(EXPIRED) Great deal: 30% transfer bonus MR to Virgin Atlantic

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American Express Membership Rewards is once again offering a 30% transfer bonus when transferring Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic. This can be a great deal if you are able to take advantage of some of Virgin’s partner awards and/or if you are looking to book a lap infant award ticket in premium cabins as Virgin has some excellent values. Furthermore, if you’d like to go to Necker Island and visit with Greg’s buddy Sir Richard, this can make it a lot easier if you have points to transfer (note that after the hurricane, Necker Island is not yet allowing bookings with miles again, but hopefully will do so soon)

The Deal

  • 30% transfer bonus from Amex Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • You can link your Flying Club account to Membership Rewards and transfer here.

Key Terms

  • Expires 11:59 p.m. MT on September 12, 2018
  • Additional miles are awarded at the time of transfer (instantly)
  • See your Amex account for additional terms

Quick Thoughts

First, it’s worth noting that Virgin Atlantic miles are not particularly useful for traveling to England on Virgin Atlantic unless you are traveling at a high peak time when the high fees on those tickets are reasonable compared to your cash options.

However, there are a few standout values if taking advantage of this transfer bonus:

1) Round trip First Class on ANA for 110K/120K Virgin Atlantic miles (85K/93K Membership Rewards points)

I recently flew ANA business class and it was very solid in my opinion. The food and service were excellent. The seat was spacious and cocoon-like. It wasn’t luxurious necessarily, but I liked it more than Cathay Pacific’s business class. I wish I had taken a picture of the first class cabin on the way through it. Here was a business class seat:

ANA Business Class

This is the website rendering of first class, which I think doesn’t do it justice:

ANA First Class

Virgin Atlantic charges 110,000 miles round trip from the West Coast or 120,000 from the East Coast for ANA first class, meaning you’ll just need to transfer 85,000 or 93,000 Membership Rewards points respectively. That’s an incredible deal for round trip first class travel for such a distance.

Keep in mind that you have to book ANA awards over the phone and that this sweet spot is always subject to change. It has existed for a long time, but you never know when it may end. I wouldn’t suggest transferring if your plans are only “someday”, but if you have a trip in mind this is an excellent value.

2) Book Delta awards for great prices

You can actually book Delta awards online with Virgin Atlantic, making it pretty convenient and easy to use Virgin Atlantic miles to book Delta awards (apart from the fact that the Virgin website is super kooky). What’s more, there isn’t really a clear rhyme or reason as to when Virgin Atlantic will show Delta availability — there are times when Delta is charging half a bajillion SkyMiles, yet availability shows up through Virgin Atlantic. At one point last year, tons of Delta One transcontinental availability popped up and I was able to snag flat-bed transcon flights for 18,000 Membership Rewards points each way (See: Holy availability! Transcon flat beds in Delta business for 18K points; Hawaii cheap, too). I haven’t seen such wide availability appear again on those flights, but we have seen similar instances where Delta One suites were bookable on some routes to Europe for 50K miles through Virgin Atlantic (See: Delta One suites for 50K to Europe w/ Virgin Atlantic miles) — with this transfer bonus, that would be less than 39,000 Membership Rewards points one way.

3) Great infant award pricing

Virgin Atlantic offers terrific pricing on infant award tickets:

  • Economy class = 1,000 miles per sector
  • Premium economy = 2,000 miles per sector
  • Upper Class = 5,000 miles per sector

Those are the rates before considering the transfer bonus (though keep in mind that you have to transfer in increments of 1,000). See the above screen shot — one nice thing is that the taxes and fees Virgin charges on infant tickets are significantly less than adult tickets. The flights above are from New York to London, a route where Virgin’s taxes and fees on an adult ticket come to $526 per person. As you can see, the infant ticket on the Virgin-operated flight would only incur $38.90 in fees, or no fees at all on Delta metal. Many programs charge 10% of an adult revenue fare; these rates are fantastic comparatively. If you’re planning to travel with a lap infant, it might be worth considering Virgin Atlantic.

4) Necker Island or other Virgin Limited properties

 

A couple of years ago, Greg spent a week on Necker Island, Richard Branson’s private island in the Caribbean. In lieu of paying the $30,000 cash price for a week there, Greg used 1.2 million Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles. These days, you also need to have Virgin Atlantic silver status to redeem for Necker Island, though I believe there are no such restrictions for the other Virgin Limited properties. If that interests you, I highly suggest reading about Greg’s experiences at Necker Island. (Note that after the hurricane, Necker Island is not yet allowing bookings with miles again, but hopefully will do so soon)

Bottom line

This is a bonus worth pursuing if you’ve got travel plans on ANA or Delta and/or if you intend to fly with a lap infant. If you had a Necker Island or other Virgin Limited redemption in mind, this bonus could certainly save you a hefty chunk of miles. It’s never a particularly good idea to transfer without any plans for use and keep in mind that award prices can change without notice, so it’s best to transfer with a relatively immediate use in mind. Speaking of that, transfers are (relatively) instant. I had the miles in my Virgin Atlantic account within a few minutes last time.

As always, we have added this to our Current Point Transfer Bonuses resource page.

H/T: reddit

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

More articles by Nick Reyes »

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Geoff
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Geoff

Great. Just freakin’ great! I did a 400,000 point transfer 4 days ago. Tried calling AMEX to at least inquire about a possible backdate. No luck. Oh well. Win some, lose some…..

Div
Guest
Div

@Nick: Any idea if IHG is still a thing? Transfer Amex MR to Virgin Atlantic > Transfer those points to IHG to make it 75K and get the Spire Elite status with extra 25K IHG points?

Jeff
Guest
Div
Guest
Div

@Jeff: Bummer, so sad to see this. It could have helped me to get more points with some nice upgrades on the IHG hotels. Anyways, nowadays most good things are getting killed. will try some other way to get extra points.
Thanks for sharing.

Zed
Guest
Zed

Thanks for the helpful reminder, Nick.

Any data points on how Virgin Atlantic handles lap infant awards for partners (as opposed to awards on its own metal)? We are looking at taking advantage of the 120k R/T ANA first class award, but would be bringing our 7-month along too…

Christian
Guest
Christian

Not to be some awful naysayer here, but my wife and I flew ANA First Class a few weeks ago ORD-HND, and it was not very impressive. A solid seat, ok food, very warm cabin with no air nozzles, surprisingly little storage at the seat, very bad IFE, miserable (but free in First) wifi, difficulties in communicating, and a tolerable HND lounge with fair food choices and very long wait times to take a shower. We both agreed that spending less miles to fly Business might be the way to go next time.

Maria
Guest
Maria

“A solid seat, ok food, very warm cabin with no air nozzles, surprisingly little storage at the seat, very bad IFE, miserable (but free in First) wifi, difficulties in communicating…” -Christian
1. You can always ask to lower the temp, and they will.
2. What was wrong with the IFE?
3. You’re complaining about (free) wifi in an airplane?
4. What sort of difficulties in communication? They didn’t understand your Japanese?

Christian
Guest
Christian

1. I did ask on the temperature. No luck.
2. IFE had extremely few choices and fewer recent releases.
3. The wifi was sufficiently slow to be nearly unusable. Checking email took 15 minutes.
4. My Japanese is virtually nonexistent. The flight attendants were all quite pleasant, but many had difficulty comprehending English. Given that the flight was from the USA, and about half the passengers were not Japanese, comprehending English sufficiently to take an order from the English menu seems quite reasonable.

Maria
Guest
Maria

So, if it were a U.S.-based carrier (UA, AA, Delta) from Japan to the USA, would it be reasonable for a Japanese person to expect that those FAs spoke Japanese? I’m certain most, if not all, of them don’t.

Like I always tell passengers, if you want English, fly an American, British, or Australian carrier.

Christian
Guest
Christian

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to a number of countries, and like it or not, English is the primary language of international business and travel. Blame cultural imperialism or whatever you like, but it doesn’t change the fact that English is the way the world communicates at present. Accordingly, it would be quite reasonable to expect a number of flight attendants to speak English, particularly since the flight had a U.S. origin. I suppose that I might have contacted my Japanese aunt to help in translating if the wifi hadn’t been sufficiently poor to preclude that option. My wife and I flew ANA due to their world class reputation. Sadly, U.S. based airlines have justifiably not had similar reputations in decades. While I certainly don’t expect English to be spoken worldwide, I do think that having a single flight attendant in the first class cabin to be reasonably conversant in English doesn’t seem that much to ask. Just to avoid being called an English language elitist or some such, I should mention that English is not my first language,

Maria
Guest
Maria

There’s nothing to avoid: You just admitted to being an English elitist. Those FAs speak plenty of English; it’s just not the way you wanted them to. Their primary goal is to provide safe traveling, not to shoot the breeze with you.

dave
Guest
dave

Wow Maria is INCREDIBLY butthurt!

Christian
Guest
Christian

I’ve responded to your questions and comments fully and pleasantly. You have responded with rudeness and an utter lack of social graces. If you’re that desperate to be a troll, have at it. Everyone needs a vocation, and you’re certainly well suited to the job.

Maria
Guest
Maria

Oh? Rudeness and lack of social grace? And, this is coming from someone who demanded English fluency from a “foreign” carrier. How elitist of you. Should the FAs wipe your butt too?

Get over yourself; you’re not that important or relevant.

Maria
Guest
Maria

“Virgin Atlantic charges 110,000 miles round trip from the West Coast or 120,000 from the East Coast for ANA first class…” -Nick
To anywhere? You didn’t specify.

dave
Guest
dave

Any even moderately well versed Japanese traveler could tel you it’s obviously to Tokyo. Of course it’s not to anywhere. Do you Americans expect top be spoon fed everything?

Maria
Guest
Maria

Clearly, you need to be spoon fed everything because everyone knows it’s to Tokyo (Narita), as that’s where the main hub is located. But, obviously, that’s not what I’m asking, as ANA flies to destinations beyond Tokyo. Here are some cities they fly to: HKG, PEK, ICN, TPE, BKK, and SIN. Perhaps, you should try better next time.

dave
Guest
dave

Except ANA doesn’t fly first class to ANY of the cities outside of Japan you listed. And there are first class routes to Haneda from the US as well. The first rule of holes Maria is when you find yourself in one stop digging. And stop being so butthurt!

Richard
Guest
Richard

Just took advantage of the transfer bonus. I was able to find Delta Biz to Europe (MSP-CDG and AMS-DTW) for 200K total miles for my wife and I on the Virgin Atlantic site. The AMS-DTW is on the new A350 so looking forward to trying that. Not too bad a redemption, 154K total MR points for 2 round trip biz. Each flight was running 280,000 sky pesos on Delta’s site.

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[…] While Virgin Atlantic miles are not useful for everyone, there are a few great uses – including ANA first class and Delta One suites to and from Europe. We’ve noted more details on those in our post about the current point transfer bonus from Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic (See: Great deal: 30% transfer bonus MR to Virgin Atlantic). […]

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[…] Great deal: 30% transfer bonus MR to Virgin Atlantic (Expires 9/12/18) […]

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[…] to top off a Flying Club account for a valuable award. The timing is excellent as there is also a 30% bonus running from Amex Membership Rewards, so you have plenty of options for topping off a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club […]

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[…] Great deal: 30% transfer bonus MR to Virgin Atlantic (Expires 9/12/18) […]