Swedish House Mafia Private Box at Manchester AO Arena

Not sure where to begin with this one other than saying this morning has been an absolute cluster f##k…

Throw it all the way back to March 2013 when I was supposed to be flying out to the Winter Music Conference in Miami for my 22nd birthday. The draw for me was to see SHM one last time at Ultra Music Festival. You may think that’s a long way to go for a night out, but having seen them open Ushiau, Ibiza in 2011 and then being backstage & on stage at the sell-out Milton Keynes Bowl in 2012, it was a no-brainer. Unfortunately, due to a crash, the trip never happened.

Fast forward 8 years and they announce they’re back with a new album and a big old world tour to support it. A few messages back and forth with friends, me suggesting we should fly out to Texas to see them and have a laugh whilst were out there (that quickly got shot down)… and then things naturally fizzle out given the tour wasn’t supposed to start for over 12 months.

I’ve been keeping an eye on the UK dates thought specifically Manchesters AO arena and London’s O2 Arena. The reason is Virgin have a box at Manchester AO and Marriott has a box at London O2, these boxes are usually available to book with points. Rather than spend cash on tickets, I’d rather spend points and get the VIP treatment. Marriott hasn’t released their tickets yet but Virgin has on their Virgin Red website.

Now tickets aren’t cheap at 50,000 Virgin points but that is for 2 people.

For the 50,000 Virgin points you get:

  • The Virgin Red Room – Seats up to 16 lucky people
  • Extraordinary view – Uninterrupted stage view with seats facing the stage straight-on
  • VIP Access – Fast-tracked entry via the exclusive entrance
  • Personal service – Private pay bar, waiter service, cloakroom and en-suite bathroom
  • Complimentary parking – A parking space reserved just for you next to the Arena

Now Virgin Point’s I put a massive value on just down to the ability to redeem 110,000 for a 1st class trip pretty much around the world with ANA (about £15-20k if you were to pay cash). This means for 50k points I should be getting about £3-5k of value which I most certainly am not with this deal. Nonetheless, big fan, will take one for the team and say it’s for the blog and take the hit…

Tesco Clubcard

Tesco Clubcard is first up, after all, it was down to the switch from BA Avios to Virgin that made me create an account with Virgin. After signing up for the Tesco auto-transfer bonus where you would automatically convert your Clubcard points to Virgin Red points in exchange for a 2,500 point bonus. Anyway, after signing up, auto transferring a small amount and receiving 2x 2,000 gifts for each birthday my balance was 6,675. I had a £5 Clubcard voucher so thought I would manually transfer it in exchange for 1,250 points.

All is simple enough, simply enter your Virgin Flying Club number along with your phone number, check which vouchers you want to transfer confirm it.

And just like that, that’s you’re points transferred, or so I thought. Turns out Tesco Clubcard is absolutely awful for anything other than transferring your vouchers for spend in Tesco. I thought it was just a one-off with my P&O Ferries debacle I had not that long ago, I should have known better. Apparently, it takes up to 28 days for points to transfer to Virgin Red ?????????.

American Express

My trusty stash of AmEx Membership Rewards points. Virgin Atlantic is a partner that transfers at a rate of 1 MR point to 1 Virgin Point. Unlike in the US or Europe where there are frequent promotions like 30% bonus when you transfer, due to the nature of the UK market, we Brits get absolutely shafted and never really get those offers.

If you don’t already have a Virgin Flying Club account linked, its easy to do so. Search on AmEx MR portal for Virgin and click add account. You’ll be presented with the above page, type your flying club number in along with your email address and that’s that.

Now you have a linked account you’ll need your physical card for this bit. You choose how many MR points you want to transfer, in this instance it was 42,500 ?. Type your 4-digit Customer ID number from the front of your card in the first box and the 3 digits on the back in the last box. Agree to the terms and press review transfer.

You’ll be prompted to confirm the chosen amount and you are clearly warned that it is none reversible.

That’s that, within 30 minutes you SHOULD have your points in your Virgin account. This certainly wasn’t the case for me, however. Einstein’s definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over yet expecting a different outcome… Yup, that was me this morning going ham on the F5 key, refreshing my Virgin account for at least a good 90 minutes. Nothing…

After a few frantic emails to Virgin Red with no response, I called AmEx and asked what was going on. They said the points had been deducted from my account and had been sent to Virgin, I explained that they clearly weren’t there so they agreed to cancel the transaction.

Looks like I’ll just have to book some tickets through TicketMaster and get a 25% rebate as one of the many perks of being a NatWest Premier customer. A real shame as even though it would be a lot of AmEx points, I think it would have been a really good night.

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