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Virgin Atlantic recently announced a new mileage sale, offering Flying Club members the ability to buy Virgin points with up to a 70% bonus. If maximized, this translates into just 1.6¢ per point. So depending on your plans, this can present a fantastic opportunity to save!
A Note on Buying Miles
At AwardWallet, our primary goal is to show people how to get the best value for their hard-earned points and miles. Likewise, we evangelize the power of using the right card for every purchase. This maximizes your earning potential and builds your stash of points organically through everyday purchases. This means we're not typically proponents of buying miles—we prefer to earn them for free!
However, like any good rule, there are exceptions. If you're just short of your next award redemption, buying the last few miles could be cheaper than paying cash for the flight. Moreover, if you (or an employer) plan to pay cash for an expensive ticket, buying enough miles for an equivalent reward redemption could mean saving a lot. In any case, before you buy miles, be sure you're comfortable with the comparable value you're receiving.
Buy Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Points Key Terms
- Offer available through midnight GMT on August 14, 2021.
- Virgin Atlantic members can typically buy up to 100,000 points per year. However, during this promotion, members can buy up to 150,000 points (before the bonus).
- Virgin Atlantic sells Flying Club points in increments of 1,000.
- For the first 14 days after purchasing, members may request a refund provided they haven't redeemed any of the purchased points. After the initial 14 days (or after redeeming any of the purchased points), the transaction is non-refundable.
- All buy points transactions incur a $25 transaction fee.
- Virgin Atlantic deposits purchased points within 24 hours of completing the purchase.
- You can find all the terms and conditions here.
For this promotion, Virgin Atlantic offers tiered bonuses based on the number of points purchased:
For this promotion, the best value is found in the top tier — starting at 100,000 points. So, if you buy the maximum of 150,000 points, you'll net 255,000 Virgin points for $4,075. Factoring in the $25 transaction fee, this equals a value of 1.6¢ per point.
Why can't I buy Virgin Points?
One quirk of the Flying Club program is that you cannot purchase points if you haven't had any earning or redemption history with the program. That means that if you haven't earned or redeemed a single Flying Club mile, you'll likely run into this notice:
Thankfully, there's a quick fix for this. Simply make a small points transfer to your Flying Club account. Virgin is a transfer partner with four of the major transferrable points currency. So, that means you can a minimum transfer from the following currencies and gain the ability to buy Virgin points:
- American Express Membership Rewards (1:1)
- Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1)
- Citi ThankYou Points (1:1)
- Marriott Bonvoy (3:1 with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred)
Aside from Marriott Bonvoy transfers, all of these transfers are instant. So, you'll have the ability to buy points in no time.
Situations Where Buying Virgin Points Makes Sense
Before the start of 2021, we could have filled this section with plenty of fun business-class sweet spots, often featuring Delta flights. Unfortunately, earlier this year, Virgin Atlantic quietly quashed many of our favorite Delta premium-class partner redemptions.
Don't despair, though. There are still several situations where Virgin points can offer outsized value. But as Ross Denkin noted in the above-linked devaluation post, with Delta, you may just have to fly economy instead.
Seattle (SEA) to Tokyo (HND) in Delta Economy
- Mileage Rate: 27,500 each way
- Typical Cash Price: $737
- Redemption Rate: 2.68 cents per point
- Cost to buy just 27,600 Virgin Points: $646
- Cost of buying 27,500 Virgin Points at 1.6¢ per point: $439
Fly from Miami to Paris in KLM Business Class
- Mileage Rate: 48,500 + $317.80 each way
- Typical Cash Price: $2,934
- Redemption Rate: 5.4 cents per point
- Cost to Buy 49,400 Virgin Points: $1,051
- Cost of Buying 48,500 Virgin Points at 1.6¢ per point: $775
Fly New York to Tokyo in ANA First Class
- Mileage Rate: 120,000 round trip
- Typical Cash Price: $21,931
- Redemption Rate: 18.3 cents per point
- Cost to Buy Exactly 120,000 Virgin Points: $2,185
- Cost of Buying 120,000 Virgin Points at 1.6¢ per point: $1,918
This is often touted as the greatest sweet spot in all of award travel. Period. For just 120,000 points, Flying Club members can book themselves from the East Coast to Japan round trip in ANA first class. Round-trip. That's a screaming deal—and it just got even better.
Plus, Flying Club recently modified its ANA partner awards page to reflect that members can now also book one-way awards on ANA for half the round-trip price. That means first-class awards from the US east coast to Japan for only 60,000 points!
To book ANA awards with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points, follow these steps:
- Search United.com for ANA award availability.
- Once you've found availability, note the dates and flight numbers.
- Call Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (800-365-9500) and feed them the dates and flight numbers.
- Once the agent has confirmed award space, transfer points to your Flying Club account. (This excludes Marriott since Bonvoy-Virgin transfers typically take a few days).
- Pay for the award ticket plus the taxes and fees.
Maximize Your Purchase
Flying Club mile purchases are processed by Points.com, meaning they won't qualify for the travel bonus category offered on some credit cards. In this case, you're better off using a points purchase to qualify for the minimum spending requirement of a welcome bonus or using a card that bonuses everyday purchases. Some of our favorites include:
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Citi® Double Cash Card
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Virgin Atlantic is offering up to a 70% bonus on points purchases through August 14, 2021. If maximized, Flying Club members can snag points for as little as 1.6¢ per point.
Although Virgin recently devalued Delta award flights, it still has several amazing sweet spots left. For several of these, buying points for 1.6¢ can mean realizing a significant discount compared to paying cash rates. If you see yourself booking a high-value Virgin Atlantic award soon, you may want to consider buying now to lock in this price.
Would you buy Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points for 1.6¢ each?
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