New 30% Transfer Bonus from Amex Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic

May 2, 2019

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – The Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express® Gold Card

With a new month, American Express has rolled out a new transfer bonus, allowing cardholders to earn up to 30% in bonus miles when transferring Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic. As was shared by One Mile at a Time, the promotion allows cardholders to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles and receive bonus miles.

While we have seen this bonus present as a targeted offer in the past, it seems that this time all Amex cardholders with Membership Rewards-earning cards should have access to the 30% transfer bonus (though let us know if the comments if you see otherwise.) With the transfer bonus, 1,000 Membership Rewards points transferred to a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account results in 1,300 miles, instead of the usual 1,000.

American Express cardholders can transfer as many points to Flying Club as needed, as there is not a stated maximum transfer amount. The bonus offer is set to end on July 1. Any American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points should be eligible. This includes cards such as The Platinum Card and the American Express Gold Card.

Flying Club redemptions can be a good deal at times. However, like with many frequent flyer programs, the best values aren’t always found on the airline’s own flights. While the mileage component of Virgin Atlantic awards can be reasonable, the fuel surcharges, combined with the UK’s departure taxes, can diminish the value of some redemptions.

Instead, you may want to explore using use your Flying Club miles on partners like Delta (e.g. Delta One Suites to Europe for 50,000 miles + $5.60 one-way), ANA (e.g. first class US-Tokyo from 90,000 miles) and South African Airways (e.g. DC to Africa in business class from 50,000 miles round-trip). Just note that Flying Club charges on a per segment basis, so your best bet is to find nonstop award flights. And if you do find a Delta-operated flight, be sure to compare the Flying Club award rates to those offered directly with Delta SkyMiles, as Delta’s frequent award sales and variable pricing could make transferring your Amex points to Delta a better option.

If you do want to fly Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Atlantic Upper Class can be a fun way to cross the Atlantic, especially when combined with the Upper Class wing at London-Heathrow (LHR) and The Clubhouse at LHR.

Virgin Atlantic reveals
(Photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic)

Award flights on Virgin Atlantic start at 10,000 miles one-way, plus $185 in taxes, fees and surcharges. Depending on the season, Upper Class (business class) award flights from the US to London start at 47,500 miles one-way, plus $624 in taxes, fees and surcharges. With a 30% transfer bonus, that would mean that as few as 37,000 transferred Membership Rewards points would be enough for the mileage component of an Upper Class award flight across the pond (since you need to transfer in increments of 1,000 points).

Below is the current Virgin Atlantic award chartNote that all values are for round-trip flights. Virgin Atlantic notes that one-way flights are simply any value or amount divided by two.

(Image via Virgin Atlantic)
(Image via Virgin Atlantic)

To minimize the cash portion of the ticket, consider booking premium economy instead, as your taxes and fees will be notably less, especially if originating in the US.

Bottom Line

Transfer bonuses are a great way to stretch your miles to book a trip for the whole family, or serve as a good reason to study up on a new award chart. This 30% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic is scheduled to last until July 1, so you have some time to become a Flying Club pro.

Featured image by Alberto Riva/TPG

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