Fly Virgin Atlantic to UK, Stay at Hilton With Ink Plus 70,000 Point Bonus

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Update:   The Chase Ink Plus 70,000 point offer is no longer available, but check Hot Deals for the latest offers!

I’ve written about Virgin Atlantic’s frequent flyer program and how it’s often not the best deal because of the high fuel surcharges they add to most award tickets.

Virgin Atlantic is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner and you can use their miles on Virgin Atlantic flights, as well as flights on partner airlines like Hawaiian Airlines, Delta, and Virgin America.  You can also transfer points to Hilton hotels at a 2:3 ratio.

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Will You Get Big Travel With Small Money If You Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Virgin Atlantic?

Is it worth transferring the increased 70,000 point sign-up bonus from the Chase Ink Plus card to Virgin Atlantic, even with the high fuel surcharges?  Let’s find out.

Note:  The Chase Ink Plus 70,000 point bonus offer ends on October 19, 2014.

Use Virgin Atlantic Miles for Virgin Atlantic Flights

Link:   Virgin Atlantic Award Chart

Virgin Atlantic adds high fuel surcharges to their own award tickets (and to many partner award tickets, too).  Taxes and fees are higher on award tickets in Premium Economy and Upper Class (First Class).

Here’s their award chart with miles and fees for round-trip tickets in all classes of service:

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You’ll Pay Taxes and Fees as High as $635 on Coach Class Award Tickets and up to $1,300 on Upper (First) Class Award Tickets!

However, Virgin Atlantic periodically runs award seat sales for fewer miles, but the taxes and fees are still high.

1.   Example:   New York to London Round-Trip in Coach Class for 2 People

You could get 2 round-trip, coach class tickets from New York to London on Virgin Atlantic for 70,000 miles plus $1,000 (35,000 miles plus $500 each).

To compare, a low-level round-trip coach class award ticket on United Airlines from the US to Europe costs 60,000 miles (each!), but the taxes and fees are much lower.

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Two Could Fly to London on Virgin Atlantic in Coach Class With the Chase Ink Plus 70,000 Mile Sign-Up Bonus!

I checked the Virgin Atlantic website for round-trip coach class tickets in May, and the cheapest I could find were ~$1,285 each.  So for 2 people, you’d pay ~$2,570.

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Two Tickets From New York to London in May Cost ~$2,570 in Coach Class

That’s not bad for 70,000 points, but remember, you’d pay $1,000 in taxes and fees for 2 award tickets.  So you’re really only getting a value of $1,570 ($2,570 cost of paid tickets – $1,000 fees on award tickets).

I don’t think this is a great deal because you’d have to spend $1,000 of your own money, but it’s still much cheaper than paying full price!

Example:   Los Angeles to London Round-Trip in Premium Economy Class

For 70,000 miles plus $810, you could get a round-trip Premium Economy award ticket from Los Angeles to London.

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You Could Travel to London From Los Angeles in Style for 70,000 Miles Round-Trip in Premium Economy Class

A round-trip paid ticket in Premium Economy for this route in June costs $2,366!

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A Premium Economy Ticket From Los Angeles to London Costs Over $2,300

But again, you’re really only getting a value of $1,556 ($2,366 cost of paid ticket – $810 fees on award ticket).  So this is only a good deal if you don’t mind spending $810 in taxes and fees.

Example:  San Francisco to London 1-Way in Upper Class

A 1-way Upper Class ticket from San Francisco to London costs 50,000 miles and ~$500 (the fees aren’t exactly half the round-trip price, because the departure tax leaving London is much higher).

So you’d have miles left over from the Chase Ink Plus sign-up bonus, and get to experience the excellent food and service Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class is known for.

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Dining in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Is Like Eating in a Fancy Restaurant!

I checked the price of a 1-way Upper Class ticket from San Francisco to London in June.  The cheapest ticket was ~$6,840!

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Upper Class Costs a Pretty Penny…Over $6,800 for a 1-Way Ticket

Note:   Full fare paid Upper Class tickets come with chauffeur service.  But you will NOT get the chauffeur on award tickets.  🙁

Chauffeur aside, you’re still getting amazing value from 50,000 miles.  Even if you subtract the ~$500 in taxes you’d pay on an award ticket, you’re still getting ~$6,340 worth of travel (~$6,840 cost of paid ticket – ~$500 fees on award ticket).  That’s fantastic!

And remember, you’d still have 20,000 points left over for another trip.

Use Virgin Atlantic Miles on Hawaiian Airlines

Link:  Virgin Atlantic & Hawaiian Airlines

You won’t be charged fuel surcharges if you use Virgin Atlantic miles for award tickets on Hawaiian Airlines.  A round-trip, coach class inter-island ticket costs 15,000 miles.

So with the 70,000 point Chase Ink Plus sign-up bonus, plus 5,000 points from meeting minimum spending requirements, you’d have enough for 5 round-trip inter-island flights.

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You Could Use 75,000 Miles for 5 Round-Trip Inter-Island Tickets on Hawaiian Airlines With No Fuel Surcharges

I checked the price of a round-trip, coach class ticket on Hawaiian Airlines between Honolulu and Lihue, Kauai.  Those tickets cost ~$162 each, so for 5 tickets you’d get ~$810 in value.  That’s not good at all!

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You’d Only Get ~$810 Worth of Travel If You Used 75,000 Virgin Atlantic Miles for Hawaiian Airlines Inter-Island Tickets

In fact, you’d do better by using Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly through the Chase Travel Portal.  For the same flights, they charge 14,608 points per person, or 73,040 points total (5 tickets x 14,608 points per ticket).  You’d pay fewer points!

You’d get better value by spending 40,000 Virgin Atlantic miles for a round-trip, coach class Hawaiian Airlines award ticket between the continental US and Hawaii.  For example, a flight between New York and Honolulu costs ~$848.

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You’ll Get More Travel for Fewer Miles With a Round-Trip Flight Between New York and Honolulu

And you’d have 30,000 miles left over from the Chase Ink Plus sign-up bonus to use for something else!

Transfer Virgin Atlantic Miles to Hilton Hotels

Link:   Virgin Atlantic & Hilton Hotels

Link:   Hilton Award Chart

You can transfer Virgin Atlantic miles to Hilton hotels at a rate of 2 Virgin Atlantic miles : 3 Hilton points.

This means that you’d get 105,000 Hilton points if you transferred the Chase Ink Plus 70,000 mile sign-up bonus to Virgin Atlantic, and then to Hilton (70,000 Virgin Atlantic miles x 1.5).

Hilton is NOT a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, so if you need Hilton points this could be a good way to get them!

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Need Hilton Points? You Could Get Them Indirectly by Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Virgin Atlantic, and Then to Hilton

Hilton award nights start at 5,000 points per night for Category 1 hotels, up to 95,000 points per night for their top Category 10 hotels.

So you’d have more than enough points to book 1 night in a Category 10 hotel, like the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.  But sometimes it’s hard to find award nights at hotels like this, so you have to keep checking.

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You Could Treat Yourself to a Night at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island for 95,000 Hilton Points

A paid stay at the Conrad Maldives can cost over $1,600 per night!

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A Night at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Would Be a Real Splurge!

I’m not sure I’d use the entire sign-up bonus from the Chase Ink Plus on 1 night’s hotel stay, but it could be worth it for some folks if they’ve dreamed of staying at a top-category hotel!

Instead I’d use the 2 free weekend nights from the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card and save the Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the flight!

Bottom Line

Transferring the Chase Ink Plus 70,000 point sign-up bonus to Virgin Atlantic could be a good deal for folks who really want to fly Virgin Atlantic, but you’ll have to pay hefty fuel surcharges.

You won’t pay fuel surcharges on some partner airlines, like Hawaiian Airlines, but you won’t always get a good value from your points.

And if you transfer Virgin Atlantic miles to Hilton hotels, you’ll have enough points (with some left over) for a night at a top-category hotel.  That could be worth $1,600 + for 1 night!

That said, you’ll generally get more travel by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to other airline and hotel partners.

What have you used Virgin Atlantic miles for?

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17 responses to “Fly Virgin Atlantic to UK, Stay at Hilton With Ink Plus 70,000 Point Bonus

  1. Please STOPPPPP with the chase ink no stop promotion. Almost every since post recently is regarding this topic. This blog used to provide useful information…but not anymore. Is this the only topic you know how to talk about??? If so you have lost your edge and readers she leave in droves.

  2. Is there a fee to transfer Virgin points to Hilton?

  3. ink, ink, ink. i love how you respond to comments regularly, but pretty much ignore the reader annoyance at the endless ink promotion. give it a rest already.

  4. I haven’t gotten the Ink card yet, so keep the posts comin’. Ya never know when the fish might bite.

  5. I love the blog! However, I’m surprised that using the points for one night at the Conrad Maldives would even be an option. If you are going to the Maldives, why not use it for 3 nights at the Park Hyatt?

  6. pls IGNORE the very few people that think they have had enough info. i bet even they dont know everything about what you just provided in this article.
    Daraius you have done a wonderful job for your passion & hobby & helped tons of people. keep up the great work!

  7. I would love some Southwest points! My husband and I can go visit our son in Phoenix with points and the companion pass which I got thanks to your blog!!

  8. Darius always give the best tips and advice.

  9. Fort Lauderdale so I can lobster my way down to Key West. Living the dream!

  10. PHX is my fave Southwest destination. It has been raining and dreary in Chicago for a week and I would love to soak up some sun while hiking on Camelback Mountain.

  11. Our favorite Southwest destination is any one of the cities our grandchildren live–from TUL to SEA, BDL, AUS, OKC, and PDX. We would LOVE some Southwest points to help us visit any of these wonderful cities!

  12. I love Charlotte North Carolina. I’ve been there once, using SWA points, and loved it!! So much history and beauty in one city. Thanks Darius

  13. I would use the Southwest miles to go skiing in Colorado.

  14. Love the Bay Area and San Francisco.

  15. To hold new grandson in NYC, a trip to heaven!

  16. I would use the southwest points for another trip to Las Vegas or Fort Lauderdale. My wife and I have both gotten companion Passes because of the information in your blog.

  17. Winner for southwest