Virgin Atlantic transfers to IHG no longer count towards status

Transfers of points from one loyalty hotel or airline loyalty program to another are usually a bad deal — indeed what makes SPG points or Marriott Travel Packages standout values is the fact that they are the exception rather than the rule. One further oddball exception to the rule — and one that was a very niche play — was the ability to move points from Virgin Atlantic to IHG. What made this deal palatable even if not stellar was the fact that points transferred in this way counted toward IHG status. It was possible to earn top-tier Spire Elite status just by transferring in points from Virgin Atlantic. However, that has ended — transfers from Virgin Atlantic to IHG Rewards are no longer elite-qualifying points.

IHG status credit card bonus

IHG’s top-tier Spire Elite status requires you to stay 75 nights per year or earn 75,000 elite-qualifying points. It was formerly possible to transfer 75,000 Virgin Atlantic miles to IHG at a 1:1 ratio and earn IHG Spire Elite status without any stays or other activity. That isn’t a great deal as IHG points can usually be bought for around half a cent each and Virgin Atlantic miles have more valuable uses than that.

However, there were two key advantages:

  1. Virgin Atlantic is transfer partners with all of the major transferable currencies, making it very easy to accumulate those points.
  2. Upon achieving Spire Elite status, one can select a “choice benefit”, one of which is the option to get 25,000 bonus points

That meant you could quickly amass Virgin Atlantic miles to garner easy IHG Spire Elite status and move 75,000 transferable points to 100,000 IHG Rewards Club points in the process. It wasn’t the most valuable play in award travel, but it could certainly make sense to do it on a smaller scale to top off an account close to earning elite status.

As reported by Head for Points back in Julythis is no longer possible — transfers from Virgin Atlantic are no longer elite-qualifying points. It was fun while it lasted, but the party is over. While this has been true for about two months at this point, it recently came up with regard to the Current point transfer bonus from Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club – so we wanted to get the word out for readers who may not have otherwise heard.

H/T: Head for Points

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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voyager
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voyager

Ugh I already had 80k Virgin points nicely stashed waiting to be transferred in January to renew my Spire. All the bad news this week…. That means Nick is going to deliver an awesome piece of news tomorrow regarding Marriot packages, RIGHT?

Elias
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Elias

But seriously: Are you going to miss the free single bottle of room temperature water and old chips when you check in?

voayger
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voayger

nah it was about getting extra 25k points and the desk person telling you how awesome you are 🙂

Ripley62
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Ripley62

So how was this ever a good idea, 75k VA is most of the way to an upper class RT JFK to LHR ticket, which is a $3000 to $4000 ticket (95k-105k miles) for what a 10x spend bump in IHG points, 25k IHG, which will get you maybe half way to one night at a just alright hotel you could easily pay well under $200 for. And pretty much nothing at an intercontinental.

Jess
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Jess

This is such terrible news! As a Kimpton Inner Circle member, such a transfer would have been worth it to maintain that status (their benefits are killer). How about a post talking about the remaining ways to get to 75K elite qualifying points without so many stays? Before IHG bought Kimpton, you only had to stay 14 nights – now it’s 75… Now, for me anyway, retaining status through stays is impossible. 🙁

Anastasia
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Anastasia

I might be missing something, but since the IHG credit card comes with Platinum status already, is there all that much value in going up a level to spire status? I ask because I have the $49 credit card so my stays with IHG are always based on the Accelerate promo, never on earning status.