Virgin Atlantic is a New Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner & Who Are Virgin Atlantic’s Partners?

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Virgin Atlantic & Ultimate rewards

Thanks to ay for commenting that Virgin Atlantic (a British airline) is a new transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards!

I was surprised to see that Virgin Atlantic was added as a transfer partner because I expected that Chase would sooner add Fairmont hotels as a transfer partner (since they already issue the Fairmont hotel credit card) than Virgin Atlantic whose credit card is issued by Bank of America.

You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus or the JP Morgan Select card and from there to airline or hotel partners such as United Airlines, British Airways, Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club, Ritz Carlton, Korean Air, Southwest, Amtrak, and Virgin Atlantic

If you have the Chase Freedom or Ink Cash or Classic, you can’t transfer directly to airline or hotel partners.  But you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to any of the cards above and from there to an airline or hotel partner.

I love being able to transfer points to United, Hyatt, Southwest and British Airways because I can then redeem for flights or hotel stays which I otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.

That said, I don’t see much use of Virgin Atlantic as a transfer partner except in limited circumstances.  That’s because Virgin Atlantic and many of their transfer partners (except US Air, Virgin America, and Hawaiian Air) charge fuel surcharges for redemption.  And they have a horrible cancellation policy.

It could be worth it for domestic redemption on Virgin America which start at 10,000 Virgin Atlantic miles or for flights to Australia on Virgin Australia because business class awards to Australia are tough using other airline miles.  And the ANA distance based chart looks like it has some promise!

You can also redeem for flights within Hawaii (island hopping!) for 15,000 miles.

You can also transfer Ultimate Rewards to Virgin Atlantic and from there in a 1:2 ratio to Hilton hotels, so you’re effectively getting 2 Hilton points for every 1 Ultimate Reward point, which is a poor value to me.  But it could be worth it to top off your Hilton account.

That said, Virgin Atlantic Upper Class is supposed to be a nice experience and their lounges are terrific, so it could be worth it for some to redeem on Virgin Atlantic despite the fuel surcharges.

HORRIBLE CANCELLATION POLICY

Virgin Atlantic has a HORRIBLE cancellation policy for award tickets where you lose 25% of your miles if you cancel an award flight 7 days before departure and you get NONE of your miles back if you cancel within 7 days of departure.

You can change your travel date, route or class of service for 25 GBP or ~$38.

So you better be sure that you won’t cancel the ticket when you make the award booking.

Transfer Time & Ratio

The transfer ratio for ALL Ultimate Rewards points is 1:1, which means that you can transfer 1 Chase Ultimate Rewards point to 1 mile or point of any of their hotel or transfer partners.

I made a test transfer of 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic…

Test Transfer

Testing the Transfer

…and the transfer was instant.  I made the transfer on April 7th in the US, but it was already April 8th in the UK  and the transfer was instant, but had April 8 as the date in my Virgin Atlantic account.

However, I wouldn’t transfer points to Virgin Atlantic without a redemption in mind.  It is much better to see if the award you want is available before transferring points since you can’t get your transferred points back.

Virgin Atlantic Redemptions

Virgin Atlantic has a great chart which shows you how many miles AND the fuel surcharges for redemptions.  Here’s a link to that chart.  The chart shows the cost of round-trip travel to and from the UK.

For example, it costs 80,000 miles and $1,300 to fly from Boston, New York & Washington, DC to London and back in Upper Class (business class).

Virgin Atlantic Redemption Chart

Virgin Atlantic Redemption Chart

Redemptions in coach are usually a bad value because you pay hefty fuel surcharges AND miles.  But do the math to see if it may make sense for you.

Virgin Atlantic flies to London from Boston, Newark, New York (JFK), Washington, DC, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas, Los Angeles & San Fransisco.  And you can book 1-way awards for half the price.

You can check for award availability using this link.

Hotel Redemption Partners

You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic miles and from there in a 1:2 ratio to Hilton hotels, so you’re effectively getting 2 Hilton points for every 1 Ultimate Reward point, which is a poor value to me.  But it could be worth it to top off your Hilton account.

You have to call Virgin Atlantic at 800-365-9500 to transfer Virgin Atlantic miles to Hilton.  Transfers take about 10 to 14 days in my experience.

Airline redemption Partners

Virgin Atlantic has a few award partners, but I haven’t seen much information on their partner award charts so I stayed up late to do some digging!

Airline Redemption Partners

Airline Redemption Partners

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find many awards which interested me since either the mileage amount charged was high or you’d have to pay fuel surcharges which makes this a bad value for coach redemptions. But please comment if you find anything interesting!

Hawaiian Air, Virgin America (different from Virgin Atlantic and operates only in the US), and US Air don’t charge fuel surcharges so it could be worth redeeming on those airlines.  However, redemptions on US Air will no longer be possible from June.

But redemptions on Virgin America for flights within the US start at only 10,000 miles and look like a good value in coach.

Singapore Air seems like a good redemption partner, since they have lower fuel surcharges than Virgin Atlantic, but you can’t redeem for Business or First Class on their Airbus 380 & 340-500 and Boeing 777-300ER.  And Singapore Airlines award availability is usually quite low.

Japanese airline ANA looks like it could be a good option (if you’re willing to pay the fuel surcharges) since you pay 95,000 Virgin Atlantic miles for  business class and 120,000 miles in first class for a trip up to 14,000 miles (from the East coast to Japan and back).  On the other hand, you’d pay 120,000 United miles in business and 135,000 miles in coach for the same flight using United miles, but you wouldn’t pay fuel surcharges.

Virgin Australia has good availability to Australia from the US, so this could be worth it for some despite the fuel surcharges.

It also isn’t clear if some of the partner award charts are for round-trip or one-way travel.

Air China

Direct link to the Virgin Atlantic Air China partner award chart.

Air China Partner Award Chart

Air China Partner Award Chart

Air New Zealand

Direct link to the Virgin Atlantic Air New Zealand partner award chart.

Virgin Atlantic Ultimate Rewards Partner 5

Air New Zealand Partner Award Chart

ANA

Direct link to the Virgin Atlantic ANA partner award chart.

Japanese airline ANA looks like it could be a good option (if you’re willing to pay the fuel surcharges) since you pay 95,000 Virgin Atlantic miles for  business class and 120,000 miles in first class for a trip up to 14,000 miles (from the East coast to Japan and back).

On the other hand, you’d pay 120,000 United miles in business and 135,000 miles in coach for the same flight using United miles, but you wouldn’t pay fuel surcharges.

Virgin Atlantic Ultimate Rewards Partner 6

ANA Partner Award Chart

Cyprus Airways

Direct link to the Virgin Atlantic Cyprus Airways partner award chart.

Air Cyprus Partner Award Chart

Air Cyprus Partner Award Chart

Gulf Air

Direct link to the Virgin Atlantic Gulf Air partner award chart.

Gulf Air Partner Award Chart

Gulf Air Partner Award Chart

Hawaiian Airlines

Direct link to the Virgin Atlantic Hawaiian Airlines partner award chart.

This could be a good value for flights within Hawaii.

Hawaiian Air Partner Award Chart

Hawaiian Air Partner Award Chart

Jet Airways

Direct link to the Virgin Atlantic Jet Airways partner award chart.

Jet Airways Partner Award Chart

Jet Airways Partner Award Chart

Malaysia Airlines

Direct link to the Virgin Atlantic Malaysia Airlines partner award chart.

Malaysia Air Partner Award Chart

Malaysian Air Partner Award Chart

Singapore Airlines

Direct link to the Virgin Atlantic Singapore Airlines partner award chart.

SIngapore Air Partner Award Chart

SIngapore Air Partner Award Chart

South African Airlines

Direct link to the Virgin Atlantic South African Airlines Airlines partner award chart.

South African Air Partner Award Chart

South African Air Partner Award Chart

US AIRWAYS

Direct link to the Virgin Atlantic US Airways partner award chart.

However, redemptions on US Air will no longer be possible from June 2013.  But the roundtrip awards to Hawaii through Virgin Atlantic are lower than what US Air charges for similar awards.

US Air Partner Award Chart

US Air Partner Award Chart

Virgin America

Direct link to the Virgin Atlantic Virgin America partner award chart.

Redemptions start at only 10,000 miles round-trip along the West Coast and 25,000 miles for a roundtrip in coach for longer flights in coach.

Virgin America Partner Award Chart

Virgin America Partner Award Chart

Virgin Australia

Direct link to the Virgin Atlantic Virgin Australia partner award chart.

Virgin Australia has good availability to Australia, so this could be worth it for some despite the fuel surcharges in business class because business class awards to Australia are some of the toughest to get.  Virgin Australia flies from Los Angeles to Brisbane, Melbourne & Sydney.

Virgin Australia Partner Award Chart

Virgin Australia Partner Award Chart

Bottom Line

It is nice to see Virgin Atlantic as a new Ultimate Rewards partner, but you have to really dig through the award charts and pay high fuel surcharges to be able to use Virgin Atlantic miles.

And be very careful of the cancellation policy because you will lose your miles if you have to cancel an award flight.

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 10,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in a RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

33 responses to “Virgin Atlantic is a New Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner & Who Are Virgin Atlantic’s Partners?

  1. Unless you intend to redeem in the select few routes where they don’t apply, the “fuel surcharges” are horrific, and I would not consider these as “reward” tickets at all, just as somewhat discounted tickets (if that). I’d value Virgin Atlantic miles at maybe .5 cent. Certainly I’d never even consider redeeming valuable UR points for this very poor program.

  2. Used to think the same thing as you and DaveS about Virgin- the fuel surcharges make it almost entirely uncompetitive.

    But did an analysis on upgrading to London…which a lot of people try to do…and with Virgin you can get an Economy ‘M’ fare for about $1600 including all fees and upgrade for 40,000 miles roundtrip. Not a cheap cash outlay, but unless you’re top tier on AA or UA with systemwides it’s the lowest cash outlay way to get into business class without spending 68,000+ miles on ANA or 80,000+ on others. BA companion voucher might be a better deal, but why use it for that when you can save it for a big multicity first class redemption.

    http://milecards.com/5844/business-class-upgrades-to-london-analyzed-virgin-the-best-value/

  3. The best use of Virgin Atlantic points used to be Hilton where you could get 4 nights at a top level hotel for 145,000 HH points of 72.5k Virgin Atlantic points. With the devaluation, the Virgin Atlantic -> Hilton transfer in no way compares to Hyatt redemptions. Example:

    22k UR at Park Hyatt Tokyo vs. 25k UR at Conrad Tokyo
    88k UR for 4 nights at Park Hyatt Maldives vs. 190k UR for 5 nights at Conrad Maldives

    But like you said, not a bad way to top off a Hilton account for an award redemption… though they do only transfer a minimum of 10k Virgin Atlantic points to HH at a time.

  4. Air China London-Beijing-London for 63000 in business sounds pretty good. do you have any idea what kind of fuel surcharges should i be expecting? Thank you for your posts!

    • @DaveS – I agree, though some award options could make sense for some if they are willing to pay the surcharges.

      @Mile Cards – Very interesting analysis. Thanks!

      @The Miles Professor
      – Transfers to Hilton were my favorite way of using Virgin Atlantic miles, but oh well…

      @Dima – About $660 for a return in business class.
      @peter S – Looks like a $50 fee if booked before 21 days and an extra GBP 25 if booked within 21 days.

  5. Pingback: Virgin Atlantic now a Chase Sapphire Preferred mile transfer partner – don’t ignore it | Best airline mile and hotel credit cards - Reviews, calculators, guides - MileCards

  6. Does virgin Atlantic charge an award booking fee?

  7. I think I read Hawiian Air will only transfer organic miles (not points transferred in). Does anyone know if Virgin Atlantic follows this rule?

  8. Does anyone know if its possible to transfer virgin atlantic miles to virgin America? The VX redemptions on Hawaiian Air seem particularly appealing (RT economy from SFO to Tahiti for 40K miles and hardly a surcharge).

  9. Darius, thanks for reminding me of the transfer to Hilton. I would rather have devalued Hilton points than my Virgin Atlantic ones.
    But somebody said you can only transfer 10,000 at a time. What does that mean? How often do you have to transfer to get 50,000 moved?

  10. Virgin also offers a companion ticket for 1/2 the miles (plus the fuel surcharge). So two people could fly upper class for 150k instead of 200k. Thoughts?

  11. You should add a disclaimer that VS allows round-trip Hawaiian awards for 15k, but they do not allow one-ways at 7500…they are 15k as well. Very disappointing redeption in my eyes, especially when you can get a o/w on Island Air using United milesfor only 5,000 one-way.

  12. THEFRUGALMOMPOINTSMILESHACKINGNEWBTRAVELER

    DOES ANYONE KNOW THE PHONE # FOR 1800FLOWERS.COM?

    • @jenni – You can’t transfer miles from Virgin Atlantic to Virgin America.

      @Anne – You can transfer a minimum of 10,000 miles and in increments of 5,00 afterwards. So you CAN transfer 50,000 miles in one go by calling Virgin Atlantic.

      @LaTVWriter – The companion ticket is valid only on paid redemptions, not award redemptions. So you’d have to buy an Upper Class ticket and then add a companion.

      @theblakefish – The roundtrip requirement makes it less worthwhile.

  13. How do we know which ones are one-way and which are round-trip prices?

  14. Thanks for doing all the work. great summary.

  15. Pingback: The Best Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners: Airlines

  16. “You can also transfer Ultimate Rewards to Virgin Atlantic and from there in a 1:2 ratio to Hilton hotels, so you’re effectively getting 2 Hilton points for every 1 Ultimate Reward point, which is a poor value to me.”

    So what is the best value to you? I was not able to find it by searching your site.

  17. I was very pleased last week when I booked a Upper Class ticket from LAX – Chicago round trip. I inquired first with Virgin, to make sure I could accomplish the booking with Virgin America (not the same company as Virgin Atlantic). While I could transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic, it does not directly work for Virgin America. Atlantic looked up the flight and confirmed they indeed could make the booking for me (must call them to do so). V America showed the First Class flight as 54,000 miles or so (now it shows it as 71,000 miles). The rep explained it’s not the same formula — figuring ok, here we go, it’s going to be even more points — when in fact, it turned out to only be 40,000 points round trip. Even better ! So, in the end, what was 100,000 UR points if I transferred to United (for First Class RT), only costed 40,000 UR points + $5 on what’s probably even better First Class product on Virgin ! Best value I’ve had recently.

  18. By the way, it’s interesting that it worked out this way, as the Virgin America partner chart shown as a link above indicates an LAX – Chicago round trip in First Class would be 75,000 points. I got it for only 40,000 points, and the seat assignments are confirmed and I spoke to Virgin America — definitely a done deal. Go figure !

  19. My experience suggests that the Virgin scheme is little more than a marketing exercise, for which you will end up paying.

    We wanted to visit New York from London in November, a quiet time when we assumed there would be spare capacity and thus good air miles deals. The first quote was for £650 (approx) plus 35,000 miles. An internet search showed we could get flights with Delta and one other for £150 less and no points required. British Airways matched Virgin but no air miles required.

    Later I checked again and managed to get a quote which was about £100 cheaper for two of us with Virgin than competitors, not a great deal.

    A few weeks later I received an email with offers suggesting I could go to New York from £369 one way each, and I would earn 3,458 miles: further down under Miles plus money the fare quoted was £369 one way and I would need to give them 2,000 miles! So my ‘reward’ for using my miles means I would end up worse off.

    Other attempts to use miles to upgrade have failed – “sorry, no seats available” – even though one time when we arrived, it turned out there were spare seats in Premium Economy, though we were not able to use miles to take advantage, only cash.

    Air miles are supposed to be about loyalty: my experience is doing the exact opposite to me to the point where I am now irritated enough now to avoid Virgin where possible. (Next trip to Caribbean will be by British Airways). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any particular faith in other ‘bonus’ schemes. It’s just that I feel I have been taken for a ride by Virgin – they have shown no ‘loyalty’ to me: why should I show any to them?

    • @ChrisB – It is a terrible value to use Virgin miles for coach flights because you will pay the same or perhaps more than if you just paid cash! But Upper Class redemptions could be worth it. It is better to maximize your interest by shopping along, than to be “loyal” to one particular airline/hotel – especially when you get nothing for it.

  20. Besides Hilton, to where can I transfer my Virgin Atlantic miles?

  21. There’s no link.

  22. Didn’t they change the cancellation policy to $50 US for change or cancel up to 24 hours before?

    4.2.1
    http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/us/en/flying-club/flying-club-terms-conditions/spending-miles.html

  23. My thought is I’m 5000 miles short to be able to upgrade one way from premium econ to upper class. Do you think this would be worth it?

  24. Pingback: 22,000 Membership Rewards Points & ~$400 for Round-Trip New York to London on Virgin Atlantic | Million Mile Secrets

  25. I just read on 7/7/14 that the cancel fee is $50 before 7 days. I tried to book a 2 upper class 1 way ticket which was 50,000 miles each and the fees were not $1300, more around the $750 range from LHR to LAX.

  26. Pingback: Virgin Atlantic Awards For Fun And Profit | DEM Flyers