Skip to content

Sweet Spot Sunday: How to save thousands of miles on Delta One awards to Europe

July 17, 2022
9 min read
Delta One A330-900 Neo
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.

With closed-door suites on all Airbus A350s and A330-900neos and updated business-class seats on almost every Boeing 767-400ER aircraft, Delta offers several comfortable ways to fly across the Atlantic. Even on the A330s and B767-300ERs with older seats, Delta One (business class) passengers still get to enjoy the same great soft product (food, Westin bedding, Tumi amenity kits, etc.). However, these flights usually don’t come cheap, especially if you’re booking with Delta SkyMiles.

The best way to book Delta One award flights to Europe is typically through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Not only are the rates generally 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 for these redemptions.

Let’s take a closer look at these redemptions in this week’s edition of Sweet Spot Sunday.

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

Why it’s special

Delta tends to charge exorbitant rates for Delta One award tickets, both domestically and internationally. It’s totally normal for Delta to charge 210,000 SkyMiles or more for a round-trip Delta One award to Europe. If you’re only booking one-way, expect to pay at least 200,000 SkyMiles. However, assuming there’s saver-level availability, you can pay a fraction of that by booking through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

Delta One on the A350. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Although Flying Club recently devalued most Delta award tickets, it kept the old pricing for award tickets to Europe. This means you can book nonstop Delta flights from anywhere in the U.S. to Europe for just 50,000 points one-way in business class.

That’s much cheaper than what’s offered through Delta’s SkyMiles program. Plus, the taxes and fees on these tickets are only $5.60. Just note that if your itinerary requires a connection, you’ll need to pay for the additional segment based on the distance.

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

This pricing applies to routes from Delta hubs like Atlanta and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to cities such as Amsterdam , Dublin and Frankfurt, among others.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

The one exception here are flights to the U.K. Virgin Atlantic has a separate award chart for Delta flights from the U.S. to the U.K. and these awards have higher taxes and fees:

Standard seasonPeak season
Route (U.S. to U.K.)Delta One.Delta One.
East Coast (Boston, New York) to U.K.47,500 Virgin Points plus $643.50 tax.57,500 Virgin Points plus $643.50 tax.
Central U.S. (Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis) to U.K.47,500 Virgin Points plus $643.50 tax.57,500 Virgin Points plus $643.50 tax.
West Coast U.S. (Salt Lake City) to U.K.67,000 Virgin Points plus $643 tax.77,500 Virgin Points + $643 tax.

Back to standard Europe awards. Let’s say we wanted to book a one-way Delta One flight from New York to Amsterdam in November. Delta is currently charging a mind-boggling 320,000 SkyMiles for the one-way ticket.

(Screenshot from delta.com)

Meanwhile, the same award is available for just 50,000 Flying Club points plus $5.60 in taxes and fees. This is a far superior value.

(Screenshot from virginatlantic.com)

Now, full disclosure: These awards aren’t available on all dates. Unlike when you book directly through Delta, there needs to be saver-level availability to enable booking through Virgin Atlantic.

Generally speaking, these awards are available when Delta offers its lowest tier of award pricing, but you may need to play around with dates on Virgin’s website. Your best bet would be to use ExpertFlyer (owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures) to set alerts for when award space opens up.

(Screenshot from expertflyer.com)

Related: The ultimate guide to Delta One Suites

How to book this award

Booking Delta award tickets through Virgin Atlantic is simple and can be done online. What’s nice about the site is that anyone can search for availability — you only need to sign in to your account once it’s time to book. Here’s how to book this award, step by step:

Step 1: Enter your trip information

On the Virgin Atlantic homepage, enter your trip information as you normally would. Then, under “advanced search,” instead of showing the price in “money,” you’ll want to select “points.” I also recommend you check the “show flexible dates” box to find availability quicker. You can book this award as either a one-way or round trip.

(Screenshot from virginatlantic.com)

Related: Fly from the US to Europe, North Africa from 21,500 miles each way

Step 2: Confirm your travel dates

If you select the flexible dates option, you’ll be shown a week’s worth of results. If none of the dates work, you can browse even more options through the “Price Calendar” feature. This allows you to search and find availability across several months.

(Screenshot from virginatlantic.com)

Related: Save miles booking Delta awards with Virgin Atlantic

Step 3: Pick your flights

Once you pick a date, you’ll be shown all of the flight options and their respective prices. If there are many options, you can sort and filter the flights by price and number of stops.

(Screenshot from virginatlantic.com)

Step 4: Confirm, sign in and pay

The final step is to review your itinerary and then sign in to your account to finalize your booking. Although the taxes and fees on these awards are minimal, it’s still important to pay using the right card, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Not only do they earn bonus points on airfare, but they also come with perks like trip delay reimbursement and trip cancellation and interruption protection, which can be incredibly valuable when things go wrong.

Related: The best credit cards for paying taxes and fees on award tickets

(Screenshot from virginatlantic.com)

How to earn miles for this award

Even if you’ve never flown on Virgin Atlantic before, you’ll have no trouble getting the miles you need to book this award. That’s because Flying Club is a transfer partner of most major points programs: American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards. All of these transfers are at a 1:1 ratio, and, based on our experiences, process instantly. It’s also not uncommon for banks to offer bonuses for transferring points to Virgin Atlantic.

If you’re new to points and miles, I recommend you start by picking up the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. The annual fee is just $95 per year and it currently offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Related: Point transfer bonuses currently available

Alternatively, here are some other welcome bonuses currently available on travel rewards cards that earn these types of transferrable points:

If you’ve flown Virgin Atlantic — on a cash or award ticket — check to see if you can buy a Mileage Booster to pick up some cheap Flying Club miles. There’s a periodic promotion that drops the price under 1 cent per mile.

Bottom line

Booking Delta One awards to Europe through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club can be significantly cheaper than Delta’s own SkyMiles program. In some cases, you can save hundreds of thousands of points. Better yet, Flying Club miles are easy to earn. The only problem is that it’s not always easy to find saver-level Delta award space through partners.

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

Featured image by CHRIS RANK/RANK STUDIOS
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.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
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

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
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

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • 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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more