At the beginning of the month Amex introduced a very useful transfer bonus, and this is just a reminder of that, as the promotion is expiring in a couple of days. I’ve already transferred points using this promotion, and am considering transferring even more before it ends.
30% Bonus When You Transfer Amex Points To Virgin Atlantic
The US American Express Membership Rewards program is offering a 30% bonus on points transfers to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. This promotion is valid for points transfers through Saturday, December 28, 2019.
Note that this promotion may be targeted, though at least it seems to be pretty widely targeted. All the accounts I manage show the promotion, though the reason I say it’s targeted is because I don’t see the deal when I just go to the promotion page without logging in.
Ordinarily points transfer at a 1:1 ratio (in 1,000 point increments), while through this promotion you’d get 1,300 Flying Club miles for every 1,000 Membership Rewards points transferred.
For context, Amex seems to offer a 30% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club once or twice a year. They already offered one over the summer, so this is the second promotion this year.
Redeeming Virgin Atlantic Miles On Virgin Atlantic
If you want to redeem miles for travel on Virgin Atlantic, here’s what you can expect to pay in terms of roundtrip award costs to/from London:
Route to/from UK
USA – Northeast
(Boston, Newark, New York JFK, Washington DC)
USA – Midwest & South
(Atlanta, Miami, Orlando)
Nigeria, China & Hong Kong
USA – West
(Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle)
Virgin Atlantic’s standard and peak pricing includes the following dates:
- Standard dates include: January 6 through April 2, 2020, April 22 through June 19, 2020, and September 7 through December 11, 2020
- Peak dates include: December 13, 2019, through January 5, 2020, April 3 through April 21, 2020, June 20 through September 6, 2020, and December 12 through December 31, 2020
Generally Virgin Atlantic’s redemption rates are on the high side, at least for Upper Class. On top of that, there are significant carrier imposed surcharges, especially for travel in Upper Class. You can expect that a roundtrip from the US to UK will run you about $1,000, in addition to all the miles.
Sweet Spot: Redeeming Virgin Atlantic Miles On Partners
Virgin Atlantic has several airline partners, and there are a few partner redemptions that are especially lucrative.
Probably the best use of Flying Club miles is for travel in ANA first & business class. Here are the redemption rates:
Paying 95,000 and 120,000 miles for business and first class between the US and Japan respectively is a phenomenal value to start with. Then when you consider the 30% transfer bonus, that means you’re just paying 74,000 and 93,000 Amex points, respectively.
While there are carrier imposed surcharges, they’re quite mild. I booked this exact award last year taking advantage of exactly the same transfer bonus, so see this post for everything you need to know about the booking process.
Redemptions on Delta can also be a good deal. Virgin Atlantic no longer publishes the full charts for travel on Delta, but they look something like this:
Redeeming 60,000 miles for a one-way Delta business class ticket to Asia without carrier imposed surcharges is an excellent deal as well.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a niche program. I wouldn’t speculatively transfer points to Virgin Atlantic without an immediate use in mind. However, with a particular use in mind, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club can be a phenomenal program.
With the 30% bonus, some might find it worthwhile to book on Virgin Atlantic for the convenience. Virgin Atlantic is good about releasing business class transatlantic award availability, so if you value the convenience of a nonstop and don’t mind paying the carrier imposed surcharges, there’s value to be had.
However, the real value here is booking with partners.
ANA first class roundtrip to Japan for 93,000 Membership Rewards points? That’s an unbelievable value.
The same is true of many redemptions on Delta, where Flying Club charges less than SkyMiles would. 39,000 Amex points for Delta one-way business class to Europe, or 47,000 Amex points for Delta one-way business class to Asia? What a deal!
Have you already transferred points to Virgin Atlantic with this transfer bonus, or do you plan on doing so before the promo ends?