Virgin Money bank switching offer: 20,000 Virgin Points

Swap the points for wine, sausage rolls, money off flights and more.

While most bank switching offers provide cash, Virgin Money is taking a different approach. Since launching in late 2019, the offers have included free wine, charity donations, Virgin Experience vouchers and now boosted interest rates.

Here’s what you need to know.

What you’ll get for switching

The switch offer from 13 April 2022 offers the following.

  • 20,000 Virgin Points (more on how you can use them below)

This is on top of ongoing extras provided with the Virgin Money M Plus current account (here’s my review). The key ones to know about are:

  • 2.02% interest on up to £1,000 balance
  • 1% interest on balances up to £25,000
  • Fee free spending abroad
  • Cashback offers

How to get the free points

To qualify for the Virgin Money switching incentive you need to :

  • Apply online for a Virgin Money M Plus Current Account for the first time
  • Not have an existing Virgin Money, B, Clydesdale or Yorkshire Bank account or closed one since 31 January 2022
  • No already had a switching offer from Virgin Money (Bundle or Virgin Red)

Then within 45 days you also need to:

  • Download the register for the Virgin Money app
  • Complete a full switch using the Current Account Switch Service
  • Transfer or set up two Direct Debits and keep them active until you receive the wine offer code
  • Pay in £1,000 to the linked Instant Access savings account, and keep it there until you receive the wine offer code

When you get the incentives

Within 14 days of meeting the criteria you’ll then be sent an email sharing how to claim your points. At the moment the code will be valid until 30 April 2023.

I’ve written more about how to switch bank accounts here.

What you can use the points for

There’s a long list of things you can swap your points for on the Virgin Red site. Here are a few examples:

  • Virgin Wine
  • Virgin Experiences
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • EMI records
  • Virgin Voyages
  • Greggs
  • Vue
  • AO Arena concerts
  • Charity donations
  • London Theatre Direct

Is the switching offer any good?

This is certainly the most flexible Virgin Money switching offer so far. If you want wine, you can get wine. If you don’t, you can pick from a number of different things. And if you collect Virgin points to go towards flights, then this is a hefty boost.

But what’s the actual value of the points? This gives a rough guide to the value of the points based on the cost of buying some of the options elsewhere:

ProductPoints neededCost elsewhereValue of 100 pointsValue of 20,000 points
12 bottles of Virgin Wine16,000Around £11067p£137.50
Greggs sausage roll200£150p£100
Vinyl album4,000£2563p£125
Mustang driving via Virgin Experience6,000£3965p£130
Money off Virgin Atlantic flights3,000£16.5055p£110

If we use the examples above of ways to redeem your points, we can assume you’ll get between £100 and £140 of goods for your 20,000 points.

However, the question is – would you pay that much for them? The wine, for example, might be worth £110 according to Virgin, but you could easily buy a dozen bottles of equivalent wine at the supermarket when on offer for less than £80.

Likewise you might find other items such as an album or experience for less elsewhere, or use voucher codes to bring prices down.

Plus, there’s very little that comes in at 20,000 points so you might have to mix and match different options. That could mean you buy things you don’t really want or need with leftover points, or perhaps not be able to use them all.

So I think you should be more conservative in the value of the points at closer to £100. Still decent, but beatable elsewhere.

How it compares to other switching incentives

Offering a voucher, interest or free wine is different from the switching incentives we see from other banks. Most banks go with hard cash, usually around the £100 to £150 mark.

You can see the latest ones here, and right now you can get:

Should you switch to Virgin Money?

Andy’s Analysis

If you’re after the 2.02% interest on the first £1,000 then you may as well also switch and get the bonus.

If you’re just looking for switching incentives I’d say you’re better off prioritising the cash from these other banks as you can use it as you wish.

But if you’re a serial switcher and have already got other offers, then the decision is whether you nab this one now or wait to see if the deal changes again in a few months’ time.

Previous offers

Virgin tends to change switching offers three or four times a year. A regular offer was free wine, so I’m including this for reference in case it comes back.

Free wine

The first offer which gave 15 bottles of wine worth £180 ended on the 14th February 2021 and was replaced with fewer bottles but an additional £50 charity donation. The section has been updated to reflect the latter offer, which ended in June 2021.

Virgin Money claims the 12 free bottles are worth £150. That’s an average of £12.50 per bottle. You have a choice of a red and white selection, or if you don’t drink or a non-alcoholic bundle on 15 bottles worth £75.

Here’s what you’ll get with the red and white selection:

  • Silenus Limited Release Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon – Red – x1
  • Les Arbousiers Reserve Sauvignon Blanc – White – x1
  • Bendico Terre Siciliane Vermentino – White – x1
  • Finca Manzanos Selection de la Familia Rioja Blanco – White – x2
  • El Nubarron Cabernet – Red – x2
  • Depasso Nero d’Avola Leggermente Appassito – Red – x1
  • Finca Manzanos Selection de la Familia Rioja – Red – x1
  • Torre Aguila Gran Reserva – Red – x1
  • Brio Pinot Grigio – White – x2

The non-alcoholic option of 15 bottles is valued at £75.

I’ve had a look for the wines elsewhere for comparison, but they are only on the Virgin Wine website. So it’s hard to say if their selling price is a fair price. But you can compare them to other mixed cases they do sell.

The total value of this selection is closer to £140 when based on the single bottle price sold by Virgin Wines. But if you buy other mixed cases from Virgin Wine you’d get a discount of between 6% and 21%.

Though this bundle is exclusive to switchers, let’s assume you’d get 13% off if it was sold to other customers. Then it’d be around £120. So not as much as stated, but that’s still a decent “freebie”.

But of course, if you were buying 12 bottles of wine yourself, would you usually get them from Virgin? Possibly not.

You could easily get 12 decent bottles of wine from the supermarket or somewhere like Majestic at £9 each, totalling £108. And if you timed it for when these wines were on offer (let’s assume an average of 25%), you’d pay closer to £81 in total, or £6.75 a bottle.

So personally I’d value the free wine at around the £80 mark. Though it’s some £60 less than the promised value, it’s still comparable with the cash bonuses offered by other banks.

8 thoughts on “Virgin Money bank switching offer: 20,000 Virgin Points

  1. How is this possible as stated on your Virgin M Plus review dated 14Feb22?
    “You’ll get up to 5.02% interest on savings, plus a freebies if you switch”

    Thank you

    1. The offers change and sadly the 5.02% has ended

  2. So if I used 16000 points on case of wine could I use the remaining 4000 on greggs at lunchtime for sandwiches and how long would the remaining points be valid for

  3. Do you need to keep £1000 in the linked savings account and two direct debits active for the full 12 months in order to receive the bonus interest?

    1. No, I’ve checked with Virgin and the direct debits are only required until you get the £100 experience voucher, so they can be cancelled and you’ll still get the bonus

      1. Thanks for checking. I will be keeping the £1000 in the current account for the bonus interest and putting the £1000 in the linked saver (required for the £100 voucher) into a higher interest rate account (Chase for the moment)

  4. Do I have to switch current accounts. I realise not doing so will mean the lower interest rate.
    Do I have to set up direct debits if I am not switching?

    1. No, you can just open up an account with Virgin Money

Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.