The Least Talked About Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner Is a Hidden Gem

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The Least Talked About Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner Is a Hidden Gem

CarolineThe Least Talked About Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner Is a Hidden GemMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Virgin Atlantic may not be one of the most popular airline frequent flyer programs – in fact, it might just be one of the least talked about!  So you might have overlooked a number of great redemptions that you can take advantage of with Virgin Atlantic miles, like cheap flights to Asia, Europe, Hawaii, and the South Pacific.

And because Virgin Atlantic is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, you can easily earn points for award flights from cards like:

You might have dismissed Virgin Atlantic as an option because they have a reputation for adding steep fuel surcharges to award flights, and that’s true in many cases.  But I’ll show you a few sweet spots where you can get a big bang for your points without spending a ton on extra fees.

Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Virgin Atlantic Can Get You to Spots You Might Not Have Imagined, Like Japan

Here are 5 smart ways to make the most of Virgin Atlantic miles you might not have considered.

5 Reasons to Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Virgin Atlantic

1.   Great First and Business Class Redemptions on ANA to Japan

One of the absolute best value ways to use your Virgin Atlantic miles is to redeem them for Business and First Class awards to Japan on ANA.  ANA is an award-winning airline and is a partner of Virgin Atlantic.  And the award prices are an absolute steal!

Hit the Slopes in Hokkaido and Fly There for Only 90,000 Virgin Atlantic Miles Round-Trip in Business Class

Prices depend on where in the US you are flying from, with the lowest prices being for flights from the West Coast.  From the West Coast, you’ll pay the following round-trip prices:

  • 90,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in Business Class
  • 110,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in First Class

If you’re flying from the Midwest or East Coast, you’ll pay the following round-trip prices:

  • 95,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in Business Class
  • 120,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in First Class

Better yet, taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges are relatively low on these routes!

If you want to book an ANA flight with Virgin Atlantic miles, you’ll want to search for available award seats on the United Airlines website, then call Virgin Atlantic at 800-365-9500 with the flight information to book your tickets.

The only slight downside to redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles for ANA flights is you won’t be able to connect onward to other destinations in Asia without booking a separate ticket.  Luckily, you can do so pretty easily using British Airways Avios points (also a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner) to fly on Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Malaysia Airlines.

2.   Flights to Hawaii on Delta or Hawaiian Airlines (And Inter-Island Flights!)

There are a couple of different ways you can use your Virgin Atlantic miles to fly to and around Hawaii.

For many destinations, if you want to redeem Virgin Atlantic miles for flights on Delta, you will pay around the same number of miles that Delta would charge for the exact same flights.  But, on flights to Hawaii, you can actually save by booking with Virgin Atlantic miles instead of Delta miles!

Visit Hawaii’s Stunning Beaches With Virgin Atlantic Miles for Less Than You Would Pay With Delta!

Delta charges 45,000 (or more) miles to fly between the US and Hawaii in coach, but Virgin Atlantic charges only 40,000 miles for the same flights!

You can also redeem Virgin Atlantic miles to fly on Hawaiian Airlines between the US and Hawaii, but it only makes sense if you’re flying from the West Coast.  That’s because round-trip flights from the West Coast cost:

  • 40,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in coach
  • 80,000 Virgin Atlantic miles round trip in Business Class

But round-trip flights from the East Coast cost:

  • 80,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in coach
  • 130,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in Business Class

If you’re flying from the East Coast, you’re much better off flying Delta or considering another way to get to Hawaii because these prices are not a good deal! 

For flights to Hawaii, you don’t have to worry about paying any additional taxes, fees, or fuel surcharges when you redeem Virgin Atlantic miles.

Once you’re in Hawaii, you may also want to visit more than one island!  Virgin Atlantic gives you a solid option for those flights, too.

3.   Fly Delta Business Class to Europe (But Not the UK!)

Virgin Atlantic charges 50,000 miles one-way to fly Delta in Business Class from the US to Europe.  That’s a solid price, and if you’re not flying to the UK, you’ll only have to pay ~$6 in taxes.

You don’t want to use your Virgin Atlantic miles for flights to the UK, however, because Delta and Virgin Atlantic have aligned their prices on those routes.  You’d have to pay between 47,500 and 77,500 Virgin Atlantic miles, plus a whopping ~$500 fuel surcharge!  That’s not something we want to see happen.

Use Your Virgin Atlantic Miles to Fly Delta to Prague, But Avoid the UK Due to High Surcharges!

Unfortunately, flights on the way home will also cost you a bit more due to fuel surcharges, so you may want to book your flight to Europe with Virgin Atlantic miles and book your flights home with a different mileage currency.

You can search for and book Delta award flights at virginatlantic.com.

4.   Fly to New Zealand in Air New Zealand Business Class

Air New Zealand is well known for having a solid Business Class product.  And you can book it with Virgin Atlantic miles!  You can book a round-trip flight on Air New Zealand from the US for:

  • 80,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in coach
  • 125,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in Business Class
Visit Auckland With Virgin Atlantic Miles on Air New Zealand

For comparison, United Airlines would charge you 80,000 miles and 180,000 miles, respectively, to book the same flights.  That means that booking Air New Zealand Business Class with Virgin Atlantic miles is a great deal.

You can search for Air New Zealand award availability on United.com, but note that Business Class award seats can be difficult to find.

5.   Fly Onward from Hawaii to Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific on Hawaiian Airlines

In case you want to use your Virgin Atlantic miles to fly to Hawaii and connect onward (or if you happen to be lucky enough to already live there!), you should know that you can redeem your Virgin Atlantic miles to fly from Hawaii to Asia, Australia, and New Zealand for pretty reasonable prices on Hawaiian Airlines.

You Can Even Visit Tahiti With Virgin Atlantic Miles and Stay in a Beautiful Overwater Bungalow

Round-trip Hawaiian Airlines flights between Hawaii and Asia, Australia, and New Zealand cost:

  • 80,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in coach
  • 130,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in Business Class

You can also use your Virgin Atlantic miles to fly between Hawaii and Pago Pago, American Samoa, and Papeete, Tahiti at the following prices:

  • 55,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in coach
  • 95,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in Business Class

If you used Hawaiian Airlines miles to book the same flights, you would pay the same prices, but for many people, Virgin Atlantic miles are easier to earn.  Better yet, Hawaiian Airlines does not add fuel surcharges, so that’s not something you’ll have to think about before booking any of these flights!

When It’s Not Worth It to Use Virgin Atlantic Miles

While there are a number of great uses of Virgin Atlantic miles, they definitely aren’t always the best choice!

For example, Virgin Atlantic adds on significant fuel surcharges to their own flights.  That means for coach tickets, you’re looking at paying around $500 round-trip in addition to your miles!  Fees are even higher for Business Class and First Class – around $800 and $1,100, respectively.

Typically, Using Virgin Atlantic Miles for Virgin Atlantic Flights is Not Good Value

With the number of sales we have seen to Europe in recent years in coach and the other great mileage programs you have access to with your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, we can’t recommend that you use your Virgin Atlantic miles for any high-surcharge flights.

Other partners like Singapore Airlines will also have fuel surcharges.  It’s always best to consider the number of miles you would be saving compared to the extra cash you need to spend when booking awards with high fuel surcharges.

Other Great Benefits With Virgin Atlantic Miles

1.   Generous Expiration Policy

Having your miles expire is the worst!  Luckily, with Virgin Atlantic, you have 36 months from the date you earn or transfer miles to either use miles or earn more.

Virgin Atlantic Has a Generous Mileage Expiration Policy, Giving You More Time to Plan That Dream Trip to New Zealand

For example, if you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic in February 2019, those miles won’t expire until February 2022! Anytime you earn or redeem miles, you extend the expiration date of your miles by a further 36 months, giving you more time to visit more places.

2.   Virgin Atlantic Miles Are Easy to Earn

There are so many ways you can earn Virgin Atlantic miles!  Of course, you can always fly with Virgin Atlantic and their partners, but you can also earn Virgin Atlantic miles through their shopping portal and with the Bank of America Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard.

Virgin Atlantic Miles Are So Easy to Earn, You’ll Be Able to Book Your Flights to Japan and Visit Kyoto in No Time

Virgin Atlantic is also an American Express Membership Rewards and Marriott transfer partner.

3.   Transfer Bonuses

You can’t always count on a transfer bonus, but historically there have been a few for Virgin Atlantic with American Express Membership Rewards.  Chase doesn’t offer transfer bonuses, but if you have both Ultimate Rewards points and Membership Rewards points, you have multiple ways to get your hands on Virgin Atlantic miles and the opportunity to take advantage of transfer bonuses when they arise!

Bottom Line

You’ve may have been ignoring Virgin Atlantic all these years, but you shouldn’t any longer!

There are a number of great award redemption opportunities available with your Virgin Atlantic miles that won’t incur huge fuel surcharges, like:

  • Business and First Class on ANA to Japan
  • Flights to Hawaii on Delta or Hawaiian Airlines
  • Delta award flights to Europe (except the UK)
  • Air New Zealand Business Class flights from the US
  • Award flights from Hawaii to Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific on Hawaiian Airlines

As a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, Virgin Atlantic miles are very easy to earn, from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Business Preferred, and Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Have you gotten a good deal redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles for award flights?  Let us know in the comments!

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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How much (points) is coach RT to Japan?

Coach isn’t as good of a deal as Business and First Class tickets to Japan with Virgin Miles, but you can book ANA in coach for 60,000 miles round trip to the Western US or 65,000 miles round trip to the Central and Eastern US.

Such great advice. I wish I had seen this earlier as I just booked my Europe trip via United miles. I’m not sure if I would have come out ahead or not using Virgin Atlantic miles transfer. I liked the idea of United’s free excursion option. Since many of the flights were partner flights given United doesn’t fly to these locations, I accrued about $500 in taxes/fees for 3p.

United’s Excursionist Perk is definitely a great option if you know you want to visit more than one destination! It sounds like you got a great deal on your flights, and now you know about Virgin Atlantic for next time!

Great post! To book Hawaiian, do you transfer Virgin miles to Hawaiian or United?

You can book flights on Hawaiian directly through Virgin’s program. So, if you have Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you’ll just transfer your points to Virgin Miles at a 1:1 ratio, find award availability, and then give Virgin a call to book your tickets.

Great timing on this post because I’m looking to book a Japan trip for the beginning of 2020 and I have plenty of UR points. When searching for award availability on United to book using VA points does it matter if seats are showing up as Saver or Everyday for premium cabins? In other words as long as a premium seat is open regardless of points United is charging will it be the flat 95k for RT from IAD? Thanks!

Great questions Alison! It does matter. You’ll need to look for those “Saver” seats when you’re searching on United’s site to find flights you’ll be able to book with Virgin.

I was searching flights to Europe and found Virgin Atlantic premium economy for 30k miles plus ~$200 in fees per person. I need to book 4 tickets….is this worth it or is there a better way to do this?

Virgin Atlantic to London is one of the little known sweet spots.

Fees flying from London are horrendous. If you’ve got a low fee way home it could be a good deal. As Caroline said though, look at your options. It’s possible there are better choices.

Hi Liz, that’s a hard question to answer without knowing more information! It depends where you’re flying from, what other miles and points you have, and what cash fares are for your desired travel dates. If you have other points, try to see what those airlines are charging for similar flights and definitely always run a search on cash fares to make sure that you are getting at least 1.5 or 2 cents per point in value (or more!)

Caroline, I have 250k UR points. Trying to find the best deal for 4 people in PE or better out of AUS to either DUB or MAN on May 18 +-3 days. I will use AA miles for the return.

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