American Express is offering a 35% bonus for points transfers to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club through November 30, 2014. This only applies to the US Membership Rewards program. The transfer bonus should be hard coded into the transfer ratio, meaning you can earn the bonus as often as you’d like. The bonus can be accessed at www.membershiprewards.com/vs35.
Generally speaking I consider Flying Club miles to be among the least valuable mileage currencies out there, given their somewhat restrictive award rules, high fuel surcharges on a majority of their partners, and not-so-great award rates.
Up until earlier this year you could convert Virgin Atlantic miles to Hilton points at a 1:2 ratio, so with a 30% transfer bonus that would have essentially been a rate of 2.7 Hilton points per Membership Rewards points.
That being said, unfortunately the Virgin Atlantic to Hilton transfer ratio was devalued as of February 6, 2014, and is now 1.5 Hilton points per Virgin Atlantic mile. And that devaluation is after Hilton’s huge devaluation last year, whereby the cost of some high end redemptions went up by about 100%. So the value proposition of converting Virgin Atlantic miles (and by extension, Membership Rewards points) into Hilton points has changed considerably.
Still, there are many cases where this could be practical. For example, if you need a one-way Upper Class ticket between New York and London, Virgin Atlantic charges just 40,000 miles one-way, so with a 35% transfer bonus you’d only need to transfer 30,000 Membership Rewards points. Now, there are huge fuel surcharges, but I know many people aren’t just chasing the best deal, but also the most convenient option. And I do love the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York JFK.
Virgin Atlantic A330 business class
To put this transfer bonus in the context of other bonuses we’ve seen:
- Membership Rewards offered a 30% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club in May 2014
- Membership Rewards offered a 30% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club in October 2013
- Membership Rewards offered a 35% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club in December 2012
If you are looking to transfer points from Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic, now is a good time to do so. Of course I’d much rather see a transfer bonus to Membership Rewards’ other UK transfer partner, British Airways Executive Club. But it seems like that’s not really a thing anymore.
(Tip of the hat to Gary)