26,250 Miles & $500 for Round-Trip Flight From Chicago to London

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Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

Virgin Atlantic is having an award ticket seat sale on flights between the UK and almost all of their destinations.

You’ll pay 25% fewer miles for award flights in coach class and Premium Economy class.  You can get a 1-way coach class ticket between North America and the UK for as low as 13,125 miles plus fees.

But you have to book by September 23, 2014.  As long as there are award seats available, you can book flights up to 11 months away.

26,250 Miles And 500 For Round Trip Flight From Chicago To London

You’ll Save Miles With Virgin Atlantic’s Sale, but You’ll Still Pay High Fuel Surcharges

Usually, it costs 17,500 miles 1-way in coach class between North America and the UK.  With this sale, you’ll save miles, but you’ll still pay high fuel surcharges.

Where Can You Go With This Sale?

Link:   Virgin Atlantic Award Seat Sale

You can book 1-way or round-trip award seats between the UK and most Virgin Atlantic destinations during this sale for 25% off the regular number of miles.  Here’s the round-trip, coach class award chart for North American cities:

26,250 Miles And 500 For Round Trip Flight From Chicago To London

You’ll Get a 25% Discount on Coach Class Award Tickets, but You’ll Still Pay High Fees

Here’s the seat sale award chart for flights in Premium Economy class.  Virgin Atlantic doesn’t always include Premium Economy award seats in their sales, so this could be a good opportunity for some folks to try it out!

Note:   Taxes and fees are substantially higher for Premium Economy award tickets!

26,250 Miles And 500 For Round Trip Flight From Chicago To London

You’ll Also Get a 25% Discount in Premium Economy Class, but the Taxes and Fees Are Higher

Note:    You can NOT book Upper Class (Virgin Atlantic’s business class) with this sale.

Is This a Good Deal?

Normally, these destinations cost between 35,000 and 45,000 miles in coach class, and between 55,000 and 70,000 miles in Premium Economy class.

The bad news is that you will pay $475 to $500 for a round-trip coach class award ticket, and $745 to $810 for a Premium Economy award ticket, because Virgin Atlantic adds high fuel surcharges.

For example, from Chicago to London, you’ll pay 26,250 miles and $500 for a round-trip, coach class award ticket.  But Delta, United Airlines, and American Airlines usually charge at least 60,000 miles for an award ticket to London, plus over $200 in fees.

26,250 Miles And 500 For Round Trip Flight From Chicago To London

Other Airlines Charge More Miles, but Less Taxes and Fees

You would pay 60,000 miles and ~$210 for a round-trip flight between Chicago and London on United Airlines (which doesn’t add fuel surcharges).  So on Virgin Atlantic, you’re paying $290 more ($500 in Virgin Atlantic fees – $210 in United Airlines fees) in taxes and fees compared to a United Airlines award ticket.

But you’re also saving 33,750 miles!

To compare, the cash price of a coach class, round-trip ticket on Virgin Atlantic could be over $1,200.  So you’ll save ~$700 or more if you buy an award ticket.

26,250 Miles And 500 For Round Trip Flight From Chicago To London

You’d Still Save a Significant Amount of Money Over a Paid Ticket

I don’t usually book award tickets with Virgin Atlantic miles because of the high fuel surcharges.  I’d rather transfer them to Hilton, even though that’s not as good a deal as before.

That said, some folks might really want to try Virgin Atlantic, so for them this could be a good deal.  Emily and I enjoyed our flight on Virgin Atlantic from London back to the US, but we avoided fuel surcharges by using Hawaiian Airlines miles for the Virgin Atlantic award tickets. 

How Do You Get Virgin Atlantic Miles?

1.   American Express Membership Rewards Transfer

Link:   American Express Platinum

Link:   American Express Mercedes-Benz Platinum

Link:   American Express Premier Rewards Gold

Link:   American Express EveryDay

Link:   American Express EveryDay Preferred

American Express Membership Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Virgin Atlantic.  You can earn Membership Rewards points from the American Express Platinum, American Express Mercedes-Benz Platinum, American Express Premier Rewards Gold, American Express EveryDay, and American Express EveryDay Preferred cards.

26,250 Miles And 500 For Round Trip Flight From Chicago To London

You Can Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points to Virgin Atlantic at a 1:1 Ratio

There have been transfer bonuses in the past between AMEX Membership Rewards and Virgin Atlantic I would only transfer points to Virgin Atlantic when there is a transfer bonus, because there are better ways to use AMEX Membership Rewards points!  

2.   Bank of America Virgin Atlantic Card

Link:   Bank of America Virgin Atlantic Increased Sign-Up Bonus

Link:   My Review of the Bank of America Virgin Atlantic card

Link:   My Review of the Bank of America Virgin Atlantic Increased Sign-Up Bonus

You can get up to 90,000 Virgin Atlantic miles by signing-up for the Bank of America Virgin Atlantic card.  But for most folks this is really a 70,000 mile sign-up bonus.  This card gives you:

  • 20,000 miles after your 1st purchase
  • 50,000 miles after you spend $12,000 in the 1st 6 months
  • 5,000 miles after you add 2 authorized users to your account
  • 15,000 miles on card anniversary if you spend $25,000 in a year
  • Annual fee of $90, NOT waived for the 1st year

Although this is advertised as a 90,000 mile sign-up bonus, you’ll have to spend $25,000 in a year to get the last 15,000 miles.  There are better cards to spend $25,000 on!

3.   Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Transfer

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Ink Bold

Link:   Chase Ink Plus

Link:   Chase Freedom

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, (no longer offered) Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus cards, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic at a 1:1 ratio.  And  with 1 of those cards, you can indirectly transfer points from the Chase Freedom.

26,250 Miles And 500 For Round Trip Flight From Chicago To London

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Transfer 1:1 to Virgin Atlantic

I’d rather save my Chase Ultimate Rewards points for transfers to United Airlines, Hyatt, and Southwest.  But if you want to top-off your Virgin Atlantic miles balance, this could make sense.

4.   Starwood Preferred Guest Points Transfer

Link:   American Express Starwood Preferred Guest (Personal)

Link:   American Express Starwood Preferred Guest (Business)

You can transfer points from your Starwood Preferred Guest account to Virgin Atlantic at a 1:1 ratio.

And you get a 5,000 point bonus for every transfer of 20,000 or more Starwood points to airlines.

26,250 Miles And 500 For Round Trip Flight From Chicago To London

Get a 5,000 Mile Bonus for Every 20,000 Starwood Points You Transfer to Virgin Atlantic

Starwood point transfers to Virgin Atlantic are NOT instant and can take up to 4 weeks, although in my experience it usually takes 2 to 12 days.  So the award you want to book may not be available when your points transfer.

Bottom Line

You’ll pay 25% fewer miles for coach class and Premium Economy class award seats with the Virgin Atlantic award seat sale.  You have to book before September 23, 2014, and travel within the next 11 months.

Virgin Atlantic adds high fuel surcharges to award tickets, so even though you’re saving miles you’ll still be paying several hundred dollars for an award ticket.  But you could save lots of money compared to paying for your flight.

And this could be worth it for folks who like flying Virgin Atlantic!

Emily and I won’t take advantage of this deal, but some folks might like it!

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2 responses to “26,250 Miles & $500 for Round-Trip Flight From Chicago to London

  1. It’s always good to know of any deal, but I’ll get interested in Virgin Atlantic when they drop the horrific “fuel surcharge”, which is really a way to say, “We don’t have award tickets, just mildly discounted ones, in our program.”

  2. This is not a bad deal if you only do a one-way US-UK. For instance, LAX-LHR prices out to 15,937 miles plus $134 in fees for February ’15. The fees on the return LHR-LAX are $317. But then again the fees on UA and AA run about $208 for a RT ($202 for the LHR-LAX leg). So doing a RT trip in February ’15 LAX-LHR using VS and AA miles would price out to 35,937 miles plus $323 to 336 in fees (depending on how you do the one-ways). Very doable IMHO. RT’s are running around $1000 for that time period at the moment.