A couple of days ago I wrote about Delta One business class suites to Asia for as little as 47,000 points each way with availability for 4 or more and sometimes even 9 passengers per flight.
This was made possible by,
- Unusually good Delta saver award availability
- Partner Virgin Atlantic lets you book these awards for half the miles that Delta charges
- American Express is running a transfer bonus to Virgin.
Now two transferable points programs are running transfer bonuses to Virgin at the same time. In addition to a 30% bonus transferring American Express Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic through July 1, points transfers from Citi ThankYou Rewards to Virgin Atlantic receive a 30% bonus through June 22. (HT: @Iadisgr8)
That means you can book awards through Virgin Atlantic using Membership Rewards, ThankYou Rewards, or some combination thereof:
- 39,000 points for Delta business class to Europe
- 47,000 points for Delta business class to Asia
- From 70,000 points roundtrip for ANA business class to/from Tokyo
- From 86,000 points roundtrip for ANA first class to/from Tokyo
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.)
Worth knowing that 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 (by phone).
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.
There are other award chart sweet spots, like Australia and New Zealand, but availability for those is fairly non-existent.