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Searching and finding Virgin Atlantic award space is now a piece of cake with the launch of the Virgin Atlantic reward seat calendar checker. The new tool is beta testing, allowing you to search for award availability by calendar month.
The new tool is limited, with only two airlines to choose from (Virgin Atlantic and Delta). Still, it's an incredibly exciting development and, if fully implemented, will make searching for award space a walk in the park!
How Does the Virgin Atlantic Reward Seat Calendar Work?
This tool is intuitive and straightforward. The first step is to choose which airline you are looking for award space with. At this point, you can only choose Virgin Atlantic or Delta. Next, choose your departure point. Choosing Virgin Atlantic gives you three departure points.
- London Heathrow (LHR)
- Manchester (MAN)
- Edinburgh (EDI)
Select Delta and the origin destinations available to are:
- London Heathrow (LHR)
- London Gatwick (LGW)
- Edinburgh (EDI)
After selecting the airline and origin city, you can then select your destination and your desired month of travel. For instance, we have chosen Virgin Atlantic departing from London Heathrow (LHR) to New York (JFK) in May 2023.
Hit “Check for reward seats,” and voila! All the award space in May 2023 on Virgin's Flagship route.
If you can't find the space you need, or it does not work with your travel plans, you can click through the following or previous months on the top right-hand side.
The functionality does not end there. You can also click on the return button to see the availability of return award space on your selected route.
You will then see the space for that month for the return leg of your trip. As with the initial search, you can also cycle through the months to see award space in the following months.
This ability to search for return flights is incredibly useful. It creates an excellent workaround to use the calendar search functions to find space if you are not departing from one of the destinations options. Say you wanted to fly from New York to London in July 2023. You would follow the previous steps but set your return date for July.
The month is wide open with some excellent award availability in Upper Class. After finding the availability, You can head over to the regular Virgin Atlantic Flying Club site and book the award you found.
Bookmark for Repeatability
The way Virgin Atlantic built this reward calendar checker means it has some excellent features that simplify checking back for awards to see if any space has opened up. Looking at the URL of any search, you'll see that it contains the route, airline, month, and even year.
Simply bookmarking this page means you can quickly reference back to the search results to see if any award space has opened up or to find out if the space you wanted is still available. Although this bookmarking ability lets you take your planning to a new level if you are looking at more complex itineraries involving a couple of hops on Virgin Atlantic aircraft.
Related: The Trick to Using the Virgin Atlantic Monthly Reward Calendar
Delta Award Space Availability Workaround
One item of note is that several data points online initially indicated that you could exploit the URL search functionality above to find awards on Delta from the U.S. using Virgin points. For instance, you would search for a flight with Delta from London (LHR) to Atlanta (ATL).
Upon reaching the results page, you would manually replace LHR in the URL with the airport code of a city Delta flies direct to from Atlanta. For instance, LAX, DFW, or SEA. The result would then be updated, showing you the award available on the selected pairing.
At this point in time, this function does not seem to be working. Tweaking the URL to create a new search only results in an error message.
It is unknown whether Virgin has suspended this functionality or whether this is a simple technical issue that will be resolved later. Hopefully, it is the latter since the ability to search Delta partner award space is incredibly useful.
Boosting Your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Balance
It may not seem that you have as many ways to earn Virgin Atlantic points in the U.S. as, say, AA or Delta. However, unlike the above U.S. airlines, Virgin Atlantic is a transfer partner with six major flexible points currencies.
With so many partners, you don't have to have a big balance in one currency if you want to transfer a substantial amount of points. Having six partners lets you consolidate multiple smaller flexible point balances toward your next award.
You can transfer all the following points currencies to the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club:
- American Express Membership Rewards transfer to Virgin at a ratio of 1:1, with a minimum transfer of 1,000 points.
- Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to Virgin at a ratio of 1:1, with a minimum transfer of 1,000 points.
- Citi ThankYou Points transfer to Virgin at a ratio of 1:1, with a minimum transfer of 1,000 points.
- Capital One Miles transfer to Virgin Red at a ratio of 1:1, with a minimum transfer of 1,000 points.
- Marriott Bonvoy. Transfer to Virgin Atlantic at a 3:1 ratio with a minimum transfer of 3,000 points. You can also take advantage of Marriott's 5,000-point bonus when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points in one hit.
- Bilt Rewards transfer to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at a 1:1 ratio.
Remember, if you are looking to transfer Capital One miles, you can't transfer them directly to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Instead, you will need to transfer your miles to Virgin's sister program Virgin Red first. After that, you can link your accounts to use Virgin points via Flying Club.
Holy smoke! We wish every other airline would take a page out of Virgin Atlantic's playbook and introduce a tool that works and is exceptionally useful for its program members.
Typically, finding award space is a pain since you can only see a day or a few days in one search. Being able to see the big picture and check out availability for a whole year in a matter of minutes is superb.
At this moment, the site states that Virgin Atlantic is beta-testing this reward seat calendar. Let's hope it's a success. In the long run, we want this to become a permanent feature. However, Virgin Atlantic could truly take this calendar to the next level by incorporating other partner award space and adding more cities as the origin point.
What do you think of this incredible new tool from Virgin Atlantic?
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