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Virgin Atlantic has launched a new points sale and this is unquestionably the best points sale that we’ve ever seen the airline publish. As I’ll show in this post, this sale allows flyers to book a number of fantastic Business Class and First Class awards at rates that I don’t recall ever seeing before and that’s exactly what the miles & points game is all about.
Before the pandemic prompted airlines to get a little more generous, the best points sales that we saw from Virgin rarely offered more than a 30% bonus. The pandemic pushed the airline into improving on that and sales offering bonuses as high as 50% appeared. As of today, however, Virgin Atlantic is offering bonuses of up to 70% on points purchases made in the next month. That’s incredible.
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 definitely 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 – 20% bonus
- Buy 25,000 – 69,000 points – 30% bonus
- Buy 70,000 – 99,000 points – 50% bonus
- Buy 100,000 – 150,000 points – 70% bonus
The Key Terms
- Buy points purchases must be made by 14 August 2021
- Up to 70% 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 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 but, importantly, in this sale, the cost/point when you buy 100,000 points is almost exactly the same as the cost/point when you buy the full 150,000 points so there’s no need to buy the maximum number of points on offer to get the fantastic deal.
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 255,000 points:
255,000 points at a cost of £2,265 works out to a cost/point of ~£0.0089.
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 255,000 points at a cost of $4,075.
255,000 points at a cost of $4,075 works out to a cost/point of ~$0.0160
Buying Virgin points from a UK-based account is considerably cheaper (that’s why I keep my account based in the UK!) but this cost per point would still be the cheapest that we’ve ever seen Virgin Atlantic offer its US members.
**If my educated guess is wrong, someone please let me know what the cost of buying Virgin Atlantic points is if you’re based in the United States and I’ll update this post**
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 now has a reasonably new Business Class product (the Room) and even though I have yet to try out this product (the pandemic to care of that!), 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? It’s easy.
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 these awards and this is how much they will cost (assuming you buy points in this sale at £0.0089 each (UK) or $0.016 (USA)).
Business Class Fares (UK pricing/USA pricing)
- Europe to Tokyo: ~£846/$1,520 + taxes & fees
- New York to Tokyo: ~£846/$1,520 + taxes & fees
- Los Angeles to Tokyo: £801/$1,440 + taxes & fees
First Class Fares (UK pricing/USA pricing)
- Europe to Tokyo: £1,068/$1,920 + taxes & fees
- New York to Tokyo: £1,068/$1,920 + taxes & fees
- Los Angeles to Tokyo: £979/$1,760 + taxes & fees
If you’re buying Virgin Atlantic points in GBP these fares are staggeringly good and even if you’re forced to suffer the higher USD pricing, it’s hard to think of many better deals in the miles 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 where the agents 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 are not traveling to the UK.
50,000 points purchased in this sale would cost ~ £445/$980 (UK pricing/USA pricing) and that’s an amazing 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 best-ever bonus of 70%. This sees UK-based Flying Club accounts able to buy points from £0.0089 each and US-based Flying Club accounts able to buy points from $0.016 each. If you’re considering buying points to book flights on Virgin Atlantic the value probably still isn’t quite 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 offers truly fantastic value.