My ridiculous £765 mileage surcharge: TPG reader mistake story

May 31, 2020

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We’ve been asking to hear your travel success and mistake stories to both celebrate and help our TPG U.K. community — even if you’re not travelling right now.

This week, Pauline emailed the team to explain how a mileage transfer misunderstanding left her hugely out of pocket.

“Something for you to make your readers aware of. As TPG have written about in the past, it can be a bad idea to use Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for an economy flight redemption due to the high fees, taxes and surcharges.

I booked a Virgin Holidays package holiday, and we have been using our Virgin Rewards credit card heavily in order to earn enough Flying Club miles to lower the holiday balance. I used all of my Flying Club miles this way without any problems, but my husband had to transfer his Flying Club miles to my account, as the lead booker, in order for me to be able to use them to reduce the cost of the package holiday.

Before making the transfer, I called Flying Club regarding the transfer process and was advised that any transfer would include ‘a transaction charge of £15’. This was fine by me, so I went ahead with the miles transfer online. Weeks later, my husband received his credit card statement with a huge charge of £765 for transferring the miles to me.

I wish I had spent the miles on wine instead.

I have written and telephoned Flying Club complaining about this charge but apparently the rule is a charge of £15 per 1,000 miles, not a one-time charge of £15 like I had expected. This must be tucked away in the small print because I did not see it and nor was I advised that it was per per 1,000 miles when they told me the fee over the phone.

Hope this will help to stop others making this mistake.”

It’s unfortunate for Pauline that she unknowingly incurred a huge fee to transfer the miles, but Flying Club is correct in charging this amount, as it’s stated in the terms and conditions of the programme. We never recommend this kind of transfer due to the high cost of doing so. If Pauline had processed the transfer over the phone and Flying Club had advised her the cost was only £15 total she could challenge it, but as the transfer was processed online, the terms and conditions listed there would prevail.

Always look to get big value out of your points and miles. We value Flying Club miles at 1.3p each, so paying 1.5p per mile just to transfer them to another account before then redeeming them isn’t a good use.

Featured photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic.

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