Guide To Redeeming Virgin Atlantic Points On Delta

Guide To Redeeming Virgin Atlantic Points On Delta

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Often you’ll find that the best options for redeeming points on a particular airline are through the frequent flyer program of a partner airline. Actually, I’d argue that’s the case more often than not, and it’s where we see many of the best award sweet spots.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a program with a few great partner redemption opportunities. While my favorite use of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points is for travel on All Nippon Airways, another potentially great use is for redemptions on Delta. While this opportunity isn’t quite as lucrative as it was back in the day, there’s still value to be had.

In this post I wanted to take a closer look at the current state of this opportunity. How many Virgin Atlantic points do you need, how do you find award availability, etc.?

Redeem Flying Club points for travel on Delta

In many cases Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has lower redemption rates than Delta SkyMiles for travel on Delta, assuming there’s saver level award availability. For example, in some situation Virgin Atlantic might just be charging 50,000 points, while Delta charges over 200,000 points. Yes, the difference can be that significant.

On top of that, there are some other benefits to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club:

  • Virgin Atlantic points are easier to come by, since the program partners with Amex, Capital One, Chase, and Citi, while Delta SkyMiles only partners with Amex
  • Virgin Atlantic points can often be acquired with a transfer bonus, while we almost never see a transfer bonus from Amex to Delta

With that out of the way, let’s look at the details of this opportunity.

Redeeming Virgin Atlantic points on Delta can be a good deal

How many Virgin Atlantic points do you need for travel on Delta?

When redeeming Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points for travel on Delta, awards fall into one of two categories:

  • There’s region based award pricing between the United States and Europe
  • There’s distance based award pricing for travel within and between all other regions

Here are Virgin Atlantic Flying Club one-way redemption rates for travel on Delta between the United States and United Kingdom:

  • 15,000-30,000 Flying Club points in Main Cabin (economy class)
  • 47,500-77,500 Flying Club points in Delta One (business class)
Flying Club award chart for Delta between US & UK

Here are Virgin Atlantic Flying Club one-way redemption rates for travel on Delta between the United States and Europe (with the exception of the UK):

  • 30,000 Flying Club points in Main Cabin (economy class)
  • 50,000 Flying Club points in Delta One (business class)
Flying Club award chart for Delta between US & Europe

All Virgin Atlantic Flying Club awards on Delta that aren’t between the United States and Europe are charged based on the following one-way distance based award chart:

Flying Club distance based award chart for Delta

Does Flying Club have surcharges when redeeming on Delta?

Flying Club has steep carrier imposed surcharges (often referred to as fuel surcharges) when redeeming on Virgin Atlantic, but what about when redeeming on Delta?

  • There are fuel surcharges for travel on Delta between the US and UK
  • There are fuel surcharges for travel on Delta between Europe and the US when originating in Europe
  • There aren’t fuel surcharges for travel on Delta between the US and Europe (with the exception of the UK) when originating in the US
  • There aren’t fuel surcharges for travel on Delta between or within any other regions

So you don’t have to worry about surcharges for all non-European travel, and also don’t have to worry about them for US to Europe travel, with the exception of the UK.

Some Delta redemptions have surcharges, others don’t

How to book Delta awards through Flying Club

You can search and book Delta awards directly on Virgin Atlantic’s website. Virgin Atlantic’s website interface works pretty similarly to Delta’s, so it will be a familiar experience if you’re used to searching SkyMiles award space.

When you go to Virgin Atlantic’s website, just search award availability on Delta the same way you would search availability on Virgin Atlantic, and if something is available it will automatically show up. Virgin Atlantic’s website displays award availability on Virgin Atlantic, Delta, Air France, and KLM, so at times it can be hard to differentiate between those options when looking at the calendar feature.

Let’s look at how this works in practice, and use a New York to Amsterdam ticket as an example. Just select the date, the number of passengers, then the “Points” option, then “Upper Class” for the fare option, and then “Show flexible dates,” so you get the calendar view.

Virgin Atlantic award search tool

The next page will return a calendar view, and you can view a week of availability at a time. Based on the type of award I’m searching, I know that any availability for 50,000 points and $6 in taxes & fees would be on Delta (the other award options with higher surcharges would be for travel on other airlines).

Virgin Atlantic award search tool

Once you select the date you’ll see the flight option.

Virgin Atlantic award availability on Delta

Note that you may very well search award availability and get a message saying “Sorry, no reward flights are available for your search.” Unfortunately that’s not a glitch, there are just long periods of time with no award availability.

Virgin Atlantic award search tool

I can’t emphasize enough the quirkiness of Virgin Atlantic’s award space on Delta. The sweet spot here is obviously awards from the United States to Europe (except the UK) in business class. Sometimes you can search months of availability at a time without finding a single award seat, while at other points you may find decent award availability.

When you do find space, this pricing can be extremely lucrative. For example, an award that costs 50,000 Virgin Atlantic points may cost 215,000 Delta SkyMiles.

Delta SkyMiles award pricing

Is it worth redeeming Virgin Atlantic points on Delta?

The way I view it, the best use of Virgin Atlantic points on Delta is for travel in business class to Europe (with the exception of the UK). You’ll pay just 50,000 points for business class one-way, and there are no fuel surcharges. This is an amazing value, it’s just a function of finding award availability.

If you can find availability, it’s a heck of a deal, though generally I don’t consider this to be among the best “sweet spot” awards out there, simply because of how sporadic award availability is.

Delta business class redemptions to Europe can be a great deal

Arguably the next best value when redeeming Virgin Atlantic points on Delta is for short haul travel based on the distance-based award chart.

For example, for 7,500 points you could book a one-way economy award for a flight of under 500 miles, like Tampa to Atlanta.

Virgin Atlantic award availability on Delta

Or for 8,500 points you could book a one-way economy award for a flight of 501-1,000 miles, like Los Angeles to Seattle.

Virgin Atlantic award availability on Delta

Redeeming 15,000 points for a one-way economy award for flights of 2,001-3,000 miles could be a good deal as well, like Los Angeles to Kona.

Virgin Atlantic award availability on Delta

Of course you’ll always want to compare these to revenue tickets, since in some cases these flights might not cost all that much when paying cash.

In many cases the first class pricing will also be advantageous compared to booking through Delta SkyMiles. For example, the above Tampa to Atlanta flight that costs 17,500 Virgin Atlantic points in first class would cost 40,000 SkyMiles if booking with Delta.

Delta SkyMiles award pricing
Short haul redemptions could be a good value as well

How to earn Virgin Atlantic points

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is transfer partners with all major transferable points currencies, including Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou. Therefore these are among the easiest points for consumers to earn.

Historically we’ve often also seen transfer bonuses from these currencies to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, so that’s something to keep an eye on, as it will stretch your points even further.

Bottom line

Redeeming Virgin Atlantic points for travel on Delta can be a good value. This is especially true for business class between the US and Europe (with the exception of the UK), where you can fly for 50,000 points one-way without fuel surcharges. On top of that, short haul redemptions on Delta can be a good deal, in both economy and first class.

The catch is the highly inconsistent award availability Delta has across the Atlantic in business class, as sometimes Virgin Atlantic will have access to a fair amount of Delta award space, while in other cases you’ll find no availability for months.

Have you ever redeemed Virgin Atlantic points for travel on Delta? If so, what was your experience like?

Conversations (14)
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  1. Bandmeeting Guest

    In order to book these do you have to call Virgin? I’m finding the flights but they won’t book on the web site. Thanks.

  2. Anthony Diamond

    Since Delta started awarding MQM for award flights, I always try to redeem SkyMiles for delta flights before looking to options like Virgin (when SkyMiles pricing isn't too onerous). We generate a lot of SkyMiles through flying, Delta Reserve spending, etc. Better to use those first rather than transferring valuable MR, which can be used for other purposes. For example, I am going to BCN in a few weeks on a SkyMiles flash sale -...

    Since Delta started awarding MQM for award flights, I always try to redeem SkyMiles for delta flights before looking to options like Virgin (when SkyMiles pricing isn't too onerous). We generate a lot of SkyMiles through flying, Delta Reserve spending, etc. Better to use those first rather than transferring valuable MR, which can be used for other purposes. For example, I am going to BCN in a few weeks on a SkyMiles flash sale - 74K each way. I find that is a better redemption than 50K Virgin Atlantic miles. Why? Because I earn 6K+ MQM each way by booking direct with SkyMiles, and 0 MQM by booking via Virgin Atlantic.

    1. Justin Guest

      Virgin let's you earn toward their status on their award travel and Delta let's you on theirs. Is it confirmed that you won't earn anything for a Delta award flight booked through Virgin?

  3. Lee Guest

    Notes: As with other airlines, it is possible that Delta might block out certain award inventory from any partner redemptions. It is possible that Delta might block out any partner redemptions on flights less than three weeks away. Plan accordingly.

  4. Izz Guest

    One of my favorite uses of Amex points!

    I do find it very annoying that certain cities you can search with miles and others you cannot. For example, if you put JFK-VCE, JFK-NCE, JFK-BER and many others, you have the option to view miles. Meanwhile if you put in other cities such as JFK-ARN, JFK-ATH, JFK-MXP the miles option disappears and only option is to view revenue tickets. Clearly a glitch on their site, and extremely annoying!

  5. Raj - PlanMoreTrips.com Guest

    Wow, crazy what a large difference in price it is. 50,000 is a steal. Thanks for sharing because I had no idea that you could do this.

  6. Creditcrunch Diamond

    @Ben earning “pints” sounds great , also customers in the US can take advantage of the VS Mastercard which I don’t think you have reviewed and at the moment the sign up bonus is not very good but it was better a few months ago.
    https://www.virginatlantic.com/us/en/flying-club/credit-card.html

    1. Raj - PlanMoreTrips.com Guest

      Can also transfer from Chase UR, which is nice.

  7. Khatl Diamond

    Use it all the time to book domestic US flights on Delta. Other benefit you should add is that even if the cancellation charge is usually $50, their policy is to charge the lower of $50 or the taxes. So on US domestic flights and some of the Europe ones, the cancellation charge is only $5.60.

    1. Trey Guest

      Does this still work? Do you just cancel online and VS automatically redeposit the miles (minus taxes) or have to call it in? Thanks.

    2. Virginia Giaramita Guest

      We've done this twice, transferred Amex points with a 30% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic abd booked Dekta Obe to Italy. Non-stop JFK to Milan and return to JFK. Also JFK to Milan, return was Rome to JFK. Other available routes include Atlanta or Boston, from the east coast. It took a lot of time searching to find availability.

    3. DLPTATL Guest

      Khatl, congrats on booking these all of the time. I have had an extremely difficult time of finding first class domestic or DeltaOne international availability when I've looked. I don't have the most flexible schedule so I'm generally looking over a a 5-day window and never seem to find what I'm looking for using Virgin.

  8. mark Guest

    you can still bring up the full mont Long calendar view if you know the secret.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

mark Guest

you can still bring up the full mont Long calendar view if you know the secret.

2
Creditcrunch Diamond

@Ben earning “pints” sounds great , also customers in the US can take advantage of the VS Mastercard which I don’t think you have reviewed and at the moment the sign up bonus is not very good but it was better a few months ago. https://www.virginatlantic.com/us/en/flying-club/credit-card.html

1
Khatl Diamond

Use it all the time to book domestic US flights on Delta. Other benefit you should add is that even if the cancellation charge is usually $50, their policy is to charge the lower of $50 or the taxes. So on US domestic flights and some of the Europe ones, the cancellation charge is only $5.60.

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