A devaluation, softened: Virgin Atlantic confirms Delta US to Europe flights will be honored at previous rate

Jan 11, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.

On New Year’s Day, Virgin Atlantic stunned the points and miles world with a sudden and drastic devaluation. At a moment’s notice, the carrier replaced its award chart for Delta partner awards with a distance-based version. With it, it increased the number of Virgin Points you would need for some flights by as much as 175%.

But now, Virgin Atlantic is clawing back some of those changes.

Sign up to receive the daily TPG newsletter for more points and miles news!

As a refresher on Jan. 1, Virgin Atlantic introduced a distance-based award chart for Delta flights. And, unsurprisingly, it completely wiped out some of the great sweet spots that were previously available.

Here’s the new award chart, based on one-way flights.

(Image courtesy of Virgin Atlantic)

Under the new chart, rewards from the U.S. to Europe increased from 50,000 Virgin Points to 130,000 Virgin Points. However, Virgin Atlantic says that is no longer the case.

Flights between the U.S. and Europe and U.K. will be honored at the previous, lower rates.

This chart now applies to one-way direct U.S. to U.K. flights:

Standard season Standard season Peak season Peak season
Route (U.S. to U.K.) Delta Main Cabin Delta One Delta Main Cabin Delta One
East Coast (Boston, New York) to U.K. 10,000 Virgin Points + $262 tax 47,500 Virgin Points + $643.50 tax 20,000 Virgin Points + $262 tax 57,500 Virgin Points + $643.50
Central U.S. (Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis) to U.K. 12,500 Virgin Points + 262 tax 47,500 Virgin Points + $643.50 tax 22,500 Virgin Points + $262 tax 57,500 Virgin Points + $643.50 tax
West Coast U.S. (Salt Lake City) to U.K. 15,000 Virgin Points + $262 tax 67,000 Virgin Points + $643 tax 25,000 Virgin Points + $262 tax 77,500 Virgin Points + $643 tax

For travel from U.S. to Europe (non-U.K.), award flights will continue to be honored at the following rates one-way:

Route (U.S. to Europe) Delta Main Cabin Delta One
Eg. Boston to Amsterdam, Atlanta to Paris 30,000 Virgin Points 50,000 Virgin Points

This is good news for travelers who look forward to redeeming Virgin Points for travel between the U.S. and Europe. The airline will continue to honor one of the best ways to book Delta One flights with miles. Though note that this only applies for flights across the Atlantic.

All other Delta-operated routes — including transpacific and domestic U.S. flights — will be honored at the new, increased rate detailed in the distance-based award chart above.

For example, a one-way flight from the U.S. to Asia previously cost 60,000 Virgin Points in Delta One. Now, however, those rates have increased. For example, a one-way flight in Delta One from Atlanta (ATL) to Tokyo (HND) will cost 165,000 Virgin Points.

For that return ticket, you’re now looking at 330,000 Virgin Points to fly in Delta One. This, as opposed to 120,000 Virgin Points at the old rates. That’s a 175% increase.

This is still a huge devaluation. However, the blow has been slightly softened by the fact that U.S. to Europe awards are no longer included in it.

Using Virgin Points — formerly Flying Club miles — has long been one of the best ways to book Delta flights, especially in Delta One. Because Delta got rid of its award chart years ago, booking through the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club allowed travelers to redeem points for Delta flights at fixed — and often much lower — rates than booking through Delta itself.

Related: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles get a new name, no longer expire

“We recognize how much our members value the extensive range of redemption partner options available through Flying Club, including flights with our joint venture partner, Delta Air Lines,” a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said in a statement. “The recent changes contribute to some considerable savings on reward seats, meaning members can go further for fewer Virgin Points. Across all classes, the redemption pricing remains competitive.”

Delta owns 49% of Virgin Atlantic. And while Flying Club has kept this sweet spot in its program, it looks as though Delta has finally aligned its close partner in Virgin Atlantic with the likes of its own redemption values.

If anything, this revelation is a great reminder in the value of building points balances that are in a transferable currency, such as American Express Membership Rewards.

Featured photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.