Travel to the UK for 25% Fewer Miles With Virgin Atlantic’s Award Seat Sale

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Via Muslim Travel Girl, until January 22, 2015, Virgin Atlantic is having an award seat sale which includes most of their destinations.

You’ll pay 25% fewer miles on coach flights, and you can book for travel until December 2015.  But taxes and fees are NOT discounted, and the fuel surcharges are high!

For example, a round-trip coach class ticket between New York and London costs 26,250 miles and $500.  Normally, you’d pay 35,000 miles plus taxes and fees.

There’s also a 25% bonus until February 4, 2015, when you buy miles or use their Miles Booster to earn more miles on paid flights.

Travel To The UK For 25 Fewer Miles With Virgin Atlantics Award Seat Sale

You’ll Need 25% Fewer Miles for Award Tickets on Virgin Atlantic, but Fuel Surcharges Are Still High

I don’t generally like using Virgin Atlantic miles for award tickets, but for some folks this might be a good deal.

Where Can You Go With This Sale?

Link:   Virgin Atlantic Award Seat Sale

You can book 1-way or round-trip award tickets in coach class for 25% off the regular number of miles with this sale.  Here’s the round-trip award chart for North American cities:

Travel To The UK For 25 Fewer Miles With Virgin Atlantics Award Seat Sale

Flying From the West Coast to the UK? You’ll Pay 31,875 Miles Plus Taxes and Fees

Other destinations are discounted as well, including domestic flights in the UK on Virgin Atlantic’s “Little Red.”

Note:   Premium Economy and Upper Class (Business Class) tickets are NOT included in the sale.

Is This a Good Deal?

I’ve written that Virgin Atlantic award seat sales are generally only worth it for folks who would have bought a paid ticket on Virgin Atlantic anyway.  You’ll save money (and miles) compared to a paid ticket, but you’ll still spend a lot out-of-pocket for taxes and fees!

You’ll pay $475 to $500 in fees for a round-trip coach class ticket from the US to the UK.  But that’s better than the price of a paid ticket, which can cost upwards of $1,700!

Travel To The UK For 25 Fewer Miles With Virgin Atlantics Award Seat Sale

You’ll Save Compared to the Price of a Paid Ticket

You’ll pay less in taxes and fees by booking a flight to the UK on a US airline, like United Airlines or American Airlines, but you’ll also pay more miles.

For example, a round-trip, coach class ticket between Los Angeles and London on United Airlines costs 60,000 miles, but only ~$196 in taxes and fees.

If you’re thinking of buying a ticket on Virgin Atlantic anyway, this seat sale might be worth booking.  But I’d rather save my Virgin Atlantic miles for other uses, like transferring them to Hilton.

How Do You Get Virgin Atlantic Miles?

1.   American Express Membership Rewards Transfer

American Express Membership Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Virgin Atlantic.

You can earn AMEX Membership Rewards points from the following cards:

Personal CardsBusiness Cards
Premier Rewards Gold Card From American ExpressThe Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
American Express® Mercedes-Benz PlatinumThe Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressThe Enhanced Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN
AMEX EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
AMEX EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
American Express® Gold Card
American Express® Green Card
Blue from American Express® Note: These are the ONLY AMEX cards that earn Membership Rewards points that can NOT be transferred to airline & hotel programs. But you can use these points on the Membership Rewards website for other redemptions. Includes personal AND small business versions of the card.

In the past, there have been transfer bonuses 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 75,000 mile sign-up bonus.  This card gives you:

  • 20,000 miles after your 1st purchase
  • 50,000 miles after you spend $12,000 in qualifying purchases in the 1st 6 months
  • 5,000 miles when you add 2 authorized users
  • Up to 15,000 miles on your card anniversary (7,500 miles if you spend more than $15,000 in a year, and another 7,500 miles if you spend over $25,000)
  • A Companion award ticket for half the miles of a standard award ticket, when you spend $25,000 in a year
  • 3 miles per $1 you spend on Virgin Atlantic
  • 1.5 miles per $1 you spend on everything else

The annual fee of $90 is 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 (and pay a 2nd annual fee) 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 Plus

Link:   Chase Freedom

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold (no longer offered) 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.

Travel To The UK For 25 Fewer Miles With Virgin Atlantics Award Seat Sale

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Transfer at a 1:1 Ratio to Virgin Atlantic

I prefer saving 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:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

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.  So this could be a good way to use even fewer points for Virgin Atlantic flights!

Travel To The UK For 25 Fewer Miles With Virgin Atlantics Award Seat Sale

Get an Extra 5,000 Virgin Atlantic Miles When You Transfer 20,000 Starwood Points

Careful!  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 exact award you want to book may not be available when your points transfer.

Bottom Line

You’ll pay 25% fewer miles for coach class award seats with the Virgin Atlantic award seat sale.  Book by January 22, 2015, 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 pay several hundred dollars for an award ticket.  But if you would have bought a paid ticket anyway, you’ll save money with this deal.

And this could be worth it for folks who like flying Virgin Atlantic or want to try them out!

What’s your favorite way to use Virgin Atlantic miles?

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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.

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5 responses to “Travel to the UK for 25% Fewer Miles With Virgin Atlantic’s Award Seat Sale

  1. I think you might have made an error on the date mentioned “February 4, 2014”

  2. Dariaus…I tried to see what it would cost us miles and fees with Virgin and United. 3 passengers, LAX to LHR (RT). This is flying end of March to April 10.

    Virgin = 95,625 miles (we have enough) plus $1,360.50 taxes and fees (ouch)
    United = 180,000 miles (we have enough) plus $597.90 taxes and fees

    What would you do?

  3. @Jason, I’d never have that choice since I’m not interested in Virgin miles (the “fuel” surcharge is a complete deal killer to me), but in your situation this use might make sense because in this specific case, $762.60 is saving you 84,375 total miles (equivalent to a miles purchase at under 1 cpm; you’re holding on to the more valuable currency for future use; and you’re getting rid of the much less useful currency at a better value than usual.

    My personal choice for this itinerary would be 120,000 AA miles plus $603.30.

  4. @jason why not try and see what one ways would cost. it could workout in your favor. Worth trying rather than booking RT tickets.

    I had a friend just do this. Flying United from BOS- LHR and virgin back home. He only had 100k UR points. Was able to book trip for 2 for 95k and $550 in taxes. Would have been 120k or 75k virgin plus 1300 taxes. Made sense for him since he had 100k UR points

  5. @jason. If I replicated your search. Just looking at the limited info you gave. United would be 90k + $11.6 and VA would be 35860 (for 25% less promotion) + $879.66.

    Total of 125860 points (I assume UR points) + $891.26
    Just another option. If you havent had the arrival. The bonus could drop that to $431.26.