Update: This appears to be dead as availability suddenly changed from daily to nearly nonexistent and rates have increased to 35K or more on dates with availability.
With the 30% bonus on transfers from Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic that we posted about earlier and the return of the ability to search and book Delta with Virgin Atlantic miles online that Greg re-discovered today, we’ve been taking a closer look at Virgin Atlantic redemption options. Lucky at One Mile at a Time reports on amazing availability on transcontinental routes between New York and Los Angeles or San Francisco through the end of the schedule. That availability is well beyond what Delta.com shows for those flights. While Delta doesn’t publish an award chart, the current low saver level between New York and LAX/SFO is 45K Delta SkyMiles one-way, and it is not widely available. Virgin Atlantic charges just 22,500 miles one-way — with the transfer bonus, that would cost you 18,000 Membership Rewards points one-way. In flat-bed Delta One.
Look at how many direct flights are available
I searched for 2 seats and got the availability calendar above. What’s more, look at how many direct flights are showing up on a single day. Note that this is a Friday. In June.
Other routes possible — Mele Kalikimaka!
While we haven’t found the same amount of availability on other routes, we haven’t searched them all — feel free to comment with other interesting finds. We did find some Christmastime availability from Los Angeles to Honolulu in Delta One. These dates are only one seat — but at such a peak travel time, it’s great to see something available here:
There’s even flat-bed business class availability on Delta from Honolulu to Tokyo if you’d like to combo this with a trip to Asia (or if you’re from Hawaii!). At 35,000 miles, this would cost 27,000 Membership Rewards one-way. (Thanks to reader P for this tip!)
Having trouble with the “Pay with Miles” box?
If you’re having trouble getting the “pay with miles” box to light up so you can book it, try searching a route like ATL-LHR. When you get to the search results, click “refine search” and change the city pairs. That should keep the “pay with miles” box selected.
Remember the rates you see above are before the 30% transfer bonus from Membership Rewards (just divide them by 1.3 to figure out how many Membership Rewards points you’ll need to transfer for each award). The transcontinental flights are definitely bookable, though I imagine this will not last — at least not with this much availability. Remember that change and cancellation fees with Virgin Atlantic are reasonable (~$50, though note that changes within 24 hours of departure are not allowed), and it appears that lap infant fares are very reasonable as well :-). Availability can be checked and flights booked online at VirginAtlantic.com.
H/T: One Mile at a Time