Transfer Amex Points To Virgin Atlantic With A 30% Bonus

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American Express Membership Rewards in the US is offering a 30% bonus on points transfers to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club through September 12, 2018.

Ordinarily points transfer at a 1:1 ratio (in 1,000 point increments), while through this promotion you’d get 1,300 Flying Club miles for every 1,000 Membership Rewards points transferred.

For context, Amex offered a 30% transfer bonus last October and also last April, though it has been a while since we’ve seen a deal like this.

Earn Amex points with these cards

Redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles on Virgin Atlantic

Ir you want to redeem miles for travel on Virgin Atlantic, here’s what you can expect to pay in terms of roundtrip award costs to/from London:

Roundtrip to/from London andEconomyPremium EconomyUpper Class
US - Northeast: Boston, Newark, New York JFK, Washington DCStandard: 20,000
Peak: 40,000

Fuel Surcharges of $645.10 to $774.12
Standard: 35,000
Peak: 55,000

Fuel Surcharges of $750.00 to $900.00
Standard: 95,000
Peak: 115,000

Fuel Surcharges of $1120 to $1344
US - Midwest: Atlanta and DetroitStandard: 25,000
Peak: 45,000

Fuel Surcharges of $645.10 to $774.12
Standard: 45,000
Peak: 65,000

Fuel Surcharges of $750.00 to $900.00
Standard: 95,000
Peak: 115,000

Fuel Surcharges of $1120 to $1344
US - South: Miami and OrlandoStandard: 25,000
Peak: 45,000

Fuel Surcharges of $645.10 to $774.12
Standard: 45,000
Peak: 65,000

Fuel Surcharges of $750.00 to $900.00
Standard: 95,000
Peak: 115,000

Fuel Surcharges of $1120 to $1344
US - West: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, SeattleStandard: 30,000
Peak: 50,000

Fuel Surcharges of $603.00 to $723.60
Standard: 55,000
Peak: 75,000

Fuel Surcharges of $707.90 to $849.80
Standard: 135,000
Peak: 155,000

Fuel Surcharges of $1153.93 to $1384.68

Virgin Atlantic’s standard and peak pricing includes the following dates:

  • Standard dates include: September 7 through December 12, 2018, January 7 through April 3, 2019, April 23 through June 21, 2019, and September 9 through December 12, 2019
  • Peak dates include: June 22 through September 6, 2018, December 13, 2018, through January 6, 2019, April 4 through April 22, 2019, June 22 through September 8, 2019, and December 13 through December 31, 2019


Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

So generally Virgin Atlantic’s redemption rates are on the high side, at least for Upper Class. On top of that, there are significant carrier imposed surcharges, especially for travel in Upper Class. You can expect that a roundtrip from the US to UK will run you about $1,000, in addition to all the miles.

The sweet spot: redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles on partners

Virgin Atlantic has several airline partners, and there are a few partner redemptions that are especially lucrative, as Spencer recently wrote about.

Probably the best use of Flying Club miles is for travel in ANA first & business class. Here are the redemption rates:

Paying 95,000 and 120,000 miles for business and first class between the US and Japan respectively is a phenomenal value to start with. Then when you consider the 30% transfer bonus, that means you’re just paying 74,000 and 93,000 Membership Rewards points, respectively.

While there are carrier imposed surcharges, they’re very mild — think under $200 roundtrip including all taxes and fees. That’s an insanely good deal.


ANA first class

Redemptions on Delta can also be a good deal. Virgin Atlantic no longer publishes the full charts for travel on Delta, but they look something like this:

For example, just a couple of days ago I wrote about how you could redeem 60,000 Virgin Atlantic miles for a one-way business class ticket from the US to Asia in the new Delta One Suites. Now you’d be able to transfer over just 47,000 Membership Rewards points to book that.

For more sweet spot Flying Club redemptions, see this post.

Bottom line

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is very much a niche program. I definitely wouldn’t speculatively transfer points to Virgin Atlantic without an immediate use in mind. However, with a particular use in mind, Virgin Atlantic can be a phenomenal program.

With the 30% discount, some might find it worthwhile to book on Virgin Atlantic for the convenience. Virgin Atlantic is good about releasing business class transatlantic award availability, so if you value the convenience of a nonstop and don’t mind paying the carrier imposed surcharges, there’s value to be had.

However, the real value here is booking with partners. ANA first class roundtrip to Japan for 93,000 Membership Rewards points? That’s an unbelievable value. The same is true of many redemptions on Delta, where Flying Club charges less than SkyMiles would.

Do you plan on transferring points to Virgin Atlantic with this bonus?

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Comments

  1. We took advantage of this last time and that’s how my wife and I are flying to Japan first class this coming Nov. Can’t wait!

  2. Going from nyc to Hong Kong in November. I would book via delta or virgin to get under 60k each way business? Plus fuel right?

  3. Lucky,
    1. Transfer from Amex to Virgin, is it instant like Citi thankyou point?
    2. For ANA award, if I found available by ANA searching tool or expertflyer, will it be bookable through Virgin every time? I don’t know that ANA has policy to release award to partner less than their own or not.
    3. Does Virgin allow to booking award tickets on ANA for family such as wife & son?
    We plan to go to SF next year, since we live in Tokyo, ANA will good choice for us.
    Thanks,

  4. @ Kittipong — Transfers typically take 1-2 days, so aren’t instant. Generally award availability is the same as through other partners, though you’ll want to call to verify, as I’ve sometimes noticed some minor differences in terms of the space they make available. Booking tickets for others is no problem.

  5. @ Joshua — Depends how you book. There shouldn’t be fuel surcharges on Delta to/from Asia. If you book ANA, those award costs are just to/from Japan, so you’d have to look at the cumulative pricing of US to Tokyo awards, and then Tokyo to Hong Kong awards.

  6. @ Thomas Petrovski — Sorry, it’s available with the US Amex program only. Will update the post to reflect that.

  7. Is this focused on US based AMEX customers only? I’m not seeing this when on my AMEX UK based MR account.

  8. I’m planning on taking advantage of this promo to book some Virgin Atlantic flights to London. With the 30% bonus I only need to transfer 27k Amex points for 2 one way premium economy tickets from BOS/JFK to London which I think is reasonable even if there is a $200 surcharge per ticket.

  9. So Delta flights to Europe in Business for 35K Amex points each way?

    Great, Now only if there was any availability….

  10. Pretty sure transfers from AMEX to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club are instantaneous. I transferred points last week.

  11. Yeah, transfers were instant for me a couple days ago, as well. Any chance they give me the bonus after the fact? 🙂

  12. Hi Lucky, do you think moving miles to Virgin Atlantic with this deal and redeeming on ANA first class is the best possible use of Amex points. I’m just trying to figure out if I should pull the trigger or wait for a better deal.

    Thank you!!

  13. @ Maria — I can’t really think of a better deal, this is a really, really good value. Just be sure you’re transferring with a short term use in mind, since the deal could change at some point in the future.

  14. Thank you Lucky! Japan here I come!

    I am so glad I have come across your website. It has been very helpful to me.

  15. Booked ORD-HND-ORD on ANA in biz just a few days ago for myself and my husband using Virgin Atlantic points transferred from AMEX. FYI, fees&taxes were just over $256USD per person (not under $200 as you say above).

    Bah! I could have saved 42,000 AMEX points!! And with the current transfer bonus, it’s only 93,000 each for first, but we redeemed 95,000 each for BIZ. First wasn’t available anyway for any of the dates that would work for us, but it sure would have been nice to save 42,000. 🙁 On the other hand, If I had waited until now to book, perhaps the seats would have been gone anyway… C’est la vie. 🙂

  16. Thank you so much for posting this info. I’m a newbie. Do you see this type of bonus mostly with Amex, or does Chase do them, too?

  17. @ Stephen Hensley — Amex and Citi seem to offer the most transfer bonuses, while I’ve never seen one from Chase.

  18. What’s the reservation change fee or cancel fee for Virgin if I booked ANA but had move dates around or cancel & redeposit? Thanks!

  19. @ Michelle — If you want to change or cancel an ANA award ticket booked with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles there’s a $50 fee to do so, and you’ll need to make the change at least 24 hours before departure.

  20. Just got off the phone with two different Virgin Atlantic Flying Club agents. Previously you could book ANA flights between US-Japan as long as there was availability… but as of 7/25/18 Virgin Atlantic is excluding flights to/from Tokyo Haneda and only allowing award booking for flights to/from Tokyo Narita. I have no idea what the reasoning for this is.

    ANA’s flights between JFK/ORD and Haneda in my experience has much better award availability than flights between NRT and the US, so this is an unfortunate turn of events.

  21. I just booked IAH-NRT/HND-LAX for 115K in F on 07/28, so…there is one data-point after 07/25.

  22. @ Kaoru — In addition to the above data points, that really sounds odd to me. My guess is that for whatever reason there’s a discrepancy in terms of availability, but I don’t see any reason they’d have space to/from NRT, but not to/from HND.

  23. @Lucky I ageee, it makes no sense to me whatsoever. I’ve booked ORD-HND for myself and family members three different times using Virgin Atlantic since Oct 2017 and this is my first time experiencing this issue. Both phone agents specifically told me ORD-HND (and vice versa) isn’t currently bookable through them on any date and only ORD-NRT is available.

  24. For the ANA first class deal, what is the best city to fly out of, in terms of the best lounge?

  25. @ Jason — In the US? San Francisco, Chicago, and Houston all have Polaris Lounges, and the Star Alliance First Class Lounge LAX is pretty good. I’d say the weakest airports for lounges are New York JFK and Washington Dulles.

  26. The best use of Virgin Atlantic miles is delta business class from the USA to anywhere they fly to in Europe other than the UK. 50,000 miles plus $5.60. The cost seems to be the same whether it’s JFK-dublin or Seattle-Amsterdam, although there seems to be more availability on the former and you can use the JFK clubhouse.

    Getting back isn’t as good, but I’d recommend Norwegian premium combined with these cheap redemptions as a low milage low cost was to travel transatlantic. Especially as the Norwegian premium will likely be a day flight

  27. booked F US-IAH-US using US call center. Taxes were ~$340, which sounds hi, however ita matrix fare breakdown confirms it. It was ~$160 in 2017.

  28. Hello Lucky, I called and made a reservation, however the agent gave me a reservation number without charging me miles and tax. He told me they need to verify the reservation with ANA, I should call back tomorrow. Have you heard of this? I can see the reservation on VS website.

  29. @ EricAstray — That’s not totally unheard of, as sometimes they claim they need to confirm the space. You should be good to go, and I’d just call back tomorrow to ticket the reservation.

  30. Going to have to find award space for July 2019 in ANA first class for Japan. Does ANA fly out of anywhere that has a Polaris lounge, I never fly UA so I would like to try the Polaris and compare it to the AA flagship?

  31. @Lucky Thanks! I was able to make the actual reservation today. The tax for RT SEA-NRT-LAX is $341.9

  32. How is everyone looking for flight availability? I am looking on United.com and it is an absolute nightmare to try to search for ANA flights!

  33. after transferring my SPG points to Marriott Rewards, I’m still a little short on some Marriott/SPG points needed for stay in London. Can I transfer from Amex points to Virgin Flying Club, collecting the bonus miles, and then transfer Virgin miles to Marriott Rewards at 1 to 1?
    thanks

  34. OK, I’m ready to transfer MR points and book but apparently it takes up to 2 weeks to link accounts. I wish the post would’ve mentioned that; I would’ve started the process weeks ago.

  35. It’s not instant. After about 10 hours, the status now says “Account linkage rejected” and directs me to the Virgin website if I have questions. Ugh.

  36. @ Robert D were you able to transfer points from AMEX to Virgin Atlantic? I tried linking my account earlier today and got the same “Account linkage rejected” message. I have tickets saved and need to transfer points.

  37. Just an updated about my points transfer. I called into AMEX rewards and was able to transfer points instantly over the phone.

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