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 now belongs to SkyTeam, which has greatly expanded the opportunities to redeem miles 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 a distance-based award chart for travel on SkyTeam partners (excluding Virgin Atlantic and Delta, which have their own charts, as mentioned above)

With that out of the way, let me share my favorite ways to redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points, in no particular order (for details on booking through Flying Club, read here for award change and cancelation policies, and here for award hold policies).

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).

Redeem points for Delta 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 incredibly 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.

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, 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 now 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 (19)
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  1. Trevor Guest

    It's not been mentioned that Virgin points can be used to pay for Virgin Holidays, it's an easy & straightforward method to pay
    or part pay for a Virgin holiday. Although not the best value to use your points in this way, it's still less money out of pocket.

  2. Andy Guest

    Hi, you didn’t mention the companion voucher as is this available on other partner airlines?

    Also when I redeemed my last virgin companion voucher for a upper class ticket they add a 50% surcharge on points needed, which is disappointing

  3. Susan Guest

    I am most frustrated by Virgin. I bought points on the recommendation of OMT and others and have been unable to use them...I try online and on the phone. While Virgins representatives are nice enough they can never find a way for me to use my points...very frustrating and annoying.

    1. Henry Guest

      Hang in there, that is why they have high values, if they are easy to use, they will lost their values soon. Great savings come with people who has patience with AV, AS, but to be honest, I think they are way much easier to use than AV.

  4. Tom R Guest

    Unless I'm missing something, good luck getting any availability on Delta, especially domestically. Search after search for weeks on end threw up no availability on multiple routes. I was able to find Avios availability on AA domestically much more successfully. I searched fruitlessly for many US to Europe flights in Delta with no luck either, pre COVID I could at least find a few flights such as DTW, MSP, ATL out to AMS / CDG, not any more.

  5. Mileage Hound Guest

    You missed one of the best redemption values. Virgin will occasionally offer a 6/7 night cruise, for 2, in a cabin with a balcony, either Europe or the Caribbean, for 110,000. Check the Virgin Red App, which you need to link to your Virgin Atlantic account. This has a typical market value of +/- $5,000.

  6. Mel Guest

    How do you search for the air new zealand redemption? On the virgin site or on air nz?

    1. NK3 Gold

      Can't book Air New Zealand online with Virgin. They have access to the same space as other partners, so I searched on United and called in. The miles charged are by segment, but they are able to combine onto one reservation, which can reduce taxes and fees. For example, I booked SFO-AKL-BNE, and combining the flights saved about $40 versus booking the segments separately.

  7. Anonymous Guest

    Virgin Atlantic has lots of sweet spots in short haul and long haul flights, but because they are all in economy, unfortunately none of them are addressed in this article.

    For readers who only care about economy redemption, here is a list of sweet spots:
    - Delta flights to/from Delta hubs to places where DL has monopoly in pricing, causing it to be outrageously expensive. Take ATL as an example, it's much cheaper to...

    Virgin Atlantic has lots of sweet spots in short haul and long haul flights, but because they are all in economy, unfortunately none of them are addressed in this article.

    For readers who only care about economy redemption, here is a list of sweet spots:
    - Delta flights to/from Delta hubs to places where DL has monopoly in pricing, causing it to be outrageously expensive. Take ATL as an example, it's much cheaper to book DL flights to Cancun (short-haul) or Seoul/Tokyo (long-haul); if measured by DL cash prices, these routes can easily be redeemed for 2+ cpp.
    - Korean Air flights to/from the US, to/from Chinese and Japanese cities (starting at 5,500), and to/from certain unique destinations such as Mongolia and Uzbekistan. The US-KR flight is valuable because it serves many thousands in the Asian community who have a fundamental need to visit family or go to school in the US. Most of them don't fly premium cabin or fly for "leisure" so this is where economy redemption value kicks in. Down side is the US-KR award are mostly non-existent at the moment.
    - Short haul flights of AF/KLM starting at 4,000 miles. This is useful both within Europe and especially so to/from North Africa.
    - ITA short-haul flights to Tunis at 5,500 miles.
    - VS award chart is very good for redeeming MEA and Saudia short-haul economy flights, because short-haul in the Middle East are extremely expensive due to many reasons. Traveling to Saudi Arabia may not be in the mind of many readers in this blog, but if you have family or friends based in the Middle East who need to fly to Jeddah (Makkah) to perform Umrah, this award chart can be super helpful. Same with flying to/from Beirut with MEA, where they operate certain monopolized routes. The caveat is that Saudia is not bookable online but MEA is. Compared with Delta SkyMiles and AFFB, VS award chart in the Middle East is much friendlier.

    Ben, in the spirit of fair and balanced coverage for both cabins to help out readers of all class, it would be great if you can incorporate some of these economy sweet spots in your article. As you can see, VS economy award can benefit many diverse travel needs, from family visit to Asia, to travel within the US, to family visit for the Maghreb community in France, to religious pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, if the sweet spots are amplified in a travel blog.

  8. NK3 Gold

    Air New Zealand is not "incredibly stingy" with award space. Maybe it used to be, but not anymore. Using Seats.Aero, in the next couple months I just found 50 different flights from the US to AKL with business class availability, and 33 from AKL to the US.

    I took advantage of this earlier this year. Not the newest or best seats, but still a great way to get to that part of the world with points, especially given the frequent transfer bonuses.

  9. Andrew Diamond

    Thanks for posting this. For me, the top challenge in almost all of these redemptions is actually finding availability these days. It's a brave, new stingy world.

  10. 305 Guest

    Hmm no mention of the chart for Air France flights? I get that Flying Blue has solid rates, but 48,500 points for one-way MIA-FCO in J is significantly cheaper than 65,000 via flyingblue, especially when a transfer bonus is available. I booked this last week for just 25,000 Bilt points with the 100% bonus

  11. Vicente Guest

    Flying out of UK may not be a best “value” in dollars/mile,but……

    I thoroughly enjoyed LHR-SFO in Upper Class. Not so much for the flight. I arrived with 3 hours to spare at LHR and went to the lounge. Oh my god! Furthermore my flight had a mechanical and was delayed another 5 hours. So I spent 7+ hours in there relaxing. Got a haircut, a massage, proper meals, laid down on the loungers.

    5 stars would do again even with the surcharges

    1. GSHLGB Member

      Yes also an excellent use... in my experience

  12. Dave hughes Guest

    Best use of virgin miles is a cruise on virgin voyages! 80k points for a £3000 cash priced cruise when they are offered !

    1. Beenaroundtheworld Guest

      How do I know when they are offered? Do I need to create a Virgin Voyages account?

    2. Wv399 Guest

      You need to create a Virgin Red account and link the two together. There are typically bonuses from Virgin Hotels and Booking.com

    3. Dwondermeant Guest

      Sorry I hate the program profoundly
      After decades at the game in a vast majority of
      F F programs I’m done
      I have a 99% failure rate other than upper class flights and their 1k extortion fees are obscene
      The worst is not loading partner availability in 2023 on their own website ever
      Absurd and obnoxious
      Can’t wait to burn my miles and never look back
      What a...

      Sorry I hate the program profoundly
      After decades at the game in a vast majority of
      F F programs I’m done
      I have a 99% failure rate other than upper class flights and their 1k extortion fees are obscene
      The worst is not loading partner availability in 2023 on their own website ever
      Absurd and obnoxious
      Can’t wait to burn my miles and never look back
      What a pita
      After 30 years I only regret banking miles in Virgin Atlantic
      I rarely ever find availability on what I want
      On top of everything cancelation and rebooking fees
      Horrible

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

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Chris W Guest

Virgin Voyages?

2
Mileage Hound Guest

You missed one of the best redemption values. Virgin will occasionally offer a 6/7 night cruise, for 2, in a cabin with a balcony, either Europe or the Caribbean, for 110,000. Check the Virgin Red App, which you need to link to your Virgin Atlantic account. This has a typical market value of +/- $5,000.

1
Anonymous Guest

Virgin Atlantic has lots of sweet spots in short haul and long haul flights, but because they are all in economy, unfortunately none of them are addressed in this article. For readers who only care about economy redemption, here is a list of sweet spots: - Delta flights to/from Delta hubs to places where DL has monopoly in pricing, causing it to be outrageously expensive. Take ATL as an example, it's much cheaper to book DL flights to Cancun (short-haul) or Seoul/Tokyo (long-haul); if measured by DL cash prices, these routes can easily be redeemed for 2+ cpp. - Korean Air flights to/from the US, to/from Chinese and Japanese cities (starting at 5,500), and to/from certain unique destinations such as Mongolia and Uzbekistan. The US-KR flight is valuable because it serves many thousands in the Asian community who have a fundamental need to visit family or go to school in the US. Most of them don't fly premium cabin or fly for "leisure" so this is where economy redemption value kicks in. Down side is the US-KR award are mostly non-existent at the moment. - Short haul flights of AF/KLM starting at 4,000 miles. This is useful both within Europe and especially so to/from North Africa. - ITA short-haul flights to Tunis at 5,500 miles. - VS award chart is very good for redeeming MEA and Saudia short-haul economy flights, because short-haul in the Middle East are extremely expensive due to many reasons. Traveling to Saudi Arabia may not be in the mind of many readers in this blog, but if you have family or friends based in the Middle East who need to fly to Jeddah (Makkah) to perform Umrah, this award chart can be super helpful. Same with flying to/from Beirut with MEA, where they operate certain monopolized routes. The caveat is that Saudia is not bookable online but MEA is. Compared with Delta SkyMiles and AFFB, VS award chart in the Middle East is much friendlier. Ben, in the spirit of fair and balanced coverage for both cabins to help out readers of all class, it would be great if you can incorporate some of these economy sweet spots in your article. As you can see, VS economy award can benefit many diverse travel needs, from family visit to Asia, to travel within the US, to family visit for the Maghreb community in France, to religious pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, if the sweet spots are amplified in a travel blog.

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