Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission that helps contribute to the running of the site. Traveling For Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling For Miles and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. For more details please see the disclosures found at the bottom of every page.
Virgin Atlantic has been partnering with Air France/KLM for a number of months with all three airlines codesharing on multiple routes while allowing members of their respective loyalty programs to earn miles when booking flights on all three carriers. So far, however, it hasn’t been possible to redeem Virgin’s Flying Club miles on Air France or KLM….but that has just changed.
Within the last hour, Virgin Atlantic has published award charts for travel booked using Flying Club miles on Air France/KLM operated flights and, with Virgin Atlantic being a transfer partner of all three major US transferable currencies, this is news that a lot of us have been waiting to hear.
Virgin Atlantic Award Charts For Air France/KLM
Virgin Atlantic’s long-haul award charts are zone-based and pricing is split into standard and peak seasons, the award chart for short-haul redemptions on Air France/KLM also has standard and peak season but it is distance-based…so that’s why you’re about to see quite a few charts.
Full details of the various Virgin Atlantic award chart zones have been reproduced at the end of this post but, for now, here are the zone definitions most readers will be interested in:
- Western Europe – Zone 1
- Eastern Europe – Zone 2
- East Coast USA & Caribbean – Zone 6
- West & Central North America and Central America – Zone 7
- Oceania – Zone 10
Long-Haul Economy Class (One-Way Pricing)
Long-Haul Premium Economy (One-Way Pricing)
Long-Haul Business Class (One-Way Pricing)
Here’s what a few popular routes will cost based on these award charts:
- Los Angeles – Western Europe in Business Class = 77,500 miles + surcharges
- New York – Western Europe in Business Class = 48,500 miles + surcharges
- Chicago – Western Europe in Business Class = 48,500 miles + surcharges
- Western Europe – Oceania in Business Class = 188,500 miles + surcharges
- Western Europe – Caribbean in Business Class = 48,500 miles + surcharges
- Western Europe – Dubai/Abu Dhabi in Business Class = 50,000 miles + surcharges
- Los Angeles – Western Europe in Premium Economy = 39,000 miles + surcharges
- New York – Western Europe in Premium Economy = 24,000 miles + surcharges
- Chicago – Western Europe in Premium Economy = 24,000 miles + surcharges
- Western Europe – Oceania in Premium Economy = 62,000 miles + surcharges
- Western Europe – Caribbean in Premium Economy = 24,000 miles + surcharges
- Western Europe – Dubai/Abu Dhabi in Premium Economy = 24,000 miles + surcharges
- Los Angeles – Western Europe in Business Class = 87,500 miles + surcharges
- New York – Western Europe in Business Class = 58,500 miles + surcharges
- Chicago – Western Europe in Business Class = 58,500 miles + surcharges
- Western Europe – Oceania in Business Class = 198,500 miles + surcharges
- Western Europe – Caribbean in Business Class = 58,500 miles + surcharges
- Western Europe – Dubai/Abu Dhabi in Business Class = 60,000 miles + surcharges
- Los Angeles – Western Europe in Premium Economy = 49,000 miles + surcharges
- New York – Western Europe in Premium Economy = 34,000 miles + surcharges
- Chicago – Western Europe in Premium Economy = 34,000 miles + surcharges
- Western Europe – Oceania in Premium Economy = 72,000 miles + surcharges
- Western Europe – Caribbean in Premium Economy = 34,000 miles + surcharges
- Western Europe – Dubai/Abu Dhabi in Premium Economy = 34,000 miles + surcharges
For 2020 – 2021 this is what the Virgin Atlantic award chart seasons look like:
- 6 January 2020 – 2 April 2020
- 22 April 2020 – 19 June 2020
- 7 September 2020 – 11 December 2020
- 6 January 2021 – 31 March 2021
- 3 April 2020 – 21 April 2020
- 20 June 2020 – 6 September 2020
- 12 December 2020 – 5 January 2021
I’m going to be digging into these award charts in the next few days so I’ll publish any sweet spots that I find in due course but, for now, here’s my main thought.
I’m not sure what the surcharges are going to look like on these awards (Virgin loves a high surcharge almost as much as BA) but, purely from a mileage point of view, if you’re flying to a destination that Virgin Atlantic operates to you’re going to be better off using your Flying Club miles to book on Virgin Atlantic flights rather than flights with Air France/KLM.
A few Standard Season examples (one-way):
- LA – London in Business Class: 67,500 miles vs 77,500 miles (Virgin vs AF/KLM)
- New York – London in Business Class: 47,500 miles vs 48,500 miles
- London – Caribbean in Business Class = 57,500 vs 58,500 miles + surcharges
- London – Miami/Orlando in Business Class = 47,500 miles vs 48,500 miles
- LA – London in Premium Economy: 27,500 miles vs 39,000 miles (Virgin vs AF/KLM)
- New York – London in Premium Economy: 17,500 miles vs 24,000 miles
- London – Caribbean in Premium Economy = 17,500 vs 24,000 miles + surcharges
- London – Miami/Orlando in Premium Economy = 22,500 miles vs 24,000 miles
As far as Business Class goes, the differences can be small when flying from/to the East Coast and the Caribbean but they get considerably more noticeable when you look at awards from/to the West Coast.
For Premium Economy Bookings the differences are mostly more pronounced across the board and although it’s not all that surprising (given the Business Class awards) that Virgin is a lot cheaper (miles-wise) for flights from the West Coast, it’s a little surprising how much cheaper Premium Economy awards are when booked on Virgin Atlantic rather than Air France/KLM.
There’s quite a bit to digest here so I’ll be back with more posts when I’ve had time to play with prices and to check the surcharges.
Right now it looks like the surcharges are going to be key for awards to/from destinations that all three airlines serve – if Air France/KLM can’t offer lower surcharges, continuing to use Flying Club miles on Virgin Atlantic would appear to be the most economical way forward.
On a positive note, Air France/KLM offer considerably more destinations than Virgin Atlantic so, as of today, Flying Club members can use their miles to book trips to a plethora of destinations that weren’t available to them just a few hours ago.
Full Virgin Atlantic Zone Details
Zone 1 (Western and Central Europe) includes:
UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Denmark, Balearic Islands, Finland, Italy, Malta, Norway and Sweden.
Zone 2 (Eastern Europe and North Africa) includes:
Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Canary Islands, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Libya, Lithuania, Latvia, Macedonia, Madeira, Moldavia, Morocco, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, West Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Tunisia, Ukraine, Montenegro, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.
West Russia includes the following Federal Districts – Central Federal District, North-western Federal District, Volga Federal District, Southern Federal District and North Caucasian Federal District.
Zone 3 (Middle East and Russia) includes:
Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Central Russia, Egypt, UAE, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Syria, Qatar, Uzbekistan and Djibouti.
Central Russia to include the following Federal Districts – Urais Federal District and Siberian Federal District.
Zone 4 (Central Africa) includes:
Benin, Burkina, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, Republic of South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Chad, Zambia and Sierra Leone.
Zone 5 (Southern Africa, Indian Ocean and Indian Subcontinent) includes:
Angola, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Rodrigues, Reunion Island, Seychelles, Mayotte, Comoros, Madagascar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Zone 6 (East Coast North America & Caribbean) includes:
East Coast USA, East Canada, Antigua, Barbados, Bahamas, Cuba, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, French Guyana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Caiman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Martinique, Haiti, Porto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago and Saint Marteen.
Includes the following US states – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida
Includes the following Canadian provinces – Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island
Zone 7 (West & Central North America and Central America) includes:
Central & West USA, Hawaii, Central & West Canada, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Nicaragua.
Includes the following US states – Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Hawaii and Alaska.
Includes the following Canadian provinces – Nunavut, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northwest Territories, British Colombia and Yukon.
Zone 8 (South America) includes:
Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Zone 9 (Far Eastern Asia and Eastern Russia) includes:
China, South Korea, Japan, Mongolia, East Russia (& Siberia), Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Eastern Russia to include the following Federal Districts – Far Eastern Federal District.
Zone 10 (Oceania) includes:
Australia, Fiji, Guam, Marianas Islands, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, New Zealand, Palau Islands, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, New Caledonia and French Polynesia.