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Nope, no typos or digits missing here. Not every airline charge an insane amount of miles to take some of the best flights in the world. In fact, sometimes you don’t even need airline miles to unlock some of the best airline experiences. If taking one of the longest flights in the world in a plush full out bed, with duvet, fine dining and even an on board bar sounds better than economy and you want to do it without being a miles millionaire, you’ve come to the right place…

a room with rows of computers

How Is This Possible, Which Airline?!

So the first thing to know is that in life, bonuses are generally a good thing. Second, sometimes miles or points you’d never imagine can be the most valuable. Let’s see if we can get this straight: you’ll fly on Virgin Australia using Virgin America miles. How we create those Virgin America miles is where the magic is. Virgin America charges 80,000 miles for this ticket, but you can transfer Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points into Virgin America and get a 5,000 bonus for every 20,000 you transfer, hence 65,000 points! 20,000+5,000 + 20,000+5,000 + 20,000 +5,000 = 65,000. Hello business class! Even without Starwood points, you can instantly create Virgin America miles using Amex points or even better, by buying Starwood points in a well timed sale.

In this trick we’re specifically talking US to Australia or vice versa, but it would likely work from other destinations…

a plane flying in the sky

You can do this even if you have no points…

We want to transfer our SPG points to Virgin America, because Virgin America offer the best rates to use miles for business class from the US to Australia and using SPG saves us 15,000 points. Once we make that transfer, we’ll book a lovely flight on Virgin America’s partner Virgin Australia. Even if you have none of the points necessary for this, being able to buy them for $2,000 (assuming you don’t have them and can create them for free) is a bargain for this route, which generally retails over $5,000…

a bed in a plane

Ok, Now How Do I Get Starwood (SPG) Or Virgin America Points?

So now you know that Virgin America points are the best points for business class to Australia and you also know that you can save points by turning SPG points into Virgin America points. There are a few ways to create either of these points including grabbing either of their credit cards which give you a sign up bonus and earn points for everything you buy,  or buying their points directly from them in sales (without even traveling), staying in hotels or taking flights.

Sydney Opera House and a building at night

Any Ways To Earn These Points Without Paying For Points Or Traveling?

Here’s a great tip, even without one of their credit cards, you can earn up to 20 points per dollar using Virgin America’s online shopping portal, where you get miles just for clicking from their website to your favorite stores. At up to 20 points per dollar, a new laptop would get you a big head start. You should earn miles for everything you buy.

a tray of food on a plate in a plane

I’m So In, How Do I Search For Seats?

Before you book this, you need to find a coveted seat using miles, also known as “availability”. To find availability, the easiest trick is to search on Delta,  by pressing “show price in miles” even though you’re not using Delta Miles (at a worse rate) to book this. You’re just using Delta because they show Virgin Australia spac,e which you can book with Virgin America miles. U tse Delta’s five week calendar to view five weeks of availability at a time, when you find space, you just call Virgin America to book.

a bar with stools and shelves

Hooray I Found Seats, How Do I Book?

Ok, you’ve done so well, I’m genuinely pumped for you. To finally book this, you’ll need to get 80,000 miles into a Virgin America account. Again, you could use 65,000 Starwood points to do this by easily transferring the points to Virgin America. If you already have the Virgin America miles, even easier. Once the miles are in the Virgin America account, just call Virgin America to book. Say you’d like to book a flight using “elevate miles” on their partner Virgin Australia. They’ll take it from there. Happy travels, mate!

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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