Redeeming Virgin Atlantic Miles On Delta: An Amazing Value

Filed Under: Awards, Delta
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Often you’ll find that the best options for redeeming miles are using partner award charts. In other words, the airlines you often want to fly aren’t the airlines with which you want to collect miles, and vice versa.

There are tons of amazing arbitrage opportunities with miles, and often these are the best sweet spots you’ll find.

Last week I wrote about the incredible value of redeeming Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for travel on All Nippon Airways, and in this post I wanted to focus on my other favorite use of Virgin Atlantic miles, which is for redemptions in Delta business class.

How to earn Virgin Atlantic miles

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Marriott Bonvoy. On top of that, we see transfer bonuses from Amex and Citi to Virgin Atlantic every once in a while, which makes these miles even easier to come by.

Earn Virgin Atlantic miles with

For example, through July 1, 2019, the US Amex Membership Rewards program is offering a 30% bonus when you transfer points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

So that means you’re getting 1,300 Flying Club miles for every 1,000 Amex points, which even further increases the value of these redemptions.

Why redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles on Delta is a good deal

Simply put, in almost all cases Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has lower redemption rates on Delta than Delta SkyMiles does, especially for travel in business class. This doesn’t even factor in that:

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

Virgin Atlantic redemption rates on Delta

Enough talk, let’s just get right into the details.

Virgin Atlantic typically charges just 50,000 miles for one-way business class travel to Europe on Delta.

A roundtrip will cost you just 100,000 miles (so double of the one-way cost).

Want to go to Asia? That’ll cost you just 60,000 miles one-way in business class.

Similar to the above, a roundtrip costs you double as many miles.

In the rare circumstance that you can find award space on Delta’s ultra long haul flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg (there are often two seats available right as the schedule opens), that is also bookable for just 60,000 miles one-way in business class, which is spectacular.

Virgin Atlantic surcharges on Delta tickets

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club doesn’t add carrier imposed surcharges to Delta award tickets, with two exceptions.

First of all, you’re stuck paying carrier imposed surcharges if you’re traveling to & from the UK. In that case you’ll pay different mileage amounts, and also different surcharges, which align with how much they’d charge when flying Virgin Atlantic.

Similarly, you’re on the hook for the surcharges if you’re booking a ticket originating anywhere in Europe (not just the UK) to the US.

So to put this in the form of an example:

  • If you book a one-way ticket from Los Angeles to Paris there are no surcharges
  • If you book a roundtrip ticket from Los Angeles to Paris there are no surcharges
  • If you book a one-way ticket from Paris to Los Angeles there are surcharges
  • If you book a roundtrip ticket from Paris to Los Angeles there are surcharges

How to search & book Delta tickets on Virgin Atlantic’s website

I used to recommend going to Delta’s website to search award availability, and then going to Virgin Atlantic’s website to actually book. However, since Delta no longer publishes award costs, I don’t recommend that anymore.

There’s simply no easy way to figure out “saver” pricing anymore, which is generally what’s needed for Virgin Atlantic to have access to these seats (though in some cases they have access to other space as well).

Personally I recommend just searching directly through Virgin Atlantic’s website. Their website interface works similarly to Delta’s, so it’s a pretty easy shopping experience.

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.

Let’s use an Atlanta to Shanghai ticket as an example. Just select the date, the number of passengers, then the “Miles” option, and then “Upper Class” for the fare option.

Note that not all cities will automatically show up when you enter the airport code or name. In those situations, click on the box with the code that isn’t coming up, and then select the “Full Airport List” option.

On the next page you’ll be able to select your destination by country, or alphabetically if you prefer.

Once you have your search results, you’ll also see there’s an option to see a five week calendar of availability, which is a great option if you want to search availability over a long period (otherwise it just shows you a one week calendar).

Then on the results page you can select the “Direct only” option if you only want to see nonstop flights.

Then you’ll see a calendar with the results, and can book whatever you’d like.

The next page will show all the flight details.

Bottom line

Redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles on Delta is an exceptional value. Redeeming just 50,000 miles for one-way business class to Europe, or 60,000 miles for one-way business class to Asia, is a greatt deal.

This is especially true if you can take advantage of the 30% Amex transfer bonus, in which case you’re paying just 39,000 or 47,000 Amex points, respectively. When you add in that there are no surcharges, that’s really quite tough to beat.

Please take advantage of these great opportunities if you can, especially if you can book a flight in the Delta One Suite!

Have you redeemed Virgin Atlantic miles on Delta, or do you plan on doing so?

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Comments
  1. Looks like this only work for flights on Delta metal and does not include Delta codeshare flights on AF/KLM. I’m looking for ATL:ATH:ATL and Virgin Atlantic doesn’t even show ATH as a destination option.

  2. @ DLPTATL — That’s correct, you can’t redeem Virgin Atlantic miles on Air France or KLM, at least not yet. It should be allowed eventually, though I imagine that will come with carrier imposed surcharges when it does.

  3. Just did this for 3 of us on the D1 suites from LAX-HND last week… amazing to find 3 seats in saver availability at only 60k miles each. Hope this doesn’t get devalued anytime soon!

  4. @Lucky – Thanks for confirming. I’ll probably end up booking a combination of DeltaOne and euro-business class using Flying Blue miles going through CDG. It’s always a balancing act between sky(miles)-high points and really low taxes/fees when booking through Delta or reasonable points but $1k+ in taxes/fees when booking through Flying Blue. Scoring a transfer bonus to Flying Blue makes paying the cash component a bit more bearable.

  5. Lucky,

    In the full airport list, destinations like Madrid and Barcelona (routes where Delta flies directly from the US) don’t show up as available – why would that be?

  6. Is it possible to book Delta’s JFK-TLV using Virgin miles? I can’t seem to find any availability.

  7. @Anthony. Wondering same. Sometimes obscure Delta cities(Charleston WV, Columbus Ga) populate on the Virgin website while other far more prominent cities(Rome, Barcelona etc..) don’t.
    I understand that this is code share driven but it seems so random.
    Do we need to call Virgin to book a city that does not populate?

  8. @Lucky: echoing @Anthony, any idea how to search for airport codes not included in the Full Airport list? Spain isn’t there, and no Scandinavian countries either.

  9. Lucky, thanks so much for your time in making this post.

    I did have 2 questions if you do not mind.

    1) How would you go about searching airports that are not on the list at all? With your workaround, there are still many airports that are not there. An example would be ATH. JFK-ATH should be just 50K. But you cannot search ATH. Any way to search this before calling?

    2) What is the current status with D1 on the 777? You mention the ATL-JNB route. Does this have the D1 Suites yet or still the regular herringbone configuration?

    Thank you.

  10. My first business/first class redemption. I was able to book 2 round trip tickets around Xmas from SEA–>NRT–>ATL on Delta One for a total of 240k points and $109. We get the Delta One Suite on our NRT to ATL. If I paid cash, google flights is telling me it would have cost over $15,000. A great redemption if you ask me.

  11. @Lucky – you should atleast mention that Virgin Atlantic prices by segment. That basically restricts awards to non-stops based out of Atl, msp, dtw or lax. This is a major limitation of Virgin Atlantic miles.

  12. I know that delta doesn’t have award charts but does anyone know what the “saver” price would be for delta 1 trans-con?

    I am looking at using my virgin miles for a JFK-LAX/SFO and I see various flights at 59,000 miles on Delta’s website (nothing ever lower than this) but when I search on Virgin there is no availability on any days…. am I doing something wrong?

  13. @anon – that would not work, Virgin would not allow you to click enter if the airport code is not on their list of airports.

  14. @Ben (Lucky) Were you able to find out what they’d be pricing DL’s BOM flight? Can’t find any availability online

  15. @ Leo Guam — I’m still waiting to hear back from them, it seems they haven’t yet figured out the pricing. Will provide an update as soon as I know more.

  16. @ Adam — There was a period last year where Virgin had wide open transcon space in Delta One, though unfortunately there’s nothing nowadays. I think the saver pricing would be something like 45-50K one-way.

  17. @ Izz — Unfortunately for the airports not on the list you’d be best off searching through Delta’s website, and then you’d have to call Virgin Atlantic to book. Fortunately their agents are excellent. Also, Delta is currently in the process of reconfiguring 777-200s, and it’s my understanding that they hope to reconfigure all of them by the end of 2019, though that’s subject to change.

  18. @ Micah — You may have to call to book, but yes, it’s definitely bookable.

  19. @ Anthony @ LarryInNYC — Unfortunately the website is still missing quite a few cities, and in those cases you need to book by phone.

  20. @Lucky – A lot of the routes say “Delta One” – this isn’t the new ‘Suites’ product right?

    On these searches on the VS site, what would indicate that it is the new product? Thanks.

  21. @ Mark — Delta One is Delta’s generic name for business class, so that says nothing of the type of product you’ll get. It could feature the Suites, it could not.

  22. Compared to 2019 I’ve found almost no domestic availability for searches on many trips. International particularly Asia has less availability than 2018 though still can be found and seems better than what SkyTeam partners can book.

  23. Was able to book LAX-SYD for my wife and I at 150K miles each round trip (300K total). I think this is a pretty good value considering how much Delta charges for D1 on their website! Anyone else seen lower prices on this route?

  24. Lucky or anyone know what is the best award travel to go from Chicago to Havana, Cuba? Also return flight from Havana to Portland, OR? Would Delta or American Airlines be a good choice?
    I searched on Google flights, and the flights from Havana to Portland (paid fares) are unsavory, with long layovers in Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, etc (8 hours or more, many require overnight layovers). Total hours are around 20-25 hours (I could go to Asia for that amount of time!) Anything around 9-10 hours costs a lot of money for a one-way ticket (800-over 1,000) one way in economy! Thanks!

  25. Found Delta D1 on LAX-SYD for 75k VS miles one way. Thought that was a pretty good deal so I scooped up 2 round trip D1 seats costing me 300k VS miles total. My first time booking an award D1 ticket. Is that a pretty good price for the route?

  26. I want to go to Japan in the next year from the east coast. Should I speculatively transfer amex point to Virgin Atlantic? How many should I transfer for two people?

  27. I just booked Delta business class o/w from Santiago to Atlanta for my father in law for 45,000 Virgin Atlantic miles. It is not the Delta suite, but I was very happy with the redemption. I had to book by phone because Santiago did not populate on the website. Virgin Atlantic agents were terrific. Plus, you can hold a reservation while you do a transfer. Though Chase UR transfer was instant.

  28. Important note is that you can only book VS award tickets for Delta DOMESTIC flights that are at least 21 days out. I’ve never been able to find a domestic ticket with closer in. I’ve also been able to access the VS upper class Lounge At JFK with these domestic tickets

  29. Matt: your price is incredible
    Amazing deal

    Delta prices this at 500,000 to 700,000 per person. Seriously
    Well done

  30. Does anyone know if miles used via Virgin for a Delta economy flight will allow for complementary upgrades to Comfort for those of us with Platinum Status?

  31. Just snagged two seats from Haneda to LAX for Mrs. G and I for 60k VS miles each (93k Amex points total with the transfer bonus). DL just launched their A350 service on this route so we’ll get to fly in the suites! I was able to book the outbound on JAL via Asia Miles when they had that Amex transfer promo a few months ago (which I also saw on this blog). Thanks Lucky for helping me save some serious MR points!

  32. @JG – just did the exact same thing (LAX-HND in D1 Suites on the outbound, JL first inbound with AS miles sale and transfer bonus)

    Enjoy! It’s a great deal.

  33. I transferred 39K Amex points + 1.30% bonus and booked a 50K one way from Amsterdam to LAX in Delta One (A330). Delta originally wanted 105K. Super value. Wish I’d known about this last year.

  34. @mark g
    Curious what the surcharge is for that sincerely it originates from Europe to USA?

  35. @Lucky — If you want to book a round-trip from US to Europe but the return date is not yet available, can you book the one-way outbound and then convert the ticket to a round-trip by adding the return segment when it becomes available?

  36. Thanks for that. Just got NYC -> CDG Delta One for 50,000 + $5.60. Just ad the €49 Eurostar to London and happy days. Thanks!

  37. I’ve just flown on the Delta One suites from Amsterdam to Detroit. I think it is one of the worst premium flights I have ever taken. Service and comfort were practically non-existent. As for the food, it was inedible. Save your miles!

  38. @matt, may I ask what dates are your flights? I have been looking for LAX to SYD for a while and have not been able to find any at all.

  39. @lucky – do you know what DL classes VS books into for DL? Is it O (and n for economy)? Can you use expert flyer to search for this? …I’m wounding in particular for cities that VS site won’t pull up (i.e. TXL). Thanks! Great post!

  40. @Mike – Leaving today and coming back the 25th. Booked them back in February.

  41. I live in Philly and I’m going to Paris for horse racing in October. Just snagged VS upper class EWR-LHR for 37,000. You can’t really beat that.

    Ok, taxes are $620 but for a flat bed I’ll take it. Think that’s the best deal I’ve had for TATL. (I’ll just take Level back ORY-EWR as it’s a day flight).

  42. What happens if you transfer American Express and Chase Miles into your Virgin account and the award isn’t available or somehow doesn’t go through? Are you stuck leaving the miles in your VIrgin account? Is there any way to hold the award space while you are transferring the miles in?

  43. @john m UK amex Mr points transfer over instantly. Booked a partner redemption recently on ANA and I was 30000 miles short but had them in my amex account.

    Called up, the agent found the booking and stayed on the line until I transferred them across

  44. Thanks, Lumma. So while online doing the booking, I should try calling Virgin? I’ll have the MR/Chase transfer ready to go.

  45. If I have a Delta branded CC that allows me one free checked bag do I still get that if I redeem it this way?

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