The Adrian Loveridge Column – Virgin Members Welcome!

Virgin Money together with Virgin Atlantic has recently launched two new credit cards which could significantly add benefit to our UK based visitors and encourage more people to travel to the Caribbean. There is a choice, between an annual fee-free Virgin Atlantic Reward card, or a GB Pounds 160 per year Virgin Atlantic Reward + credit card.

Both MasterCard branded cards give free access to Virgin Money Lounges in the UK – of which there are currently seven locations including Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Norwich and Sheffield with discounts on Virgin Group products including train tickets and holidays.

The Reward card earns 0.75 Flying Club miles for every GB Pound 1 spent, double miles for all direct bookings with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays. There is a bonus of 5,000 miles after a first purchase is made with 90 days of account opening.

The Reward + card earns 1.5 Flying Club miles for every GB Pounds 1 spent, double miles for all direct bookings with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays. A bonus of 15,000 miles after first purchase is made within 90 days of account opening plus free access to over 1 million global hotspots via Boingo wifi.

In addition holders of both cards can choose from a range of rewards when they reach yearly spending limits (GB Pounds 20,000 in the case of the Reward card and GB Pounds 10,000 for the Reward + card). These bonuses are significant in themselves, as the miles required for an economy round trip ticket from the UK to Barbados is from 20.000. These rewards are based on the cardholder’s tier status within Flying Club criteria, which are:

Red Flying Club members can choose a free premium economy (now rebranded as Premium) upgrade when flying economy or an economy reward companion seat which enables them to take a companion for no additional miles.

Silver members can choose from these same options, as well as a Premium reward companion seat or a pass for a Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.

Gold members can choose two Clubhouse passes, an economy, Premium or Upper Class reward companion seat, or a free premium upgrade.

Of course, there are downsides to using miles as the various taxes and add-ons are still payable and seats are often limited to non-peak periods, so are difficult or nearly impossible to secure during school and public holidays.

While I have strongly advocated the use of miles earning credit cards over the years, anyone even vaguely considering applying for either of these cards should be fully aware of the APR (annual percentage rate) interest payable on any outstanding balance, which is 22.9 per cent for the Reward card and a mind boggling 63.9 per cent on the Reward + plus card. Failure to pay on time would obviously negate any travel benefits.

My own thoughts are, as a destination we have an incredible opportunity to influence potential visitors to Barbados who apply for these new cards. Why don’t we use some of those otherwise empty summer rooms to offer say, 100 holidays for two to applicants based on random selection?

11 comments

  • @Adrian

    Your article sounds like an ADVERTISMENT for the Virgin cards. PS; noted on Friday while in GAIA that half of the FIRST CLASS LOUNGE has been taken over by VIRGIN as their private members lounge. Now all other airlines first, business passengers have half a lounge. You promoting Virgin Cards benefits have cost all other airline passengers at the airport into cramped first class lounge, one step forward and two backward.

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  • I must agree it does sound like an advertisement for Virgin. My understanding anyone dealing with Virgin Financial may have membership in their Money lounges. They are not located at the airport , so do not see what advantage to a traveller. Adrian, I applaud your efforts to increase tourism to Barbados, however I think this is a bit far fetched.

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  • @Robert

    “They are not located at the airport”

    Unfortunately the Virgin Lounge in Barbados is located in the airport and in fact has taken over more than 50% of the entire airport first class lounge.

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  • NorthernObserver

    @Wily
    in fairness to Virgin, their passengers couldn’t take over half the first class lounge if somebody at GAIA didn’t make the deal to allow it. ALL the airlines try to maximize the benefits of their various affinity programs. Yet things in Bim must be good, if that many people have the cashish to pay for first class.

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  • Is it not a function of revenue opportunity for GAIA i.e. what Virgin is willing to pay for to wine and dine their customers?

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  • @Northernobserver

    Your correct there are lots of airline passengers willing to upgrade to business or first just to have a REASONABLE seat, still not comfortable but better than cattle cask. The point is GAIA authorities are pissing off all other airline lounge passengers, just another example of Barbados corrupt/incompetent authorities. These same authorities cannot understand why they get poor TripAdvisor reviews.

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  • NorthernObserver

    @Wily
    to the Blogmasters query, GAIA must be getting revenue from VA? And Virgin passengers cannot occupy the lounge all day and night? I would have to see the revenue/cost equation before calling the move corrupt/incompetent. If GAIA were NOT attempting to increase revenue then people would be up their ass too?

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  • The Virgin Lounge is located at the airport! I think Adrian mentioned the Virgin “money lounge” these are not located at the airport !

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  • @Northernobserver

    “And Virgin passengers cannot occupy the lounge all day and night”

    Virgin have an exclusive designated area which was part of the general lounge. Other airline passengers can no longer use the Virgin area, 24/7.

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  • NorthernObserver

    It would seem then, the GAIA who own the lounge area, need to answer why they entered into an agreement which gives VA qualifying passengers exclusive use. Maybe one needs to tell GAIA the area is a beach?

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  • @NO

    Sarcastic to boot!

    Like

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