Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
Reward nights start at 10,000 points. Free anniversary night (no points needed) good at any IHG hotel (Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, more).
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
Delta has been more generous with releasing award space on its own flights this year than in recent years, especially to Europe.
And thanks to Delta’s partnership with Virgin Atlantic you can often use Virgin Atlantic points to book Delta flights for less than what Delta charges. You also don’t get hit with any fuel surcharges (see our article on booking Delta flights with Virgin Flying Club points).
Enter a new Amex Membership Rewards transfer bonus for Virgin Atlantic points and you have an even cheaper way to book Delta flights.
Until the end of November you get a 35% bonus on all Membership Rewards points you transfer into your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account.
Here is how many Amex Membership Rewards points that means you’ll need to book Delta flights with the transfer bonus:
Business Class to Europe is the best deal here, especially since the regular price using Virgin points is already cheaper than the 125,000 miles Delta charges if you used SkyMiles to book the ticket. So for 74,074 Amex points transferred into Virgin you can save 40% off the price you’d pay if you transferred into Delta SkyMiles to book the flight.
What flights can you book?
You can book any Delta flight that has ‘Saver’ seats available using your Virgin points.
You should have good luck finding flights with those seats for flexible domestic flights and trips to big cities in Europe. But you’ll probably have less luck finding them to Hawaii, where Saver seats are rarely made available.
A way around the lack of Hawaii seats on Delta is to use Virgin’s partnership with Hawaiian Airlines, which tends to make more Saver level seats available.
How do you book?
Unfortunately you have to call on the phone at 1 800 365 9500 to book these flights. They’re open 24 hours a day, but sometimes the wait on hold can be 20 minutes or more.
Another catch is that if you’re headed out of the country and cross regions (for example Detroit to New York to London) Virgin may charge you for two separate rewards. In that case a Domestic Economy award plus a Europe Economy award. Some agents are able to avoid this, but the vast majority of agents and supervisors do force this double pricing, which is a hassle.
But if you live near a Delta hub or just want to take advantage of domestic flights you can really take advantage of some outstanding deals.
Also remember that Membership Rewards points transfer instantly to Virgin, and Virgin will hold your award reservation for a day, so you can wait to transfer when you’re absolutely sure the flights you want are available.
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