In August I was excited to report that Delta awards could be booked online via Virgin Atlantic’s 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 while and had accidentally released it too early in August. Hopefully it’s back now for good.
Virgin Atlantic can be a great option for booking Delta awards. In many cases nonstop award prices are lower than Delta’s own award prices, there often are no fuel surcharges, and Virgin Atlantic charges only $50 for award changes or cancellations prior to 24 hours before departure.
Plus, Virgin Atlantic miles are much easier to collect than Delta miles. Points can be transferred to Virgin Atlantic from any popular transferable points program: Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, or SPG. Additionally, both Amex and Citi frequently offer transfer bonuses to Virgin Atlantic. As I write this, Amex is offering a 30% bonus. You can always find up to date transfer bonus info here: Current point transfer bonuses, or within any of our pages detailing transfer opportunities:
Two big problems with online bookings
Virgin Atlantic includes huge surcharges when booking awards on their own flights, but usually does not do so for partner flights. For example, as you can see at the top of this post, they’ll charge only $5.60 in fees for a business class Delta flight from Detroit to Paris. Unfortunately, a big exception I’m finding right now is with flights booked to or from London Heathrow. By routing to London rather than Paris, Virgin Atlantic wants to charge $501.60 in fees!
I suspect this is a bug with the online booking tool rather than a new policy, but I’ll let you know once I find out for certain. Virgin Atlantic apparently charges these ridiculous fees for all flights to/from London regardless of whether you book online or by calling so there doesn’t appear to be a workaround.
Another big issue with online booking is that many airports aren’t included. There is a known issue in which typing the name or code for an airport doesn’t return results, but that issue has an easy workaround: click the little map pin icon to search by country or alphabetically.
Unfortunately, even this approach doesn’t make all airports available. For example, I couldn’t find Incheon International Airport in South Korea (ICN) or Munich Airport in Germany (MUC). US airports seem to be much better represented.