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The Virgin Atlantic Flying Club rewards program is probably best known for the surcharges imposed on most of its awards. Despite these surcharges, there is a major reason why this program should be on everyone's radar: the Flying Club program is one of the travel rewards programs that partners with all four major flexible rewards programs, which include:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards — (Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card)
- Marriott Rewards — (Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card)
- American Express Membership Rewards — (The Platinum Card® from American Express)
- Citi ThankYou Points — (Citi Prestige® Card)
Earning enough miles for a Virgin Atlantic award is very achievable, and best of all, there are some Virgin Atlantic Awards for which fuel surcharges are not imposed.
Included are some of our favorite sweet spots in the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program. An important universal rule to remember for Flying Club redemptions is that one-way partner awards are not allowed. However, you can book one-way awards for Virgin Atlantic's own flights as well as Virgin Australia flights. All partner awards must be booked by calling Virgin Atlantic. Full details on the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program.
Business Class Awards on Virgin Atlantic Flights between London-LHR and Atlanta, Boston, New York-JFK, Newark, Washington-IAD, Chicago and Detroit
Yes, there are fuel surcharges imposed on Virgin Atlantic flights between London/Heathrow and Atlanta, Boston, New York-JFK, Newark, Washington-IAD, Chicago and Detroit, but at a rate of only 40,000 miles each way, those surcharges might be worth it. Considering Virgin Atlantic's excellent business class product (Upper Class), and what you'd expect to pay for a redemption with a partner (50%+ more), it is a great rate. The same 40,000-mile one-way rate applies for flights between Manchester and Atlanta as well.
Business Class Awards on Virgin Atlantic Flights between the UK and Las Vegas/Los Angeles
For an additional 10,000 miles, you can travel between the UK and Los Angeles and Las Vegas. 50,000 miles for one-way business class awards from the West Coast is a bargain. From Las Vegas, Virgin Atlantic flies to Glasgow, Manchester and London/Heathrow, which also serves Los Angeles.
Awards Within South Africa on Partner South African Airways
South African Airways is one of Africa's largest airlines. From their hub in Johannesburg, you can fly SAA to most major cities in Africa. For SAA awards within South Africa and between South Africa and Beira, Blantyre, Bulawayo, Gaborone, Harare, Lilongwe, Livingstone, Lusaka, Maputo, Maseru, Matsapa, Ndola, Victoria Falls, Walvis Bay and Windhoek, only 20,000 miles are required for roundtrip economy class awards and only 30,000 miles are required for roundtrip business class awards. Between South Africa and Abidjan, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Kinshasa, Lagos, Luanda, Mauritius, Nairobi, Accra, Kinshasa, Pointe Nior, Cotonou, Brazzaville, Entebbe, and Douala only 40,000 miles are required for roundtrip economy class awards and only 50,000 miles are required for roundtrip business class awards.
Additional surcharges are not imposed on these routes.
Business Class Awards with Partner Delta from the U.S. to Europe
Delta has recently increased saver-level business class award rates for travel in 2017 and beyond to 70,000 Delta SkyMiles miles each way. For only 20,000 or 30,000 more miles you can book a roundtrip Virgin Atlantic business class award with Delta to Europe. The key to really make this award work is to originate travel in the U.S. so that fuel surcharges are not imposed.
The following routes require 90,000 miles roundtrip: LHR-Atlanta, LHR-New York JFK, LHR-Boston, LHR-Detroit, LHR-Minneapolis, LHR-Philadelphia, LHR-Seattle, LHR-Salt Lake City, Edinburgh-JFK, and Manchester-Atlanta. All other Delta roundtrip business class awards to Europe will require 100,000 miles. At best you're saving 50,000 miles and worst 40,000 miles!
Even rewards programs that are often described as having minimal value can offer extremely attractive rates for some routes. Virgin Atlantic is no exception. Next time you are considering any of the aforementioned awards, make sure to keep Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles in mind.
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