For a long time, Singapore Airlines owned a 49% stake of Virgin Atlantic. While Virgin Atlantic never has been part of one of the “big three” alliances, they did have a pretty close partnership with Singapore Airlines for a long time.
Ultimately Singapore Airlines sold their 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic to Delta, which in part explains the joint venture between Delta and Virgin Atlantic.
But there are still some signs of the partnership between Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.
For example, you can still earn and redeem Singapore KrisFlyer miles for travel on Virgin Atlantic, and vice versa.
Reader stvr left the following comment:
Can you price it out with Ultimate Rewards to give us an idea? Short on MR, high on UR…
I’ve written a lot about the best uses of Ultimate Rewards points, which are among the easiest points currencies to accrue thanks to the excellent cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points and offer bonus points.
But what’s the best way to redeem them for travel on Virgin Atlantic? Chase Ultimate Rewards almost has a dozen transfer partners now, and those include Virgin Atlantic’s own Flying Club program.
For reference, here’s the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club award chart for travel on their own flights:
That being said, anyone familiar with flexible points currencies knows that in many cases there are “arbitrage” opportunities, whereby you can get better value by redeeming miles through a partner airline instead of directly through the airline’s native program.
This reminded me of Virgin Atlantic’s partnership with Singapore Airlines. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is also an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, and can be a great program for redeeming miles for travel on Singapore Airlines, or for redeeming miles for travel on Star Alliance partners.
But how about for travel on Virgin Atlantic? Here’s the Singapore KrisFlyer chart for travel on Virgin Atlantic:
As you can see, for the most KrisFlyer isn’t an especially lucrative program for redeeming on Virgin Atlantic:
- Singapore KrisFlyer miles can only be redeemed for roundtrip travel on Virgin Atlantic, while Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles can be redeemed for one-way travel on their own flights
- Singapore KrisFlyer imposes fuel surcharges for travel on Virgin Atlantic
- There aren’t many regions where KrisFlyer has lower redemption rates than Flying Club would have directly
So are there any cases where KrisFlyer has lower redemption rates than Flying Club for travel on Virgin Atlantic? Well, the 100,000 mile Upper Class redemption level between the US and Europe is in line with what Virgin Atlantic would charge directly through their program for travel between the west coast and Europe. But that’s about it, and certainly not an ideal uses of Ultimate Rewards points, given how valuable they are.
In general if you want to redeem Ultimate Rewards points for travel on Virgin Atlantic, you’re best off going directly through Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club program, rather than through Singapore’s KrisFlyer.
Either way, Ultimate Rewards points aren’t really efficiently redeemed for travel on Virgin Atlantic. You’ll get much better value out of using Ultimate Rewards for other redemption opportunities. And for that matter, you’re generally best off redeeming Delta SkyMiles for travel on Virgin Atlantic, given that they don’t impose fuel surcharges for such redemptions (assuming they originate outside of Europe).