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Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Money launch frequent flyer savings account

Virgin is taking a unique approach to air miles. Through Flying Club, its frequent flyer programme, and Virgin Money, it will offer air miles instead of interest. Customers opening the Virgin Atlantic 1 Year Flying Savings Account will earn 1,400 miles for every £1,000 saved. The air miles can then be exchanged for a range of Virgin Atlantic flights and cabin upgrades.

Virgin credit card customers can also earn air miles. On the Reward credit card option customers can earn 750 miles by spending £1,000. On the Reward+ credit card option, which has a £160 annual fee, customers can earn 1,500 miles for every £1,000 spent.

This means someone saving £15,000 could earn enough Flying Club miles for a return economy classic reward flight to New York, India or United Arab Emirates (21,000 miles).

This is only really worthwhile for people who are diligent with collecting air miles. As a savings programme it’s not competitive and you can of course only send the ‘interest’ with Virgin. However, if you’re specifically looking for a good way to boost your Virgin air miles, this is a good option.

  • The account can only be opened online and you’ll need to have a valid Virgin Atlantic Flying Club membership account and number (you can sign up to get one before opening the account).
  • No withdrawals are permitted before maturity.
  • Savers can deposit up to £1m.
  • While customers don’t physically earn interest, for tax purposes, the interest of 1.19% forms part of their Personal Savings Allowance and therefore, it will need to be included on tax returns like any other savings interest.
  • Virgin Atlantic splits its seasons between ‘standard’ and ‘peak’ with flights falling within the high-demand periods requiring a larger amount of air miles. As an example, peak travel (22 June to 6 September 2018) to New York requires 40,000 air miles, rather than the 20,000 during off-peak periods.
  • All Reward Flights are subject to taxes, fees and carrier-imposed surcharges.
  • Flying Club miles are automatically transferred to the Flying Club Account within five working days after the date of maturity.
  • Unredeemed Flying Club miles are valid for three years from the most recent qualifying earning or spending activity. As such, this means providing the account remains active, there’s no effective expiry date.