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Virgin Atlantic has launched a Reward Seat Sale where for the next 2 weeks, you can book select economy reward flights for 25% fewer miles.
So for instance instead of paying 37,000 miles to fly from New York to London roundtrip, you’d only need 26,250 miles or from Los Angeles to London for 35,625 (plus $700 in taxes and fees!).
The offer is available from today until February 5, 2013 and only on economy fares, unfortunately. Most of the travel can be booked for flights from now onwards without a set end date, though certain select routes such as San Francisco to London and Las Vegas to London have set end dates in March and April.
Here are some more sample mileage requirements from the airline’s US gateways:
I took a quick look at sample dates and it looks like there’s plenty of availability on Virgin’s routes in the coming months, though some routes are less available than others like the Chicago-London one below. If you search and your dates aren’t available, Virgin pulls up an availability calendar, which makes finding flights easier.
This Los Angeles to London itinerary in February would be 35,625 miles plus $635 in taxes and surcharges.
A quick Orbitz search on the same days reveals fares on the same route as low as $817 (on Air New Zealand), though, and even on Virgin Atlantic there are fares as low as $857.90.
This Chicago to London roundtrip would be 38,500 miles and $647 in taxes and fees.
However, tickets are going for $914.50 on this route, so you would be getting just $268 in value from those 38,500 miles – a breakdown of 0.696 cents per mile. Again, not great.
Because of the high taxes and fuel surcharges on flights to and from London that mean even economy tickets incur $600-700 on top of the actual fare, even award tickets a 25% discount don’t seem worth it.
Better to buy the somewhat cheap winter and spring fares to London if you have some upcoming travel and bank the miles to your Flying Club account to use on Upper Class and upgrade awards in the future, which very likely provide much more value than Economy awards. You could also consider redeeming your Flying Club miles for flights on Virgin America and avoiding fuel surcharges altogether. With some great bonus categories and an annual fee that’s waived for the first year, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card has a lot going for it. If you don’t have PRG, now’s as good a time as any to add it to your wallet, as Amex added some great new benefits several months back.