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Are Virgin Atlantic miles useless?

virgin atlanticSeriously I don’t seem to be able to use them for anything. I regret even converting my hard earned Amex points and Tesco coupons to Virgin.

I was suppose to use them for a trip to Tokyo last year which never happened and this year for a trip to Hong Kong.  However since I change my mind a hundred times a day thanks to all the thousands of options we didn’t go. Now I have 100,000 Virgin points sitting in my account that I cannot use and I am short on miles in every other account.

Definitely a diversification gone wrong.  I learned the hard way.

There are few things with Virgin that really annoy me. The crazy high taxes and the limited options; definitely not a good combination.


Taxes from, or to the UK  are extremely expensive. Even if you use your miles on partner flights they are expensive. It costs me as much as an economy ticket on it’s own. I called to ask for a few options and they came up with $800 of taxes for a return from London to Beijing.

I decided to also check prices for Middle East Airlines from Athens which came to $500 and the cash ticket was about $400 and a flight with Jet Airways from New Delhi to Bangkok with taxes of $250. Every single flight I find has sky high taxes that really makes using your miles useless. The only good option is the flight from Hong Kong to London in business since it is only $70 in taxes. Perfect! Yet I am short by half the miles for a redemption. 🙂

Destintation Choices

Virgin fly to limited airports, mostly US destinations which again are better off buying in cash than paying with miles. Especially when you redeem in economy. They don’t even fly to hubs anymore and last year they dropped the Mumbai and Tokyo flights as well.

Their partner award charts require so many miles that I get dizzy even looking at it. Let alone the fact that they don’t allow one way redemptions so no matter what I have to make it a return flight. Oh and if you want to actually get an idea of how many miles you need on partner airlines don’t bother looking at the online redemption charts. They are not accurate. I asked for a flight from Mumbai to Bangkok which is under 2000 miles and should cost 30,000 points in economy only to be quoted 41,000 points which is the next option for 2000 miles + flown.  The taxes where £124 per person for a return flight. I would happily pay this if it was 30,000 miles.

I can say that it is utterly frustrating and I definitely regret transferring any miles. Even though they do offer good promotions on conversions I see no point in them.

Non Partner Options

If I wanted to burn the miles I could convert them to Hilton points, which I can use for hotel stays in Makkah. Yet, even this takes about a month to be processed since they do it manually. I am very much debating on whether to do this or not. 🙂

To close on a positive note however I have to admit. Virgin Atlantic has the best customer service I have experienced so far. They are always polite, prompt and helpful. I know this because I have spent hours with them on the phone.  It is kind of my evening break where I just chat to them to see what options I have available. 🙂

I just wish they offered better choices..

Do you have any diversification of miles stories gone wrong?

P.S. If any of you have any recommendations for where to use my 120,000 miles please feel free to share

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