Transfer Citi Or AMEX Points To Virgin Atlantic And Get A 30% Bonus: Expanded Delta Award Space, Cheap First Class Redemptions, And More!

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Update: The AMEX transfer bonus ends tonight!


Get A 30% Bonus When You Transfer Citi ThankYou Points To Virgin Atlantic until 10/13.

Get A 30% Bonus When You Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points To Virgin Atlantic until 9/12.

You can currently earn an unprecedented 60K points with the Citi ThankYou Premier card!

Virgin Atlantic miles never expire as long as you redeem or earn at least 1 mile every 36 months.

In general, Virgin Atlantic charges high fuel surcharges that kill the value of many of their awards. For example a round-trip coach ticket from JFK to London is just 20K miles (under 16K AMEX/Citi points), but the taxes and fuel surcharges add $470. Business class is 95K miles and you’ll also owe $1,328 in taxes and fuel surcharges. Ouch.

If you only need a one-way ticket from NYC to London it’s not as bad. 10K miles+$148 in coach or 47.5K miles+$526 in business class. You may save some money by booking a ticket as a one-way to and from London rather than a round-trip.

However there are some notable sweet spots on partner airlines:

Flying on Delta:

Virgin Atlantic miles can be a bargain for flying on Delta. They often have saver award space, even when there’s none available on Delta.com!

You can even book Delta awards on Virgin Atlantic’s website, but they don’t make it easy.

Step 1: Click here to access the Virgin Atlantic award booking page.

Step 2: When entering your departure airport, be sure to choose the region and not an individual airport. For example you need to search for New York Area Airports to Los Angeles instead of JFK to Los Angeles as it won’t allow you to search for miles if you type in JFK.

Step 3: It probably won’t let you type in your desired destination airport. If it says “no matches found” you will need to click the location icon as shown below and manually search for your destination by country and state. If your destination still isn’t available you will have to call Virgin Atlantic to book award travel to that destination.

If the option to search for miles isn’t available you also may need to try selecting another airport, click on pay with miles, and then switch the airport. For example NYC to LAX didn’t work for me at first, but I switched the destination to San Francisco, clicked on pay with miles, and then switched back to Los Angeles.

On the search page you can select one-way or round-trip, exact dates, flexible within 1 week, or within 5 weeks. You can also change the class of service by clicking on “Show advanced options.”

Here’s what’s fascinating. In general, partner airlines can only book saver awards.

If you search for JFK to LAX on 12/10 on Delta.com you’ll see that the award costs 14.5K miles, which is not technically a saver award:

However on Virgin Atlantic you can book that flight for just 12.5K miles! Thanks to the 30% bonus from AMEX/Citi that’s like paying under 10K points:

 

Want to fly business class nonstop from Newark to Paris?

It’s an insane 280K miles if you Delta Skypesos:

 

But you can book it with Virgin Atlantic for just 50K miles. That’s under 39K AMEX/Citi points thanks to the 30% bonus!

Unfortunately, there are fuel surcharges to fly on Delta to London, but other destinations should have no fuel surcharges.

Note that the website charges extra for flights with connections. You may want to call Virgin Atlantic at 800-365-9500 to get them to price the award without the extra pricing for taking a connecting flight.


Flying on ANA:

ANA is an incredible Japanese airline with great first class suites that have very comfortable beds and amazing service. I reviewed them here towards the end of the 4th part of my Island Hopper adventure.

You only need 110K miles to fly round-trip from the west coast to Japan or 120K miles to fly round-trip from the east coast to Japan in first class. That’s under 85K AMEX/Citi points or under 93K AMEX/Citi points respectively, thanks to the 30% bonus.

ANA now collects fuel surcharges on ANA, but they are relatively low.

Here is the Virgin Atlantic award chart for travel on ANA:

 

Unfortunately, you do need to call Virgin Atlantic to book travel on ANA at 800-365-9500. You can search for ANA award space on United.com.

United charges a whopping 220K miles to fly round-trip from the US to Japan in ANA first class, but you can call Virgin Atlantic to book travel for under 93K AMEX/Citi points!


Flying on Jet Airways:

Here is the Virgin Atlantic award chart for flying on Jet Airways.

Their most interesting route to me is their 5th Freedom flight between Toronto and Amsterdam on the Boeing 777-300ER (77W). That plane features 8 first class suites with doors and 49 business class seats in a 1-2-1 herringbone direct aisle access configuration.

Jet Airways 77W first class suite with the doors open:

 

Jet Airways 77W business class:

 

Jet also flies the 77W from Delhi to Amsterdam, London, and Hong Kong and from Mumbai to Amsterdam, Hong Kong, London, and Paris.

Between Toronto and Amsterdam, a one-way flight would cost 20.5K miles in coach, 41K miles in business, or 60K miles in first class suites. With the 30% bonus that’s like using 15,769 AMEX/Citi points in coach, 31,538 AMEX/Citi points in business class, or 46,154 AMEX/Citi points in first class suites.

There are no fuel surcharges on Jet Airways awards. Taxes from Toronto to Amsterdam are about $40.

A one-way coach ticket would cost $553, imputing a value of 3.25 cents per AMEX/Citi point after backing out the taxes. A one-way business class ticket would cost $4,084, imputing a value of 12.8 cents per AMEX/Citi point. A one-way first class suites ticket would cost $8,040, imputing a value of 17.8 cents per AMEX/Citi point.

If you want to bring a lap child, a one-way flight only costs 1K miles in coach, 5K miles in business, or 7k miles in first class suites for the infant.

Award availability in all classes is excellent. It was available on every date that I checked!

Rates between Hong Kong and India are the same as the rates between Toronto and Amsterdam.

Between Europe and India, a one-way flight would cost 27K miles in coach, 54K miles in business, or 81K miles in first class suites. With the 30% bonus that’s like using 20,769 AMEX/Citi points in coach, 41,538 AMEX/Citi points in business class, or 62,308 AMEX/Citi points in first class suites.

You must call Virgin Atlantic at 800-365-9500 to get them to price the award without the extra pricing for taking a connecting flight.

Virgin Atlantic phones agents can hold awards for a day or 2.

It’s worth noting that Jet Airways is planning on removing first class eventually, but they are still selling first class seats over the next year.

Will you transfer points from AMEX or Citi to Virgin Atlantic to take advantage of this bonus? What other award sweet spots do you take advantage of?

HT: zagguru, via DDF

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33 Comments On "Transfer Citi Or AMEX Points To Virgin Atlantic And Get A 30% Bonus: Expanded Delta Award Space, Cheap First Class Redemptions, And More!"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

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United

I got an email a few weeks ago from Virgin Atlantic that they plan on launching a Virgin-wide loyalty programme in 2019. Do you know if and when that happens, will we be able to use thee points for flights on Virgin America?

Ejb

You keep saying expanded delta award space. Is it actually expanded, or does delta just charge variable rates for saver awards? Does it have any more availability than flyingblue?

yy

Can Virgin Atlantic miles be used to fly to Israel? They don’t list Israel on the website.

Ejb

Also, iirc they *do charge yq on Ana awards, and the yq increased to moderate levels recently (~$200 rt)

Yitz

What’s the best way to use for new york to tel aviv?

Jb

Asking myself as well. Let’s say stop over in London. How do we get to Tel Aviv ?

Ljderm

Booking on Delta from US to Hawaii???? on the phone only or not allowed at all? Did not see any option on the website.

Jack

Booked 2 tickets in delta first class JFK-FLL thanksgiving weekend for 75K Membership Rewards

mordy

would this work for booking to TLV?

hjeko

I tried to book a flight from NYC Area to CDG and it says that it’s not available with miles (This route is not eligible for miles or miles plus money payment.). What did I miss? Thank you 🙂

Joe S

Do you happen to know what pricing is from JFK-HNL (or other Hawaiin islands) RT on Delta using Virgin? I believe Delta is currently 50K in coach (used to be 45K but now have only seen 50K).

Whatitis

Dan,

The *phone* representatives won’t price connecting flights as part as the long haul mileage amount. Been told multiple times it’s segment by segment, even on a short connecting flights (Delta, JET, ANA.)

Example: US city to another US city (Delta) and then on to international (Delta.) Each leg prices out separately. No way around it.

Please explain how you were able to get them to price out a connecting flight without the extra miles (they specifically look at their system and indicate it’s “segment” by “segment.”)

Skeptical

Yes to this! If anyone knows what dan is talking about please share. I had a couple very well meaning agents try to book a US-Europe Delta itinerary with one domestic stop, always priced as 72500 instead of 50k

Yossi

Call 🙂

joseph

are chase to hyatt transfers instant?

George

Yes, Chase to Hyatt transfers are instant. I’ve done it many times in the last couple of weeks.

George

I have been trying to book reasonable First or Business Class award travel to Hawaii for a week now, and have been very unsuccessful (LAX/HNL and HNL/JFK). I checked Delta’s website and flights are not even half full for March, 2019, plenty of First/Business seats.
I spoke to Korean Airways, but they say Delta hasn’t released space for 45K round trips (LAX/HNL/LAX). I have plenty of transferable points and other airline miles.
I know it’s easier to earn points & miles, and much harder to use them for award travel, but I’m getting nowhere. I don’t want to settle for Economy seats. Please help ? Thanks !

Sam

@Dan- How can you check Jet Airways Award Availability? Thanks!

Max

Is there a way to fly out of London without paying heavy fuel surcharges, on any airline, with any points?? Or it has to do with some airport robbery fees?

shmuel zalman

+1 pwuld love to know the answer

Hadasa

People trying to fly long haul (Australia, South Africa,…) out of London without paying exorbitant airport taxes seem to find Dublin a good option well worth going for. Flights to Dublin are very low cost.

Ahmad Ali

Dan, Do you think that Virgin will devalue their points after this huge promo is completely over?

Askan in Brooklyn

Are there surcharges for flights that arent to london? Like for a typical domestic flight.

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