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If you recently picked up SkyMiles thanks to the big offers that were available for the Delta SkyMiles American Express credit cards, you have a new way to use them.
“Effective November 28, 2016, SkyMiles Members can now use miles at delta.com to book Virgin Atlantic’s Premium Economy cabin on flights from the United States to the United Kingdom. Bookings over the phone through Delta Reservations will be available December 1, 2016.”
Virgin Premium Economy gets you seats that are a lot like the First Class seats you’ll find on domestic flights, enhanced meal service, a footrest, and an amenity kit.
To book, go to Delta.com, search with ‘miles’ selected, and you’ll see Premium Economy listed when it’s available.
There are two catches to this though…
The base price is steep – 55,000 miles one way, which is almost double the price of an Economy award, and only 15,000 miles less than a full on Upper Class award, which is a much better value.
Delta’s computer system doesn’t know how to handle pricing connecting domestic flights, which can make a Premium Economy award more expensive than an Upper Class (Business Class) award.
For example, if you fly Delta from a city Virgin Atlantic doesn’t serve to connect in a city that has a Virgin flight, like Dallas – New York – London, you’ll get charged separately for each leg. One price for the Dallas – New York leg, plus the 55,000 miles for the New York – London leg, for a total of 72,500 miles, 2,500 miles more than a full Upper Class ticket.
The nitty gritty behind this is that Premium Economy on domestic Delta flights (Comfort +) is sold as the ‘W’ fare class, while Premium Economy on Virgin Atlantic is in ‘P’ class, and the Delta computer system doesn’t yet know to marry the two together as a single priced trip.
If you really want to snag Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy with miles, you’re better off using Virgin’s own miles at 20,000 – 30,000 miles one way (40,000 – 60,000 miles roundtrip). You’ll pay about $500 in fuel surcharges, but it saves you about 50,000 miles roundtrip, which are worth over $500.
You can easily transfer Chase, Amex, or Citi points to Virgin Atlantic and book the award, though with Premium Economy often available for under $1,500 roundtrip even the price with Virgin miles is a pretty low value for your points.
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