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13 Best Ways To Redeem Virgin Atlantic Miles for Max Value [2017]

air china first class

Virgin Atlantic may not be one of the mileage programs that you are the most familiar with, but they are definitely worth paying attention to for a few reasons.

Flying Club miles do not expire for 36 months with account activity, including earning and redeeming miles, which is rather generous!

It is possible to earn miles by flying Virgin Atlantic or its partners, using a Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard from Bank of America, shopping through an online portal, and booking car rentals or hotel rooms with partnering programs.

The number of miles passengers earn depends on flight distance, cabin choice, ticket type, and elite status. Flying Club has 3 elite tiers: Red, Silver and Gold.

Red members earn the standard number of miles, Silver members receive a 30-percent boost in addition to standard miles, and Gold members receive a 60-percent boost in addition to the standard number of miles earned.

For example, a Red member traveling round-trip in economy between London and Los Angeles will earn 10,908 redeemable miles. With a 30-percent boost, Silver members will earn 14,180 miles; Gold members will earn 17,452 miles with a 60-percent boost.

How To Boost Your Virgin Atlantic Miles

Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards

Chase Ultimate Rewards points also transfer to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at a 1:1 ratio. (Remember, Chase points are so easy to earn and they have lots of valuable airline and hotel transfer partners)

Recommend Chase Cards (Personal)

CREDIT CARDMORE INFO
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

(Our #1 rewards card).
50,000 bonus points. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through
Chase Ultimate Rewards.
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Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card50,000 bonus points
3X points on travel and dining.
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Chase Freedom®Earn 5% cash back in bonus categories
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Chase Freedom Unlimited℠Unlimited 1.5% cash back
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Recommend Chase Cards (Business)

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Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit CardEarn 3 points per $1 in select categories
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Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit CardEarn 5% cash back in select business categories
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American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

American Express Membership Rewards transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

Recommend Amex Cards (Personal)

CREDIT CARDMORE INFO
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points
5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
$200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
Annual Fee: $550
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Premier Rewards Gold Card from American ExpressEarn 25,000 points. Terms Apply.
3x points for flights booked directly with airlines. Terms Apply.
Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $195
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Blue Cash EveryDay® Preferred from American Express$150 statement credit
6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms Apply.
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Blue Cash EveryDay® from American Express$100 statement credit
3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms Apply.
Annual Fee: $0
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The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American ExpressEarn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points
2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x). Terms Apply.
Annual Fee: $0
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Recommend Amex Cards (Business)

CREDIT CARDMORE INFO
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPENEarn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com. Terms Apply.
Annual Fee: $450
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The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPENEarn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points
Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories. Terms Apply.
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
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The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter. Terms Apply.
No annual fee
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SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American ExpressEarn up to $400 cash back
5% cash back on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores. Terms Apply.
No annual fee
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Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards

Starwood points transfer to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at a 1:1 ratio. If you transfer 20,000 SPG points, you will receive a 5,000-mile bonus!

CREDIT CARDMORE INFO
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American ExpressEarn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights.
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. Terms Apply.
Full Review
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American ExpressEarn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. Terms Apply.
Full Review

The 13 Best Ways To Use Your Virgin Miles

In order to book any partner awards with Virgin Atlantic miles, you are going to have to get on the phone. It is best to confirm that space is available with another tool before you make the call.

For example, you can check Delta availability at Delta.com, Singapore availability at Singapore.com, and South African availability on United.com.

Once you have confirmed availability for the flights and dates you would like to travel, go ahead and give Virgin Atlantic a call. Remember that you cannot mix partners on award tickets.

When you have enough Virgin miles for a trip, you can get some ideas by looking below and choosing one that appeals to you.

Keep in mind there are tons of different ways to use your miles, don’t be limited to just the options we have highlighted!

1. Fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Between The U.S. and U.K. (Starting at 95,000 Miles)

virgin atlantic upper class
Use your Flying Club miles to fly in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class. Image courtesy of virgin-atlantic.com.

Onto the first in our list of best ways to use Virgin Atlantic miles: flying Upper Class! Economy standard-season award flights between the United Kingdom and the United States vary between 20,000-30,000 Flying Club miles.

The award chart is more or less distance-based, with East Coast cities requiring fewer miles than West Coast cities. Peak-season awards require 20,000 more miles based on a round-trip booking.

Premium economy tickets can be booked for 35,000-55,000 miles depending on the route, with Upper Class awards priced between 95,000-135,000 Virgin miles.

Keep in mind that Virgin Atlantic imposes rather high fuel surcharges on its award flights, and you will also be subject to the high government and airport taxes when flying through the U.K.

For example, fees on round-trip flights between the U.K. and the U.S. range from $440 to $500.

We’ve seen plenty of airfare sales that let travelers purchase a flight to Europe in economy for that amount, so an economy class redemption might not be the best use of Flying Club miles!

Surcharges on premium economy awards range from $790 to $830, while fees in the Upper Class start at $1,100 and go up to $1,210.

Peak dates in 2017 include March 31-April 18, June 22-September 6, and December 13-December 31.

If you’ve already purchased a flight, it is possible to upgrade an eligible existing reservation booked with cash. A flexible economy ticket can be upgraded to premium economy with miles at a 50% discount, or to an Upper Class seat at 25% off.

Hot Tip: Use The Platinum Card® from American Express to get Global Entry and TSA PreCheck to make your trip go more smoothly. You’ll also get great benefits like Boingo WiFi access at the airports, or you can use WiFi in the airport lounges you get access to!

2. Fly Delta to Hawaii (Starting at 40,000 Miles)

hawaii
Fly to Hawaii on Delta with your Flying Club miles, and you’ll know exactly many miles it will cost ahead of time. Image courtesy of hawaii.com.

Instead of providing a unique chart for awards booked on Delta metal, Flying Club simply applies Delta’s own mileage requirements for redemptions. Of course, Delta itself does not publish an award chart, but these redemption values are on par with Delta’s low-level awards.

For example, a domestic round-trip award costs 25,000 Flying Club miles—an industry standard. Flights to Europe come to 60,000 miles, which is also similar to most U.S.-based carriers.

Award flights to the Caribbean come to 35,000 miles, and awards to South America are 45,000. The sweet spot seems to be on award flights between the U.S. and Hawaii. Those require just 40,000 Flying Club miles, compared with 45,000 SkyMiles that Delta charges.

Another notable exception here is that select routes to the U.S. originating in the U.K. come to just 40,000 miles in economy and 90,000 miles in business/first class.

Those destinations include Atlanta, New York, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Salt Lake City. Origin cities include London Heathrow, Edinburgh (to JFK only), Glasgow (to JFK only starting in May 2017) and Manchester (to Atlanta only).

However, remember the potential for high fuel surcharges as these flights originate overseas.

When travel originates in the United States (for flights to Europe), it can save you a bundle in fuel surcharges!

3. Fly Singapore to Europe on Singapore Airlines (For 120,000 in Business)

business class on singapore
Business class on Singapore Airlines is so nice, you’ll think you’re in first! Image courtesy of singaporeair.com

Singapore to Europe comes to 70,000 Flying Club miles in economy class, 120,000 in business class, and 180,000 in first. Singapore to Moscow specifically (via Dubai) comes to 70,000 miles in economy, 110,000 miles in business class and 165,000 miles in first class.

Compared to 110,000 MileagePlus miles on similar economy-class routes when booked through United, these redemptions are not bad.

Unfortunately, these awards could include high taxes as well.

4. Fly From New Zealand to Oceania on Air New Zealand (Starting at Just 15,000 Miles) 

Intra-New Zealand redemptions come to just 15,000 Virgin miles in economy, but business class is not available.

Awards between New Zealand and Australia (including the Pacific Islands) come to 20,000 Flying Club miles in economy and 30,000 miles in business class, which is pretty reasonable.

As with other award flights, these can only be booked over the phone.

Hot Tip: If you’re staying in a hotel, you might want to use a hotel credit card like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or Hilton Honors™ Surpass Card from American ExpressYou’ll get Gold elite status benefits and earn additional points for your stays!

5. Fly From New Zealand to the U.S. (Starting at 125,000 Miles in Business)

air new zealand business class
You’ll be ready to hit the water swimming when you fly Air New Zealand’s business class from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Auckland. Image courtesy of airnewzealand.com

The award chart lists a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to the U.K. for 50,000 Flying Club miles in economy and 75,000 miles in business class, which are fantastic rates. However, it is difficult to find availability.

If you’re able to snag a seat on this route, consider yourself lucky as Air New Zealand doesn’t release many business-class seats to partners.

You’ll find a similar situation applies to long-haul awards between New Zealand and the United States. In theory, a flight between Auckland and Los Angeles or San Francisco costs 80,000 Flying Club miles in economy and 125,000 miles in business class.

In practice, however, those awards are virtually unavailable.

For those still interested in trying out the airline, awards between New Zealand and Asia tend to be more available for booking through partners. Per the Flying Club chart, these round-trip flights can be booked for 60,000 miles in economy and 80,000 miles in business class.

6. Travel Within Australia on Virgin Australia (Starting at 15,000 Miles)

virgin australia business class
Fly around Australia in style with Virgin Australia’s business class! Image courtesy of virginaustralia.com.

Redeeming Flying Club miles on domestic Virgin Australia routes can be a good option if cash flights are expensive.

Redemption rates vary depending on the city pairs, from 15,000-40,000 Flying Club miles based on a round-trip booking. For example, Perth to Cocos Islands comes to 20,000 miles, and Sydney to Cairns costs 40,000 miles. Fuel surcharges do not apply to domestic tickets.

Passengers can book one-way award flights for half the price of a round-trip award, meaning it’s possible to combine a few one-way awards for a tour of Australia.

7. Travel Within African Continent on South African Airways (Starting at 20,000 Miles)

South African Airways' business class
Enjoy South African Airways’ business class service while exploring the continent of Africa. Image courtesy of www.flysaa.com

Flying Club provides rather lucrative options for award travel within South Africa as well as between South Africa and the following African destinations:

Beira, Mozambique; Blantyre, Malawi; Bulawayo, Zimbabwe; Gaborone, Botswana; Harare, Zimbabwe; Lilongwe, Malawi; Livingstone, Zambia; Lusaka, Zambia; Maputo, Mozambique; Maseru, Lesotho; Matsapha, Swaziland; Ndola, Zambia; Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe; Walvis Bay, Namibia; and Windhoek, Namibia.

Round-trip economy tickets on these routes come to 20,000 miles, and business class tickets are 30,000 miles.

A slightly higher cost of redemption applies to award flights booked between South Africa and the following destinations:

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire; Dakar, Senegal; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Entebbe, Uganda; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Lagos, Nigeria; Luanda, Angola; Mauritius; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; Pointe-Noire, Congo; Cotonou, Benin; Brazzaville, Congo; and Douala, Cameroon.

Round-trip tickets on these routes would be 40,000 Virgin miles for economy, and business class tickets come to 50,000 miles.

Open-jaws are allowed, but the point of origin and return must be the same. A maximum of 4 legs are allowed.

Hot Tip: When you’re flying multiple legs and you need to check your bag, the chances of it getting lost increase. You can minimize that risk by getting baggage insurance from a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express!

8. Fly on ANA Within Japan (Starting at 15,000 Miles)

Flying Club offers an interesting opportunity to redeem miles for ANA-operated flights. The award chart shows the same redemption level—15,000 miles—for all round-trip intra-Japan flights in economy class, no matter the distance.

Whether a flight is 600 miles or 4,000 miles, it doesn’t matter: it will cost 15,000 Flying Club miles to book.

Neither business class nor first class redemptions are available, and these redemptions can only be made by phone.

9. Fly Jet Airways With the Price Based on Distance

jet airways business class
You may not think of luxury when you think of Jet Airways, but you will get a fully flat seat in business class! Image courtesy of Caroline Lupini.

Jet Airways is an India-based airline with headquarters based in Mumbai. Flying Club provides a distance-based award chart for Jet Airways flights, meaning the longer a flight is the more miles will be required to book.

Round-trip flights that are 1,400 miles or shorter cost 20,600 Flying Club miles in economy and 37,000 in business class.

Flights between 1,401-1,999 miles in distance can be purchased for 30,000 miles in economy and 54,000 miles in business class. First class cannot be booked on these flights.

Longer flights, however, do allow first-class redemptions. Flights that are between 2,000-7,600 miles long can be booked for 41,000 miles in economy, 82,000 miles in business class, and 120,000 miles in first class.

Flights between 7,601-14,000 miles will cost 54,000 Flying Club miles in economy, 108,000 miles in business class, and 162,000 miles in first.

Finally, flights that are 14,001 miles or longer can be purchased for 95,000 miles in economy, 190,000 miles in business class and 282,000 miles in first class.

One open-jaw is allowed, but stopovers are not permitted. All domestic and international flights can be booked with Virgin miles as long as there’s availability. At least 7 days advance notice is required to secure a reservation.

10. London to Beijing on Air China (for 75,000 Miles in First Class)

air china first class
Air China’s first class presents one of the most luxurious redemption options for your Flying Club miles. Image courtesy of thedesignair.net.

This is the only Air China-operated route available for booking with Flying Club miles. A round-trip flight comes to 56,000 miles in economy, 63,000 miles in business class, and 75,000 miles in first class.

Only round-trip flights can be booked, and unfortunately, fuel surcharges do apply to this award.

11. West Coast Mainland U.S. to Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines (Starting at 40,000 Miles)

hawaiian airlines
Just in case you couldn’t find availability to Hawaii on Delta, you can also check Hawaiian! Image courtesy of hawaiianairlines.com.

Flights from the West Coast to Hawaii and back require 40,000 Flying Club miles in economy and 80,000 miles in first class. East Coast cities cost a bit more at 80,000 Flying Club miles in economy and 130,000 miles in first class.

This redemption clearly benefits those located on the West Coast!

In comparison, it is possible to book cheaper awards to Hawaii using British Airways Avios or Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles for 25,000 and 30,000 miles, respectively, provided there’s availability on American Airlines or Delta Air Lines.

When booked directly with Delta, United, or American, this ticket would cost 45,000 SkyMiles, 45,000 MileagePlus miles, or 45,000 AAdvantage miles at the saver level. At least Flying Club provides redemption rates that are competitive with U.S. airlines!

The best part about these redemptions is that Hawaiian Airlines doesn’t charge exorbitant fuel surcharges on award tickets.

12. Fly Between the Hawaiian Islands (Starting at 15,000 Miles)

For those already on the islands, it is possible to use Flying Club miles to island hop!

An inter-island itinerary requires just 15,000 miles in economy or 30,000 in first class. Because one-ways and open-jaws are allowed to be booked with Hawaiian Airlines, the legs can be booked as separate segments, allowing travelers to visit multiple Hawaiian Islands on the same trip.

13. Flights Within Asia on Malaysian Airlines (Starting at 40,000 Miles in Business)

malaysia airlines business class
Malaysia Airlines business class is a great way to fly. Image courtesy of thedesignair.net.

Although many redemption options on Malaysian Airlines aren’t the most lucrative, there are a few that can be a good use of your Flying Club miles.

For example, domestic round-trip awards from Kuala Lumpur to the West Malaysia region (Malay Peninsula) come to just 20,000 miles in economy class and 40,000 miles in business.

Domestic awards from Kuala Lumpur to East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo) come to 30,000 miles in economy and 50,000 in business class. First class redemptions are not available on these routes.

Another decent use of miles can be flying between Kuala Lumpur and many cities in Southeast Asia, such as:

Bangkok, Thailand; Phuket, Thailand; Medan, Indonesia; Jakarta, Indonesia; Surabaya, Indonesia; Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Denpasar, Indonesia; Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Hanoi, Vietnam; Yangon, Myanmar; Singapore; Manila, Philippines; Cebu, Philippines; and Hat Yai, Thailand.

Round-trip economy tickets on these routes come to 35,000 miles, and business class tickets are 55,000 miles. Again, first class seats are not available on these routes.

Using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles With Airline Partners

Flying Club members can earn miles by flying the following airlines: Delta Air Lines, Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Hawaiian Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS).

Redeeming Virgin miles is allowed on all partners except SAS. Award seats can be booked up to 330 days in advance.

List of Virgin Atlantic Airline Partners

Virgin Atlantic Airline Partners
Delta Air LinesSingapore Airlines
Air New ZealandVirgin Australia
South African AirwaysAll Nippon Airways (ANA)
Jet AirwaysAir China
Hawaiian AirlinesMalaysia Airlines
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) (Mileage earning only)

In Conclusion

While Virgin Atlantic Flying Club often charges higher fees than many competing airlines, they do still offer a handful of good redemptions that you shouldn’t count out…especially since Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles are so easy to get a hold of!

We hope our list of the best ways to use Virgin Atlantic miles was helpful, now go earn some points and start saving up. Happy redeeming!

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FAQ

What are Flying Club miles?
Flying Club is the frequent flyer mile program of Virgin Atlantic.

What are Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles worth?
The value of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles depends on what kind of ticket you are redeeming with your points. Most people would value their Flying Club miles around 1.2 cents each.

However, it is possible to find redemptions that are much better. For example, a business class flight on Virgin Australia could have values over 5 cents per mile!

Who are Virgin Atlantic’s  partners?
Virgin Atlantic is not part of a formal alliance, but they have several partners:

Are Virgin Atlantic Flying Club tickets refundable?
Virgin Atlantic charges very reasonable fees to change or cancel an award ticket. Change fees are only $30, and a cancellation with mileage redeposit costs $50.

When do Flying Club miles expire?
Flying Club miles expire after 3 years if there has not been account activity.