Virgin Atlantic Is Offering A Mystery Bonus In Its Latest Miles Sale


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Virgin Atlantic is running a new mileage sale in which it’s offering a mystery bonus on miles bough on or before 13 November 2019. How worthwhile this sale is to you will clearly depend on the bonus you’ve been targeted for (check here) so here are all the details you’ll need.

My Targeted Bonus

Both Joanna and I have been targeted for the same disappointing offer of a 20% bonus…but at least the minimum purchase requirement to earn that bonus (2,000 miles) isn’t absurdly high (your bonus may well differ from what we’re seeing in our accounts).

Also, it would appear as if Virgin Atlantic has reset the number of miles its Flying Club members can buy…

…so if you thought that you had maxed-out your purchases for the year you may be in luck.

A Virgin Atlantic Dreamliner at a very wet London Heathrow

Terms & Conditions

  • Buy Miles purchases must be made between 12 October and 13 November, 2019.
  • The 20% bonus is only available on miles purchases up to 100,000.
  • Bonus miles will be credited upon completion of purchase.
  • The Buy Miles purchase limit has been reset to 100,000 until the end of 2019.
  • A member can purchase a total of 100,000 miles between 9th October and 31st December 2019 GMT 23:59 in increments of 1,000 miles. After this period, the purchase limit will reset.
  • Offer subject to change.
  • All other Flying Club terms and conditions apply.
  • Total costs include a transaction fee of $25.00 or £15.00.
  • Each Flying Club member may purchase up to 100,000 Flying Club miles for themselves in a calendar year. All other Terms and Conditions apply.

The Cost Of Miles

Not only will the cost of miles vary depending on what bonus you’ve been offered but it will also vary based on what country your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account is registered in – miles are a lot cheaper for UK-based members than they are for US-based members so I’ve done the math for both below.

US Flying Club Members

The cost per mile lessens the more miles you buy so the best cost per mile is to be found by purchasing the maximum number of miles allowed – 100,000.

Here’s the cost per mile based on the three most likely bonuses that are being awarded:

  • With a 20% bonus the cost per mile is ~2.27 cents
  • With a 30% bonus the cost per mile is ~2.10 cents
  • With a 40% bonus the cost per mile is ~1.94 cents

UK Flying Club Members

Once again, the cost per mile lessens the more miles you buy so the best cost per mile is to be found by purchasing the maximum number of miles allowed – 100,000.

Here’s the cost per mile based on the three most likely bonuses that are being awarded:

  • With a 20% bonus the cost per mile is ~1.26 pence
  • With a 30% bonus the cost per mile is ~1.17 pence
  • With a 40% bonus the cost per mile is ~1.08 pence

Are Any Of These Deals Any Good?

Firstly, if you don’t have a plan for how to use the miles you shouldn’t be buying miles at all – stockpiling miles 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.

Secondly, I’m not a fan of using Virgin Atlantic Miles for travel on Virgin Atlantic because the awards attract ridiculous surcharges (although there is a niche use on Virgin Atlantic that I like). I much prefer to use these miles for premium cabin travel on ANA.

ANA new Boeing 777 Business Class (select routes)

Here are some of the better redemption options that can be booked just with miles bought in this sale…

  • Europe to Tokyo (Business Class): 95,000 miles
  • New York to Tokyo (Business Class): 95,000 miles
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo (Business Class): 90,000 miles

…and here is how much those redemptions would cost with miles bought in this sale:

Award Pricing If You Have A 20% Bonus

UK pricing/USA pricing

  • Europe to Tokyo: £1,197/$2,157 + taxes & fees
  • New York to Tokyo: £1,197/$2,157 + taxes & fees
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo: £1,134/$2,043 + taxes & fees

Award Pricing If You Have A 40% Bonus

UK pricing/USA pricing

  • Europe to Tokyo: £1,086/$1,843 + taxes & fees
  • New York to Tokyo: £1,086/$1,843 + taxes & fees
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo: £972/$1,746 + taxes & fees
ANA new Boeing 777 Business Class (select routes)

Taxes & Fees

Virgin Atlantic is one of the increasing number of airlines that add surcharges to their awards and unfortunately, this extends to ANA awards too.

The good news is that, unlike the surcharges added to awards for flights on Virgin or Delta, the surcharges on ANA awards aren’t horrendous.

Here are some approximate taxes & fees (which will vary depending on the routing):

  • London – Tokyo (Business Class) – £356/$452 in taxes and fees
  • Paris – Tokyo (Business Class) – £229/$290 in taxes and fees
  • Los Angeles – Tokyo (Business Class) –£214/$270 in taxes and fees

If you’ve been fortunate enough to have been targeted for a 40% bonus the deals on offer here are very good indeed.

Yes, UK-based Flying Club members ger a considerably better deal than US-based members but Los Angeles – Tokyo in ANA Business Class for ~$2,000 roundtrip is still great value compared to the cost of transpacific cash fares.

If, like me, you’ve been given a 20% bonus the math isn’t quite so favorable (clearly!) but the transpacific deals still look reasonable for US-based members and the Europe to Tokyo deals don’t look too bad for UK-based members (although I’d search for cheap cash fares before considering an award at this level).

ANA Business Class (most commonly found)

Bottom Line

I don’t like using Flying Club miles for awards on Virgin Atlantic because of the high number of miles needed and because of the surcharges imposed. I’m also not a big fan of using Virgin Flying Club miles for flights on Delta because, despite the fact that some awards cost fewer Flying Club Miles than SkyMiles, I find the surcharges unpalatable….but award bookings on ANA are a whole other story.

Using Flying Club Miles for premium cabin award bookings on ANA can be a fantastic use of Flying Club Miles and if you’ve been targeted for a 40% bonus some of these awards look very attractive indeed – with a 20% bonus things are looking considerably less attractive but you may still find some value.

Link to the Virgin Atlantic Miles Sale

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