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Barring a SkyMiles award sale, you’re probably never going to see a sensible redemption value to Europe on Delta. The carrier has quietly pushed its cheapest one-way business class award seat from the US to Europe to a staggering 105,000 SkyMiles, and there’s no discount for flying round-trip.
TPG values each SkyMile at 1.2 cents, which would translate to $2,520 for a round-trip US-to-Europe journey in Delta One if using miles. That’s still cheaper than most paid routes between the two regions, but it’s a far cry from the 100,000 miles that were once required for the same trip.
Rather than acquiescing and paying too much for an award ticket, you can do a couple of things. You could wait for a flash sale, which Delta runs pretty regularly. The airline offered nonstop round-trip Delta One tickets to Europe just a few weeks ago for 128,000 SkyMiles, and we saw round-trip economy fares offered at 24,000 SkyMiles during a sale last year. To ensure you don’t miss these, bookmark TPG‘s Deals site and subscribe to text message alerts from our deals feed, @tpg_alerts.
Alternatively, you could book Delta One seats through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, where you can score the same seats Delta sells for 105,000+ SkyMiles for just 50,000 points. Even if you’ve never flown on Virgin Atlantic before, or if you currently have no points in its program, it’s fairly simple to achieve by transferring points from American Express, Chase and/or Citi. We’ve created an entire guide to walk you through the process.
As an example, this is Delta’s new saver level award pricing for a Delta One seat from Indianapolis (IND) to Paris (CDG), pricing out at 105,000 SkyMiles plus $5.60 in taxes/fees.
The same seat on the same flight, DL500, is being sold by Virgin Atlantic for just 50,000 Flying Club miles plus $5.60 in taxes/fees, making it a far superior value.
It’s easy to start collecting Flying Club miles. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a transfer partner of most of the major point currencies:
- American Express Membership Rewards (1:1, instant transfer)
- Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1, instant transfer)
- Citi ThankYou Points (1:1, instant transfer)
- Marriott Rewards (3:1 with a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring 60,000 points, <48 hour transfer time)
That means that you’ve got plenty of options for how to earn points to transfer to Flying Club. If you need to add to any of these point balances, here are some great options:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first three months. You may also be targeted for a 100,000-point welcome bonus through CardMatch (offer subject to change at anytime).
- American Express® Gold Card: 35,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first three months of card membership. You may also be targeted for a 50,000-point welcome bonus through CardMatch or get a 40,000-point bonus via a referral from a friend or family members (offer subject to change at anytime).
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months after account opening.
- Citi Premier Card: 50,000 Citi ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.
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.
H/T: One Mile At A Time
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