Virgin Atlantic Bonus for Purchased, Gifted, and Purchased-With-Ticket Miles

Virgin is running several bonuses through December 5th on purchased, gifted, and transferred miles and also on their new ‘miles booster‘ that lets you buy miles in conjunction with the purchase of paid travel.

The bonus on purchased and gifted miles (up to 30,000 miles received per account) is 25%.

The bonus for purchasing miles in conjunction with a paid ticket is 15%. There’s also a permanent bonus of 1000 miles with each purchase.

These bonuses strike me as interesting because they seem like a continuation of the ‘Amerification’ of world frequent flyer programs, historically the programs themselves began in the states and have been the most aggressive in the States in printing miles and monetizing them. Miles are a big business.

It’s always seemed odd to me that airlines offer additional — very expensive — miles for sale in the ticket purchase process. Sure, there are customers and giving those customers the chance to spend more money is potentially profitable. But the miles are simply not a good deal. The standalone purchase of miles can make sense to me, a member is stuck needing a few miles in a hurry to have enough for an award ticket. But the impulse purchase at checkout when buying a ticket?

I used to imagine that the uptake on these offers was low, but it was worth offering because it was cheap to implement. It turns out, though, the a large percentage of customers buy miles when buying airline tickets. And it’s not the less sophisticated, occasional travelers either — it tends to be elite members of a frequent flyer program, folks who should be more like to both have plenty of miles already and also be savvy about the value of those miles. But it seems that elites are the ones who really like their airline’s miles, so want to buy more.

While Virgin is making moves in the direction of direct mileage sales, and goosing the same, they haven’t made the miles booster process easy since the purchase can’t be completed online — it actually requires a phone call to the program.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Can I gift points to my husband and get a 25% bonus? Then a week later can he gift some back to me, and still get the 25% bonus?

  2. I can answer some of the mile buying mystery, maybe. In my case I don’t fly enough to earn enough for the rewards I want so I get additional miles from promos, shopping portals, etc, also credit card churning can help but for some extra miles I will buy them at a higher rate with plans to redeem them for international first or business seats so the ROI is good, just not the best. Most of the miles I buy are on US Air, not because of the great product but because of the redemption value. However I don’t typically buy extra miles at the time of a ticket purchase but may pay a small fee for triple miles or a paid upgrade when available on domestic tickets.

  3. huh? i guess i realize i made a mistake in the first paragraph, i suggest there’s a bonus on transferred miles when there is not, i will correct.

  4. Hah. I hadn’t read his post. The offer was emailed to me, and copied text from that email into my blog post as a prompt while writing up the offer.

    I certainly did not mean to ‘take’ anything from him without attribution! I have linked to his blog when I have gotten things from there in the past, as is very much my practice to acknowledge sources. And there’s no benefit at all to me to claim ‘authorship’ of a buy miles deal with Virgin Atlantic.

    So any similarity is purely unintentional on my part. I will remove the language.

  5. So i have in excess of 30,000 and so does my husband, so if we each gift each other 30,000 points we will each get a bonus amount of 7,500 at a cast of $25 each, making each point value $0.003. Is that right?

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