile for them.
Burgess said: ‘If you are an active Virgin Points collector then this offer of 12 points per £1 is attractive.
‘If you are not an active Virgin Points collector, I would definitely be looking to take 7 per cent in hard cash via TopCashback instead of being stuck with some Virgin Points I may never get to use.’