NEW: 30% Bonus on Transfers from American Express to Virgin Atlantic

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American Express is running a 30% bonus on transfers from Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic through November 30. I note this is a new bonus since they offered it back in May.

This is a great way to book one of my 17 favorite award redemption values. The bonus makes points from your Amex Everyday and Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express — which earn more quickly than most — even more leveraged.

To be clear, Virgin Atlantic miles aren’t worth as much as other miles. That was true even before they knifed the program in the back in October.

However they do have strategic uses and I believe the single best one is ANA first class roundtrip from the Central U.S. and East Coast for just 120,000 miles per person. (San Francisco and Los Angeles is just 110,000 miles roundtrip, while business class runs 90,000 or 95,000 miles depending on the city.)

Here’s the Virgin Atlantic award chart for travel on ANA:

  • While Virgin Atlantic does hit you with fuel surcharges when redeeming miles where paid tickets would incur fuel surcharges, Japan awards don’t.

  • Awards are round trip only. And travel beyond Japan would be a separate round trip award.

  • You cannot book these awards online.

  • Virgin Atlantic awards have a $50 per passenger change fee, and a cancel/redeposit fee of $50 as well. That’s low by US program standards, but there are no changes at all within 24 hours of departure (you can cancel for $50 but you won’t get your miles back, just the taxes paid).

  • You can put an award on hold for 24 hours.

I believe that the ANA first class awards with Virgin Atlantic miles are too good to last over time, since the best deals — those orders of magnitude better than what most programs deliver — always go away eventually.

You can also transfer Chase and Citibank points to Virgin Atlantic as well, so this award is a great redemption for points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Ink Business Preferred, Citi Prestige Card.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. @Phil – not sure I understand the question. Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club is mostly quite poor. And while they may be based in the UK they’re controlled these days by Delta. 😉

  2. I mean you view the value and its options to use/earn the miles from a US-perspective. I can’t get any of the cards you mention, or almost any of the deals, and the proposition from here is wildly different. I’d just like to see what you’d think from a UK view (as in, we dont have AA, DL, UA options to rely on).

  3. Plenty of US based programs have cards issued in the UK. Starwood Amex. American Airlines. Admittedly I wrote from a predominantly US-centric point of view. But that doesn’t make the analysis of Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club any less accurate?

  4. It doesn’t change that, but the field is much smaller (so its poor out of a bunch of also-poor options?).

    I wasn’t even aware AA had a card issued here (which kinda highlights my point!).

  5. Hi Gary,

    Fiancé and I are looking to honeymoon in Japan and Ko Samui with a quick 1 day stop in Singapore next year, so this is great. We’re interested in booking 2 first class award tickets, but wanted to know if we could leverage ANA’s stopover/open-jaw rules in any way to get more flights of this than just the round trip to and from Tokyo? Any way we could do the following:? NYC>NRT (stopover)>SIN for outbound, and then BKK>NRT (connection)>NYC for return? We’d then just have to purchase tickets from SIN>USM and USM>BKK, which would be cheap. Thank you for your help!

  6. What’s the best way to search for availability? Is everything available to UA available to Virgin Atlantic? Thanks.

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