Score Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles under 0.9 cents each with Miles Booster
Editor's note: This is a recurring story that has been updated with the latest offer.
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 March 8 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 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
- U.S. Dollars: $0.016 per mile
Since £1 currently equals $1.29, 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 U.S. cents per mile.
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 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 (earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year).
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 U.S.-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:
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).