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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.
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?
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:
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!
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:
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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?