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Forget SkyMiles: Here's how to book Delta One Suites to Europe for just 39,000 points

Dec. 14, 2019
8 min read
Delta A350 Tour Delta One Suite Premium Select
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One of TPG's favorite ways to book Delta award flights is through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Not only are the rates generally much cheaper than using Delta SkyMiles, but Flying Club is also a transfer partner of most major transferable points currencies — making it easy to accumulate miles from different sources for these cheap redemptions.

To make it even better, now through Dec. 28, 2019, American Express and Virgin Atlantic are teaming up to offer a 30% transfer bonus when transferring Membership Rewards points to Flying Club miles. This opens a great sweet spot: transatlantic business-class flights for just 39,000 Membership Rewards points each way.

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For reference, Delta now charges at least 82,000 SkyMiles for business class on routes between the U.S. and Europe. United MileagePlus charges 60,000 miles one-way in business class on its own aircraft or 70,000 one-way on partners. American Airlines AAdvantage charges 57,500 miles one-way between the U.S. and Europe.

So, being able to pay just 50,000 Flying Club miles is pretty spectacular, and it's even better to pay just 39,000 Membership Rewards points for a business-class award flight.

Interested in visiting Japan instead? You can use this same Flying Club-Delta partnership to get cheap awards during the transfer bonus. However, there's an even-better option: Flying Club's partnership with ANA which lets you score round-trip award flights between U.S. and Japan from 54,000 Membership Rewards points in business class or 70,000 points for first class.

While Delta has some good business-class products on its A330s and not-yet-retrofit 777s, the best way to fly Delta business class is in its new Delta One Suites. Currently, you have four route options to fly this product across the Atlantic:

And there are four more routes that will soon start using a Delta One Suites aircraft:

Related: The ultimate guide to Delta One Suites

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)

Are you sold on booking this? If so, you're going to need a few tips on how to do so. Let's go step by step on how you can find and book these amazing awards.

Sign up for a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account

First, in order to book these awards, you’re going to need a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account. Click here to sign up if you don’t already have an account.

How to search award availability

Before you move any points to Virgin Atlantic, you're going to want to search award availability and confirm you can book something that works with your travel plans.

Unfortunately, Virgin Atlantic doesn't make it easy for you to search routes it doesn't operate. When you enter a U.S. airport for the departure airport and some European airports in the destination, the "miles" option isn't available to be selected:

I've found better luck starting my mileage search on this page. However, the "Pay With Miles" option may still be greyed out with an error saying "This route is not eligible for miles or miles plus money payment."

I've found that the workaround here is to do a dummy award search for a flight that Virgin Atlantic operates (i.e. Atlanta-London). Then, select that recent search from the drop-down box and change the airports to your desired route. The Pay With Miles option may remain selected.

Before you start searching, it's important to note that availability is going to be very hard to find on some Delta One Suite routes. However, if you have flexible enough dates, there are usually at least some flight options that are available at 50,000 miles each way. If Delta One Suites makes or breaks the deal, you'll want to confirm that the Suites are available that date before moving miles.

Related: The best ways to get to Europe using points and miles

Transfer Amex points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

While you can also transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy, we are going to focus on American Express Membership Rewards due to the transfer bonus running now through Dec. 28, 2019:

To make the transfer, log in to your American Express account, navigate to the point transfer page and select “Transfer Points” under the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club tile. In TPG testing, Amex Membership Rewards transfer to Flying Club instantaneously. You'll want to transfer 39,000 Membership Rewards points to get enough Flying Club miles for a one-way or 77,000 MR points for a round-trip or two one-ways.

If you need to stock up on Membership Rewards, some top options are:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership. ($695 annual fee. See Rates & Fees) Terms Apply.
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 120,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. Terms Apply.
  • American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first six months of account opening. ($250 annual fee. See rates & fees.) Terms Apply.
  • American Express® Business Gold Card: Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership. Terms Apply.
  • American Express® Green Card: Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Terms Apply.

The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Choosing the best American Express card for you

How to book flights with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles

Once the miles are in your account, it’s time to book. Select the date you want to book from the calendar and select the flight from the results list:

Confirm the flight selection on the next screen and click "Next Step" again.

Log in to your account on the next screen, if you aren't already logged in. Then, complete your purchase.

Remember to use a credit card with trip delay protection. Top choices are the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card (both offer $500 per ticket for a delay of more than six hours or overnight) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card ($500 per ticket for 12+ hour or overnight delay). The information for the U.S. Bank Altitude card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

While Virgin Atlantic's website isn't the easiest to use, booking award flights with Flying Club can help you take advantage of great sweet spots — which are currently even better thanks to the Amex transfer bonus running through Dec. 28, 2019. So, it’s definitely worth mastering the process.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, please click here.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best luxury travel rewards card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

5X points
5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

Intro offer

Earn 100,000 points
Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $2,000.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. And if you fly, you can receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at select airports and stadiums.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for The Platinum Card® from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best luxury travel rewards card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 100,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $2,000.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. And if you fly, you can receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at select airports and stadiums.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees