The Best Uses Of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Points

The Best Uses Of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Points

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Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is an underrated program that offers all kinds of useful redemption opportunities. In particular, the program has some of my favorite niche, sweet spot award deals in the world.

Virgin Atlantic joined SkyTeam in 2023, greatly expanding the opportunities to redeem points through the program. On top of that, Flying Club also has some other individual partners with phenomenal redemption values. Best of all, Virgin Atlantic points are easy to come by, which is one of the main reasons people should care about the program.

In this post I wanted to take a closer look at how you can redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points for the best value.

How to earn Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points

One major aspect in assessing the value of a frequent flyer program is how easy points are to earn with the currency. For those of us in the United States with access to transferable points currencies, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points are among the easiest currencies to rack up.

For one, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Bilt RewardsCapital OneChase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou.

Best of all, we often see transfer bonuses from these currencies to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club in the range of 25-30%, which is a way to stretch points even further. In some cases, it could be worth making a speculative points transfer to take advantage of this, in my opinion.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points are easy to earn

How to redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points

Let’s now take a look at some of the best ways to redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points. One thing that makes this somewhat complicated is that Flying Club doesn’t have a single award chart that applies across all airlines. Rather the program has different award pricing for different airlines, and in some cases even multiple award charts for the same airline. Specifically:

  • Flying Club has a zone-based award chart for travel on Virgin Atlantic, with peak and off-peak pricing
  • Flying Club has a zone-based award chart for travel on each individual non-SkyTeam partner airline
  • Flying Club has both zone and distance-based award charts for travel on Delta, with peak and off-peak pricing for some awards
  • Flying Club has both a zone and distance-based award chart for travel on Air France-KLM, with peak and off-peak pricing for some awards
  • Flying Club has a distance-based award chart for travel on SkyTeam partners (excluding Virgin Atlantic, Delta, and Air France-KLM, which have their own charts, as mentioned above)

Before I share some of my favorite redemption values, let me cover a few of the basic logistics of redeeming Flying Club points:

  • Awards can be booked online for travel on Air France-KLM, China Airlines, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air, ITA Airways, Middle East Airlines, and Xiamen Air; all other partner awards need to be booked by phone
  • When it comes to Flying Club’s change and cancelation policy, changing or redepositing an award costs £30 in the UK or $50 in the United States, and can’t be done within 24 hours of departure
  • Flying Club generally lets you hold award tickets for one day, but only by phone
  • Flying Club points don’t expire, regardless of any activity

With that out of the way, let me share my favorite ways to redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points, in no particular order.

Redeem for travel on Virgin Atlantic

The most obvious way to redeem Flying Club points is for travel on Virgin Atlantic:

  • The good news is that Virgin Atlantic has an award seat guarantee, so when the schedule opens you’ll find at least two business class award seats, two premium economy award seats, and eight economy award seats; Virgin Atlantic also has a handy reward seat finder, where you can easily search availability
  • Points requirements for awards on Virgin Atlantic are reasonable, and you’ll find that most transatlantic awards in business class cost 47,500-80,000 points one-way (depending on the distance and peak or off-peak); while there’s not an award chart, you can find a points calculator with award pricing
  • The major catch is that Flying Club passes on carrier imposed surcharges when redeeming on Virgin Atlantic, and those can be steep, especially in conjunction with the UK Air Passenger Duty; you can expect that a one-way business class award could cost you nearly $1,000 in cash

This isn’t my favorite use of Virgin Atlantic points, though it’s at least worth being aware of. If you like flying with Virgin Atlantic, if you value the convenience of a nonstop, and if you can take advantage of the award seat guarantee, this is a pretty good opportunity.

Redeem points for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

Redeem for travel on All Nippon Airways

Now it’s time for what’s one of my favorite sweet spot redemptions in the world, and my all-around favorite use of Virgin Atlantic points. Of course I’m talking about redeeming Flying Club points for travel on All Nippon Airways, the Japanese Star Alliance airline. ANA has exceptional premium products, including in first class and business class.

Below you can find Virgin Atlantic’s award chart for travel on ANA.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club award chart for ANA

As you can see, all award pricing is to and from Japan, so if you plan on connecting beyond Japan, you’ll need to book your ticket as two separate awards. The good news is that since you can book one-ways for half the cost of a roundtrip, you can easily mix-and-match options.

Most exciting is that business class awards between the US mainland or Europe and Japan cost 45,000-47,500 points one-way, while first class awards between the US mainland or Europe and Japan cost 72,500-85,000 points one-way. While there are carrier imposed surcharges for travel on ANA, they are quite mild.

The major catch with this redemption opportunity is that coming by premium cabin award seats on ANA isn’t easy. Is it impossible? Absolutely not. But it takes some effort.

Redeem points for All Nippon Airways first class

Redeem for travel on Delta Air Lines

Virgin Atlantic and Delta have a joint venture (and for that matter, Delta owns a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic). As a result, the airlines have a special arrangement when it comes to reciprocal award redemptions. Unfortunately this arrangement isn’t at all straightforward, as there are three separate award charts. There’s still great value to be had redeeming Virgin Atlantic points on Delta, though.

Below you can find Virgin Atlantic’s award chart for travel on Delta between the United States and United Kingdom (there are carrier imposed surcharges on all of these awards).

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club award chart for Delta

Below you can find Virgin Atlantic’s award chart for travel on Delta between the United States and Europe, with the exception of the United Kingdom (there aren’t carrier imposed surcharges when originating in the United States, but there are surcharges when originating in Europe).

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club award chart for Delta

Below you can find Virgin Atlantic’s award chart for travel on Delta in all other regions, which is distance based (most of these awards don’t have carrier imposed surcharges).

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club award chart for Delta

The major catch with these redemptions is that Delta isn’t great about making long haul business class award space available at the saver level. So, what should your takeaway be from this opportunity?

  • Business class awards from the United States to Europe are an amazing deal at 50,000 points one-way, especially when you can avoid fuel surcharges (by not flying to the UK); the challenge is just finding availability
  • There’s also great value to be had for short haul and medium haul awards, as you can book many non-long haul Delta awards for 7,500-15,000 points in economy, which is quite a good deal

I don’t consider there to be much value for travel to and from the UK (due to the surcharges), or for travel in other long haul markets (due to the points requirements). But for travel between the United States and Europe, it’s a great deal. The award search tool Seats.aero can be really useful for finding availability, 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.

Redeem points for Delta business class

Redeem for travel on Air France-KLM

Virgin Atlantic, Air France-KLM, and Delta, all belong to the same transatlantic joint venture. As a result, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has special award pricing for travel on Air France-KLM, and it can represent an exceptional value. As is the case with many Flying Club partners, the actual redemption details are a bit complicated, though at least these awards can be booked through Virgin Atlantic’s site.

Below you can find Virgin Atlantic’s award chart for short haul travel on Air France-KLM, which is distance based.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club award chart for Air France-KLM

Then below you can find Virgin Atlantic’s off-peak and peak award charts for travel on Air France-KLM, which are zone based (you can find the zone inclusions here — for what it’s worth, Zone 1 includes Western Europe, and Zone 6 includes the Eastern United States).

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club off-peak award chart for Air France-KLM
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club peak award chart for Air France-KLM

The redemption rates here are in some cases significantly better than what you’ll find through Air France-KLM Flying Blue. For example, a one-way Amsterdam to London business class award would cost 20,000 miles through Flying Blue, while it costs only 8,000 points through Flying Club.

For long haul flights, the off-peak redemption rates are typically better than the pricing you’ll find through Air France-KLM Flying Blue. For example, being able to redeem just 48,500 Flying Club points for business class from the United States to Europe is a great value.

Redeem points for Air France business class

Redeem for travel on Air New Zealand

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is just full of amazing niche redemptions. Redeeming Virgin Atlantic points on Air New Zealand can be a great value as well, as the airlines have a partnership despite belonging to different alliances.

Below you can find Virgin Atlantic’s award chart for travel on Air New Zealand, which is zone based.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club award chart for Air New Zealand

Well, that’s sort of the award chart. Don’t ask me why, but Air New Zealand awards between New Zealand and the United States cost 62,500 points one-way. That’s an amazing deal, especially as there aren’t surcharges.

The value is very good, though the catch is that Air New Zealand is rather stingy with making award space available. It’s not impossible, though — for example, I’ve redeemed Virgin Atlantic points for Air New Zealand business class across the Pacific. Nowadays availability is sometimes quite good when booking within a couple of months of departure.

Redeem points for Air New Zealand business class

Redeem for travel on SkyTeam partners

Virgin Atlantic has one award chart for travel on all SkyTeam partner airlines. The award pricing is distance based, and is calculated from the cumulative distance you fly one-way. Below you can find Virgin Atlantic’s award chart for travel on SkyTeam partners.

Virgin Atlantic’s SkyTeam award chart

Is this the most exciting award pricing in the world? Absolutely not. But the truth is that SkyTeam doesn’t have that many useful programs for partner redemptions (just look at Delta SkyMiles’ absurd award pricing), so this is among the better programs for that (along with Air France-KLM Flying Blue).

I usually focus on premium redemptions (since it’s where you’ll get the most outsized value), so just to give some examples:

  • Redeeming 15,500 Flying Club points for a distance of 501-1,000 miles could be useful for short haul travel in Asia, like on China Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air, etc.
  • Redeeming 85,000 Flying Club points for a distance of 5,001-6,000 miles could be valuable for travel across the Atlantic or Pacific on partners; for example, Virgin Atlantic has access to ITA Airways awards, while other SkyTeam partners don’t, and you could also book Korean Air business class for that price from the west coast to South Korea
  • Redeeming 100,000 Flying Club points for a distance of 6,001-7,000 miles could be valuable for some transpacific awards on partners; for example, you could fly China Airlines from Vancouver to Taipei

Like I said, those aren’t necessarily amazing award values, but if you factor in the potential for a 25-30% transfer bonus from a transferable points currency, the value really adds up.

Redeem points for ITA Airways business class

Bottom line

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a program that’s worth understanding. Not only are the points easy to come by thanks to transferable points currencies, but if you time your transfers right, you should be able to consistently get a 25-30% transfer bonus.

While I wouldn’t consider Flying Club to be the most broadly useful program, it has some of the world’s best niche redemption opportunities. Particularly, you can’t beat the value of redemptions on All Nippon Airways, Delta, Air France-KLM, and Air New Zealand, when you can find award availability.

On top of that, redemptions on Virgin Atlantic can be worthwhile if you don’t mind paying the surcharges. Lastly, with Virgin Atlantic in SkyTeam, there are solid opportunities to redeem on SkyTeam partners, ranging from China Airlines to ITA Airways.

What’s your favorite use of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points?

Conversations (9)
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  1. Tyler Guest

    My friend and I are in Tokyo currently (both used VS points to fly ANA J). I was able to find an award seats for my return flight before I left, but now my friend is struggling to book his, even though their are saver award seats available on the United portal. Any idea what may be causing this issue? It's been this way for the past 3 days - availability showing on the United portal, but nothing available on the VS end.

  2. Andy Guest

    Hi, can you use a virgin companion voucher on the partner airlines also?

    Thanks

  3. Creditcrunch Diamond

    @Ben I’ve noticed that Virgin have been offering reward seat deals in low season, for instance LHR-LAS standard season is usually 135k miles however todays deal is 95k miles ( +rip off surcharges) not sure if this is going to be a regular feature but seems very reasonable.

  4. DT Guest

    I am struggling with searching award space on the VS website. If I am trying to book/search a connection that is not served by VS, but their partner, I can't even enter origin and destination, i.e. JFK-ZRH.

    What am I doing wrong?

    1. DT Guest

      Never mind, just now it worked.

    2. DT Guest

      Though SEA-ZRH does not work.

  5. Mike Bosto Guest

    As I am just a solo flyer, I have had luck with the ANA award space out of ORD. It is an incredible redemption if you can locate the space - in my experience, it just take a lot of trial and error. I have done two round trips now, one entirely in F and one split between F and J, all in "suite" or "room" seats. Outstanding.

  6. Euro Gold

    The "book Delta domestic flights in Y" redemption option was excellent for a long time, then they devalued it to the point where it is much less lucrative. I'll still look at it but this is no longer akin to being able to book short-haul nonstops in Y for a pittance with BA Avios.

    One data point I will put out there is I was able to pull up Garuda Indonesia itins on the Flying Club website for SE Asia to Australia.

  7. Pat Guest

    Blogs tend to focus on premium cabins, and in Virgin Atlantic's case, the hefty surcharges associated with them. However, if you are willing to fly in economy, Virgin Atlantic's surcharges are minimal and redemptions are pretty easy to obtain.

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.

Tyler Guest

My friend and I are in Tokyo currently (both used VS points to fly ANA J). I was able to find an award seats for my return flight before I left, but now my friend is struggling to book his, even though their are saver award seats available on the United portal. Any idea what may be causing this issue? It's been this way for the past 3 days - availability showing on the United portal, but nothing available on the VS end.

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Andy Guest

Hi, can you use a virgin companion voucher on the partner airlines also? Thanks

0
Creditcrunch Diamond

@Ben I’ve noticed that Virgin have been offering reward seat deals in low season, for instance LHR-LAS standard season is usually 135k miles however todays deal is 95k miles ( +rip off surcharges) not sure if this is going to be a regular feature but seems very reasonable.

0
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