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Virgin Atlantic Flying Club cheat sheet for using your miles

by on Sun April 2, 2017 • 14 Comments

virgin atlantic plane

What airlines can you book?

While Virgin Atlantic is not a member of an alliance, the Flying Club program has several earning and redemption partners.

AirlineWhere to search award space
Air New
All Nippon Airways (ANA)
Delta Air or
Hawaiian AirlinesCall Flying Club
Jet AirwaysCall Flying Club
South African

Note: Most partners do not allow one way awards for half the price of a roundtrip.

Where to search for award space

Award space for Virgin Atlantic flights can be searched online. Partner award space can be searched online via the partner airline’s website itself or alliance partners.

Partner awards must be booked by telephone. The US Flying Club Helpline is +1-800-365-9500.

How much do awards cost?

Awards booked on Virgin’s own flights follow a simple format. Prices are based around round-trips to the UK, with one-way redemptions available at half the cost. Partner award charts vary, and are listed below.

To calculate the cost of an itinerary connecting in the UK, such as New York-London-Johannesburg roundtrip in economy, simply add the round trip cost of New York-London (20,000 miles) and London-Johannesburg (25,000 miles) together for the total cost of 45,000 miles.

The price varies depending on the time of year you fly, with some dates marked as Standard, which is the lower price, and others marked as Peak, which is more expensive. The charts below detail all the dates that fall under Standard or Peak.

The US is effectively split into three redemption zones.

  • Northeast: Boston, Newark, New York, Washington DC
  • Midwest and South: Atlanta, Detroit, Miami, Orlando.
  • West: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle.

All the prices in the chart below are round trip.



Partner award charts

The most useful partners to book with Virgin miles are Delta and ANA, and here are their award charts. All prices are roundtrip, and one way awards can be booked for half the price. If connections are involved, you will pay separately for each connection.





Other partner award charts

Click on ‘spend miles’ when you reach the page to see the award chart.



Tip: Partner award pricing depends upon the carrier and the specific route. A full list of partners may be viewed here. To view the full earn/spend charts, it is helpful to change your location so that you view the United Kingdom rather than the US site.

Cash and points

It is possible to book tickets using a combination of cash and points. A “Miles Plus Money” ticket offers a fixed discount. 3,000 miles earns $45 off of a round-trip Economy fare. 7,500 miles earns a $120 discount off of a Premium Economy fare. 15,000 miles shaves $300 off of a Business class ticket. This yields a “cents per mile” value of 1.5 cents for the Economy discount, 1.6 for Premium Economy, and 2 for Business.

Tip: These discounts cannot be multiplied, so you cannot pay 30,000 miles to save $600 on a Business class ticket.

“Combi” fares allow members to redeem a one-way Economy or Premium Economy award and combine it with a cash fare return flight. The return leg is priced at ½ of the published round-trip cash fare. Combi fares are not available for Upper Class itineraries.

Award change and booking fees

Changes of date, route, or class of service to an existing award ticket can be made for $50. Cancellations made outside 24 hours prior to departure cost $50, and all miles, fees, and surcharges will be refunded. With 24 hours, no miles will be refunded, and $50 will be charged to refund taxes, fees, and surcharges.

When are award seats made available?

Awards on Virgin can be booked online 330 days out.

Can you waitlist awards and upgrades?

Awards cannot be waitlisted.

What stopovers are allowed?

Virgin allows stopovers in the UK, although UK departures taxes will apply for the outbound sector. On a one-way redemption New York to Johannesburg, this incur $110 in extra fees. Given Virgin prices awards by segment, there are no savings to booking a one way with a stopover vs two separate one way tickets.

What are the best award values?

On occasion, Virgin will discount its own awards. For a US-based flyer, redemptions need to be considered carefully due to the large surcharges incurred. An economy return New York-London incurs over $400 in taxes and surcharges. When a cash ticket is $860, your cents per mile on the discount is 1.1, which is dreadful. The best value, even with the large surcharges, will be a Business Class redemption. The Business Class redemption will require 80,000 miles and $1,100 in surcharges, but the savings over a cash fare ($6,000+ return) is enormous.

Itineraries without a London stopover (and thus UK departure taxes) are going to be a somewhat better value, particularly in the Business cabin. 180,000 miles and $1500 will get a round-trip to Johannesburg.

BUT, the better values come from partners.

  • Delta Airlines flights are all available for redemption with Virgin Flying Club miles, though connecting flights are priced separately, which can make awards expensive if you’re not flying nonstop. For example, if you’re flying Dallas – Atlanta – Paris, you’ll be charged separately for Dallas – Atlanta and Atlanta – Paris. However, flights from the U.S. to Europe don’t include any fuel surcharges, making the 100,000 mile roundtrip Business Class award a good value. 90,000 miles to South America in Business Class (or 45,000 in Economy) is a good deal on flights to Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. There’s a rundown of how to book Delta flights with Virgin Flying Club miles here.
  • Hawaiian Airlines redemptions price at 40,000 in Economy and 80,000 in First for Hawaii-Mainland return tickets. Intra Hawaii flights are priced at 15,000 miles in Economy and 30,000 in First. One-ways and an open jaw are permitted, but flights must be booked at least 7 days in advance.

Upgrades and how much they cost

Virgin Atlantic allows Flying Club members to upgrade eligible tickets with miles, but only on its own flights.

Both single and double class upgrades are allowed.

  • Eligible Economy Class fare buckets are: Y, B, R, L, U, M, E, Q, and X.
  • Eligible Premium Economy fare buckets are W, S, and H.

Upgrades are priced on a one-way basis.

  • A single class upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy from the Atlanta/Chicago/NYC/DC zone to the UK would cost 15,000 miles.
  • A double upgrade to Business would require 35,000 miles.
  • An upgrade from Premium Economy to Business would require 20,000 miles each way.

From Florida or the West Coast, slightly higher costs apply: 17,500 miles from Economy to Premium Economy, 22,500 miles from Premium Economy to Business, and 40,000 miles from Economy to Business.

The full chart can be viewed here.

Bear in mind that booking an upgradeable Economy ticket may come at a substantial premium to the cheapest available ticket.

  • An upgradeable Economy round-trip ticket Los Angeles-London in late May costs $1,555 plus about $500 in extra taxes and fees (about $2,000 total), while the cheapest Economy ticket costs $1,046.
  • The cheapest Premium Economy round-trip ticket is $1,880 plus about $400 in extra taxes and fees (about $2,200 total).

A similar $500 spread is found pricing New York-London.

  • The upgradeable Economy ticket costs $1,345 plus about $500 in fees (about $1,800 total), while the cheapest available is $827.
  • The cheapest Premium Economy ticket is $1,490 plus about $400 in fees (about $1,900 total).

You can read our guide to upgrading on Virgin Atlantic here.

Tip: When considering an upgrade, remember to factor in various taxes and fees. This will include additional fuel surcharges and the UK’s premium cabin tax levied on all tickets booked in a cabin higher than Economy. Upgrading from Economy to Business will run roughly $500 in additional taxes & fees roundtrip, while upgrading Premium Economy will require about $400 extra roundtrip. When factoring these in, it’s often a better deal to buy Premium Economy and upgrade, earning more miles, and spending fewer on the upgrade, than the buy an upgradeable Economy fare.

Alternative miles to book Virgin Atlantic flights

Virgin Atlantic’s partners, except SAS, have a reciprocal Earn / Spend miles arrangement. Delta, Singapore, Virgin America, Hawaiian, and others allow their members to book Virgin Atlantic flights.

Delta SkyMiles redemptions on Virgin Atlantic flights will avoid fuel surcharges, except for trips which begin in Europe.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer has less favorable redemption prices and you can see the award chart for Virgin Atlantic flights with KrisFlyer miles here.

Virgin America has a very favorable award chart for Virgin Atlantic flights, and it is a 1:1 transfer partner with Starwood Preferred Guest, letting you for example book an Upper Class ticket from New York for just 35,000 miles round trip.

What is a Virgin mile worth?

We think Virgin miles are worth about 1.5 cents each. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to get very little value out of your Virgin miles – 1 cent or less per mile, especially if you use miles for Economy tickets when they’re already cheap in cash.

But if you save your miles for times when tickets are expensive, Economy Class awards can get you 1.5 cents or more in value, even with fuel surcharges. For example, with a roundtrip Economy ticket from the East Coast costing 35,000 miles plus about $400 in taxes and fees, you can get 1.5 cents in value when all cash tickets are going for $925 or more, which isn’t uncommon.

If you save up for Business Class tickets on Delta, or Upper Class on Virgin you can get 2, 3, or more cents in value from your miles, especially considering Delta flights don’t incur surcharges.

Credit Cards that earn Flying Club miles

Unusually for a non-US airline, Virgin Atlantic offers two credit cards, the Virgin Atlantic Black Card and the Virgin Atlantic White Card. Both are World Elite Mastercards from Bank of America, but the Black Card offers more generous sign-up, retention, and earning bonuses.

American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi Thank You Rewards each allow members to convert accrued points to Virgin Atlantic miles, making it easy to stockpile for an award via credit card spending.

Hotel points that transfer to Flying Club miles

Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, Intercontinental IHG Rewards Club, Marriot, and Starwood SPG programs allow for the conversion of points to Flying Club Miles.

  • SPG points convert at a rate of 1:1, plus a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer.
  • Hilton HHonors points transfer at a rate of 10,000 points for 1,500 miles.
  • Hyatt Gold Passport members may exchange 5000 points for 3,000 miles. If 50,000 points are exchanged, a bonus of 7,500 additional miles will apply.
  • IHG Rewards Club points transfer at a rate of 10,000 points for 2,000 miles.
  • Marriott Rewards points can be exchanged at a rate of 10,000 points for 2,000 miles.

You can also transfer Flying Club miles into Hilton HHonors points. Every 1 mile gets you 1.5 HHonors points.

Can you book awards for others?

Flying Club members may book awards for others.

Can you transfer miles?

Miles can be transferred at a cost of $13.50 per 1,000 miles.

When do Flying Club miles expire?

Miles expire after 36 months, unless there is account activity (earning or redemption). A single transaction once every 36 months will prevent expiration.

The following two tabs change content below.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

Still confused? Have a question?

Leave a comment below -- we'll reply shortly -- no need to use your real name. Or, use the email form at the top of the page for private advice.

"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."

14 thoughts on Virgin Atlantic Flying Club cheat sheet for using your miles


      @Pablo – Not to other airlines. You can transfer to Hilton Honors points – 2 miles gets you 3 Honors points.

  1. John Mathon

    I am wondering if I purchase something on Etsy where and how does Virgin Atlantic know that I purchased it and give me credit?


      @John – It’s not clear to us Etsy is a Virgin partner. But if you use a Virgin Atlantic credit card to purchase, then it should credit just like any other purchase with your card.

  2. Jude

    My family members have virgin miles on their account which I want to transfer to mine so that I can book a flight using them. How much does it cost to transfer these?

    1. Scott A

      Jude it’s generally expensive to transfer miles to people. But if any of those people have enough to get you an award ticket, they can do that from their account at no cost. To transfer miles the cost is $13.50 per 1000 miles


      @Jude – They can book your flights direct from their account without a transfer. But if you need to transfer it costs $13.50 per 1,000 miles.

  3. Cliff S

    Hi, do you know if it’s possible to transfer Virgin Miles into Delta’s Skymile scheme. I know that previously you could use your miles to book through Virgin to get a Delta flight which would avoid a lot of the UK taxes but it seems Virgin have cottoned on to this and now charge the same taxes no matter what airline you fly with.

    Many Thanks


      @Cliff S: Unfortunately, you can’t transfer Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles to Delta SkyMiles. However, you can book Delta awards using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles, and Virgin Atlantic awards using Delta SkyMiles, on their respective websites.

  4. Cam K

    How about Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles transfer to Marriott Rewards? I also have miles that I would like to transfer.

  5. Lisa Boeve

    Can Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles transfer to IHG hotels? I have miles that I would like to transfer to IHG.


      @Lisa – Yes you can transfer 10,000 miles minimum, and then in increments of 5,000 miles above that anytime. It’s an even exchange, and you can call Flying Club on +1 800 365 9500 to initiate the transfer.


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