Ends Sunday: 25% Transfer Bonus from Citi ThankYou Points to Virgin Atlantic

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Transfers of Citi ThankYou Points to Virgin Atlantic miles will have a 25% bonus through Sunday August 23, 2015.

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You must transfer ThankYou Points in 1,000 point increments, so until August 23:

  • 1,000 ThankYou Points = 1,250 Virgin Atlantic miles

This is huge news as it is the first transfer bonus of Citi ThankYou Points to an airline partner. American Express Membership Rewards has historically run transfer bonuses, including to Virgin Atlantic, though Chase Ultimate Rewards never has.

Getting ThankYou Points

Three Reasons Why You Want Virgin Atlantic Miles

1. AMONG THE CHEAPEST ECONOMY AND PREMIUM ECONOMY AWARDS TO EUROPE (IN MILES)

The first reason to get Virgin Atlantic miles is that economy class awards to Europe require far fewer miles than competitors’ charge. From Boston, New York, Washington, and Chicago, you only need 17,500 Virgin Atlantic miles (14k ThankYou Points) for a one way flight to London.

And taxes and fees on the one way from the United States to Europe are only $131!

Combine a one way from the eastern United States to Europe for 14k ThankYou Points plus $131 and return from a low tax country–like Spain or Switzerland–to the United States on a one way award with United or American miles for a very cheap European vacation.

I wrote more about searching Virgin Atlantic award space, the fuel surcharges you’ll see, and booking the space in Limited Time to Europe: 14k Points.

Or you can fly one way from parts of the United States to the United Kingdom in Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy for only 27,500 miles (22k ThankYou Points) and $231.

Premium Economy on Virgin Atlantic is more akin to United First Class on domestic flights than United Economy Plus. It’s not just a big seat; Premium Economy comes with all the amenities in this promotional video.

2. INCREDIBLE VALUE PARTNER AWARDS

Virgin Atlantic has several airline partners.

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Each has its own award chart, and the values can be good, especially with this transfer bonus. Best of all, on many partners, Virgin Atlantic doesn’t collect any fuel surcharges!

Last year I called Flying Club at (800) 365-9500 and priced out several awards.

The call was fairly smooth although the agent told me that Atlanta to Buenos Aires on Delta wasn’t bookable with Virgin Atlantic miles. When I pressed him to double check, he came back with the news that it indeed is bookable. As always, you may know more than the phone agents, so be polite but firm.

Award prices including unavoidable government taxes (none include fuel surcharges):

  • Atlanta to Buenos Aires in roundtrip economy on Delta: 45k miles (36k TY Points) + $77.32
  • New York to London in roundtrip economy on Delta: 40k miles (32k TY Points) + $190.60
  • Atlanta to Los Angeles in roundtrip economy on Delta: 25k miles (20k TY Points) + $11.20
  • New York to Paris in roundtrip economy on Delta: 60k miles (48k TY Points) + $90.66

I learned a few key things about partner awards from the call:

  • Delta awards have no fuel surcharges, just the same government taxes as booking with Delta miles.
  • The Delta award chart is way underpriced to Southern South America. Buenos Aires for 36k ThankYou Points roundtrip is a steal. The same award would cost 60,000 Delta miles.
3. VIRGIN ATLANTIC UPPER CLASS

Virgin Atlantic’s Business Class–called Upper Class–is one of the best in the world with many folks comparing it to First Class. I am anxious to fly it.

Virgin Atlantic offers its Flying Club members the best award availability, but the catch is the fuel surcharges (plus departing London taxes) of around $1,000 per roundtrip award in Upper Class.

While the out-of-pocket cost is a big drawback, the miles prices are very low. New York and Chicago to London are only 40k miles (32k ThankYou Points) one way in Upper Class and Los Angeles and San Francisco to London in Upper Class are only 50k miles (40k ThankYou Points) one way.

Roundtrip Miles Prices to UK with Flying Club Miles listed Economy, Premium Economy, Upper Class from left to righ

Right now award space is excellent in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for two people who want to fly May and June 2016. For instance, here is Atlanta to London’s calendar. Dates with a purple line underneath have two Upper Class award seats. That’s every day except May 5.

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If you want to avoid fuel surcharges, Delta miles can be used to book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for 62.5k miles one way plus taxes and no fuel surcharges.

Bottom Line

There’s a 25% transfer bonus from Citi ThankYou Points to Virgin Atlantic miles through August 23, 2015.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is 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 questions are answered.

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33 COMMENTS

  1. Hi, relatively new to the process here, but been spending alot of time researching to learn the game to prepare for planning a free honeymoon:-)

    Have a quick question hopefully the author (or another seasoned vet) can answer. So, I live in NYC. In the post above, author says New York – London is 40k miles r/t. On the Virgin Atlantic Delta award chart, it says “From UK -USA (Heathrow-Atlanta, New York, Boston, Detroit, Minneaplois & Manchester-Atlanta) – 40,000 miles” and then “From USA to UK/Europe – 60,000 miles”

    http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/us/en/flying-club/flying-club-partners/airlines/delta-air-lines.html

    The way I’m reading it, the 40,000 mile cost only applies to award tix **originating** in UK and going to those major cities in the USA, and it’s 60,000 if you originate in the US. Is this not the case and you get the 40,000 cost if originating in any of those gateway US cities and traveling to London?

    Thanks!

  2. So I went to Delta.com and found RT Virgin flights to London from the West Coast for 125k miles total plus $312 in taxes/fees. Assuming I wanted to book this itinerary, do I just transfer my TYP to Virgin Atlantic, then use them on Delta.com? Or do you need to transfer VA miles to Delta first? Just wondering if there’s anything to that final step when booking with VA miles on the Delta website. Also I’m assuming $250 of the $312 is credited back if you use Citi Prestige. Thanks for the great tips!

    • No, you use Delta miles on Delta.com and Virgin Atlantic miles on virgin-atlantic.com. Virgin Atlantic charges the prices in this post, which are very different than the prices Delta charges. You are correct that $250 of your taxes and fuel surcharges are credited back if you pay them with a Citi Prestige.

      • You noted a couple years ago that, “Delta and Virgin Atlantic announced an enhanced partnership that included the option to redeem either type of miles for flights on the other carrier.”

        So I thought great, I will use my TYP to book a VA flight without surcharges via a Delta rep. Is this possible or does it only work the other way around, with Delta miles used toward VA flights?

        It’s confusing because you highlight the Citi Prestige and Premier to get 100k points, but those points can’t be transferred to Delta.

        Excuse my ignorance and thank you for your help.

        • Delta miles can book Delta or Virgin Atlantic flights. Virgin Atlantic miles can book Delta or Virgin Atlantic flights. When using Delta miles, you use Delta booking channels and the Delta award chart. When using Virgin Atlantic miles, you use Virgin Atlantic booking channels and the Virgin Atlantic award chart.

          You can transfer ThankYou Points to Virgin Atlantic miles and book Virgin Atlantic flights. You’ll pay 40k or 50k Virgin Atlantic miles one way for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class + taxes + fuel surcharges. The same flights would cost 62,500 Delta miles + taxes (NO FUEL SURCHARGES), but you don’t have Delta miles and ThankYou Points don’t transfer to Delta.

  3. “This is huge news as it is the first transfer bonus of Citi ThankYou Points to an airline partner.”

    Are you sure? TPG posted this in April: Citi ThankYou Rewards 25% Transfer Bonus To Etihad Guest Miles

    • That was not a transfer bonus on the Citi side. That was on the Etihad side, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY Etihad changed the language after a day to restrict the bonus to UAE residents.

    • I am not sure. Since Delta flights are now bookable one way with Delta miles, I’d hope the answer is yes, but I fear the answer is no. Give Virgin Atlantic’s reservations a call without transferring miles and price out such an award.

  4. If I am planning to use Singapore Air to Hawaii in 16 months, should I transfer my Thank You points to Virgin Atlantic, get the 25% premium, and still use Singapore Air to Hawaii because they are a VA partner or am I missing a step?

    • You are making a common mistake. Singapore miles can book United flights. Virgin Atlantic miles can book Singapore flights.

      That does NOT mean Virgin Atlantic miles can book United flights. In fact, they can’t.

      To get the prices in this post, you need to use Singapore miles.

  5. The terms say the bonus applies for transfers *completed* by 11:59pm on 8/23. Will they hold to that, in practice? I’ve read that Citi transfers can take a few days. If i initiated a transfer right now on the 22nd, and it doesn’t complete until the 24th, would i be SOL?

    • Do not know. That would be so sh***y on the part of ThankYou Points though, that I doubt you’d get hosed like that.

      • Agreed, but i imagine the bonus is up to VS, since it’s on their end, no? Or maybe it just looks like to them that Citi sends 1.25x points? Either way, i think i’m too nervous to try :-/

        I’ll tackle my procrastination issues next time 😛

  6. I’m looking at taking a Nordic trip this December, but also heard elsewhere that Virgin Atlantic miles can’t be used to book SAS flights even though they are partners, is this correct?

    • The website lists SAS as an earning-only partner, so you’re correct that you can’t book SAS flights with Virgin Atlantic miles

  7. I’m trying to figure out how many miles to transfer to fly Delta NYC to PBI/FLL. When I look at the Delta page on the VA site, it says to book a flight you have to call VA–and it gives only a UK number. Can I not look up the actual miles of an actual Delta flight on the VA site? Please note I have no VA miles and flew them so long ago I think i would have to get a new frequent flyer number. Are these flights something that can only be looked up when logged into the VA site? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • You’re probably better off buying NYC to PBI on thankyou.com, using your ThankYou Points like cash. See http://www.milevalue.com/how-thankyou-points-work/

      You could theoretically transfer TY to Virgin and then book Delta flights by phone, but Delta would need to release Level 1 award space, which you’d need to search on delta.com. Much more complicated and much less availability than the method I proposed in the first sentence.

  8. […] This is an excellent use of Delta SkyMiles because these awards cost 62,500 SkyMiles each way per person, despite Delta’s big devaluation last week. The award space is also an excellent use of ThankYou Points transferred to Virgin Atlantic miles during the current 25% transfer bonus. Some of the Upper Class award space goes for as little as 32,000 ThankYou Points each way per person. […]

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