Great Deal: 39K Amex Points For Delta Business Class To Europe

Yesterday I wrote about how Amex is offering a 30% bonus on points transfers to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, meaning that 1,000 Amex points convert into 1,300 Flying Club miles.

While I don’t find Flying Club redemptions on Virgin Atlantic flights to be especially valuable due to the high surcharges, I highlighted the incredible value of redeeming Flying Club miles for travel in ANA first class. For example, for just 120,000 miles you can fly roundtrip first class between the US and Japan, which is an exceptionally good deal.

However, there’s one other great award redemption value I wanted to specifically mention, for anyone who is considering this transfer bonus.

It’s possible to fly one-way from the US to Europe on Delta for 30,000 Flying Club miles in economy, or 50,000 Flying Club miles in business class. When you factor in the 30% transfer bonus, that’s like paying 24,000 Membership Rewards points for a one-way economy ticket or 39,000 Membership Rewards points for a one-way business class ticket.

Note that there are carrier imposed surcharges if you’re flying roundtrip from the US to Europe or one-way from Europe to the US. However, the surcharges don’t apply if you’re flying Delta one-way from the US to Europe, as long as you don’t fly to the UK. If you do fly to the UK you’ll not only pay more miles, but will also pay $500 one-way for carrier imposed surcharges, since Flying Club has aligned pricing for Delta and Virgin Atlantic when redeeming miles between the US and London.

So you can redeem 39,000 Amex points for a one-way Delta business class ticket from the US to Europe (with the exception of the UK).

Need more Membership Rewards points?

Next summer Delta is launching nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Paris and Amsterdam, and at the moment saver level award availability in business class is wide open. So being able to redeem for a nonstop flight from California to Europe in summer is an awesome deal, especially as there are multiple award seats on many flights.

Here’s availability from Los Angeles to Amsterdam:

And here’s availability from Los Angeles to Paris:

Those flights would also cost you just 39,000 Membership Rewards points plus $5.60 in taxes.

For a while Delta awards were bookable on Virgin Atlantic’s website, though that’s not the case anymore. So if you want to book these flights, you’ll have to ring Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at (800) 365-9500. The agents there are friendly and can verify availability and pricing for you. They can even put tickets on hold for up to 24 hours, so you can hold the ticket, transfer points from Amex (instantly), and then call back to book.

Note that it’s possible that Virgin Atlantic will add carrier imposed surcharges to these redemptions at some point in the future. After all, the terms of the chart state “taxes, fees and carrier imposed surcharges apply to all reward flights.” However, up until now that hasn’t been the case for one-way Delta flights from the US to Europe other than to the UK (for a long time they weren’t even charged when flying to the UK, but that recently changed), and I just called to ask about pricing again, and that’s still the case as of now.

If you have any upcoming transatlantic travel, 39,000 Amex points for one-way travel in business class is pretty tough to beat!

Anyone plan to take advantage of this great value?

Comments

  1. Lucky,

    As mentioned in my comments in the post yesterday, I booked Delta One SEA-CDG online through the Virgin Atlantic website.

    Didn’t have to call in. So that’s still the case.

  2. @shane

    Yes you can, however it gives you limited routings and it costs more miles. I booked a non-stop because I wanted to fly the A330.

  3. @sud

    I referenced Lucky’s post like a year ago, which I can’t find anymore.

    It mentions that the Search function is a bit clunky. Half the time it will come up as invalid. You just have to click on the ‘Pin’ right next to it and search by ‘Country’ then it will show CDG and just click on it.

    I searched various West Coast cities to CDG, I only saw the A330 flying from Seattle, half the time CDG (or any other city) would come up invalid and had to manually search it. The other half it worked fine.

    From my home airport, it would only route me to SLC and on the 767. So I just booked a non-stop from SEA.

  4. @Ever

    It looks like certain routings are bookable online and others are not. Looking at DTW-PAR, I get the option to choose to book with miles. LAX-PAR greys the option out with a “!” icon that says “This route is not eligible for miles or miles plus money payment.”

  5. @Nicholai

    If you find a route that allows you to click the purchase with Miles option, you should be able to ‘refine’ search. You can pick a new destination or set of airports and it will lock in the purchase with Miles option and it will be bookable online.

    It will still be gray-ed out but the Miles option will be locked in.

  6. Indeed tough to beat, but it is beatable (ala Iberia Chicago-Madrid 33000 Avios + 100 EUR).

    And Lucky: I’m in the ORD AA Flagship Lounge now waiting for the flight. AA now gives Iberia business to Madrid access to Flagship instead of Admiral’s!

  7. Lucky,

    This sounds awesome! I’m a relative newbie at the game and I was hoping to better understand how to go about doing this. My wife, infant and son and are planning to go to Europe next April from the DC area. Ideally, we could do a direct flight in business class.

    A few questions:

    1. How come you mention that it only takes 39k miles, but your examples are 70k. Is it more because you are flying out of the west coast?

    2. Which cities in europe can I get to for 50k in business class? How do I go about searching for that?

    3. So once I find the flight, I transfer AMX to Virgin and then book Delta business through Virgin? Would love some guidance as to how to go about taking advantage of this awesome offer.

    Thanks!

    Andres

  8. @Andres

    1) If you book with Delta it will cost you 70K. If you book with Virgin Atlantic it will cost you 50K for a non-stop or 65K (or so) with a connection, either connecting in the US or in Europe. With the current 30% bonus, you only need to transfer 39K points to get 50K Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles. If you’re connecting, it will be more than 39K.

    2)You can get to any city in Europe that Delta flys non-stop. I would pick a city and search to see if there is a non-stop flight.

    3)Yes, transfer Amex points to Virgin Atlantic. Then book a Delta flight through your Flying Club Account. I did it online but it might be easier to call. US to Europe only. The return will cost you expensive fuel surcharges.

  9. What happens if:

    1) I book an award now for August 2018.
    2) The price of the award goes up (miles devalue).
    3) I try to change the date of my award to December 2018.

    Will I be charged additional mileage as well as the change fee?

  10. Thanks, Lucky!

    I just got off the phone with Virgin after trying to book IAD-CDG for a flight I found on Delta First class operated by Air France (on their Boeing 777 that you reviewed earlier this year), and they can’t make the booking using miles.

    They explained to me that with Delta’s partnership Virgin is able to make booking for 7 other airlines, but Air France (and they also mentioned KLM – I’m guessing Flying Blue alliance) is not one of them. Even though Delta has a partnership with them, apparently Virgin is not yet allowed to book with Delta’s European partners using miles. I asked him to try other cities (like Amsterdam) and he still wasn’t able to do it.

    Have others heard about this? They suggested I call Delta and ask for the timeline as to when Virgin will be able to book on Air France and KLM. Any advice would be greatly appreciated it.

    Warmly,
    Andres

    Pairs and Amsterdam two hubs – al

    Warmly,
    Andres

  11. @ Andres — That’s correct. You can use Virgin Atlantic miles on Delta, but not on Air France. Delta and Virgin Atlantic have a partnership, but Virgin Atlantic and Air France don’t, so you can’t use an airline’s partner’s partner, if that makes sense. This is most valuable for travel on Delta.

  12. Got it! Thanks Lucky! So I’ll look for flights US to Europe on Delta flights only. Appreciate all of the help 🙂

    Warmly,
    Andres

  13. I booked online, but it wasn’t easy. The Virgin site is very erratic and “flighty.” Yesterday, when I tried CVG (Cincinnati) to CDG (Paris) got an error saying there were no Virgin or partner flights flying the route. Not true. CVG is NOT served by Virgin, but there is a Delta nonstop. I was busy and gave up. This evening, CVG showed up as a departure city, but I had to use the map pin icon trick to get CDG to show up as the destination. Finishing the booking got weird, but I finally confirmed 2 in business for 100K, mostly transferred in from Amex at +30% to top up my meager Virgin points balance. Well worth a little frustration! Now, like yy, I need a flight home 😉

  14. Hey Lucky – Do all segments need to be on Delta?

    Looking to book a flight from Chicago to Chennai and the last segment is on Jet Airways. Will this be bookable through Virgin Atlantic?

    Thanks!

  15. @ Ryan — Unfortunately that’s not possible. For this partner award all travel needs to be on just one airline.

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