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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 through Nov. 30 as Flying Club is running a 30% bonus:
Here’s how Flying Club’s Miles Booster works:
- Travelers can 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.
- 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$1.28, it’s a much better deal to choose pounds. By buying with pounds and with the 30% bonus miles promo, you can drop the net purchase price to just 0.98 US cents per mile. For example:
- Los Angeles-London-Los Angeles flights: 10,898 flight miles round-trip
- Choose double boost to buy 21,796 miles plus 30% bonus miles (28,335 total miles)
- Choose British Pounds for the purchase: £217.96 (US$278.19)
- Final result: 28,335 miles for US$278.19 (0.98 cents per mile)
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), ANA (e.g. first class US-Tokyo from 90,000 miles), Jet Airways (e.g. Toronto to Amsterdam in business class for 41,000 miles one-way) and South African Airways (e.g. DC to Africa in business class from 50,000 miles round-trip).
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 0.98 cents each, that’s a cost of $490 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 less than $500 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 every major transferable currency: American Express Membership Rewards (instant transfer), Chase Ultimate Rewards (instant transfer), Citi ThankYou Points (instant transfer) and Marriott Rewards.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards