Again! 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 September 12. It only appears when logged into your American Express Membership Rewards account, so it’s possible that members with certain cards won’t have this bonus offer available.

I note this is a new bonus since they offered it last fall and spring 2017 as well as spring 2016 to name just few times..

This is a great way to book one of my 17 favorite award redemption values.

To be clear, Virgin Atlantic miles aren’t worth as much as other miles.

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 have fairly modest fuel surcharges.

  • 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.

Another strong use of Virgin Atlantic miles is Delta business class between the US and Europe for 50,000 points each way, which becomes an amazing deal witht he 30% tansfer bonus.

There are other award chart sweet spots, like Australia and New Zealand, but availability for those is fairly non-existent.

Beyond American Express points you can also transfer Chase and Citibank points to Virgin Atlantic, so these awards are great redemptions for points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Ink Business Preferred too.

(HT: @IadisGr8)

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. With the Delta flights, can you connect to the gateway city from another domestic city? For example, fly MSY-ATL-ZRH?

  2. Thanks for the scoop!

    What is the hard product like onward from Japan to say Singapore and/or Bangkok.. 190 miles in first, is it the same int’l first beyond Japan to Southeast Asia

  3. Thanks for the heads up Gary!
    Did you want to also touch on virgin limited edition rewards as well?
    I maximized last years transfer bonus for a trip to Mahali Mzuri!

  4. LAXNRTVIRGIN

    My wife and I have amassed quite a lot of MR points and would like to use some of them on this deal but searching on the Virgin site for flights in the way I have seen described from LAX to NRT anytime in the next 12 months offers no seats for 1 person in either business or first.

    I know these award seats can be hard to come by but surely I am doing something wrong.

    What’s the most reliable way to search for these bookings?

  5. “Another strong use of Virgin Atlantic miles is Delta business class between the US and Europe for 50,000 points each way, which becomes an amazing deal witht he 30% tansfer bonus.
    There are other award chart sweet spots, like Australia and New Zealand, but availability for those is fairly non-existent.”

    Delta US/Europe Saver space in J is nonexistant as well. Good luck finding any semi-regular availability out of JFK.

  6. “Delta US/Europe Saver space in J is nonexistant as well. Good luck finding any semi-regular availability out of JFK.” – Seems like getting any awards out of JFK are a real hassle, especially when there is a stop in europe. I’ve done it but it always takes a lot of time and effort.

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