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While my general preference is to redeem miles for first & business class, Virgin Atlantic has an economy and premium economy award sale that could represent a good value.
Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club program is offering 30% off economy and premium economy award redemptions. The sale is valid for bookings through September 22, 2016, though the cool thing is that you can travel through the end of the schedule, which are much more generous terms than you’ll usually see during an award sale.
There’s no registration required, and the discounted prices should automatically show up when you search availability. Both one-way and roundtrip awards are eligible for this offer. However, do keep in mind that Virgin Atlantic charges carrier imposed surcharges on award tickets, though they’re typically not too bad in economy.
With the discount, here’s Virgin Atlantic’s roundtrip economy award pricing between the US and UK:
Meanwhile here’s their premium economy award pricing:
For example, here’s the one-way award pricing between New York and London:
As you can see, a one-way economy award will cost you 12,500 miles plus $134.60, while a one-way premium economy award will cost you 19,250 miles plus $264.80. While the carrier imposed surcharges aren’t insignificant, that’s still a pretty good deal, especially if you want something a bit more comfortable than economy, as Virgin Atlantic’s premium economy looks fairly nice.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is transfer partners with all four major transferable points currencies. This means you can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest.
So this means points earned on cards like the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Citi Prestige® Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, can be used for this redemption.
While my preference is to redeem for first & business class whenever possible, this can represent a great deal, especially for one-way travel. Revenue one-way fares are often quite costly, and in many cases this represents a better value than economy awards with other programs.
For example, most US airlines charge 30,000 miles for a one-way award between the US and Europe, so I’d much rather spend 12,500 miles plus ~$130 in surcharges. Furthermore, most airlines don’t even let you redeem miles for premium economy, and in this case you’re paying a very reasonable premium for the product.
Does anyone plan on taking advantage of Virgin Atlantic’s award sale?