One of the best airline transfer partners for Chase Ultimate Rewards (URs) is virgin atlantic Flying Club (IATA: VS). While most people may have never heard of virgin atlantic, this program is very familiar to all seasoned award travelers. Today, we're diving a little deeper into this program, so that you can become familiar with this valuable program!
Unlike most airlines in the world, virgin atlantic is not part of an airline alliance. Rather, it relies on a hodge-podge group of affiliations and agreements to fly you around the globe. Its list of partners is: Delta, Flying Blue (Air France/KLM), SAS, Singapore, Air New Zealand, virgin australia, South African Airways, ANA, Air China and Hawaiian Airlines. Each of these partners has a different award chart.
If you find yourself, short of miles, virgin atlantic is a transfer partner of all major transferable currencies: UR, MR, TYP, Capital One, and Marriott Rewards.
Virgin Atlantic Credit Card
The virgin atlantic Flying Club credit card, issued by Bank of America, offers SUBs of 40,000-90,000, after various incentives. Currently, the SUB is 60,000 points after a $2,000 spend in 3 months with an annual fee of $90. The best part of this card is it can mimic a CFU and earn 1.5x on everything. But since CFU earns 1.5x, and earns transferable URs, the CFU is obviously the better choice. Do not consider this card until you are well past 5/24.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Sweet Spots
The absolute best sweet spot for VS is flying ANA to Japan, as we learned previously. 110,000-120,000 points round-trip to Japan in first class or 90,000-95,000 points round-trip in business class is simply unbeatable. Luckily for us in the USA, there are many more sweet spots for us to take advantage of.
Most notably, VS is typically the cheapest way to book Delta flights, especially if those Delta flights are non-stop. VS requires you to book a multiple leg itinerary as multiple awards, so the best bang-for-your-buck is a non-stop. Here is VS' award chart for Delta:
|US to Caribbean, Central America & Mexico||35k||60k|
|US to Hawaii||40k||75k|
|US to South America||45k||90k|
|Within the US and between the US and Alaska/Canada||25k||45k|
|US to Africa / Middle East & Asia||80k||120k|
|US to South West Pacific (Australia)||100k||150k|
|From Europe to US From US to Europe||60k||100k|
|Within Asia / Northern Asia||25k||45k|
|From Northern Asia to Hawaii||40k||70k|
|From South East Asia to Northern Asia||45k||70k|
As you can see, there are many great deals in this chart! Highlights (to me) include 50,000 each way to Europe, with several routes available with Delta One Suites; 60,000 each way to Asia, again with routes available with Delta One Suites; 60,000 each way to South Africa (if you can find it!); and, 75,000 each way to Australia/New Zealand/Oceania. As a reminder, when I searched Delta for a flight to South Africa, we found this mess (I think 120,000 round-trip on VS sounds better!):
Other sweet spots include: 1) Hawaiian Airlines 40,000 miles round-trip to Hawaii in economy from the west coast; 2) ANA 15,000 miles round-trip intra-Japan (regardless of distance); 3) South African Airways 20,000 miles in economy (30,000 in business) round-trip to various destinations in Africa and other areas of Northern and Western Africa are 30,000/50,000 round-trip; and, 4) Air New Zealand 125,000 miles round-trip Auckland to SFO or LAX (but note these tickets are almost impossible to find).
Whether it's flying ANA first class to Japan, economy to Hawaii, or Delta One Suites all over the world, there are sweet spots galore in the virgin atlantic award chart. Do yourself a favor and think “virgin atlantic” whenever you need a Delta flight. It may not always work, but its worth your time to check!
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