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(UPDATE 9/10 – Reposting this as the last day to take advantage of this deal is Wednesday September 12th, so if you didn’t hear about this or meant to transfer but forgot, you’ve only got a few days left. Note also that since we originally posted this, Citi ThankYou points now ALSO has a transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic)
One thing I like about American Express Membership Rewards is that they routinely offer transfer bonuses to various partners. And one of the best is back: a 30% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
Through September 12 you can transfer your American Express Membership rewards points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at a 1:1.3 ratio in increments of 1,000 MR points.
What great awards can you book with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles? Glad you asked. Here are a couple amazing opportunities:
ANA business and first class
One of the best deals in the award travel world is using Virgin Atlantic miles to fly in ANA premium cabins. The price for first class is especially good. You can jet nonstop between San Francisco and Tokyo for 90,000 or 110,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in business and first, respectively. Flying from the East Coast? You won’t pay much more, as awards on the distance-based award chart run 95,000 or 120,000 miles round-trip.
I’ve been saving my American Express Membership Rewards points for a round-trip multi-stop ticket using ANA’s own miles. But this may be enough to make me reconsider. Factoring in the 30% transfer bonus, I could fly to Japan and back in ANA business from California for a mere 70,000 Membership Rewards points. Even with taxes and surcharges that I believe are in the $150-250 range per ticket, this is still a phenomenal deal.
The best way to look for partner space on ANA in my opinion is via united.com.
Delta One awards
While Delta has been offering some decent deals of late on economy round-trips to various places, using Skymiles to fly up front is generally poor value. Luckily, you can use Virgin Atlantic miles to book many of the same Delta One seats for which Delta is charging an obscene number of miles.
Except it appears something has changed a bit since I last checked these awards. Some awards are still a good deal for the number of miles, like this nonstop to Shanghai from Atlanta in Delta One. Can you say amazing for 60,000 VS miles (47,000 Membership rewards) plus $5.60?
But for others, specifically awards to the UK from what I search, but the fees will kill you. Take this example from Detroit to London:
The “fees” are complete nonsense from Virgin Atlantic and Delta doesn’t levy them. This is still only 37,000 Membership Rewards for a premium cabin flight, but you could probably buy an economy round-trip for the fees. Not worth it in my book. A couple more options…New York to Lagos for 47,000 Membership Rewards:
And Seattle to Tokyo for the same:
Note that searching Virgin Atlantic is a bit awkward. If you’re not searching a Virgin Atlantic destination, you’ll have to click on the “map pin” icon in the search box and use it to find your airport. Even then, not all airports will be available.
This transfer bonus is going to be available for over a month, so you’ll have some time to consider the opportunities.
There are other great uses of Virgin Atlantic miles, such as for domestic economy awards that Delta is otherwise charging a ludicrous number of miles for. Don’t be afraid to go check for availability. Some of Delta’s high prices are still in the “saver” bucket, so they are bookable by partners. With the bonus, you can book domestic economy flights for less than 10,000 MR each.
Will you be looking to book ANA premium cabin awards with this bonus opportunity?
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I am planning on going to Japan and a Stopover in either China & Korea in Business Class for 95K.
I was thinking of of transfering AMEX to Virgin Atlantic for the bonus and then going 1st class since it would be about the same amount of total MR points.
Would I still be able to do the stopovers? Or would only get the ANA Stopovers using ANA miles without the bonus?
I don’t believe that Virgin Atlantic itineraries will offer stopovers. The ANA option is a great one for stopovers, and I’d probably stick with it.