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Virgin Atlantic has launched a new points sale and this may be the first sale that we’ve seen from the airline in over a year (the last sale I recall seeing was back in February 2020). For some, the long wait for a deal may have been worthwhile as Virgin is offering the highest bonus that we generally see it offer (50%), and it has raised the limit on the number of points that Flying Club members can buy during a calendar year.
If you need to top up your account or if you want to book one of the best deals in the miles and points world (more on that later) this is probably the time to do it.
There are 5 tiers to the latest Virgin Atlantic points sale and this is what they look like:
- Buy 1,000 – 4,000 points – 0% bonus
- Buy 5,000 – 24,000 points – 15% bonus
- Buy 25,000 – 69,000 points – 30% bonus
- Buy 70,000 – 99,000 points – 40% bonus
- Buy 100,000 – 150,000 points – 50% bonus
The Key Terms
- Buy points purchases must be made by 30 April 2021
- Up to 50% bonus is only available on points purchases up to 150,000.
- Bonus points will be credited upon completion of purchase.
- Offer subject to change.
- All other Flying Club Terms and Conditions apply.
My Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account is UK-based (you’ll see why in a moment) so I don’t have access to the US prices or tiers…but I can make an educated guess what US members are offered based on past sales.
US Flying Club members can check to see their pricing via this link.
As far as UK Virgin Atlantic Flying Club accounts go this is what you’ll need to know:
Because Virgin Atlantic adds a £15 ‘handling fee’ to every transaction the cost per point will vary depending on the bonus on offer and the number of points you’re buying – the more points you buy the less you pay per point.
If you were to buy the maximum number of points this sale allows you to buy it would cost £2,265 and you would net 225,000 points:
225,000 points at a cost of £2,265 works out to a cost/point of £0.0101.
Based on historical prices and on the fact that Virgin Atlantic has kept UK pricing the same as in previous sales (so US pricing probably hasn’t changed either), US-based accounts will probably be able to buy the full 225,000 points at a cost of $4,075.
225,000 points at a cost of $4,075 works out to a cost/point of ~$0.0181
Buying Virgin points from a UK-based account is considerably cheaper (and that’s why I keep my account based in the UK!)
Is It Worth Buying Points In This Sale
If you don’t have a plan for how to use the points you shouldn’t be buying points at all – stockpiling points in the hope of using them down the line is a bad idea as you never know when a loyalty program will devalue its offering.
Personally, I don’t like using Virgin Atlantic points for travel on Virgin Atlantic (with one exception) because of the high surcharges that the airline chooses to add to award bookings, but I LOVE using them for premium cabin awards on ANA.
ANA has rolled out a brand new Business Class cabin (the Room) and even though I have yet to try out this product (I may use points from this sale to book it) I’m pretty sure that it’s the best Business Class seat in the world. Yes, it’s probably better than the Qatar Airways Qsuite (review).
So how do you use Virgin Atlantic points to book such an amazing product? With ease.
The Virgin Atlantic ANA award chart is a region-based chart and looks like this:
The points costs shown are for roundtrip travel as ANA one-way awards are not bookable with Virgin Flying Club points (open-jaws are allowed too).
These are the highlights in this award chart:
- Europe to Tokyo: 95,000 points/120,000 points (Business Class/First Class)
- New York to Tokyo: 95,000 points/120,000 points
- Los Angeles to Tokyo: 90,000 points/110,000 points
The current Virgin Atlantic sale allows you to buy enough points for any of those awards and this is how much those awards will cost (assuming you buy points in this sale at £0.0101 each (UK) or $0.0181 (USA)).
Business Class Fares (UK pricing/USA pricing)
- Europe to Tokyo: ~£960/$1,720 + taxes & fees
- New York to Tokyo: ~£960/$1,720 + taxes & fees
- Los Angeles to Tokyo: £909/$1,629 + taxes & fees
First Class Fares (UK pricing/USA pricing)
- Europe to Tokyo: £1,212/$2,172 + taxes & fees
- New York to Tokyo: £1,212/$2,172 + taxes & fees
- Los Angeles to Tokyo: £1,111/$1,991 + taxes & fees
If you’re buying Virgin Atlantic points in GBP these fares are mind-blowingly good and even if you’re forced to suffer the higher USD pricing, it’s hard to think of many better deals in the points and points world.
When you consider that it costs 135,000 – 155,000 Flying Club points to fly round trip between the West Coast and Europe in Business Class on Virgin Atlantic or Delta these ANA awards look amazing.
Sadly it’s not all good news. There’s a downside to Virgin using a region-based award chart for ANA redemptions.
Per Virgin Atlantic:
Take New York – Japan – South Korea in Business Class as an example. To book this with Virgin Flying Club points will take two award bookings:
First, you have to book the New York – Japan segments for 95,000 points and then you have to book the Japan – South Korea segments for a further 35,000 points.
The total roundtrip cost is 130,000 points and that’s not such a great deal anymore – the best deals to be had are on non-stop routings.
Searching For & Booking ANA Awards
You can’t book or search for ANA awards via Virgin Atlantic’s website so you have to look to other Star Alliance airline sites for help….but don’t buy any points until you’ve checked that awards are actually available for the dates you can fly.
I find ANA’s website a bit clunky so my go-to sites are Aeroplan or United.com which are both easy to use and quite reliable when it comes to showing true award availability.
Once you’ve found an award you’d like to book you’ll have to call up your local Virgin Atlantic reservations line who should be able to book your chosen itinerary.
Using Virgin Points For Delta Bookings
Another very good use for Virgin Atlantic Points are Delta Business Class awards that don’t include flights to/from the UK.
Up until 31 December 2020, Virgin Atlantic had just one award chart for all Delta awards that did not include flights to/from the UK. From 1 January 2021, that award chart now only applies to Delta awards for non-stop itineraries between the United States and Europe (excluding the UK).
This award chart represents one of the few sweet spots in the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program as there are no carrier-imposed surcharges if you originate in the United States and aren’t traveling to the UK.
50,000 points purchased in this sale would cost ~ £505/$905 (UK pricing/USA pricing) and that’s a staggeringly good deal for a one-way transatlantic Business Class award.
Virgin Atlantic sells its points through Points.com so there’s no scope to earn a travel/flight/airline bonus by using a credit card that offers bonus points for shopping in one of those categories.
What this means is that this is a good opportunity to use a credit card on which you’re working towards a welcome bonus (like the fantastic bonus being offered by the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card right now)…
Virgin Atlantic is now selling points with a bonus of up to 50%. This sees UK-based Flying Club accounts able to buy points from £0.0101 each and US-based Flying Club accounts able to buy points from $0.018 each. If you’re considering buying points to book flights on Virgin Atlantic the value probably isn’t there, but if you’re considering an ANA Business Class booking or a Business Class award on a Delta-operated transatlantic flight that doesn’t touch the UK, this sale may be worth considering.