Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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Virgin Atlantic Flying Club may not be one of the mileage programs that you are the most familiar with, but it is definitely worth paying attention to for a few reasons.
You can earn Virgin Points by flying Virgin Atlantic or its partners — the number of points travelers earn depends on flight distance, cabin choice, ticket type, and elite status. You can also earn points by using a Virgin Atlantic credit card, shopping through an online portal, and booking car rentals or hotel rooms with partnering programs.
In this guide, we’ll be exploring all the best ways you can use Virgin Points for maximum value. We’ll be focusing on premium cabin awards on Virgin Atlantic’s partner airlines, so let’s get started!
Virgin Points are some of the easiest to earn, thanks to handy transfer partners. In fact, Virgin Atlantic is transfer partners with all 5 of the major transferable currencies: Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One Miles, American Express Membership Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy, and Citi ThankYou Rewards.
Chase points are so easy to earn and there are lots of valuable Chase transfer partners, both airlines and hotels. Chase Ultimate Rewards points also transfer to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at a 1:1 ratio.
A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.
Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.
A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.
The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options. Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.
Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!
Business Owner? See our article on Chase business credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards.
American Express Membership Rewards transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, who are one of many American Express transfer partners.
The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.
When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.
This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.
The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.
With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.
There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.
Business Owner? See our article on Amex business credit cards that earn Membership Rewards.
You can earn Marriott Bonvoy points and transfer those to Virgin Atlantic at a transfer rate of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer, you’ll receive an extra 5,000 Virgin Points bonus.
See our list of the best Marriott credit cards in our detailed guide.
To book any partner awards with Virgin Points (except Delta), 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 South African Airways and ANA availability on united.com. The major exception to this is Delta Air Lines. Although Delta doesn’t release the same premium cabin availability to Virgin Atlantic as it releases to Delta SkyMiles members, Virgin Atlantic can show online search results easily.
If you’re using Virgin Atlantic to search for Delta Air Lines availability, you may be unable to search online for travel to certain cities, such as Seoul-Incheon (ICN). To get around this, you can simply use ExpertFlyer or delta.com (look for partner-level availability). Another option (if you’re still confused by the variable award buckets put forth by Delta) is to use Korean Air, which is clunky but somewhat reliable.
Once you have confirmed availability for the flights and dates you would like to travel, go ahead and give Virgin Atlantic a call at 800-365-9500. Remember that you cannot mix partners on award tickets.
When you have enough Virgin Points 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 points — don’t be limited to just the options we have highlighted!
Without a doubt, this is one of the most valuable sweet spots in the entire world. This ranking isn’t just for Virgin Atlantic redemptions. Whereas most airlines charge upwards of 200,000 points for round-trip first class to Asia, Virgin Atlantic charges half of that.
This is a timeless and classic aspirational redemption on one of the best first class airlines in the world. These first class flights are on All Nippon Airways (ANA), which is one of the largest airlines in Japan.
Virgin Atlantic divides the U.S. and has incredible premium cabin values:
ANA First Class U.S. to Japan:
ANA Business Class U.S. to Japan:
Hot Tip: Check out our review of ANA’s 777 business class!
If you want to continue elsewhere in Asia, you will, unfortunately, be charged 2 separate awards, so this deal is only great for travel to Japan. Expect taxes and fees to be around $300 for a round-trip flight per person.
Onto the next option in our list of best ways to use Virgin Points: flying Upper Class! Economy standard-season award flights between the U.K. and the U.S. vary between 20,000 and 30,000 Virgin Points.
East Coast cities require fewer points than West Coast cities. Peak-season awards require 20,000 more points based on a round-trip booking.
Premium economy tickets can be booked for 35,000 to 55,000 points depending on the route during standard season dates, and Upper Class awards priced between 95,000 and 135,000 Virgin Points during standard season dates.
Hot Tip: Need Help Booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to booking Virgin Atlantic Upper Class!
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 Virgin Points!
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 round-trip.
To check for peak versus standard season dates and access the Virgin Atlantic award chart for Virgin Atlantic flights, visit this link.
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 points at a 50% discount, or to an Upper Class seat at 25% off. Economy Light tickets are not eligible for upgrades.
Air France is one of Virgin Atlantic’s closest partners. Although Virgin Atlantic doesn’t share Air France’s membership in the SkyTeam alliance, it’s possible to redeem Virgin Points to fly Air France.
In this case, the highest cabin you can book is business, but you’ll enjoy a fully lie-flat bed, excellent French catering, and great service. And believe it or not, you can even redeem Virgin Points on lots of routes cheaper than you’d redeem Air France points!
If you redeem Virgin Points between Zone 1 and Zone 6, you can book business class during off-peak dates for 48,500 points (58,500 points during peak dates). Also, you can redeem Virgin Points on KLM flights for the same amount.
Here’s what Zone 1 includes:
Here’s what Zone 6 includes:
As you can see, you can fly from much of Western Europe to either the eastern U.S., eastern Canada, or the Caribbean. Here are a few example routes you can take:
Instead of providing a unique chart for awards booked on Delta, Flying Club simply applies its own award chart 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 within the continental U.S. and between the U.S. and Alaska/Canada costs 25,000 Virgin Points — an industry standard. Flights to Europe come to 60,000 points, which is also similar to most U.S.-based carriers.
Award flights to the Caribbean come to 35,000 points, 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 Virgin Points, compared with 45,000 SkyMiles that Delta charges.
Another notable exception here is that routes between the U.K. and the East Coast U.S. start at just 20,000 points in economy and 90,000 points in business/first class. Those destinations include New York (JFK), Boston (BOS), and Philadelphia (PHL).
However, remember the potential for high fuel surcharges as these flights originate overseas.
When travel originates in the U.S. (for flights to Europe), you will not need to pay the U.K. Air Passenger Duty, which is usually around ~$200. This move can save you a bundle in fuel surcharges!
We’ve put together the comprehensive guide on the best ways to book Delta One, which also includes Delta One Suites, its newest business class product. Delta One Suites features sliding doors, comfortable Westin bedding, and an awesome soft product.
One of the best ways to book Delta One Suites is with Virgin Points. Here’s a quick breakdown of some hot routes and their mileage prices:
|Route||Virgin Points Cost (One-Way)|
|U.S. to Europe (excluding the U.K.)||50,000|
|Detroit (DTW) – Amsterdam (AMS)||50,000|
|U.S. to Asia||60,000|
|Atlanta (ATL) – Seoul-Incheon (ICN)||60,000|
|Atlanta (ATL) – Tokyo-Narita (NRT)||60,000|
|Detroit (DTW) – Tokyo-Narita (NRT)||60,000|
|Detroit (DTW) – Beijing (PEK)||60,000|
|Detroit (DTW) – Shanghai (PVG)||60,000|
|Detroit (DTW) – Seoul-Incheon (ICN)||60,000|
|Los Angeles (LAX) – Shanghai (PVG)||60,000|
|Los Angeles (LAX) – Tokyo-Haneda (HND)||60,000|
|Minneapolis (MSP) – Seoul-Incheon (ICN)||60,000|
|Minneapolis (MSP) – Tokyo-Haneda (HND)||60,000|
|Seattle (SEA) – Tokyo-Narita (NRT)||60,000|
|U.S. to South West Pacific||75,000|
|Los Angeles (LAX) – Sydney (SYD)||75,000|
As you can see, there’s a massive emphasis on delivering the best business class product to hubs in Asia. The icing on the cake is that fuel surcharges are not passed on, reducing your out-of-pocket costs to as little as $5.60 per person!
Intra-New Zealand redemptions come to just 15,000 Virgin Points in economy, but business class is not available.
Awards between New Zealand and Australia (including the Pacific Islands) cost 20,000 Virgin Points in economy and 30,000 points in business class, which is pretty reasonable.
As with other award flights, these can only be booked over the phone.
One of the better ways to fly to New Zealand is nonstop via Air New Zealand. If you value a nonstop route and you don’t need generous award availability, you can redeem Virgin Points for nonstop Air New Zealand business class flights.
A nonstop, round-trip flight between Auckland (AKL) and Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) costs 80,000 Virgin Points in economy and 125,000 points in business class.
In practice, however, those awards are virtually unavailable. The key exception is this: During the first half of a year, Air New Zealand may periodically dump a huge number of business class award seats for travel during the low season (June to August with most awards in July).
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 points in economy and 80,000 points in business class.
Redeeming Virgin Points on domestic Virgin Australia routes can be a good option if cash flights are expensive.
Redemption rates vary depending on the distance flown. For example, round-trip economy tickets less than 400 points will cost 16,000 Virgin Points. For example, Perth (PER) to Cocos Islands (CCK) comes to 40,000 points, and Hobert (HBA) to Brisbane (BNE) costs 30,000 points. 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.
Hot Tip: Check out more fantastic cabin photos of Virgin Australia’s business class in our review!
Flying Club provides rather lucrative options for award travel within South Africa, as well as between South Africa and the following Southern Africa 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 points, and business class tickets are 30,000 points.
A slightly higher cost of redemption applies to award flights booked between South Africa and the following Central and Northern African 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 points for economy, and business class tickets come to 50,000 points.
Open-jaws are allowed, but the point of origin and return must be the same. A maximum of 4 legs is 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.
Flying Club offers an interesting opportunity to redeem points for ANA-operated flights. The award chart shows the same redemption level — 15,000 points — for all round-trip intra-Japan flights in economy class, no matter the distance.
Whether a flight is 600 points or 4,000 points, it doesn’t matter: it will cost 15,000 Virgin Points to book.
For example, flying from Ozora (MMB) to Osaka (KIX) round-trip is usually around $300, which gives you a 2 cents per point value. Similarly, round-trip flights from Miyakojima (MMY) to Fukuoka (FUK) or Tokyo (NRT) are typically at least $250.
Neither business class nor first class redemptions are available, and these redemptions can only be made by phone.
Flights from the West Coast to Hawaii and back require 40,000 Virgin Points in economy and 80,000 Virgin Points in first class. East Coast cities cost a bit more at 80,000 Virgin Points in economy and 130,000 Virgin Points 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 points for 25,000 and 30,000 points, 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.
For those already on the islands, it is possible to use Virgin Points to island-hop!
An inter-island itinerary requires just 15,000 points 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.
Delta Air Lines only charges 22,500 points one-way for business class within the U.S. (except Hawaii) and Canada. Specifically, an area of huge value is on the premium transcontinental route between Los Angeles (LAX) – New York (JFK).
These are among the most expensive business class tickets, and using 22,500 points plus $5.60 can get you 6 hours in fully lie-flat business class. This is a great opportunity, especially considering the cash price of these tickets.
Hot Tip: Be sure to double-check whether you’re getting a lie-flat seat before you book your flight!
NOTE:Necker Island redemptions using Virgin Points are currently suspended as the resort works through a backlog of COVID-19 cancellations. We are hopeful that Virgin Atlantic redemption stays will return soon.
Sir Richard Branson, the famed CEO of the Virgin Group, lives on his own private island— known as Necker Island — in the British Virgin Islands.
Why is this important?
Because you can redeem (a boatload) of Virgin Points to stay on Necker Island during certain Celebration Weeks. It won’t come cheap, though, at a whopping 1,500,000 points for 2 people sharing 1 room in the Great House for 7 nights.
For perspective, Great House rooms cost $5,000 per night during Celebration Weeks, so your 7-night stay is worth $35,000. Starting in 2021, though, Celebration Week stays will be priced based on a 7-night stay, instead of per night. In 2021, the stay will cost $36,050. Therefore, you’ll get a value of 2.3 to 2.4 cents per point.
But your stay doesn’t just include the room. Your stay includes all food and drink (including alcohol), activities on the island, and return boat transfers to Necker Island from Virgin Gorda or Beef Island. Your flights are not included, however.
Also, you need Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Silver or Gold elite status to book this redemption. Reservations can only be made up to 11 months in advance of the arrival date.
Flying Club members can earn points by flying the following airlines:
Redeeming Virgin Points is allowed on all partners except SAS. Award seats can be booked up to 331 days in advance.
Hot Tip: For more information on Virgin Atlantic’s loyalty program, check out the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club loyalty program page.
While Virgin Atlantic Flying Club often charges higher fees than many competing airlines for its operated flights, it does still offer a handful of good redemptions that you shouldn’t count out… especially since Virgin Points are so easy to get a hold of!
We hope our list of the best ways to use Virgin Points was helpful. Now, all that’s left is to go earn some points and start saving up. Happy redeeming!
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The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, click here.
Flying Club is the frequent flyer program of Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Points are the points earned and redeemed.
The value of Virgin Points depends on what kind of ticket you are redeeming with your points. We value Virgin Points around 1.4 cents each.
However, it is possible to find redemptions that are much better. For example, a business or first class flight on ANA could have values over 5 cents per point!
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UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.