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Citi ThankYou is offering a 25% bonus on points transfers to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club through April 6, 2016. This is the points currency accrued on the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card.
This is the second time the Citi ThankYou program has offered such a transfer bonus. There was a similar transfer bonus last August.
Ordinarily points transfer at a 1:1 ratio (in 1,000 point increments), while through this promotion you’d get 1,250 Flying Club miles for every 1,000 ThankYou points transferred.
Generally my preferred uses of ThankYou points are for transfers to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer or Air France FlyingBlue.
Still, there are potentially some good values to be had through this promotion.
Virgin Atlantic generally has very reasonable redemption rates for travel on their own flights in terms of the number of miles required, though the carrier imposed surcharges are hefty.
For example, a one-way Upper Class ticket between most of the US East Coast and London costs just 40,000 miles. That’s a cost of 32,000 Citi ThankYou points when you factor in the bonus. While the surcharges are hefty, at least the number of miles required is reasonable, so this is useful for someone who values the convenience of a nonstop flight.
As Tiffany outlined in a previous post, another good use of Flying Club miles is for travel on Virgin America. There are some great values to be had both for economy class and first class awards on them, which are often much better than through the Virgin America Elevate program directly.
Let me give another example of where there’s value in this. Ford and I are taking our moms to London soon to an Adele concert (as one does) for which I redeemed Starpoints, and Ford’s mom is starting in Boston. I originally booked her in British Airways first class, but she’d prefer to leave a day earlier, and there’s space on Virgin Atlantic but not British Airways.
So rather than spending 62,500 American miles plus fuel surcharges it’ll just cost me 32,000 Citi ThankYou points plus fuel surcharges.
I should also note that through tomorrow there’s a 50% transfer bonus from Amex Membership Rewards to Virgin America Elevate, which I was previously considering as a way to book this award. Ordinarily Membership Rewards points convert into Virgin America Elevate points at a rate of 200:100, though with a 50% bonus they transfer at a rate of 200:150.
The normal cost for a one-way Virgin Atlantic Upper Class ticket between Boston and London is 25,000 Elevate points:
This means you’d need 34,000 Membership Rewards points to book such a ticket. That doesn’t account for the fees being a bit higher, and also having to call to book, which is more complicated than simply booking through Virgin Atlantic’s website.
The awesome Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow
Therefore I’d rather take advantage of the 25% transfer bonus available through Citi ThankYou.
I wouldn’t speculatively transfer points to Virgin Atlantic in order to take advantage of this promotion, but there are certainly instances where taking advantage of this promotion makes sense.
Virgin Atlantic is good about releasing business class transatlantic award availability, so if you value the convenience of a nonstop and don’t mind paying the carrier imposed surcharges, there’s value to be had. As you can see above, I’m certainly finding value in this promotion for a redemption in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class.
Furthermore, it could make sense to take advantage of this promotion given Virgin Atlantic’s redemption rates on Virgin America, which are quite lucrative when fares would otherwise be high.