25% Bonus on American Express to Virgin Atlantic Transfers

Jun 3, 2011

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While this certainly isn’t as exciting as the 50% British Airways transfer bonus, it beats nothing at all. While transfer bonuses are generally a good thing, I see two big catches: 1) Virgin charges enormous fees on award tickets and 2) the T&C state that “bonus miles will be posted to your Flying Club account within 14 days after the transfer.” While I bet they post quicker than that in reality, not having an immediate bonus can put a major damper on your travel plans as award seats can easily disappear within a moments notice.

As mentioned, Virgin Atlantic has really high fees, so I could only ever see redeeming for Upper Class (business class) redemptions, which are 90,000 miles roundtrip from the East coast (full award chart here). I suppose if a coach ticket is expense enough to purchase, it may make sense to pay the monster fees/surcharges, but I just have a personal thing against paying$500+ for an economy award.

Virgin is running an economy and premium economy sale, so check that out here. Economy awards start at 29,500 roundtrip, which would only be 23,600 Amex points. I priced out a dummy award for travel this weekend in it came to 29,500 miles and $531 in taxes and fees. I priced that ticket out as a purchase and it was over $1,800. So basically those 23,600 Amex points would save you $1,800-$531= $1,269/23,600= 5.4 cents per point. That’s pretty darn good for a coach award! Of course this is all based on paying $1,800+ for a coach ticket to Europe, which you can usually avoid if you book in advance. That being said, fares this summer are pretty high, so you should do the math to see if transferring to Virgin makes more financial sense for you. I’m generally impressed with Virgin’s award availability and your best bet to check it is to sign up for a Flying Club account– you don’t need any miles in your account to price out awards.

However, if you want to do east coast to London in Upper Class on Virgin, you can transfer as few as 63,000 points to ANA, which is a Membership Rewards transfer partner. While ANA is in the Star Alliance, they have a partnership with Virgin Atlantic and their award chart is distance based. JFK/BOS-LHR comes in just under the threshold for 63,000 miles for business class – an excellent deal. Not only that, but ANA charges less than Virgin Atlantic, so you make out on both fronts.

Check out this dummy Upper Class award JFK-LHR; 90,000 miles and $800 in taxes and fees! Yikes – that’s even more than British Airways!

The only real reason why I’d transfer Amex points to Virgin is for upgrades or last minute awards that are heinously expensive and I couldn’t wait the 2 days for the points to transfer to ANA.  While Virgin makes it expensive, there are deals to be had, but check out your other options before making a transfer.

I won’t be taking advantage of this promotion, but I’m sure others will. Do you have thoughts on their frequent flyer program, Flying Club? Am I being too harsh?

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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