Booking Virgin Voyages with Points
I’ve recently become interested in cruising. I’ve only done two in my life; the most recent a free Royal Caribbean cruise through my status with MGM Resorts. But I’ve always wanted to do an Alaska cruise so started some research that led me down many rabbit holes that got me more intrigued with the idea of a cruise done right.
Recently I stumbled upon a deal for a Virgin Voyages cruise and was able to book a 5-night sailing for 62,000 Capital One Miles.
Virgin Voyages is a new cruise line that started at the worst possible time during COVID in 2021. The line currently only has two ships, with two more launching shortly. It is an adults only cruise line and does things differently. There is no tipping, all food including specialty dining and “essential” beverages are included, and wifi is free. Alcohol, spa treatments and “Shore Things”, their shore excursions, are extra. Still, the mandatory tips alone on an upcoming Norwegian cruise I’m taking is $300.
The deal I found was on the Virgin Red loyalty program website. This is the Virgin brand’s loyalty program and interchangeable with Virgin Atlantic points.
The deal was a free 7-night cruise for 100,000 points or a free 5-night cruise for 80,000 points in a balcony level room. There were only certain itineraries that were offered in both the Caribbean and the Mediterranean and you had to cruise before June 31, 2023. I don’t know if this was a one time deal or if there will be additional cruises available for Virgin Red point redemption in the future.
My job offers me very specific vacation times. I was only able to make one of the cruising dates offered: the 5-night Dominican Daze out of Miami.
The cruise would cost me 80,000 Virgin Red points total; $0 out of pocket. However, I had zero Virgin Red points. Fortunately, there was a transfer promotion available from Capital One.
Capital One Rewards Miles Bonus
Currently Capital One is offering a 30% bonus on miles transferred to Virgin Red. The promotion ends March 31, 2023.
I was able to instantly transfer 62,000 Capital One Rewards Miles to 80,600 Virgin Red points. I was then able to spend 80,000 Virgin Red points for an Access Key that I redeemed for a Central Sea Terrace cabin. The cost of the cabin when I booked was $3,030 ($2,632 + $398 in taxes/port fees) for up to two people. I entered my Access Key and the total was $0. I didn’t even have to enter a credit card to book.
There is a downside for booking with an Access Key. You don’t get other benefits offered (for example, there is a current promotion for a $300 bar credit if you booked with cash).
This is the first time I have used any Capital One Rewards Miles. I earned 100,000 through the Venture X sign up bonus. Capital One Rewards Miles can be redeemed for travel at a value of 1 cent each, so the cash value of the points I used was $620. With my transfer to Virgin Voyages, I was able to get a value of 4.8 cents per mile. I wouldn’t have paid $3,000 for this cruise, but I absolutely would have paid $620 all in ($124 per night) for the cruise.
Bonus Perks – Deep Blue Extras Status Match
As part of an Atlantic City status match I did back in 2021, I have top tier status with MSC Cruise Lines. I was able to status match to Virgin Voyages “Sailing Club” loyalty program through their Match and Sea More program to their Sea-Rovers tier. This gives me Deep Blue Extras that include:
- Priority Boarding
- $100 alcohol credit
- $10 daily coffee credit
- Premium Wifi
- Free laundry services
- A complimentary cocktail event.
These extras are only available for sailings through March 31 (for now). It isn’t clear where Virgin Voyages loyalty will be headed after that.
Have you cruised Virgin Voyages? Considering a cruise in the future? Let me know in the comments.