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 300,000 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, Bilt, 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?

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club’s redemptions on Delta aren’t exactly straightforward in terms of pricing, as there are three separate award charts:

  • There’s an award chart for travel between the United States and United Kingdom
  • There’s an award chart for travel between the United States and Europe, excluding the United Kingdom
  • There’s a distance based award chart for travel in all other regions

Flying Club’s first award chart is for travel between the United States and United Kingdom, and this just factors in what part of the United States you’re traveling to or from, and whether you’re traveling in standard or peak season.

Flying Club award chart for Delta between US & UK

Flying Club’s second award chart is for travel between the United States and the rest of Europe, and it’s really straightforward, with the same pricing regardless of the market.

Flying Club award chart for Delta between US & rest of Europe

Flying Club’s third award chart is for travel in all other regions (anything except between the United States and Europe), and pricing is entirely distance based.

Distance based Flying Club award chart for Delta

As you can probably tell, by far the most lucrative pricing is between the United States and Europe (excluding the United Kingdom), as that’s where pricing is most attractive.

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, and you don’t even have to log into your Flying Club account to search availability.

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, KLM, and select other partners, 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 Munich ticket as an example. On Virgin Atlantic’s website, just select the “Reward flights” tab, and enter your origin, destination, date of travel, number of travelers, and class of service.

Virgin Atlantic award search tool

If there’s availability for the day that you searched, it should automatically show up on the next day. If there’s availability within a few days of when you searched, then you’ll see a calendar.

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 375,000 Delta SkyMiles.

Delta SkyMiles award pricing

The award search tool Seats.aero can be really useful for this, as it has a Delta One award finder. Just enter the origin and destination region, and you’ll see all the transatlantic flights with reasonably priced awards.

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 11,000 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 22,000 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. I should also mention that in many cases redeeming Delta SkyMiles for domestic economy travel can be a pretty good value, given how the program is structured. Still, there are situations where I could see this being a good use of Virgin points, especially in conjunction with a transfer bonus.

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, Bilt 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, especially in economy.

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?

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  1. Kimberly A Guest

    @Tanya I agree this this. I was just trying to figure out if transfering rewards made sense to get a deal on local delta trips, but no delta options are appearing.

  2. Tanya Lawson Guest

    Why would Virgin Atalantic not show availability for flights that are showing on Delta's website? For example, from the west coast to the east coast, it's telling me "nothing is available through virgin Atlantic or any travel partner".

  3. AD Diamond

    Laughing at the award chart -- don't tell the folks in ATL that they're in the central us or SLC that they're on the west coast. I get that ATL is further than the NE cities but it's most certainly not central. I know Brits are better at geography than that.

  4. Weymar Osborne Diamond

    Can we add connecting flights and if so, how do they work? Would the pricing be additive or, at least for US-Non UK Europe awards since there are no zones does it all just price as one?

    1. Norita Guest

      The pricing is additive and use multi city option for all on one ticket.

  5. Amy Guest

    How do you search Virgin for Delta domestic awards? When I log in to my Virgin account I get a screen with a drop down menu that only offers European (England-I believe) airports, I've heard you have to alter the URL to reach a search site for Delta domestic redemptions. Could some provide how exactly it's done-TIA

    1. Andy Guest

      Seat.aero thank me later

  6. Jamal Guest

    I received several alerts of award availability yesterday for Delta One flights between Europe and the US bookable through Virgin Atlantic. I was able to book a Munich to New York (JFK) flight for 50,000 each for my wife and I that worked for us. Unfortunately, i did have to pay the surcharges; but, they’re lower than what British Airways charges, even if you depart from outside of the UK. I felt pretty good about...

    I received several alerts of award availability yesterday for Delta One flights between Europe and the US bookable through Virgin Atlantic. I was able to book a Munich to New York (JFK) flight for 50,000 each for my wife and I that worked for us. Unfortunately, i did have to pay the surcharges; but, they’re lower than what British Airways charges, even if you depart from outside of the UK. I felt pretty good about this redemption because it exhausted my Virgin Atlantic balance which I had speculatively transferred to from AMEX when they had a 30% bonus in hopes of booking ANA’s the Room. This was an expensive lesson learned about the perils of speculative transfers; however, I’m glad I found a use for the points booking Delta One and few domestic Delta flights as well over the last couple of years. Virgin Atlantic is such a niche program, I’ll only transfer to them again upon confirming immediate availability.

  7. Homunculus New Member

    I'm planning to visit the USA early next year and a few days ago I did a search on a couple of Delta domestic flights using my Virgin Atlantic points. I noticed that the points required for Delta domestic "First Class" (which those of us outside the USA call Business Class) are very steep. My assumption that Delta charges USA "First Class" redemptions at its actual First Class rate rather than the Business Class rate. Is that true or am I missing something?

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Jamal Guest

I received several alerts of award availability yesterday for Delta One flights between Europe and the US bookable through Virgin Atlantic. I was able to book a Munich to New York (JFK) flight for 50,000 each for my wife and I that worked for us. Unfortunately, i did have to pay the surcharges; but, they’re lower than what British Airways charges, even if you depart from outside of the UK. I felt pretty good about this redemption because it exhausted my Virgin Atlantic balance which I had speculatively transferred to from AMEX when they had a 30% bonus in hopes of booking ANA’s the Room. This was an expensive lesson learned about the perils of speculative transfers; however, I’m glad I found a use for the points booking Delta One and few domestic Delta flights as well over the last couple of years. Virgin Atlantic is such a niche program, I’ll only transfer to them again upon confirming immediate availability.

1
Kimberly A Guest

@Tanya I agree this this. I was just trying to figure out if transfering rewards made sense to get a deal on local delta trips, but no delta options are appearing.

0
Tanya Lawson Guest

Why would Virgin Atalantic not show availability for flights that are showing on Delta's website? For example, from the west coast to the east coast, it's telling me "nothing is available through virgin Atlantic or any travel partner".

0
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