WIDE OPEN: 18K Amex Points For Flat Bed Business Class Across The US

Filed Under: American Express, Delta
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I’ve been doing miles & points stuff for a very long time, so I’m always super excited when out of nowhere I learn of a new points redemption opportunity I didn’t previously know of. The thing is, years ago this particular redemption wouldn’t have been that “amazing,” but due to a combination of circumstances, I think this is pretty useful now.

Most airlines operate a premium product between New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco. However, it’s a shockingly tough market in which to redeem miles:

Well, as it turns out there’s a fantastic way to book a flat bed business class seat between New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco for just 18,000 Amex Membership Rewards points one-way.

Earlier I posted about the incredible value of redeeming Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for travel between the US and Europe. There are some restrictions associated with these redemptions, but in many cases you can redeem 50,000 Flying Club miles for travel between the US and Europe on Delta.

Add in the 30% transfer bonus from Amex Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and we’re talking about paying ~39,000 Membership Rewards points one-way.

That’s not the only great deal available for travel on Delta, though.

Virgin Atlantic has wide open Delta One availability between New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco for just 22,500 Flying Club miles one-way. When you factor in the 30% transfer bonus, that’s just 18,000 Amex Membership Rewards points each way.

All the seats that are bookable for 45,000 SkyMiles through Delta can also be booked for 22,500 miles directly through Virgin Atlantic’s website. When you search for availability on Virgin Atlantic’s website, enter the origin as you usually would. Then for the destination, select the little “pin” to the right of your destination box and then select the country, state, and city. Otherwise the space may not show up correctly.

Award availability is really, really, really good, whether you’re booking close to departure or in advance, or whether you’re booking just for yourself or the whole family (I see many flights with eight business class award seats each). For example, here’s availability for a five week period next summer:

The dates that have availability don’t just have one flight with availability, but often a handful.

This is a fantastic redemption value. Membership Rewards points transfer to Virgin Atlantic in 1-2 days at most (often faster), and the 30% bonus is hard coded into the ratio, so those bonus points should post when the normal ones do.

Need more Membership Rewards points?

If you’re looking to make some transcon premium cabin bookings, this is hands down the way to go. What a deal, especially given how much availability there is.

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  1. i might be an idiot here but i cant get it to show a route from JFK to LAX on virgins site. am i doing something wrong?

  2. i might be an idiot here but I cannot get it to show a routing from JFK to LAX on the virgin atlantic site. am i missing something here? really want to do this!

  3. I also cannot see how to get a routing from JFK to LAX in the Virgin Atlantic website. Come on, Ben!

  4. To people who can’t make the website work, try this:

    Search JFK to LHR and select pay with miles

    Then on the next page you can click refine search and change the airport codes. If they don’t auto populate open the list and select it that way.

  5. Eric, that doesn’t work. I need to go from LAX to NYC — not the reverse. And if I put LAX to LHR first, it does not recognize NYC or JFK only UK airports.

    Anyone esle having this problem?

  6. @alan i just search LAX to London with no miles in my account and it showed up now problem. @ruy i also switched the location to US but that did not work either. anyone figure this out yet?

  7. yup! Virgin award search engine seems to be not working be properly for searching US internal flights

  8. For anyone trying to fool the system to display JFK-LAX or vice versa, here’s how to do it. Put in the departing airport as you normally would. In the destination field, click on the little location stick thingy in the far right of the box. Select US & Canada, then California, then Los Angeles. Availability shows up with no problem.

  9. @MeanMeosh Thanks that worked, I figured the “location” icon was to use your current location not a means of changing the allowed values…because thats how the rest of The Internet works. what a crap website design.

  10. I think they’ve caught on. All Delta One flights now showing as 45,000 miles. Unless I’m doing it wrong.

  11. @ Steve Hall — Sounds like you’re searching roundtrip based on the price? I just pulled it up for 22.5K one-way.

  12. Sorry folks who were confused about how to enter the destination. Updated the post to reflect that, and thanks to MeanMeosh for stepping in.

  13. @ Adam — You can book through them as well, but it costs 31,250 FlyingBlue miles. That’s still better than Delta’s rate, just not as good as Virgin’s.

  14. This is such a great find, Lucky. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a Virgin Atlantic account so I created one and went about linking it in Membership Rewards and it says it can take two weeks for that to happen. I don’t imagine there will be anything left two weeks from now, but a girl can dream. Thank you for sharing. I love your blog.

  15. @ Roni — It always says that, but doesn’t actually take that long. You should be able to transfer points right away. 🙂

  16. Did the Virgin Atlantic site start blocking this? I searched about 10 minutes ago and saw availability all over the place. Went to grab something to drink and now when I search there are no flights or only bookable using Pay with Card. Something happen?

  17. @Lucky Thank you!! I signed out and back in and it worked. You just made my 30th anniversary celebration so much sweeter. 🙂

  18. My transfer didn’t happen instantly. Tried logging in and out multiple times, but not seeing anything…

  19. @Chas… I spoke too soon. I can’t get it to work anymore either. And the weird thing is, it tripped a fraud alert with AMEX. They let me transfer the points out and then they immediately put them back in my Membership Rewards account. That’s not ever happened before.

  20. Something happened and the system rejected my first transfer. I called amex and did a new transfer over the phone- now I have the points, but I’m having the same problem as DW above. The book with miles option isnt working on the site.

  21. Strange, I tried about 8 times and nothing. Now it’s working. Thank for this article Lucky, we are trying to get to NY in a couple of weeks so this is timely.

  22. I was told by AmEx that transfera should be instant. I did it today (as well as back in January) and they posted in about 2-3 minutes. So all booked. Positioning via YVR in Cathay First!!

  23. I was hoping to get to work Lax to YUL through JFK but not working. Anyone got it to work connecting through JFK to Canada?

  24. I’m doing JFK-YVR on Cathay in First on Saturday night, fly American paid in Y to LAX on sunday morning and the afternoon back to JFK. 12 hours in the air in 24. Good weekend! Think Cathay are only opening 1 seat though per flight.

    For those that couldn’t get the booing to work, for me it was putting a blank entry in the youth passenger box. When I put as zero and pressed search it worked fine.

  25. Just worked for me. I had trouble searching for it on my computer, but I called Virgin Atlantic and the agent found the route and booked SFO to JFK for 22.5K miles. I transferred my AMEX points about 5 minutes before I called, and while the miles did not show up yet on the Virgin Atlantic Website, the agent was able to access the miles. It seems it transfers instantly but may take 24 hours to show up on the website. My advice is to call them and book this over the phone.

  26. Interesting that you find NYC LA to be a shockingly tough market for redemptions.

    Given that the route connects the two largest population, business, media, and entertainment centers in the country I find it surprising that it’s being a tough redemption would be a shock to anyone. 😉

  27. Just booked JFK to LAX on the 4th of July, I made a Virgin Atlantic account just now transferred points from Amex (they were applied to my VA account within 5 minutes) then booked the flight had to call VA to verify my booking and 10 minutes later I am done and have my flight to Anime Expo in LA.

  28. I booked two awards using this 30% bonus. The first time the Amex transfer did fail but I tried again immediately and it went through.

    Amex points do post instantly. SPG points took about 12 hours when I transferred them 6 months ago.

  29. It works! Just booked 4 bus class tickets from LAX to JFK roundtrip. Thanks for the heads up! Looks like I’m headed to the US Open in style 🙂

  30. Perfect timing for my class reunion in June. Transferred miles from AMEX (first time was cancelled) and then had to call in to book the family (reserving for child requires call-in?). This will be my first experience with Delta…

  31. @Lucky, totally unrelated but found a business class product that you have not flown and may be interested in – Georgian Airways. The largest plane is a 737 but the business class is pretty comfortable. Besides their immediate neighbours, they also have flights to Israel and London.

  32. Dear Lucky

    Would you help me, I have miles in Aeroflot Bonus program, with which other airline can I redeem them?

    Thank you in Advance

  33. @Lucky — I just created by Flying Club account yesterday and I’m having trouble linking my MR to my Flying Club account (it keeps saying its denied). Do you know if we need to wait 24hrs after account creation before we can link it to our MR accounts?

  34. Just booked JFK to MXP in Delta One on the A330 for a dad/mom getaway in July…77K AMEX miles, transferred instantly. Will try to book the return trip in the coming months w/either cash or points. Tried booking the JFK to SFO ticket but it looks like the direct flights in Delta One are all gone…thank you Lucky!

  35. Holy crap, people cleaned out all 2017 Delta One award space. I watched it through the night and people took 95% of the available award space. I feel bad for people who had their point transfers delayed because they are screwed!

  36. @Caleb it looks like the deal was killed, rather than all the flights getting filled up. I was searching early in the morning and there was still plenty of availability, but searching now shows nothing through the end of the calendar.

  37. @Chris, I could see that happening, at some point between 1AM and 7AM PST over 30+ flights had no more low level Delta One space. Friggin Delta.

  38. Pretty sure all spaces were scoped up rather than Delta pulling the plug – tried calling VS 2am ET. 1 hour hold. Saw award spaces disappear in front of my eyes.

  39. Just tried booking some different routes in the states, and it won’t allow a “book with points option.” Sigh! Latr to the party on this one.

  40. Lucky is this confirmed dead? Or is there still some trick to the search engine that will pull up the award space?

  41. Looks like it is dead.

    I was able to select “pay with miles” after enabling the radio button using Chrome’s “inspect element” feature. But then the search results no longer showed any availability in J at 22.5k each way.

  42. Yeh it seems dead, could only pull up some dates at 45k each way. Someone please chime in with details and dates if still working.

  43. I tried to search for reward redemptions, and it seems that now “pay with miles” is not allowed for JFK to LAX route. Is this sweet deal over or am i going about it the wrong way?

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