Redeeming Virgin Atlantic Miles On Delta Can Be A Great Value

In general Virgin Atlantic Flying Club isn’t my favorite loyalty program. I find that on a per mile basis their miles are among the least valuable out there. They were made even less valuable late last year when they announced a program devaluation. However, like most programs, there are some sweet spots.

In this post I wanted to write about redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles on Delta, given that this value has been improved recently, in a way. But first, let me cover a couple of basics:

The best use of Virgin Atlantic miles is for travel on ANA

The single best use of Virgin Atlantic miles is for travel in ANA first & business class. Here’s their current pricing for travel on ANA, which is phenomenal, among the best out there:

Distance Of Return JourneyEconomy ClassBusiness ClassFirst Class
0-600 miles15,00030,00040,000
601-1,600 miles18,00035,00050,000
1,601-2,000 miles21,00040,00055,000
2,001-4,000 miles23,00045,00060,000
4,001-7,000 miles40,00065,00080,000
7,001-9,000 miles45,00070,00090,000
9,001-11,000 miles60,00090,000110,000
11,001-14,000 miles65,00095,000120,000
14,001-18,000 miles70,000110,000140,000
18,001-20,000 miles80,000120,000160,000
20,001-22,000 miles90,000130,000180,000

So if you have Virgin Atlantic miles and want to go to Asia, this is how I’d choose to redeem them.

Virgin Atlantic miles are easy to rack up

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is transfer partners with all four major transferable points currencies, including Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest.

On top of that, we’ve sometimes seen transfer bonuses on points transfers to Virgin Atlantic. For example, there was a 30% transfer bonus from Amex Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club in May.

Lastly, keep in mind that Virgin Atlantic has a co-branded credit card that can be pretty lucrative, as it offers a sign-up bonus of up to 90,000 miles.

You can now redeem Virgin Atlantic miles for travel on Delta online

Maybe this has been around for a while and I just haven’t noticed it, but you can now redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for travel on Delta directly through virginatlantic.com.

Here’s why that matters. Delta doesn’t publish award charts, and at this point doesn’t even have consistent saver level pricing. They use weird married segment logic for many itineraries, so it’s tough to keep track of their pricing, and in turn, it’s tough to know when a partner airline will have access to Delta award availability.

You can now search Delta award availability on Virgin Atlantic’s website, and in many cases this is an exceptional value. When you do an award search on Virgin Atlantic’s website, Delta options should automatically show up if they’re available.

Do note that in the menu at the top where you enter the origin and destination, many places won’t auto-populate. In other words, when I enter Seattle as the origin, it won’t let me enter “Shanghai” or “PVG” as the destination. When that’s the case, click the “pin” next to the destination, and select the destination by choosing the country, city, etc., and then it will work.

The pricing on Virgin Atlantic’s website sometimes doesn’t make sense. Sometimes it’s logical and consistent, other times there’s bizarre variable pricing, etc. Sometimes the one-way pricing makes sense but the roundtrip pricing doesn’t.

So don’t expect to be able to make full sense of this, though that doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in this.

Can redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles on Delta be a good deal?

Redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles on Delta can be an excellent deal, especially in comparison to redeeming Delta SkyMiles. Furthermore, keep in mind that historically we’ve seen transfer bonuses from Amex Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic, so for the below prices consider the benefit of taking advantage of one of those bonuses in conjunction with booking awards.

For example, Virgin Atlantic charges 50,000 miles for a one-way New York to London award in business class, while Delta charges 70,000 miles:

You can fly one-way from Los Angeles to Shanghai for 60,000 miles, while Delta would charge 80,000 miles for the same award:

You can fly from Los Angeles to Sydney for 75,000 miles, while Delta would charge 95,000 miles for the same award:

Here’s an award chart comparing redemption rates for travel on Delta between SkyMiles and Flying Club (like I said, there’s some variability, so this pricing won’t be consistent):

Roundtrip to/from Continental USA and:EconomyBusiness/First
Hawaii40,000

Delta: 45,000
75,000

Delta: 80,000
Caribbean, Mexico & Central America35,000

Delta: 45,000
60,000

Delta: 120,000-150,000 (Delta considers these three separate zones)
South America45,000

Delta: 60,000
90,000

Delta: 150,000
United Kingdom

Award prices increasing 9/2017
40,000

Delta: 60,000
90,000

Delta: 140,000
Europe60,000

Delta: 60,000
100,000

Delta: 140,000
Africa, Middle East & Asia80,000

Delta: 70,000
120,000

Delta: 160,000
South Pacific100,000

Delta: 90,000
150,000

Delta: 190,000

Also note that there are hefty fuel surcharges for travel on Delta to Europe, but only if flying roundtrip or originating in Europe. If you book a one-way from the US to Europe, there are no fuel surcharges. Other regions shouldn’t have fuel surcharges either.

So if you were to book a one-way from New York to London you’d pay 50,000 miles. If you were to transfer those points over from Amex during a 30% transfer bonus, that means you’d only need 39,000 Membership Rewards points, which is a great value.

I can’t guarantee these prices will remain the same forever, but that’s what it looks like as of now.

Bottom line

While I still think redeeming Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for travel on ANA is the best value, in many cases redeeming Flying Club miles on Delta can be a great deal as well, especially in conjunction with a transfer bonus. The ability to book these awards online makes the whole process more transparent, and also saves time. I could see myself using this redemption opportunity in the future.

Has anyone redeemed Virgin Atlantic miles on Delta? What was your experience like?

Comments

  1. @Sean – If I’m reading your question correctly, yes, ANA awards are mileage-based *when redeeming ANA points* for an ANA award.

    If you redeem *Virgin Atlantic* points for ANA, then what Ben posted would be the amount of points needed.

  2. It’s a better deal than Delta, but:

    1. Delta charges a ridiculous amount of miles.
    2. You’re still stuck flying on Delta, which is a terrible airline.

  3. Can’t successfully search oneway on DL originating from Europe (to US).
    Maybe carrier-imposed International Surcharges playing a role?

  4. You show that a one way on Delta using VA miles is 50,000 miles in biz while the chart shows 90,000 for a roundtrip or 45,000 one way. Also, how can the first chart be ANA redemptions when they do not flight from the US to Hawaii, Europe, South America, etc. Charts are confusing or inaccurate.

  5. You can only book flights on destinations served by virgin atlantic, cus you wil not not be able to put in the destination code

    for example jfk-zrh will not show up

  6. Is it possible to redeem VS miles on ANA for travel to the US but originating in Europe/London? For example, force a routing on ANA that’s akin to LHR-NRT/HND-SFO? My partner has a TON of VS miles from signing up for the BoA credit card, but it’s harder and harder to redeem them, as mentioned in the article. DL is the shits, but we have a trip back from Europe in a few months that we could maybe swing through Asia if routing allows.

  7. Does anyone know if when they make the changes to the redemption charts in September will the taxes stay the same? Seems like it would only cost 10,000 miles in economy plus $5 in taxes for a one way from the East Coast USA to Europe?

  8. Ben, am I not looking closely enough or are the charts on this page the same? Just curious if the first one was supposed to be more for ANA. Great post though.

  9. VS charged 22.5k one way for domestic transcons in J including Delta One JFK-LAX/SFO (though there is usually very limited availability on those routes).

  10. Like using BA miles on AA, or Lufthansa miles on United, sure you get a good deal, but then you should since you are using miles from a good airline for a flight on a bad airline

  11. My wife and I have used VA miles to book Delta flights several times, and have always gotten great value. We’ve had to call to book in the past, so I look forward to trying to book online. This fall we’re flying to Buenos Aires from Atlanta on DeltaOne for only 90,000 miles apiece. And we transferred almost all of our VA miles from Citi when it had a 25% transfer bonus. There are some quirks as to which Delta itineraries are available on VA miles, but there’s great value to be had.

  12. For anyone who is having problems with the website the app seems to be much less glitchy but unfortunately no flexible dates search.

  13. Question: On the Virgin Atlantic website it talks about a new earning/redemption rates with Delta: “miles earned on Delta flights ticketed from 1 September 2017:”

    http://www.virginatlantic.com/gb/en/flying-club/partners/airlines/delta-earn-spend-changes.html

    Does the word “ticketed” refer to when the flight was purchased or when the flight occurs?

    I have a P Delta ticket originally issued in July for travel in November. Will I earn the “old” 200% or the “new” 400% of distance flown if I credit to Virgin Atlantic?

    Thanks to all, I am concerned British English has different terminologies than my own!

  14. I used Virgin Atlantic to book first class flights from Chicago to Haneda and Haneda to Los Angeles. I booked my tickets in May and transferred from Amex so that I only used 84,000 miles to book each roundtrip ticket. I did have to call Virgin Atlantic to book the ticket I wasn’t able to book it online.

  15. I dont know if I am doing something wrong, but when I search on virgin atlantic’s website for award travel on upper class, its not populating Delta flights at all, for example JFK-LHR, I looked all dates til the end of the year, delta has availability on their website for almost all days for 70k + 5,60usd.

    Secondly, Virgin Atlantic seems to be charging fuel surcharge? The flights that do show (all VA), are 47500-5700 + 500usd.

    What am I doing wrong?

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