You Can Now Redeem British Airways Avios For Virgin America Flights

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Yesterday I wrote about how Virgin America flight numbers are being discontinued as of April 25, 2018. As of that date, all Alaska and Virgin America flights will have Alaska flight numbers. This is the next step in the two airlines being integrated operationally, and there are quite a few implications of this for customers, especially as it relates to earning and redeeming miles.

Yesterday I explained the benefit of this as it relates to redeeming Alaska miles. Alaska doesn’t let you mix partner airlines on award tickets, and for all practical purposes, they counted Virgin America as a “partner” airline up until now, even though they own them. Now that Virgin America flights have Alaska flight numbers, it means you can use Virgin America flights to get to international gateways on Alaska Mileage Plan partner awards.

Redeeming British Airways Avios on Virgin America flights

There are also quite a few implications as it relates to redeeming partner airline miles for Virgin America flights. Specifically, it’s possible to redeem British Airways Avios for Virgin America flights as of April 25, 2018.

British Airways has a distance based award chart, with award costs based on the distance of one-way, nonstop flights, as follows:

  • Segments of 1-1,150 miles cost 7,500 Avios in economy, 30,000 Avios in first class
  • Segments of 1,151-2,000 miles cost 10,000 Avios in economy, 40,000 Avios in first class
  • Segments of 2,000-3,000 miles cost 12,500 Avios in economy, 50,000 Avios in first class

These are now also the award costs for travel on Virgin America flights as of April 25, 2018. For example, this means you can redeem:

  • 7,500 Avios for a Virgin America flight between Los Angeles and Seattle
  • 10,000 Avios for a Virgin America flight between Chicago and San Francisco
  • 12,500 Avios for a Virgin America flight between San Francisco and Maui

These are some fantastic redemption rates. Keep in mind that you can’t book Alaska award flights through British Airways’ website, so you’ll have to call to get these redemption rates. However, the phone ticketing fee should be waived, since these tickets can’t be booked online.

To search award availability, just use Alaska’s website. If they show saver level award availability then it should also be bookable using Avios.

The best ways to earn British Airways Avios

In addition to the excellent sign-up bonus on the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, you can also convert several points currencies to British Airways Executive Club. Specifically, you can convert:

Bottom line

Being able to redeem British Airways Avios on Virgin America is a fantastic development, though keep in mind that this is only valid for flights as of April 25, 2018. These awards are only bookable by phone with British Airways, so you’ll want to find the availability online and then give them a ring.

Has anyone taken advantage of the opportunity to redeem Avios on Virgin America flights yet?

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Comments

  1. The phone ticketing fee should NOT be waived – it doesn’t matter that you can’t book them online.

    Many agents however will do so as that used to be the policy (several years ago now) so definitely ask, but you aren’t entitled to it.

  2. Do you mean AS OF April 25, 2018 or UNTIL April 25, 2018?

    It’s confusing since you asked if anyone has taken advantage of this yet, but I always understood “as of” to mean after that date.

  3. Lucky, when using avios, does virgin’s first class book at a 2x coach rate (like AA flights do lately) or at the 3x rate?

  4. Will it work for nyc to europe or is that the other virgin? Also you should write about the best virgin planes for first with avios… like maybe the cross country routes… dont they have fancy first seats?

  5. Called BA just now to book SFO to Hawaii for next September. Agent claimed no award availability. Booked 2 tickets on the same flight using KrisFlyer miles over the phone without any problems. Both aa.com and alaskaair.com show saver awards available. What gives?

    Interestingly, the BA phone agent saw my recent ba.com search history – I didn’t have to tell him which flight I was looking for.

  6. All it took was another call to get a better BA agent. Now I have all 3 tickets SFO-KOA, for a grand total of $40, 24k KrisFlyer miles (12k each from two accounts) and 12.5k avios. Perfect way to mop up leftover miles (4k left in each account) – what would I do without OMAAT 🙂

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