Last chance: Fly to Europe from just 8,000 points with Amex transfer bonus

Dec 27, 2019

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Two of the best ways to get more for your miles and points are to leverage partner airlines and to move points from a credit card to an airline or hotel loyalty program when there are solid transfer bonuses. For one more day, these two stars align for many with American Express Membership Rewards points looking to book award flights. Through Dec. 28, 2019, there is a 30% transfer bonus from Amex Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club available on many Membership Rewards accounts via cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card. This bonus turns 1,000 Membership Rewards points into 1,300 Virgin Atlantic miles. This bonus can help you whether you want to cross the ocean or just fly on a domestic Delta Air Lines flight.

Related: American Express® Green Card is offering a welcome bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first three months.

Flying Club redemptions can be a very good deal at times. However, like with many frequent flyer programs, the best values aren’t always found on the airline’s own flights and can be hard to sleuth out if you are new to the program. While the mileage component of Virgin Atlantic awards can be reasonable, the fuel surcharges, combined with the U.K.’s departure taxes, can diminish the value of some redemptions.

With that said, here are three great Virgin Atlantic redemptions to consider while the 30% Amex transfer bonus is in effect.

Fly to Europe in Delta One Suites for 39,000 points + $5.60

What may be my favorite Flying Club redemption is to use Flying Club miles on Delta in order to book Delta One Suites to Europe from 50,000 miles + $5.60 one-way. That’s a good deal by itself, but being able to book it for about 39,000 Amex Membership Rewards points transferred during this 30% bonus is an outstanding redemption.

You’ll need to find a nonstop routing from the U.S. to Europe in order to get the 50k price. I’ve found Detroit, Minneapolis and New York-JFK to Amsterdam to have some of the best availability in Delta One, but playing around with the flexible-date calendar is the best way to spot the deals.

Related: Guide to Delta One Suites

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

Fly Delta domestic flights

With the 30% transfer bonus, you can book a one-way nonstop award flight on Delta from Atlanta to Honolulu for about 16,000 transferred Membership Rewards points, which is often a better deal than booking directly with Delta miles since that price is often over 30k miles each way.

For nonstop Delta award flights within the lower 48, you can fly in economy on Delta for 12,500 Virgin miles, which equates to a little under 10,000 Membership Rewards points each direction with this bonus. Thanks to Delta’s frequent award sales, that won’t always be the best deal, but there are times when it absolutely can be the best route.

Cross the Pond from 8,000 points

If you want to fly to London, 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 Upper Class (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

Economy award flights to London on Virgin Atlantic, or a partner such as Delta, start at 10,000 miles one-way, plus taxes and fees. Depending on the season, Upper Class (business-class) award flights from the U.S. to London start at 47,500 miles one-way, plus $624 in taxes, fees and surcharges, while economy starts at just 10,000 miles + $89 in taxes/fees.

With a 30% transfer bonus, that would mean that as few as 37,000 transferred Membership Rewards points for an Upper Class award flight across the pond. A one-way economy ticket would set you back around 8,000 transferred points plus fees that start at under $100 if you fly on a partner such as Delta.

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 of Upper Class, as your taxes and fees will be notably less, especially if originating in the U.S.

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 Dec. 28, 2019, so you have time to lock in a great Flying Club award ticket.

Additional reporting by Carissa Rawson.
Featured image by Orli Friedman/The Points Guy

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