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

Jan 28, 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.

Virgin Atlantic started 2021 on a bad note when it devalued Delta partner awards.

These used to be one of the best ways to use Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points — and by far the best way to book most Delta award tickets. Awards were priced on a zone-based chart, so all flights from the U.S. to Asia would cost the same. In this case, you could use just 60,000 Virgin points to book a one-way ticket from Atlanta (ATL) to Seoul (ICN) in Delta One business class.

Better yet, these awards had no fuel surcharges attached, making them an excellent way to avoid Virgin Atlantic’s huge fuel surcharges on its own award tickets.

Unfortunately, the new award chart is distance-based. So the longer the flight you book, the more points you’ll spend on a ticket. This skyrocketed the price of many Delta awards, bringing the cost of Atlanta to Seoul to 165,000 Virgin points one-way in business class. This is nearly 3x the cost of the pre-devaluation price — ouch.

But fear not: Virgin points aren’t worthless. There are still many great ways to redeem your points even after this massive devaluation, including some that bring even more value than the old Delta award chart. I’ll give you a look at all your best options for redeeming devalued Virgin Atlantic points in this article.

Let’s dive in!

New to The Points Guy? Sign up for our daily newsletter and check out our beginner’s guide.

In This Post

Book flights to Europe with Delta

Delta One Suies Cabin
You can still get a great deal on Delta flights to Europe with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

While Virgin Atlantic may have devalued most Delta award tickets, one award ticket narrowly avoided the devaluation.

Virgin Atlantic kept the old award chart pricing for award tickets to Europe. This means you can still book Delta flights from anywhere in the U.S. to anywhere in Europe for 30,000 and 50,000 points one-way in economy and business class, respectively. This is a great deal and one you can use to score Delta flights to Europe for far cheaper than what’s offered through Delta’s own dynamically-priced SkyMiles program.

Delta has a huge European route network. You can fly Delta from the U.S. to cities like Amsterdam (AMS), Dublin (DUB) and Frankfurt (FRA), amongst others. Most of these flights depart from the airline’s hubs in Atlanta (ATL) and New York-JFK.

You can find award space on most Delta routes right on the Virgin Atlantic website or using ExpertFlyer (owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures). That said, the Virgin Atlantic search engine can be a bit wonky, so you may want to verify award space with another SkyTeam search tool.

It’s worth noting that Virgin Atlantic has a separate award chart for Delta flights from the U.S. to the U.K. These flights have higher taxes and fees, but you can score moderately lower pricing if you book during off-peak dates. Here’s a look at Virgin Atlantic’s award chart for Delta flights to the U.K.:

Standard season Standard season Peak season Peak season
Route (U.S. to U.K.) Delta Main Cabin Delta One Delta Main Cabin Delta One
East Coast (Boston, New York) to U.K. 10,000 Virgin Points + $262 tax 47,500 Virgin Points + $643.50 tax 20,000 Virgin Points + $262 tax 57,500 Virgin Points + $643.50
Central U.S. (Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis) to U.K. 12,500 Virgin Points + 262 tax 47,500 Virgin Points + $643.50 tax 22,500 Virgin Points + $262 tax 57,500 Virgin Points + $643.50 tax
West Coast U.S. (Salt Lake City) to U.K. 15,000 Virgin Points + $262 tax 67,000 Virgin Points + $643 tax 25,000 Virgin Points + $262 tax 77,500 Virgin Points + $643 tax

Related: The ultimate guide to Delta One Suites

Head to Japan in ANA first or business class

ANA first class seat
Use Virgin Atlantic points to score an excellent deal on ANA first class. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Virgin Atlantic and ANA have long had a non-alliance partnership that allows Virgin Atlantic members to earn and redeem miles on ANA flights and vice-versa. For some background, ANA is a Tokyo-based airline that operates a global route network from its Tokyo-Narita (NRT) and Tokyo-Haneda (HND) hubs. It’s well known as having one of the best first and business class products in the sky.

You can get an excellent deal when redeeming Virgin points for ANA flights in first and business class. In fact, this is one of the best deals in the points and miles world.

Here’s a copy of Virgin Atlantic’s ANA award chart. Note that all awards listed here are priced round-trip, but you can book one-way tickets for half the cost.

Virgin Atlantic ANA Award Chart
(Image courtesy of Virgin Atlantic)

As you can see, flights from the U.S. to Japan start at 90,000 points in business class from the West Coast. Likewise, first-class flights on the same routes cost 110,000 points round-trip, which is an excellent deal.

Departing from the U.S. Midwest or East Coast will set you back 95,000 points round-trip in business class and 120,000 in first.

Regardless of the route you book, this is an insanely good deal.

By comparison, booking ANA first-class one-way from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) costs 121,000 miles one-way when you book with United MileagePlus. So transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic instead, and you can book a round-trip ticket for cheaper than the cost of a one-way ticket with United.

United LAX NRT ANA Award Price
(Image courtesy of United Airlines)

Better yet, you’ll only pay minimal taxes and fees on this ticket. To book, find ANA award space with your favorite Star Alliance search tool and call Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book. This process should only take an hour or so and is totally worth it for a low-cost trip in one of Asia’s best business or first-class products.

Related: Can I book an open jaw or stopover on ANA with Virgin Atlantic miles?

Book Air New Zealand (if you can find space)

Air New Zealand business class seat
Fly to New Zealand or the Cook Islands in Air New Zealand business class. (Photo by Emily McNutt / The Points Guy)

Virgin Atlantic is also has a non-alliance partnership with Air New Zealand. You can leverage this partnership to score a solid deal on Air New Zealand flights from the U.S. to the South Pacific, giving you a quick connection from the U.S. West Coast to Auckland (AKL) and beyond.

Here’s a quick look at Air New Zealand’s Virgin Atlantic award chart. Like the ANA chart earlier, the prices shown are based on round-trip itineraries. You can book a one-way ticket for half the cost listed here. All tickets are subject to minimal taxes and fees.

Air New Zealand Virgin Atlantic Award Chart
(Image courtesy of Virgin Atlantic)

However, the best deal on this award chart isn’t for flights from the U.S. to New Zealand. In addition to a flight to Auckland (AKL), it also flies nonstop from Los Angeles (LAX) to Rarotonga (RAR).

Rarotonga is the main international gateway for the Cook Islands and is a focus city for Air New Zealand. This flight gives you a great way to explore the Cook Islands as you’ll pay just 90,000 Virgin points round-trip in business class.

Unfortunately, Air New Zealand doesn’t open business class award space often. We recommend setting an ExpertFlyer alert for the date you’d like to search, so you don’t have to constantly search for your award to open up. Instead, ExpertFlyer will email you when (and if) Air New Zealand opens an award ticket on or around the dates you’d like to travel.

Related: A review of Air New Zealand’s 777-300ER in business class

Bottom line

While Virgin Atlantic points may not be as valuable as they once were, there are a ton of great ways to use your points.

My favorite way to redeem Virgin points is booking ANA first class. At 120,000 points round-trip from the U.S. Midwest or East Coast, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal on a first-class ticket to Japan.

Of course, Delta One flights to Europe for 50,000 points is an excellent redemption too. And if award space opens, Air New Zealand business class is a great way to visit the South Pacific post-pandemic.

Whatever redemption you choose, you’ll get an excellent redemption value if you use your points for something outlined here.

Feature photo by TungCheung/Shutterstock

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.