On the whole I’m very much not a fan of the Virgin Atlantic frequent flyer program. Their award chart isn’t cheap for most destinations (though pricing isn’t crazy for US-London), but on top what generally kills it for me is the high fuel surcharges. I don’t really want to spend $700+ in taxes/fees for a transatlantic redemption.
Still, I dutifully collect 1000 Virgin Atlantic miles each time I have a one-day Avis rental. On a three-day rental I’m still crediting to US Airways for the 3000 mile bonus with Avis. But those short one-dayers go to Virgin, the 1000 miles is just too tempting for me even though I’m not a fan of the program. And over time I tend to rack up a lot of one-day rentals.
I figure that if my car rentals yield a business class ticket to London (including a visit to Virgin Clubhouses, which I do enjoy!) for $700+ in fees, it’s worth it.
Today Jared Blank points out another use for those Virgin miles that hadn’t occurred to me, or at least I wasn’t paying enough attention to notice. You can use 6000 miles for a roundtrip intra-Hawaii award on Hawaiian, or 9000 miles for roundtrip first class.
My first thought was “what’s gonna kill this deal is fuel surcharges” but Jared rang up Virgin and verified that there aren’t any on this award.
Not an amazing use of miles, but a small number that’s useful. Jared points out that you can transfer Starwood points to Virgin, 20,000 SPG points is enough for four intra-Hawaii roundtrips. A commenter on his blog adds Membership Rewards as a transfer partner. Me, I’m not really looking to add to my Virgin balance by moving over valuable points. But since I pick up Virgin miles as a consequence of renting cars anyway, I’ll keep this in my back pocket and probably use it the next time I make it out to Hawaii.