Virgin Atlantic have made some very positive changes recently, yet one of their best moves has been to not move at all. While other airlines have slashed away at award chart values, skyrocketing the number of miles needed, it appears Richard Branson has been too busy singing 'Twist and Shout' in the streets of Chicago to tinker with his award charts. Utilizing Virgin Atlantic's favorable award pricing, without the usual fuel surcharges, can be a real win.
In keeping with competition, Virgin Atlantic add fuel surcharges to awards for Virgin Atlantic flights, but you may be surprised to know that you can use your Flying Club miles on lots of great partners, many without surcharges. Hooray! I personally love weaving two trips into one and this is where Flying Club miles really hit their stride (or flight). For those of you coming from the UK to the United States, you can use your miles to jet set around the country on Virgin America. A first class round trip flight between San Francisco and Las Vegas requires only 25,000 Virgin Atlantic miles, half that for coach, surcharge free making this a real "free flight". For 5,000 miles less you could check out the best of California with a round trip flight between Los Angeles and San Francisco. If you want to East Coast / West Coast things, you could fly round trip between New York and Las Vegas, Los Angeles, or San Francisco for 25,000 miles round trip in Coach or 75,000 in First. For those used to Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, curb your enthusiasm, Virgin America's First Class is not going to be a flat bed and there is no bar on board. With that said, I can't think of a better vacation than seeing San Francisco and wine tasting in nearby Sonoma/Napa before heading to New York to see the greatest city on earth (yes I am biased).
If the US isn't your cup of tea, you can still use your miles, surcharge free (or cheap,) on most other continents. You can book domestic flights within South Africa, Japan or Australia for as little as 12,000 miles round trip. Keeping the same multi destination principle as US domestic flights, this is a fantastic way to see different parts of a country without having to purchase additional internal flights. In countries as vast as Australia, Japan and South Africa, there's plenty worth seeing. Though it's not surcharge free, one of the most underrated uses of Virgin Atlantic miles is to fly Air China First Class from London to Beijing, which requires just 75,000 miles and $700 round trip. Air China First Class is a seriously nice product and this is an amazing way to get to Asia on the cheap in style!
As usual, the answer is to think out of the box and stretch your holiday. If you are one of the many whose vacation days are precious, seeing two destinations in one vacation is an excellent way to travel. To book any of these awards simply call Virgin Atlantic and as always, try to be flexible and follow these Essential Award Booking Tips. If you gave me 100,000 Flying Club miles today I would probably go First class to China, buy a ticket to Japan, use some more Flying Club miles to trek through Japan, buy a ticket to Hong Kong using this trick and then head back to Beijing for the long haul home. At least it's in first.
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