US Amex only. Sorry UK…
American Express is back with another transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and we couldn’t be happier about it. Right now, you can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic and you’ll receive a 30% bonus. So, for everyone 1,000 Amex points you transfer, you’ll get 1,300 Virgin miles and that adds up quick!
To take advantage of this transfer bonus promo, you must complete all transfers to Virgin by July 1, 2019 at 11:59 pm MT. That’s a two-month window to take advantage of the 30% bonus which means you don’t have to rush out and transfer points immediately.
Great Ways To Use Virgin Atlantic Miles From The US
Virgin Atlantic has a different award chart for each of its partners and that’s a good thing for us. With just a little digging, you can find a bunch of great award options that you can book with Virgin miles. Thanks to partnerships with airlines such as Air New Zealand, ANA, Delta and more, you can get just about anywhere in the world. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.
ANA First Class To Tokyo
If there’s one award ticket people absolutely love to book with Virgin miles, it just might be ANA first class to Tokyo. You can book first class round-trip with 110,000 miles from the west coast or 120,000 miles from the central US and east coast. During the transfer promo, you’ll only need to transfer 85,000 and 93,000 Amex points, respectively. Yes, that’s round-trip.
With flights out of Chicago (ORD), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO) and Washington Dulles (IAD), you’ll have plenty of departure options. With excellent service, great champagne, great food and a spacious seat, you’re almost guaranteed to have a great time. You might even wish the flight were a bit longer.
Delta One To Europe
While Delta has jacked up the number of miles to fly Delta One to Europe, you can still find solid redemption rates with Flying Club. Rather than using 105,000 SkyMiles for a one-way ticket, it makes much more sense to use 50,000 Flying Club miles. That’s only 39,000 Amex points for a business class ticket to Europe. Insane!
You might even find that you can book a business class award ticket on a flight with Delta’s flagship product, Delta One Suites.
To avoid having surcharges added to your award ticket, we suggest booking from the US to Europe either one-way or round-trip. If you book one-way from Europe to the US, the taxes/fees will total more than $260 which is more than what you’ll have to pay on a round-trip ticket from the US.
Know Virgin’s Rules Before You Transfer Points
Transfers from Amex usually process very quickly but you can lock in the award seats by calling Virgin Atlantic and having them hold the seats for 48 hours. While Delta and Virgin Atlantic flights can be booked online, you’ll have to call to book other partners anyway. Just to be sure, you might as well call to put a hold on the award ticket before transferring your Amex Membership Rewards points.
When it comes to routing rules, there are two important ones that jump out to us. First, adding connections will require more Virgin Atlantic miles so it’s often best to stick to non-stop routings. Second, you have to book a round-trip ticket to book award seats on ANA.
Finally, keep in mind that Virgin Atlantic will allow you to book award tickets up to 331 days from departure.
What About Speculative Transfers?
Speculative transfers are risky as you just don’t know what changes Virgin Atlantic might make to its program. For that reason, it’s generally a better choice to keep your Membership Rewards points with American Express until you are ready to use them. Remember, once you transfer Amex points, that’s it. There’s no reversing the transfer.
While it can be tempting to transfer with the expectation of using Virgin miles in the future, a recent transfer promo shows why this is risky. Chase launched its first transfer bonus just last week which allows you to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways Executive Club and receive 30% more Avios. One week after it was launched, we learned that British Airways would be devaluing its partner award rates.
Save yourself the heartache and stick to transferring points when you are ready to book.
Virgin Atlantic isn’t a member of a major airline alliance and doesn’t have a ton of individual partners like Etihad but it does have a few very useful partners. With the Amex 30% transfer bonus, it’s the perfect time to transfer points if you have a trip you’ve been wanting to book. As for me, I’ll have to sit tight and wait for the next transfer bonus as I’m already booked through the end of the year.