When and how to book Delta awards with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

May 13, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.


U.K.-based Virgin Atlantic Flying Club may not be well known here in the U.S. But if you’re looking for good-value award redemptions, it’s worth getting to know the program. There are plenty of gems in the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program, from cheap premium-cabin awards to Japan to business class flights to the South Pacific.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has individual award charts for each of its partners. And one of these partners is Delta Air Lines. Virgin Atlantic drastically devalued its award chart for Delta partner awards on Jan. 1, 2021. Some awards even increased by as much as 175%. But, even after the devaluation, you can still snag some good-value Delta-operated award flights through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. So, today I’ll take a closer look at when and how to do so.

Get the latest points, miles and travel news by signing up for TPG’s free daily newsletter.

In This Post

Collecting Flying Club points

Before we get into how to use Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points, it’s important to note just how easy it is to collect Flying Club points — even without flying Virgin Atlantic or its partners. Flying Club is a transfer partner of most of the major point currencies:

That means that you’ve got plenty of options for how to earn transferable points to transfer to Flying Club. Here are some of the best welcome bonuses currently available on travel rewards cards that earn these types of transferrable points:

You can also earn Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points directly by signing up for the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®. Currently, you can earn up to 50,000 bonus points within the first year:

  • 30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 or more on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening
  • 2,500 points for each of the first two authorized users added to your card, up to a total of 5,000 bonus points
  • 7,500 points after you spend a minimum of $15,000 with your card within your anniversary year
  • An additional 7,500 points after you spend a total of $25,000 with your card within your anniversary year

Most cobranded airline credit cards aren’t worth using as a non-bonus spending card. However, the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard earns 1.5x points for every dollar spent. At TPG’s valuation of 1.5 cents per point, that means you should get a return of at least 2.25 cents per dollar spent.

Finally, if you’ve flown Virgin Atlantic — on a cash or award ticket — check to see if you can buy a Points Booster to pick up some cheap Flying Club points. There’s a periodic promotion that drops the price under one cent per point.

The information for the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard 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: Virgin Atlantic adds the ability to earn Tier Points on award flights, extends elite status by additional 6 months

Virgin Atlantic Delta award chart

While Delta got rid of its award charts years ago, Flying Club has stated award rates for Delta-operated flights. Until Jan. 1, 2021, Virgin Atlantic used a lucrative region-based award chart for partner awards on Delta. However, now you’ll see three Delta award charts on Flying Club’s website.

  • U.S. to U.K. non-stop flights
  • U.S. to Europe (excluding the U.K.) non-stop flights
  • All other Delta reward flights

In particular, the award chart for the U.S. to U.K. non-stop one-way flights is as follows:

Virgin Atlantic US to UK Delta award chart
(Screenshot courtesy of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club)

One aspect of the Virgin Atlantic Delta award chart that survived the New Years Day devaluation is U.S. to Europe (excluding the U.K.) non-stop flights. In particular, you’ll still only need to pay 30,000 points in Delta Main Cabin and 50,000 points in Delta One for non-stop one-way flights between the U.S. and Europe (excluding the U.K.).

And Virgin Atlantic Flying Club now prices other one-way Delta flights according to the following table:

Virgin Atlantic Delta distance based award chart
(Screenshot courtesy of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club)

For a return ticket, you’ll need to pay double the cost of a one-way ticket. And, note that Flying Club members can’t currently book Delta Premium Select awards.

Related: How to get Virgin Atlantic elite status without stepping on a plane

Sweet spots for Delta flights

Delta One seat
You can redeem Virgin Atlantic points to fly in Delta One. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy).

The Jan. 1, 2021 devaluation removed most of the sweet-spot redemptions for Delta-operated flights from the Flying Club program. As such, there’s really only one outstanding sweet spot left: flying non-stop between the U.S. and Europe (excluding the U.K.). After all, one-way non-stop flights cost just 30,000 points in Delta Main Cabin and 50,000 points in Delta One.  Luckily, Delta operates many non-stop flights between the U.S. and Europe. And, you’ll pay minimal taxes and fees on these awards.

You may also get value when using Flying Club to fly non-stop one-way between the U.S. and U.K on Delta-operated flights. After all, you can normally fly between the U.S. and U.K. in economy class for 10,000 to 15,000 miles and between 20,000 and 25,000 in peak season. However, you’ll need to pay high taxes and fees on these tickets, which certainly reduced the appeal. But, especially if you’re flying in standard season and cash rates are high, this may still be a good option.

Virgin Atlantic fees for Delta flight from US to London
(Screenshot courtesy of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club)

The distance-based chart for other Delta-operated flights may also provide some value. Especially for domestic Delta-operated, I recommend focusing on routes of 2,000 miles or less. After all, the distance-based chart has bands for 500 miles and under, 501 to 1,000 miles, 1,001 to 1,500 miles and 1,501 to 2,000 miles that may let you snag a Delta reward for less than you could with other programs.

But, to get the rates discussed in this guide, you’ll need to book award flights with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club itself. That means you’ll have to transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards or Marriott Bonvoy to Flying Club and book your award flights directly on Virgin Atlantic’s website or over the phone.

Related: 3 great ways to redeem Virgin Atlantic points now that Delta awards are devalued

How to search Delta flights

While Flying Club and Delta have had a partnership for years, it was a lot more of a hassle to book these tickets before Virgin Atlantic added Delta award redemptions to its website in 2017. Luckily, now you can search and book Delta flights on the Virgin Atlantic website.

To search, start here and enter the requested information. Don’t forget to change the “Show Price In” choice from Money to Points. I also recommend selecting “Show Flexible Dates” if you have flexibility in your schedule.

Booking a Delta flight through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
(Screenshot courtesy of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club)

Selecting “Show Flexible Dates” will display a small range of dates and prices.

Booking a Delta flight through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
(Screenshot courtesy of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club)

But, you can click on “Price Calendar” to see prices over the course of a month. This is the best way to search for good-value Delta flights if you want to book using Virgin Atlantic points but have flexible dates.

Booking a Delta flight through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
(Screenshot courtesy of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club)

Then, clicking on a date will take you to a page where you can select your flight.

Booking a Delta flight through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
(Screenshot courtesy of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club)

After confirming your flight details, you’ll need to log in to your Flying Club account. At this point, you’ll get a message if you don’t have enough points to book the award.

Booking a Delta flight through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
(Screenshot courtesy of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club)

Luckily, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards to Flying Club and the points will typically reach your account instantly. So, you can transfer points and book even if you don’t initially have enough points in your account.

Related: Amex Membership Rewards vs. Chase Ultimate Rewards: Which is the best?

Example Flying Club awards versus Delta SkyMiles

The best sweet spot if you want to fly Delta using Flying Club points is to fly Delta One non-stop between the U.S. and Europe (excluding the U.K.). Unfortunately, it’s currently difficult to find any availability to Europe in Delta One using Flying Club points.

But, it’s still relatively easy to find availability to fly non-stop to Europe in economy on a Delta-operated flight using Flying Club points. For example, you could book this flight from Atlanta to Stuttgart, Germany for 30,000 points plus $12.80 in taxes and fees:

Booking a Delta flight through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
(Screenshot courtesy of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club)

Booking the same flight with Delta SkyMiles is going to be a lot more expensive — costing 84,000 SkyMiles instead of the 30,000 Flying Club points:

Using Delta SkyMiles to book a flight
(Screenshot courtesy of Delta)

And if you want to fly domestically using Flying Club points, it’s typically easy to find award availability. For example, you could fly from Atlanta to Los Angeles non-stop on Delta for 12,500 points plus $5.60:

Booking a Delta flight through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
(Screenshot courtesy of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club)

Instead of 12,500 Flying Club points, you’d have to redeem 13,500 or 14,500 SkyMiles on most dates for the same award flight booked through Delta:

Booking a Delta flight through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
(Screenshot courtesy of Delta)

In each of these cases, you’re able to book the same flight at a lower award rate. And in some situations, the savings can be substantial even after the recent Flying Club devaluation.

Related: Every Delta Air Lines premium seat ranked from best to worst

When you shouldn’t use Flying Club points

Especially after the recent devaluation, Flying Club isn’t the best option for many Delta flights. In short, you’ll need to check your options when searching for the best way to book Delta-operated flights.

For example, you’ll need to pay at least 7,500 Flying Club points each way for a nonstop domestic flight. But Delta periodically offers award flights for a little as 5,000 miles each way. And it’s often easy to find awards that cost less SkyMiles than Flying Club points. For example, Atlanta to New York LGA is 762 miles and would cost 8,500 Flying Club points. But, on many dates, you can pay just 6,000 SkyMiles for this flight:

Booking a Delta award flight
(Screenshot courtesy of Delta)

And Delta doesn’t open up all the award space that appears on its website to partners, so you won’t see all of the options with Flying Club that you have when booking with Delta SkyMiles. And, if Delta hasn’t released saver-award availability to partners for the flights you want, there’s no way to use Flying Club points for that flight — even at a higher rate.

Finally, it’s also worth comparing award prices through Flying Blue as well. Even though Flying Blue switched to a variable award pricing model in 2018, there are some times when it’ll offer better award rates than what you’d find using both Delta SkyMiles or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points.

Related: The best websites for searching SkyTeam award availability

Bottom line

Delta’s decision to remove its award charts in 2015 has led to some incredibly high award ticket prices. However, there are often ways to book these flights for significantly fewer points than Delta would charge. And, despite a recent devaluation, one option to consider for select routes is Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

It’s always worth a few minutes to check Virgin Atlantic’s website before booking an award ticket on Delta. Just remember that the reverse holds true as well: Make sure that you check on Delta’s website before booking an award with Flying Club. And take a look at our post on the best ways to redeem Virgin Atlantic points now that Delta awards are devalued to learn how to maximize the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program.

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

Additional reporting by Katie Genter

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

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
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • 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.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • 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
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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are 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 posts and/or questions are answered.