What if you could get rewarded for your commute? The story of Virgin Trains Ticketing

The Virgin Trains Ticketing logo
Virgin Trains Ticketing
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 14 November 2023

It’s been a dream of mine for nearly 50 years to be able to bring Virgin companies and customers together, and reward them all for living a life more Virgin.

It’s been a busy time for growing new Virgin business. We’re always looking at ways we can innovate and drive change for the benefit of our customers. Our rewards club Virgin Red now has members across the UK and US. It’s made us think about our customers more than ever and how we can make them feel good.

Richard Branson in Edinburgh for a Virgin Red activation
Virgin Red

We started asking ourselves how we could reward people for going about their daily lives and earning points for doing things they would be doing anyway. An obvious one for us is travelling – we have planes, hotels, cruise ships. But what about everyday travel? What about if every time you took a train, you could get rewarded? We want to make earning points an everyday experience that then builds up and turns into something brilliant.

Enter, Virgin Trains Ticketing - our app where you can buy train tickets anywhere across Britain. Virgin Trains Ticketing started with a ton of ‘what if’ questions. And just because the business has launched, it doesn’t mean those questions stop!

Child standing in front of Virgin Trains Ticketing pop up in Manchester Piccadilly Station
Virgin Trains Ticketing

What if we could make it Britain’s favourite way to buy train tickets? We knew we’d need to make it one of the strongest propositions on the market. We've created an app that makes booking train travel a breeze and a proposition that is all about saving our customers money and giving them rewards on top. When you book with Virgin Trains Ticketing, you'll earn 3 Virgin Points for every £ spent, which can be used to cut the cost of future travel or unlock rewards with Virgin Red (think flights, experiences and holidays, as well as everyday treats such as hot drinks and snacks). We also didn't like the thought of customers having to pay a booking fee, so we got rid of those too. And we also offer split ticket options, which helps customers find cheaper options. The team has also launched a new initiative called ‘Give Yourself Five’ gives new customers a £5 discount on their second journey, and the app has just been named ‘App of the Year’ at the 2023 UK eCommerce Awards. Brilliant. 

The driving motivation for creating Virgin companies has always been to improve the experience for the benefit of the customer. It started with Student Magazine, giving students a voice on issues that mattered. It evolved with Virgin Records, championing independent talent and with Virgin Megastores, where fans could come and experience it with a likeminded community. Recently, we’ve removed the bugbears of travelling with Virgin Hotels and reinvented cruising with Virgin Voyages. 

Black and White image.  A young Richard Brandon sits in his student office
Image from Virgin.com

Remembering what motivates you is great inspiration for new businesses. What makes a company succeed is seeing the pain points for potential customers and turning that into a point of difference. If you can solve problems and leave customers with a smile on their face, then you have a good shot at success.

The vision is to have all our customers around the world rewarded for choosing Virgin. You are the reason we do this – and we don’t want the experience to end when you check out of a hotel or finish your cruise or go through the train barriers at your destination. Buy your next train ticket through Virgin Trains Ticketing to start racking up those points for savings or rewards.