Did Virgin Atlantic just take away their great new feature?

UPDATE 10/11/17: The feature is working again!  See this post for details.


Yesterday I posted “Wow, Book Delta with Virgin Atlantic miles online!”  I was excited because it was finally possible to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles online, often with great award prices.  This enhancement makes Virgin Atlantic miles much more usable for those of us in the US.

But this morning a couple of readers commented that they couldn’t get the feature to work.  So, I tried to replicate my results from yesterday. I tried the website, then I tried the Virgin Atlantic app.  No dice either way.  No matter what I tried, I got error messages saying that their were no scheduled Virgin Atlantic or Partner flights on that route, like this:

Or, on some routes the system found flights, but only on Virgin Atlantic.  At the time of this writing, I can’t get the website to bring up Delta flights at all.

Theories

On September 1, Virgin Atlantic is introducing new (mostly worse) award pricing for Delta flights (details can be found here).  One theory I have is that they meant to introduce online booking along with these changes.  Maybe the feature will reappear on September 1.

Another possibility is that this is simply a bug.  Maybe they uploaded a software patch and broke the ability to book Delta awards.  If so, hopefully it will be fixed soon!

A third possibility is that they realized that partner award booking was buggy (it definitely was) and so they took it down until they could fix it.

Of course a pessimistic possibility is that they don’t want to provide this functionality online at all and so it is now gone forever.  This seems very unlikely to me.  Somebody had to have taken the time to build the feature in the first place, after all.

Conclusion

At the time of this writing, it isn’t possible to book Delta awards with Virgin Atlantic miles through the Virgin Atlantic website (you can still call to book those awards though).  That said, it wouldn’t surprise me to find the feature working again ten minutes from now or at least within a few days.  If my September 1 theory is correct, though, we’ll have to wait 4 weeks to see the feature again.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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tassojunior
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tassojunior

3pm est 8/3:
Nope, not working for DC/LA flights I found yesterday.

tassojunior
Guest
tassojunior

From Chat:

I am sorry but this isn’t something that can be checked or booked online. I believe our web team have been testing to get this online which is what you may have seen.

dan
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dan

lol, if the last theory is true, the removal was fairly quick

Jeff
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Jeff

I’m still young in the miles game, but I’m experienced enough at this point to know that Delta news only seems to flow in the direction of disappointment and depression.

So when I read yesterday’s post, my immediate thought was “I wonder how long it will take for either Delta to put an end to this or the Boarding Area feed to be filled with disappointment that the glitch was discovered and eliminated.

That didn’t take long. For all your sakes, I hope it goes the other way and this turns out to be an effective means of securing Delta travel affordably and easily – but for the moment I’m just happy I didn’t put any effort into considering shifts towards Virgin Atlantic.

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[…] UPDATE 8/3/17: The feature described in this post has disappeared!  See this post for details. […]

Mark K
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Mark K

“Of course a pessimistic possibility is that they don’t want to provide this functionality online at all and so it is now gone forever. This seems very unlikely to me. Somebody had to have taken the time to build the feature in the first place, after all.”

Oh, puh-lease. Unlikely? You’ve got to be kidding.

Their RAT team reads your blog every day. You post anything useful here, they are going to yank it. They just did it sooner than usual this time, otherwise, this should be completely expected by anyone who is honest. Why are you surprised? This is what blogs do to the game.

joE
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joE

Can’t you book delta award flights online through Flying Blue?

Greg
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Greg

Not using Virgin Atlantic miles.

SDO
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SDO

So, if I am deducing correctly from what people have said, airlines such as Virgin Atlantic and Delta don’t want to provide this online award booking ability because they want to make it as cumbersome as possible for its customer to use up their reward miles? Got it. #notsurprised

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[…] website (see: Wow, Book Delta with Virgin Atlantic miles online!).  Unfortunately, the ability to do so quickly disappeared.  Thankfully, the feature is back.  My bet is that they had been working on the feature for a […]