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In the past, we’ve seen opportunities to transfer points with a 25% bonus to Virgin Atlantic with Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou points, and one such bonus has now returned. ThankYou points have been becoming increasingly valuable because of additional transfer partners and transfer bonuses — currently, you can transfer ThankYou points to Hilton at a 1:1.5 ratio. And now through April 6, you’ll also be able to transfer Citi ThankYou points to Virgin Atlantic with a 25% bonus once again.
ThankYou points normally transfer at a 1:1 ratio in increments of 1,000. However, with the 25% bonus, each 1,000 points you transfer will get you 1,250 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles. But is it worth it to transfer your ThankYou points to Virgin Atlantic even with this bonus? In short, you may be able to get some good value out of this opportunity, especially if you’re redeeming for the airline’s Upper Class product.
TPG values Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles at 1.5 cents each. By comparison, Citi ThankYou points are valued at 1.6 cents each. Normally with the 1:1 transfer ratio, you’d get 1.5 cents for every 1.6-cent ThankYou point transfer. However, with this bonus, you’ll get 1.88 cents for every 1.6-cent ThankYou point — which, on the surface, seems like a pretty good deal.
Here’s Virgin’s Upper Class award chart for round-trip flights to/from the UK:
As you can see above, you’d need 100,000 Flying Club miles to fly Upper Class between Los Angeles and London Heathrow, 70,000 for premium economy or 42,500 for coach. You could get that by transferring the following ThankYou points to Virgin Atlantic:
- Economy: 42,500 miles = 34,000 ThankYou points
- Premium Economy: 70,000 miles = 56,000 ThankYou points
- Upper Class: 100,000 miles = 80,000 ThankYou points
And while that may seem really appealing up front — only 80,000 ThankYou points for an Upper Class ticket between Los Angeles and London Heathrow — there’s more to the story. Don’t forget that Virgin Atlantic is notorious for its high taxes and surcharges — on this trip, an additional $1,300! If you’re paying cash, a round-trip Upper Class flight will run you $4,700 at the low end, so in this case you’d be getting 3.4 cents in value from each mile or 4.25 cents in value from each ThankYou point, after deducting the taxes and fees. If you’re redeeming for economy, however, you may be better off paying cash.
If you want to build up your ThankYou points stash, consider signing up for a ThankYou points-earning credit card, such as the Citi Prestige, which will earn you 40,000 ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months or the Citi ThankYou Premier Card, which will earn you 40,000 ThankYou points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
While Citi announced some negative changes to this card back in July — including a lower sign-up bonus, the elimination of Admirals Club access and the end of the free rounds of golf benefit — one of its most valuable perks still remains, which is the 4th Night Free perk. This benefit alone can save you thousands of dollars a year if you use it to its full advantage.