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

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

Million Mile SecretsFly Virgin Atlantic to UK, Stay at Hilton With Ink Plus 70,000 Point BonusMillion Mile Secrets Team

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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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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!

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.

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!

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.

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!

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.

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!

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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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 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, 60,000 points are worth $750 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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Winner for southwest

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.

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

Love the Bay Area and San Francisco.

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

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