Giant bubbles and a floating ice-cream van: the best Virgin Red moments from 2021

Virgin Red floating ice-cream van
Virgin Red
Anna Brech
by Anna Brech
20 December 2021

Question: Where would you find a floating ice-cream van, a giant flying bubble gum, spookily good cocktails and train trips that reward you with treats all in the same place? 

In a year spent with Virgin Red, of course. 

2021 has been a cracker of a time for Virgin’s new rewards club, covering everything from our official TV debut to our blossoming Points for Good programme and so much more.

We’ve come a long way but we’re also excited about the places we have yet to visit. The amazing rewards, experiences and earning opportunities that are still to come in the year that lies ahead. 

So as the sun sets on 2021, join us in looking back on some of the funniest, most surreal and downright rewarding moments of the year. 

January: Virgin Red gets a mini-makeover

Kevin McCloud isn’t the only person who appreciates a grand design or two: at Virgin Red, we’re experts in the matter. We began 2021 on a high with our very own remodel. Granted, it wasn’t a renovated castle we revealed, but arguably something better: a fresh brand look. Our mini-makeover was designed to celebrate our new and never-ending stream of rewards, competitions, games, competitions and easy ways to earn Virgin Points – all of which followed through the year. 

February: A red carpet welcome for the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 

Virgin Red and the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club are like a match made in heaven. Like ice-cream and sprinkles, they just make sense together: and both make the most of Virgin Points, the Virgin family’s universal currency, too. In February (aptly the month of St. Valentine), we celebrated this lovely pairing with an open invitation for all Flying Club members to join the Virgin Red club, and unlock even more brilliant rewards. 

Also in February, Virgin Red launched another great partnership – with the chance for members to earn a delicious 15,000 points when they swap to Virgin Money’s M Plus Account. Happy days.

March: Virgin Red’s first Virgin Points Millionaire

Back in March, and the smell of spring was in the air as Virgin Red announced its very first Points Millionaire. Winner and new member Alan told us that he’d spend his lucky windfall on “experience days galore” and “a break away, destination unknown”, along with his eight-year-old son. “I'd like to thank Virgin Red for turning around the string of bad luck I've had over the past 18 months – my face has gone from a frown to a very big smile,” he said. 

April: All hail Points for Good 

In April, we highlighted Virgin Red’s ability to build positive change one donation at a time. One of the more unique aspects of our club is the Points for Good programme that allows members to support great causes by donating their points. From Guide Dogs to Cancer Research UK and Centrepoint, members can choose to help a host of excellent charities, with the cash value of donated points transferred to help their life-changing work in the community. 

To mark Earth Day 2021 on 22 April, Virgin Red also doubled all donations its members made to Carbon Engineering — the pioneering carbon removal company and Virgin Red partner.

May: The launch of Virgin Trains Ticketing 

Among the many great ways to earn points with Virgin Red is Virgin Trains Ticketing, which launched in May. This chuffer of a deal gives Virgin Red members the chance to earn three points for every £1 spent on nationwide train journeys. So just like that, you can start racking up points for some fab rewards – including cream teas, pamper days and Caribbean flights – just by booking a train from A to B. 

June: Whatever Blows Your Bubble 

June saw the unveiling of Virgin Red’s first ever TV ad, featuring a giant bubble gum balloon. Whatever Blows Your Bubble is a joyful tale of something small becoming something amazing (much like Virgin Red points and rewards). It featured an epic orchestral re-record of the iconic 1980s track 99 Red Balloons, performed by singer-songwriter Grace Carter, as well as real life giant bubbles created by a team of special effect and CGI artists. 

July: A floating ice-cream van 

As if floating bubbles weren’t magical enough, in July, we took the concept of optical illusions one step further with the installation of a floating ice-cream van. The unique pop-up, which appeared for one day only on London’s South Bank, treated passersby to free 99 flake cones. 

Guests chose from an extraordinary selection of red toppings – from traditional sprinkles to chilli flakes and even ketchup – to make an ice cream all of their own, and to celebrate the sense of fun and adventure at the heart of Virgin Red. 

98 lucky winners also walked away with 10,000 Virgin Points each on the spot, while one lucky lady scooped a jackpot of one million Virgin Points. Literally dancing with joy, Points Millionaire Rebecca said she was “really, really chuffed” to bag the surprise prize on a whim. 

August: Adventuring with Virgin Voyages

One of the joys of Virgin Red is our ability to team up with travel partners people truly love. Partners like Virgin Voyages, which in August marked its inaugural sailing aboard the oh-so beautiful Scarlet Lady. The maiden voyage of this spectacular ship, home to a floating nightclub, a tattoo studio and over 20 restaurants, kicked off the UK Summer Soirée Series in style. Virgin Red members can use the club to earn and spend points on trips with Virgin Voyages. 

September: Inside the Virgin Red Room

Virgin Red is all about moments, little and large, to make your life that bit more fun. A case in point is the Virgin Red Room in Manchester’s AO Arena, a new private space that gives Virgin Red members VIP access to all the hottest shows in town. This September video offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Virgin Red Room and its many perks, from fast-track entry to a private pay bar, waiter service, great views of the stage and even a Virgin Red glitter wall. All available for you and a guest, using your Virgin Points. 

October: Spectacularly spooky cocktails

Virgin Red’s partner Virgin Wines is home not only to some of the world’s most delicious vino, but some great independent spirit makers, too. Black Cow Vodka, made entirely from West Dorset milk and available as a Virgin Red reward, is one of them. This Halloween special went down a treat with Instagram audiences, showing the world how to make a scarily good Bloody Mary in time for the spookiest of celebrations. 

November: Destination America

Land of the free, get set. November was a landmark moment for Virgin Red, as we touched down in the USA with a tailor-made version of our rewards club. Carefully curated for US members, the new American edition of the programme includes a selection of fantastic partners to earn points on, from Macy’s and Walgreens to Kohl's, iTunes USA and HomeDepot.

US members can also use Virgin Points to access fabulous rewards from Virgin brands including Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Limited Edition and more. The move was described by the Virgin Red team as “a dream come true”.

December: Spreading the festive goodwill

December became a season of goodwill for us at Virgin Red, as we decided to donate an equivalent of all points earned on Virgin Trains Ticketing to our 13 charity partners. Tens of thousands of Virgin Points are expected to be earned as the nation reconnects with loved ones this Christmas, with members earning three Virgin Points for every £1 spent. By matching donations and distributing them equally amongst Virgin Red’s charity partners, we can make a real and lasting impact for the work carried out by these brilliant organisations.

Find out more about how you can earn points with Virgin Red, the new rewards club from Virgin, and sign up or login here