Since mid-April, the US Amex Membership Rewards program has been offering a 30% bonus on points transfers to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. This offer is available through Monday, May 22, 2017, meaning you have only a couple of days left to take advantage of this offer.
Points ordinarily transfer at a 1:1 ratio, meaning that during this promotion you’d receive 1,300 Virgin Atlantic miles per 1,000 Membership Rewards points.
In general this isn’t how I’d choose to use my Amex Membership Rewards points, given how valuable they are. Virgin Atlantic has hefty carrier imposed surcharges, so in many cases you won’t get exceptional value by redeeming that way. Redemptions in economy and premium economy can represent a good deal, though ultimately that’s not exactly the most aspirational use of points.
However, as I wrote about in a previous post, probably the best “sweet spot” redemption of Virgin Atlantic miles is using them for travel in ANA premium cabins. Virgin Atlantic has a distance based award chart for travel on ANA, with the following redemption rates:
|Distance Of Return Journey||Economy Class||Business Class||First Class|
A roundtrip ticket between several points in the US and Tokyo will cost you 95,000 miles in business class or 120,000 miles in first class, plus minimal taxes and fees. That’s without even factoring in the 30% transfer bonus, meaning that these awards really only cost 74,000 Membership Rewards points or 93,000 Membership Rewards points, respectively. While there are carrier imposed surcharges, they’re very mild — think under $200 roundtrip including all taxes and fees. That’s an insanely good deal.
However, be sure you do read the previous post for more details on how the booking process works, as it’s not totally straightforward, you have to book by phone, etc. However, if you know what you’re getting yourself into, this represents an exceptional deal, in my opinion.
So if you’ve been considering a trip to Japan and have Amex points, I’d seriously consider booking an ANA first or business class ticket in the next couple of days using this promotion. However, I highly recommend both transferring points and booking within the next few days, rather than transferring for the purposes of a redemption in the future. That’s because redemption rates aren’t even officially published, so they may change their redemption rates at some point in the future.
The best strategy is to hold your ticket, then transfer points, and then ticket the reservation.
Does anyone plan on redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles for travel on ANA?