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If you’re planning a trip to the UK, Virgin Atlantic is having an award ticket seat sale until June 4, 2014.
Virgin Atlantic has reduced the number of points needed to fly to or from the UK for certain destinations. And they’ve lowered their fuel surcharges on these award tickets.
Note: The only US destination included in the sale is New York.
And if you transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic before May 31, 2014, you can fly from New York to Europe for just 22,000 points round-trip in coach (plus ~$406 taxes and fees)!
Now that’s Big Travel with Small Money! I’ll explain how to do it.
Where Can You Go With This Sale?
You can book round-trip award seats for the following destinations to or from the UK during this sale:
- New York (JFK & Newark) – 28,000 miles and ~$406 (save 7,000 miles)
- Barbados – 36,000 miles and ~$403 (save 9,000 miles)
- Delhi – 34,000 miles and ~$508 (save 8,500 miles)
- Tokyo – 36,000 miles and ~$472 (save 9,000 miles)
- New York (JFK & Newark) – 44,000 miles and ~$680 (save 11,000 miles)
- Jamaica – 56,000 miles and ~$784 (save 14,000 miles)
- Mumbai – 56,000 miles and ~$774 (save 14,000 miles)
- Shanghai – 56,000 miles and ~$835 (save 11,000 miles)
- Dubai – 48,000 miles and ~$717 (save 12,000 miles)
Most folks in the US will only find the New York (JFK and Newark) routes useful.
You have to book by June 4, 2014. As long as there are award seats available, you can book flights up to 11 months away.
Normally, these destinations cost between 35,000 and 45,000 miles in economy class, and between 55,000 and 70,000 miles in premium economy.
For example, from New York to London, you’ll pay 28,000 miles and ~$406 for a round-trip award ticket. But Delta, United Airlines, and American Airlines charge at least 60,000 miles for an award ticket to London, plus over $200 in fees.
And the cash price of a round-trip ticket on Virgin Atlantic can be over $1,100.
Even though they’ve reduced the fees (on some tickets), you’ll still pay $403 to $835 for an award ticket!
Definitely not Big Travel with Small Money. But could be worth it in a few situations!
That said, there may be folks who really want to try Virgin Atlantic that could benefit from this sale! Emily and I enjoyed the seats and food on Virgin Atlantic when we flew home from London. But we avoided surcharges by using Hawaiian Airlines miles to fly on Virgin Atlantic.
How Do You Get Virgin Atlantic Miles?
1. American Express Membership Rewards Transfer
Transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic could be a very good deal when combined with this sale. That’s because until May 31, 2014, you’ll get a 30% bonus when you transfer points to Virgin Atlantic.
For example, with the Virgin Atlantic award seat sale, you’ll need 28,000 miles for a round-trip ticket between New York and the UK.
If you transferred AMEX Membership Rewards points with the 30% bonus promotion, you’d only need 22,000 points. That’s excellent for a round-trip coach ticket to Europe! But you’ll also pay ~$406 in taxes and fees.
Round-trip tickets to Europe on airlines like American Airlines or United Airlines usually cost 60,000 miles, so 22,000 points is a good deal.
To compare, I searched for New York to London round-trip tickets for random dates in August. The lowest priced ticket cost ~$1,580 including taxes and fees.
But you’ll still pay taxes, fees, and surcharges of ~$406 for an award ticket. That said, this is still cheaper than paying full price!
You can earn AMEX Membership Rewards points from the American Express Premier Rewards Gold, American Express Platinum, and American Express EveryDay cards. But I would only transfer points to Virgin Atlantic if you can do so before the 30% transfer bonus expires, because there are better ways to use AMEX Membership Rewards points!
2. Bank of America Virgin Atlantic Card
You can get up to 65,000 Virgin Atlantic miles by signing-up for the Bank of America Virgin Atlantic card. But for most folks this is really a 50,000 mile sign-up bonus. This card gives you:
- 20,000 miles after your 1st purchase
- 25,000 miles after you spend $2,500 in the 1st 3 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 65,000 mile sign-up bonus, you’ll have to spend $25,000 in a year to get the last 15,000 miles. I can think of 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
If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus cards, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic at a 1:1 ratio.
I usually prefer saving my Chase Ultimate Rewards points for transfers to United Airlines, Hyatt, and Southwest. But if you need to top-off your Virgin Atlantic miles balance, this could make sense for you.
You’ll save miles and maybe some money with the Virgin Atlantic award seat sale. You have to book before June 4, 2014 and travel within the next 11 months.
Virgin Atlantic has high fuel surcharges on award tickets, so even though you’re saving miles you’ll still be paying several hundred dollars for an award ticket.
If you want to make the most of this deal, consider transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic before May 31, 2014. There’s a 30% bonus on transferring points to Virgin Atlantic. You could get an award ticket to the UK from New York for only 22,000 points round-trip.
I won’t be taking advantage of this deal, but I know some folks will!