Earlier I wrote about how American Express is offering a 30% bonus on points transfers to Etihad Guest, which is their newest transfer partner. That isn’t the only transfer bonus which American Express is offering at the moment.
You can also receive a 30% bonus when you transfer Amex points to Virgin Atlantic through May 31, 2016. The bonus is hard coded into the transfer ratio, meaning you get 1,300 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for every 1,000 Membership Rewards points. There’s no limit to how many points you can transfer.
Generally I consider Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles to be among the less valuable mileage currencies out there, though there are some specific instances where this could represent a good deal.
Virgin Atlantic generally has very reasonable redemption rates for travel on their own flights in terms of the number of miles required, though the carrier imposed surcharges are hefty.
For example, a one-way Upper Class ticket between most of the US East Coast and London costs just 40,000 miles. With a 40% transfer bonus, that means you’d pay 31,000 miles plus ~$400 in taxes and fees for the one-way ticket. While the fuel surcharges are hefty, that’s a great mileage cost, and I do love Virgin Atlantic’s business class product (and especially their Clubhouses in New York and London).
Virgin Atlantic has very reasonable economy redemption rates as well. At the moment they even have a sale offering 30% off select economy awards, as long as you book by May 11, 2016. As you can see in the above screenshot, a one way ticket between New York and London costs just 12,250 miles plus ~$130 in taxes and fees. That means you could book that ticket for just 10,000 Membership Rewards points plus the taxes and fees.
As Tiffany outlined in a previous post, another good use of Flying Club miles is for travel on Virgin America. There are some great values to be had both for economy class and first class awards on them, which are often much better than through the Virgin America Elevate program directly.
To put this bonus in the context of other transfer bonuses we’ve seen in the past, American Express seems to offer transfer bonuses to Virgin Atlantic an average of once per year. The past ones include the following:
- Membership Rewards offered a 25% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club in July 2015
- Membership Rewards offered a 35% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club in October 2014
- 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
Virgin Atlantic is also a Citi ThankYou transfer partner, and we recently saw a 25% transfer bonus from them as well.
On a per mile basis, I consider Virgin Atlantic miles to be among the least valuable out there. That being said, if you enjoy flying Virgin Atlantic, redeeming through Flying Club isn’t a bad option, especially in conjunction with a 30% transfer bonus.
It’s easy to quickly rack up Membership Rewards points, given the great cards they have. The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card can earn 1.5x points on everyday spend (and up to 4.5x points on US supermarkets and 3x points on US gas), while the American Express® Gold Card earns 4x points at US restaurants, 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year) and 3x points on airfare.
Anyone planning on transferring Amex points to Virgin Atlantic under this offer? If so, what do you plan on redeeming for?
(Tip of the hat to Joe)