Virgin Atlantic Isn’t Devaluing Delta Awards As Badly As First Suggested


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On 1 January, Virgin Atlantic published a new award chart for all Delta award bookings that did not include non-stop travel between the US and UK. Shortly after publication, it became clear that the people in charge of the award chart had no idea what they were doing and that the information being supplied was wrong. Those mistakes have now, finally, been corrected.

The Truth Behind Virgin’s Delta Award Chart Changes

UK – USA Delta Awards

For non-stop flights between the UK and the US, Virgin Atlantic has kept in place its usual region-based standard and peak season award charts for bookings made on Delta.

Points costs are for one-way travel

Nothing in the charts above has changed.

USA – Europe (non-UK) Delta Awards

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 and the original information put out by Virgin on 1 January suggested that this award chart had been retired. Virgin has now walked back that suggestion and this award chart is again showing on the Virgin/Delta webpage.

Other Delta Non-Stop Awards Booked With Virgin Points

The new award chart that was first published on 1 January 2021 now applies to all non-stop Delta award bookings made with Virgin Atlantic points that:

  • Do not involve non-stop flights between the US and the UK
  • Do not involve non-stop flights between the US and Europe

This means that the following award chart applies to all non-stop Delta US domestic awards booked with Virgin Points and all non-stop Delta awards for travel to Asia, Central American, the Caribbean, South America, Africa, and Oceania booked with Virgin Points.

Points costs are for one-way travel

This new award chart sees a number of Economy Class awards come down in cost (a little), but it also sees the cost of a whole range of Business Class award increase by between 100% and 175%. Aas devaluations go, this one is brutal.

Delta Awards With Connections Booked With Virgin Points

If you’re using Virgin Points to book a Delta award that requires a connecting flight or a stopover, the total cost of the award will be calculated by adding together the costs of the awards for each segment. This applies to all bookings with connections even if they involve award travel between the US and UK or the US and Europe

The key thing to know here is that the cost of each segment is based on the award chart for that particular segment.

  • USA – USA – UK awards are priced off the new distance-based award chart & the USA – UK award chart.
  • USA – USA – Europe awards are priced off the new distance-based award chart & the USA – Europe award chart.
  • USA – USA – Rest of the World awards or USA – USA – USA awards are priced entirely off the new distance-based award chart.

Here are some examples:

1 – A standard season one-way Business Class award for travel between Tampa and London that routes through Atlanta will cost a total of 65,000 Virgin Points:

  • Tampa – Atlanta = 406 miles = 17,500 Virgin Points
  • Atlanta – London Heathrow = 47,500 Virgin Points (Based on US-UK Standard Season award chart)

2 – A one-way Economy Class award for travel between Chicago and Rome that routes through Atlanta prices up at a cost of 38,500 Virgin Points.

The distances flown on this itinerary are as follows:

  • Chicago – Atlanta = 606 miles
  • Atlanta – Rome = 5,036 miles

The 38,000 Points that this award costs is made up of 8,500 Points for the 606 mile Chicago – Atlanta segment and 30,000 Points for the Atlanta – Rome segment.

Had this award been priced solely on the new distance-based award chart we would expect it to cost 43,500 Points (8,500 + 35,000).

3 – A one-way Business Class award for travel between Los Angles and San Francisco that routes through Salt Lake City will cost a total of 55,000 Virgin Points.

Because this routing is based on the new distance-based chart, this is how the pricing breaks down:

  • Los Angeles – Salt Lake City = 590 miles = 27,500 Virgin Points
  • Salt Lake City – San Francisco = 599 miles = 27,500 Virgin Points

What this all effectively means is that most Delta awards that include a stopover and that are booked with Virgin Points are now so expensive that they represent incredibly poor value – especially if they’re Business Class awards.

Bottom Line

Virgin Atlantic has finally corrected the misinformation that it posted on 1 January and cleared up the confusion surrounding the cost of Awards booked with Delta using Virgin Points. There are no changes to the cost of non-stop awards between the UK and the US or the cost of non-stop awards between the US and Europe, but most other awards booked with Delta now cost a lot more than they did just a couple of weeks ago.

5 COMMENTS

  1. In your second example Detroit-Paris is 80,000 miles yet it should be 50,000 from the USA to Europe. Is the higher price due to the addition of the connecting flight?

    • Yes, that is my understanding but I’m still waiting for VS to confirm. As far as I can tell, as soon as you add a connecting flight to an itinerary (to Europe excluding the UK), all the pricing is based on the new Delta award chart. The way around this would be to book two separate awards (IND-DTW & then DTW-CDG) but then you take on the risks associated with two (technically) unrelated bookings.

      • I was wrong. I still haven’t heard back from Virgin but I’ve now found an Economy Class award for ORD-ATL-FCO and that is pricing up the second sector based on the USA-Europe award chart and not the new distance-based award chart.

  2. I was thinking that if you add a connecting flight VS would add the new award chart for US+ the old chart US to Europe.
    For me it’s hard to tell because I’m having trouble finding Delta award seats through Virgin Atlantic.

    • You are correct (post now updated). I’ve finally found an example (now in the post) where a USA – USA – Europe award prices the USA – Europe segment off the USA-Europe award chart and not the distance-based award chart. Amusingly, this appears to contradict what at least one major UK blog was told directly by VS.

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