Flying Club Awards On Delta Get Even Better

Filed Under: Awards, Delta
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I’ve written in the past about how redeeming Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles on Delta can be a spectacular value.

The idea is that Delta SkyMiles has dynamic award pricing, and in many cases the award rates for travel on Delta can be outrageous, even when the cheapest possible award is available.

This is where booking through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club comes in handy:

  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has significantly better award redemption rates for travel on Delta
  • They don’t impose carrier imposed surcharges, unless you’re flying to/from the UK, or from Europe
  • There are more options for getting Virgin Atlantic miles, as you can transfer them from Amex, Chase, and Citi, and on top of that there are often transfer bonuses
Earn Virgin Atlantic miles with

Generally speaking you’ll find that if there’s a seat available at the “lowest” cost through Delta, then it’s also possible through Virgin Atlantic. At times it can be tough to figure out what the “lowest” cost is, though, given how the pricing is dynamic.

For example, with Delta’s New York to Mumbai flight, Delta seems to be charging a minimum of 135,000 miles for a one-way business class ticket.

Meanwhile the same ticket is bookable in business class through Virgin Atlantic for just 60,000 miles.

While this won’t be the case across the board, I do think it’s worth noting that increasingly redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles on Delta is becoming an even better value.

Delta is getting totally out of hand when it comes to their award pricing. In many markets the only redemption rates for business class seem to be 300,000+ miles one-way in business class.

But what I’ve been increasingly finding lately is that even in situations where Delta is charging 300,000+ miles one-way, Virgin Atlantic has access to those seats.

See the above flight from Lagos to New York that’s 350,000 miles one-way in business class? That’s bookable through Virgin Atlantic for just 60,000 miles.

This won’t be the case across the board, though situations like the above also aren’t isolated incidents, and I’m finding this fairly often.

To give another example, take this flight from Atlanta to Shanghai, where Delta is charging 285,000 miles…

While Virgin Atlantic is charging 60,000 miles…

This is a pretty incredible opportunity, if you ask me.

It used to be that my strategy was to search through Delta’s website, look for the lowest level award pricing (or what I perceive to be the lowest level award pricing), and then go to Virgin Atlantic’s website to verify and book.

However, nowadays it might make sense to just search directly through Virgin Atlantic’s website, because I would have never otherwise guessed that these awards pricing at 300,000+ miles one-way would be bookable through Virgin Atlantic.

Bottom line

Redeeming Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles on Delta can be a great deal thanks to the lower redemption rates and access to transfer bonuses. That was the case even when Virgin Atlantic only had access to the “cheapest” Delta award rates.

However, with Delta seemingly charging 300,000+ miles in many markets as the cheapest cost, being able to redeem Virgin Atlantic miles for at least some of those flights is pretty awesome, if you ask me.

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Comments
  1. “Flying Club Awards On Delta Get Even Better” is a really misleading title when Flying Club redemption levels are staying the same and it’s Delta’s redemptions that are getting worse.

  2. @ Ben L. — Sorry you feel that way, though I disagree. The relative value you’re getting with Flying Club is improving here.

  3. is it possible to price out connecting segments on Delta when using Flying Club? or does Flying club have segment restrictions?

  4. Agree with @Ben L.

    Pricing on Virgin has never been consistent with Delta saver fare. As partner mileage awards have access to separate partner inventory.

    Side note, but my main issue with Delta is that it can be hard to find – if at all – awards within 2 weeks of departure.

  5. Lucky I’m afraid this has always been the case
    The award availability on deta flights through flying club is pretty random… I’ve been able to pay for flights costing 465K miles for 60K virgin miles in the past.

  6. It is a surprising side effect that when programs move to dynamic award pricing, booking their awards through partners becomes more attractive.

    This is counterintuitive, because presumably there is a cash out associated with redemptions on partner metal, while redemptions on own metal should only incur limited marginal costs.

    Even when using Skymiles, awards on partners can be better value nowadays. For example, I recently saw HNL-ICN priced 30,000 miles on KE but 105,000 miles on DL.

  7. It makes you wonder if Delta customers should just credit their fares to Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club program instead of SkyMiles.

    It would be interesting to see a comparison of the supply of all the points currencies. SkyMiles are way too easy to earn and hard to use. I bet there are a ton of them.

  8. Is the trick here just looking for “O” availability? I think Delta uses other two-letter fare codes for higher categories of awards, and O is the standard SkyTeam business class award bucket.

  9. Why give this attention I fail to see the upside – anyone serious enough about value can see this with some extra time comparing

    Now the crowds will rush in

    Your biggest value add is product reviews not calling out loopholes

  10. It’s less about DL jacking up award rates as it is requiring round trip travel.

    If you find 2 crazily-priced “saver” one ways, and price it together as a round trip, you’ll notice the price looks much more like what you expect.

    So even though technically you “can” book a one way saver award (for a crazy price), for all intents and purposes, what Delta did was re-implement the round-trip requirement for award travel. I was recently looking for NYC-TLV and saver awards were pricing 300K each way, but a RT was around 160K total.

    Still a devaluation, but a different kind than the one you’re suggesting.

    (P.S. in many cases, the prices are so crazy that it would be often cheaper to book a RT and throw away the return ticket than to book a one way)

  11. We’ve used Flying Club for 3 or 4 years. Their sweet spots are fantastic. I fear that Delta clamps down on this relatively soon given their partial ownership of Virgin and their attention to being as uncompetitive as possible with mileage awards.

  12. @Greg – I feel like many looking to redeem on DL via VS have probably already seen this here and there.. I’ve never even bothered using DL’s site as VS’ five week view is more than substantial.

  13. Most of us have just thought of Deltas award site as “broken” for years, and for the company it hasn’t been a bug but a feature. Algorithms run amuck if you prefer.

    It’s evident on other airlines as well – and with prices as well as awards as supply and demand fluctuate.

    But yeah, I haven’t searched for an award on Delta in ages – too infuriating to see those 300k one ways.

    “Broken” and proud of it. Maybe it should be referred to as deplorable.

  14. @Evan, alas there is not. Calling is the only way to get prices/availability for airports not already on their website. It’s a PITA, but the agents are very nice.

  15. Rob is right – Delta seems to be more or less requiring “round trip” booking nowadays for certain awards and routes.

  16. Ben,

    As you may recall, I’ve been saying all along now that Delta has become the most deplorable airline company in the US in terms of their awards travel ( and unfortunately I live in Atlanta) since they introduced so called, “dynamic award pricing”, which is basically a euphemism for gouging their loyal customers– requiring 300K+ for one-way ticket in business class is completely obnoxious!) That is why I basically stopped flying on Delta–as somebody said here, it’s pretty worthless to accumulate miles on Delta.

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