Virgin launches fee-free train booking app and you can earn points to redeem at Greggs and more - here's how it works
Virgin has launched a free app that allows rail passengers to book trains directly, without a booking fee. Users can also earn points on spending to redeem on Virgin experiences, Greggs sausage rolls and more.
We break down how it works below. You can also see our Cheap train tickets guide if you’re looking to cut travel costs.
Anyone can book rail tickets using the 'Virgin Trains Ticketing' app
The Virgin Trains Ticketing (VTT) app launched earlier this week. You can download the app for free on Android and Apple. You currently can't use VTT via desktop, but there are plans to introduce the option later down the line.
Anyone can create a free account on the app/website and use it to book train tickets with any train company UK-wide - you don't need to be travelling with Virgin to use it. The service itself has no booking fees, though different sites sometimes list different tickets, so check a few for the best prices before purchasing.
You can also apply any Railcards to your account.
You'll need to sign up to Virgin Red to earn points on ticket purchases
Virgin Red, which launched last year, is a free to join rewards club that allows users to earn ‘Virgin points’ that can then be redeemed on Virgin experiences, flights and at other rewards partners.
You'll use the same log in for your Virgin Red account for your Virgin Trains Ticketing account - these will then automatically link together.
You’ll earn points for every £1 spent on train tickets
For every booking made via the app or website, Virgin Red users will earn points - £1 spent equates to three Virgin points.
Points never expire and will be credited 56 days after the date of travel or, if you chose not to travel, the final date on which your ticket is valid. Points will be displayed on both your train booking account AND on the Virgin Red app but they can only be redeemed via the latter (see below for more on this).
It is worth noting that if you get a refund on your ticket and it's not yet been 56 days since the date you were due to travel, you won't receive those points.
You can also earn Virgin Red points on spending at retailers including Asos and Boots
Users can also earn points when they buy other Virgin products, such as experiences and flights, as well as online only at various non-Virgin brands, such as Asos and Boots.
To earn points this way, you'll need to go to the Virgin Red app, select the retailer you'd like to shop at, and go from there. You can't earn Virgin points if you simply head straight to the retailer's own website or shop. For a full list of retailers you can earn points at, see the Virgin website.
Points can only be redeemed through the Virgin Red app
What points can be spent on - and how many points you need to do so - varies. For example, 9,000 Virgin points gets you a case of Virgin wine - though you'd need to have spent £3,000 to earn that many points. Alternatively, 300 points gets you a Greggs savoury item - though users will need to have spent £100 to earn this many points. Currently, you cannot spend points on Virgin train bookings.
So it's only worth using the scheme if you were going to make the purchase anyway. Any points you earn is simply a bonus on top.
Points can only be spent via the Virgin Red app or website. Just select what you'd like to spend the points on in the app or online and follow the instructions. For non-Virgin brands you'll be sent a QR code to redeem.
Got a Tesco Clubcard? You can swap Clubcard points to Virgin points
If you're a Tesco Clubcard member, you have the option to swap your Clubcard points to Virgin points. You can either set it up so Clubcard points automatically exchange, or you can swap them manually as and when you want to.
However, before you do so carefully consider if it's worth it. Clubcard points' worth can be tripled in value, for example, when spent at the scheme's various partners including major restaurant chains, theme parks and more.
If it is right for you to swap points and you want this to happen automatically, click on 'Clubcard Account' in the top navigation on either the Clubcard app or website, scroll down to select the "Voucher Schemes" page and then select the "Virgin Points" box. You can exchange any Clubcard vouchers you already have, then on your next quarterly Clubcard statement your points will be automatically converted into Virgin Points.
To manually exchange points, select the amount of Clubcard vouchers you would like to spend using the basket above. Any "change" leftover from your Clubcard vouchers will be added back into your Clubcard account.