Great Deal: Virgin Atlantic Offering 50% Off Award Tickets

Filed Under: Awards, Great Deals

Several weeks ago British Airways Executive Club offered 50% off award tickets, and now Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is offering a similar promotion.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club awards are 50% off

Virgin Atlantic has launched what’s being called its best Black Friday sale ever, and part of that is a discount on award tickets. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members can save 50% off the number of points required for award tickets:

  • This is valid for bookings made between November 23 and November 30, 2020
  • This is valid for travel between November 23, 2020, and October 20, 2021
  • This is valid exclusively for travel on Virgin Atlantic, and not for travel on partner airlines
  • This applies for all cabins and for both peak and off-peak season
  • Only the number of points required is reduced by 50%, and not the taxes, fees, and carrier imposed surcharges

Virgin Atlantic is offering 50% off award tickets

Virgin Atlantic points are easy to come by

Even if you’re not collecting points directly with Virgin Atlantic, keep in mind that these points are easy to come by through transferable points currencies. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club partners with:

  • Amex Membership Rewards
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Citi ThankYou

On top of that, Virgin Atlantic is currently selling points with a 50% bonus, which is an opportunity to acquire them for 1.8 cents each.

There are lots of ways to earn Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points

Is this award sale a good deal?

This 50% off award sale is the best promotion I ever recall seeing from Flying Club, and it has the potential to be a great deal. We’ve seen Flying Club offer some discounts on awards in the past, but I don’t ever recall a discount this big for Upper Class.

For context, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club awards between the US and UK cost the following number of points, depending on the route and season:

  • 10,000-25,000 points one-way in economy
  • 17,500-37,500 points one-way in premium economy
  • 47,500-67,500 points one-way in Upper Class business class

Being able to redeem under 24,000 points for a one-way Upper Class ticket is a phenomenal deal. Now, in fairness the carrier imposed surcharges are significant (we’re talking ~$700 one-way from the US to the UK), so you’ll still be out of pocket quite a bit. But still, this is a huge discount, and for many people could be worth a speculative booking.

For example, you could fly between New York and London for 23,700 points…

…rather than the usual cost of 47,500 points.

Virgin Atlantic is also waiving change fees on awards that are booked by December 31, 2020, for travel through August 31, 2021. So this is also a way to book a ticket risk free, though frankly Virgin Atlantic’s award change and redeposit fees are reasonable to begin with.

Fly Upper Class starting at 23,700 points one-way

Bottom line

For the next week, Virgin Atlantic is offering 50% off the points required for award tickets. Virgin Atlantic’s award redemption rates are reasonable to begin with in terms of points required, and this lowers the total even more.

The big catch here is that there are travel restrictions in many of Virgin Atlantic’s markets, so it’s not like you can book travel with the assurance that you’ll actually be able to take a trip. Then again, I do think that many of us hope that travel restrictions in the US, UK, etc., will at least be lifted by next summer or fall.

There’s a lot of upside here and fairly limited downside, given that many tickets are refundable. If you already have Virgin Atlantic points then I think this is worth a speculative booking. Some might also find it worthwhile to transfer points to take advantage of this, though you do lose quite a bit of flexibility when transferring points.

Virgin Atlantic’s new A350 Upper Class is phenomenal, and this is a great way to try that. Also keep in mind that Virgin Atlantic award flights count towards status in the Flying Club program, which is a unique feature.

Do you plan on taking advantage of Virgin Atlantic’s award sale?

  1. Really thought I could bypass the high taxes/fees by just transitting through LHR, but they’re still there. Also, JFK-LHR-CPT for 52.4k miles and $714 is very tempting…

  2. You can decrease the fees a bit by booking when originating in the US by booking two one way tickets rather then one roundtrip.

  3. I checked a roundtrip from the East Coast to London, and the taxes are $1700+ in Upper Class!! You can easily get sub $2000 roundtrip tickets to Europe in J if you’re a little flexible, and especially if you can use the Amex Platinum international airline discount. The only value I can see here is when tickets are crazy expensive but otherwise, I’d rather pay cash and get the points instead… Thanks for the tip though!

  4. Aren’t Americans banned from entering England? You know, due to the corona virus thing killing millions of people?

    Very few people can realistically fly between US and UK these days… unless you are a dual citizen, not easy to take advantage of this promotion

  5. @Clem is right , it’s a suckers play for regular routes- when you see the cash price is just a little more than the ridiculous surcharges.

  6. Keep in mind, VS has not paid out refunds on taxes/refunds for flights that were cancelled 6 months ago, so go in with eyes wide open about them holding on to your money for the foreseeable future, if your flight gets cancelled.

  7. @adam3738

    did you even read the article?

    it is good through Oct 20, 2021. Easy redeposit if somehow the world is still closed til then

  8. Good luck getting help from your credit card if they cancel or give you a ridiculous reroute on a flight booked more than 60 days out from purchase date.

    Credit card disputes are settled fast and easy within the bank.

    Travel Insurance claims out outsourced. If VA offers some sort of unusable future travel credit (or points) or hellish itinerary change your claim is not going to get paid

    Learned this the hard way with (soon be be bankrupt) Norwegian.

  9. @jordan2323

    It was my error not disputing these charges immediately. My advice to others is to dispute the charges with your credit within 30 days of the Virgin Atlantic flight getting cancelled. I tried to play nice with the airline and go through refund process, but it’s been a waste of time.

    At this point, the airline is just holding onto your money to cover the running of their business.

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