Score Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles under 0.9 cents each with Miles Booster
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Airlines love to push buying extra miles during the booking and check-in process, but usually these deals range from poor to terrible. One of the few exceptions is United. Through its award miles accelerator, United sells miles for just two cents each — which can be a decent way of topping off your account for your next award trip.
But, there’s another airline whose mileage accelerator option is worth taking advantage of: Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club. That’s especially true now through October 31 as Flying Club is running a bonus of up to 40%:
Here’s how Flying Club’s Miles Booster works:
- Travelers can generally choose a “single” or “double” boost. The single option lets you buy the number of flight miles for the trip (i.e. 6,916 miles for a round-trip from New York City to London). Or you buy 2x that amount by choosing the double option. During this promotion, Virgin Atlantic is also offering a triple boost.
- Valid for Virgin Atlantic-operated flights booked with a Virgin Atlantic flight number.
- Past flights can be boosted for up to six months after the original date of the first sector of the flight in the itinerary. But, you’re going to have to call Virgin Atlantic’s Customer Service Centre team at 1-800-365-9500 to boost past flights.
- Both one-way and round-trip flights can be boosted.
- Both revenue and award flights can be boosted.
- You can choose to boost some flight segments and not others (e.g. LAX-LHR but not LHR-LAX). However, in practice, a reservation can only be boosted once. So, you can’t boost the other flights later.
The terms and conditions note that “Miles Booster purchases can be made in British Pound Sterling or United States Dollars.” Currently, you’re going to want to use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees and choose British Pounds as the stated rates are:
- British Pound Sterling: £0.010 per mile
- US Dollars: $0.016 per mile
Since £1 currently equals US$1.23, it’s a much better deal to choose pounds if you can. By buying with pounds and with the 40% bonus miles promo, you can drop the net purchase price to under 0.9 US cents per mile. For example:
- Los Angeles-London flights: 10,898 flight miles round-trip
- Choose triple boost to buy miles plus 40% bonus (45,772 total miles)
- Choose British Pounds for the purchase: £327 (US$403)
- Final result: 45,772 miles for US$403 (0.88 cents per mile)
Unfortunately, I haven’t flown any Virgin Atlantic flights recently. However, some TPG readers have gone through the process and shared data points in the comments below. It seems that mileage boosts done online can only be done in US dollars, and the purchase is processed by Points.com. That means that you won’t get any credit card category bonuses when using a credit card that has a travel bonus category.
To be able to boost the miles and pay with pounds, you’ll need to call Virgin Atlantic’s at 1-800-365-9500 to request it be processed this way. When you purchase the boost over the phone, it appears that Virgin Atlantic processes the purchase directly. So, you may be able to get 5x points when using The Platinum Card® from American Express, the Citi Prestige® Card or The Business Platinum® Card from American Express for businesses.
For those who are boosting future flights, Virgin Atlantic notes that “the additional miles that you purchased will credit to your Flying Club account approximately 72 hours after the date of your first flight leg /sector.” So, keep that in mind if you have an immediate need for these miles.
Why Buy Flying Club Miles?
Because Flying Club can provide excellent value. But, just like with British Airways’ Avios, the value isn’t found on the airline’s own flights. While award rates can be reasonable, the fuel surcharges make awards comically expensive, especially when combined with London’s infamous departure taxes.
Instead, you’re going to want to use your Flying Club miles on partners like Delta (e.g. Delta One Suites to Europe for 50,000 miles + $5.60 one-way or Delta One Suites to Asia for 60,000 miles + $5.60 one-way) and ANA (e.g. first class US-Tokyo from 90,000 miles). Yes, that means that you can fly Delta business class for 14+ hours for just 60,000 miles and $5.60 out of pocket:
Or shorter flights to Europe for just 50,000 miles each way:
To hammer home just how good of a deal this Miles Booster option is: If you’re able to generate 50,000 Flying Club miles at 0.88 cents each, that’s a cost of $440 to get enough miles to fly Delta One Suites from the US to Europe. Adding on the $5.60 in taxes and fees brings your total cost to under $450 one-way to fly in one of the best seats in the sky to Europe.
Flying Club is also great because it is one of only two programs that’s a partner of almost every major transferable currency: American Express Membership Rewards (instant transfer), Chase Ultimate Rewards (instant transfer), Citi ThankYou Points (instant transfer) and Marriott Bonvoy (under 48-hour transfer time).
You can also boost your Flying Club balance by signing up for the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard. For a limited time, you can earn up to 80,000 bonus miles in the first year — 60,000 bonus miles for spending at least $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening, plus additional bonuses for adding authorized users (2,500 each up to 5,000 total) and hitting spending thresholds.
You’ll earn 7,500 anniversary miles after you spend a minimum of $15,000 with your card within your anniversary year and an additional 7,500 anniversary miles after you spend a total of $25,000 within your cardholder year.
- For a limited time: Earn up to 80,000 bonus miles with the new Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®
- New! Get a companion reward in the same cabin class when you redeem Flying Club miles for a Virgin Atlantic reward ticket. Must spend $25,000 or more in purchases annually to qualify
- Earn 3 miles per $1 spent directly on Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all other purchases with no limit to the number of miles you can earn
- Redeem miles for flights on any of Virgin Atlantic’s domestic and international partner airlines
- 25 tier points per $2,500 in purchases (maximum 50 per month) to elevate your Flying Club status
- No foreign transaction fees
- Low annual fee of $90
- Residents of the US and its territories only