How to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles (2020 Edition)

This post has been updated to remain current for 2020. One significant new addition is the fact that you can text Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to look for partner awards that are not bookable online.  Details about searching for awards via text can be found in the section titled “8 things you need to know.

Delta One Suite A350 seats

One of the best ways to book Delta flights is with Virgin Atlantic miles. Via Virgin Atlantic, you can often book the same exact flights for fewer miles and far lower change fees than Delta would charge.  Plus, Virgin Atlantic miles are much easier to earn!

On non-stop flights, Virgin Atlantic usually charges fewer miles than Delta for the same Delta flights.  Sometimes the difference can be extreme.  For example, Delta might require over 300,000 miles for the same flight that Virgin Atlantic would charge 50,000 miles.

Virgin Atlantic also has low award change and cancellation fees. Virgin Atlantic charges only $50 per passenger.  Even better, on awards that incur less than $50 in taxes and fees to book, you’ll lose those fees, but you won’t have to pay $50 to cancel and get your miles back.  Delta, meanwhile, charges $150 per passenger for award changes or cancellations (this fee is waived for Delta Platinum and Diamond Medallion members).

Virgin Atlantic miles can be earned in many ways.  In fact, you might already have access to Virgin Atlantic miles indirectly: Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Chase Ultimate Rewards all transfer 1 to 1 to Virgin Atlantic.  And both Amex and Citi are known to occasionally offer transfer bonuses so that you’ll get more than 1 Virgin Atlantic mile for each point transferred.  See our Current Transfer Bonuses page for up-to-date information about which transfer bonuses are currently available and which ones have been available in the past.

Another great way to earn miles is with the Virgin Atlantic credit card which earns 1.5 miles per dollar for all spend in addition to incentives for high spend.  For an in-depth analysis of this card, see: Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard Deep Dive: Maximize Earnings and Status.

8 things you need to know

  • Search and book online: Most itineraries can be booked online at virginatlantic.com.
  • Book nonstop flights: Virgin Atlantic charges separately for every leg of the trip. When multiple legs are required, it is often cheaper to book the same flights with Delta miles.
  • Watch out for the 21 day blockade.  For domestic flights within 21 days of departure, Delta often blocks awards from partners such as Virgin Atlantic.  This means that it may not be possible to book the flight you want if the departure date is within 21 days.
  • Mind the bugs: The Virgin Atlantic website is buggy, but there are easy workarounds detailed later in this post.
  • You may have to contact Virgin Atlantic: Some international destinations served by Delta are not available to book through the Virgin Atlantic website. For example, Delta flies to the Seoul Incheon airport in South Korea but the Virgin Atlantic website isn’t aware of that airport.  In order to book awards to those cities, it’s is necessary to contact Virgin Atlantic by phone or by text.
  • Search and book via text: If you want to find award availability and/or book awards for Virgin Atlantic partners like Delta (or ANA, or Virgin Australia, or Singapore Airlines, etc.), you can text them from the US at 97634 (or text internationally: 07481 339184).  I’ve done this a few times when I didn’t want to be stuck on the phone.  My experience was that it can sometimes take quite a while to get a response, but it’s useful since you can set the request in motion and then do other things until you get a response.  An example text I sent was “Hi, can you check a partner award for me? One person ATL-BOG Jan 21 flying Delta economy or business class.”  In that particular case, I got an answer back within 2 minutes.  Other requests have taken much longer.
  • Instant point transfers: Point transfers from Amex, Chase, or Citi to Virgin Atlantic are usually instantaneous.  This is great because you can find available award space before transferring points and then transfer and book the award with little risk of someone else swooping in to book the same flights.
  • Book Virgin Atlantic flights with Delta miles: Just as it is often much cheaper to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles, it is often cheaper to book Virgin Atlantic flights with Delta miles.  Weird huh?

Award prices

Virgin Atlantic has published a fairly comprehensive award chart for Delta flights (found here).  The following are round-trip prices.  One-way prices are half the shown price.  It’s worth noting that some of the prices are significantly less than Delta would charge for the same flights.

Virgin Atlantic has special pricing just for flights to and from the UK:

And here are the lap child prices:

Step by Step Guide

Here’s how to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles:

Enter your search criteria

Browse to virginatlantic.com and enter your origin and destination airports; select “round trip” or “one way” (I recommend booking one-way awards); select your travel dates, and the number of passengers.

Set advanced search criteria

Click the “Advanced search” link, then select “Miles” under “How Are You Looking To Pay?”  Then choose whether to search for Economy or Upper Class seats.  If you want to fly Delta first class or Delta One, select “Upper Class.”  When ready, press the red circle with arrow to start the search.

Find available award days

Delta does not make all award seats available to partners, so there may be days with no seats available at all.  Or, if you’re lucky, you may find the exact flights you need.

Important: Delta appears to block partner award space within 21 days of departure on domestic flights.  If you want to fly within the US and you have 21 days or less before departure, then you are unlikely to find flights bookable with Virgin Atlantic.  Here’s an example of what close-in calendar view often looks like for domestic flights.  May 30th is 21 days from the date that I ran this search and is therefore the first day that shows award availability:

Switch to 5-week view

If your initial search doesn’t reveal useful results, switch to the full 5 week calendar view.  At the top-right of your browser window, you should see the option to “Refine search”.  Click there for options to change your search criteria.  Make sure to click “show advanced options” if you want to change your cabin preference from/to economy or upper class.

On the refine search screen, I recommend selecting “Within 5 weeks” to get the full calendar view.  Also, make sure that Payment is still set to “Pay with miles.”

What if the “Pay with miles” selector is greyed out? In that case, you can force it back to existence by temporarily changing the flight destination to London (LHR).  Then select “Pay with miles”.  Then change the destination back to the one you want.  Note that you’ll probably have to select “Within 5 weeks” again since the site will have forgotten that you chose it earlier.

Select and book your flight

Once you find a date that has award availability, click the link within that date to see available flights.  Here’s an example showing both a nonstop upper class flight for 50,000 miles and a one-stop flight for 72,500 miles:

To book the flight, simply click on the award price next to the flight you want.  For example, if you want the nonstop flight above, click “50,000 miles”. This will then lead you through a straightforward checkout process.

To learn more about the flight (or flights) before booking, click “Flight and cabin information“.  This shows you the specific flight number, aircraft, and more.

Optionally add your Delta number

If you have elite status with Delta, you may want to add your Delta account number to the reservation:

After you receive an email confirmation of your booking:

  1. Log into your Delta account on Delta.com
  2. Go to: My Trips… Find My Trips
  3. Use the Virgin Atlantic confirmation number to find the flight
  4. Next, you can modify the flight details, remove the Virgin Atlantic frequent flyer number, and then add your Delta account number
  5. Now the flight will appear under “My Trips” on Delta.com

Dealing with bugs and limitations

Pay with Miles is grayed out

If the website only lets you choose “Pay with card” and not “Pay with miles,” the workaround is to temporarily changing the flight destination to London (LHR).  It will then be possible to select “Pay with miles”.  Then change the destination back to the one you want.  Note that other settings may have to be re-established as well (such as the number of weeks to search).

Destination doesn’t auto-complete

This problem used to happen regularly, but it seems to be mostly fixed.  Still, if you type in your destination city and the text box doesn’t auto-complete, you have two options:

  1. Type the destination into the departure airport text box and then copy and paste it into the destination box.
  2. Use the map icon to find your destination from a drop-down list.

Airport not found

Many foreign airports aren’t loaded into the Virgin Atlantic system. If you want to book flights to one of these airports, it can’t be done online.  I recommend first finding award space and then contacting Virgin Atlantic to book it:

Find Award Space

Air France’s website can be used to search for Delta award space.  You need an Air France Flying Blue account to search for awards.  And note that the Air France award availability calendar does not work for Delta flights.  You need instead to search for Delta awards on specific dates.  If you find award availability through Air France on Delta flights, ignore the award price that Air France wants to charge.  Virgin Atlantic has different award pricing for the same flights.  The key is that if Air France can see the award space on Delta flights, then Virgin Atlantic should be able to also.

Another option is to use a tool like Juicy Miles to search for award space.  One advantage of Juicy Miles is that it can not only find award space, but it will also estimate the number of miles required for the flight.  This is the only way I know of to find the Virgin Atlantic award price online for flights that are not bookable online.  One downside of Juicy Miles is that there’s a fee to use it.  For details, see: Juicy Miles: Finally, a Kayak-like tool for flight awards!

I believe that it’s also possible to find award space with the paid tool Expert Flyer.  Like Air France’s website, Expert Flyer can’t show you how much the award will cost, but it can search a week at a time.

Contact Virgin Atlantic to confirm and book

Before moving points from a transferable points program to Virgin Atlantic, I recommend contacting Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to confirm that the award you want is really available and to confirm what they’ll charge.

Below you’ll find Virgin Atlantic Flying Club’s contact information.  Please note that you can text them if you prefer not to call:

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.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Regarding comments: Comments posted at the bottom of Frequent Miler pages and posts are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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Kyle
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Kyle

Great post! I actually just was able to book 4 Delta One tickets to Paris for next April all with Virgin points! Net about 38.5K Amex points (due to the 30% bonus transfer) per ticket! Amazing value.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

A little old on the post 4 months ??

Kate
Guest
Kate

Yes, excellent article!! Thanks! All the detail tremendously helpful to have in one place. Especially appreciated how you walk through all the bugs on the Virgin site with ways to cope.

Michael Bodaken
Guest
Michael Bodaken

Appears that you actually have sufficient miles in your Virgin Atlantic account to conduct the search. Otherwise, miles option grays out. Right?

bluecat
Guest
bluecat

Explained in the post

cbogsin
Guest
cbogsin

I’m trying to find tickets to Tokyo. Tried multiple US airports and dates over several months. Always told there’s nothing. It doesn’t even bring up a calendar. Is Japan not bookable via Virgin Atlantic online?

Tim Grable
Guest
Tim Grable

Two Questions: 1) Are you able to choose seats if so are you able to select preferred seats for having status with Delta? 2) Are you able to access the SkyClub with you Amex Card while flying a Delta flight booking on VA?

Bluecat
Guest
Bluecat

I have used VA many times to fly on Delta to LHR or AMS from PDX. Taxes have always been $5.60.

When I searched this week, I’m getting $150 and up for fees.

Any ideas for what’s going on? (I haven’t called in yet to ask because I’m not sure the phone agents would know…)

Sam
Guest
Sam

@Greg- I tried to search JFK to Mumbai on the direct flight starting 12/22/19 and while there are plenty of dates with the 135,000 Delta miles one way, I thought maybe Virgin may also show availability. Any thoughts on whether flights to Asia and India would show up as a valid route? Thanks

trackback

[…] morning, Greg posted all about how to book Delta flights using Virgin Atlantic miles. The timing on that post seemed perfect because Delta is currently running its latest flash sale, […]

Frank
Guest
Frank

Greg, if I am looking for a RT flight from US to CDG and can find the outbound segment but it is too early for seats to open up yet for the return flight, is there any way to make the one-way reservation now and later convert it to a round-trip when the return segment becomes available? I would normally just book this as two one-ways, but if I book two one-way segments, I will have to pay the large surcharge for the return flights from CDG to US. Any idea how to jump on flights as soon as they become available but avoid the one-way return surcharges?

Cameron
Guest
Cameron

I’m curious about this myself…

Nick Reyes
Editor

I don’t think there’s any way to do that without cancelling and re-booking — and then it’s no guarantee that the seats go back into award inventory. I think you’d have to either wait until the return opens or book them separately.

bob
Guest
bob

how come the fees to europe are like $400+

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

bob
That’s why u need lots of different points Singapore fees ($540) were Insane so I think ORD>NCE…CDG>ORD by AA points lot cheaper next May..
CHEERs

Nick Reyes
Editor

It’s only fees to London that are absurd. Fees to most other European cities are $5.60 one-way from the US. One-way from Europe the fees are higher, but not $400 high unless you’re departing the UK (in which case, you’re getting hit with a UK-specific premium cabin tax)

The Fred
Guest
The Fred

Something has happened here; ALL European destinations are now north of $400 in fees one-way from the U.S…

mrredskin
Guest
mrredskin

is there an actual route map or only “destinations”?

Nick Reyes
Editor

Try flightconnections.com for routes.

trackback

[…] How to book Delta flights using Virgin Atlantic miles […]

trackback

[…] Booking Delta Flights With Virgin Atlantic Miles:  Here’s a great article explaining in detail how to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles and why it’s a good idea.  I like how it explains bugs and limitations to this method as well. […]

trackback

[…] was a really good post: How to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles. I find it amazing Virgin Atlantic has not devalued like all the […]

trackback

[…] How to book awards: Book online at VirginAtlantic.com.  See: How to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles. […]

trackback

[…] How to book awards: Book online at VirginAtlantic.com.  See: How to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles. […]

kevin kole
Guest
kevin kole

Is this article correct quoting 50k miles for a business class seat on Virgin?

I have just (06/06/19) gone on Delta.com, and whereas I remember in the past booking Upper Class seats from SFO to LHR for 50,000 miles on Virgin (or maybe 55k), now it is showing me 86,000 miles for one-way redemption. The $5.60 fee is stil the same though : )

trackback

[…] is a Delta hub, as is the case with me, Virgin Atlantic miles can be incredibly valuable (see: How to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles).  And while every other transferable points program offers transfers to Virgin Atlantic, Capital […]

trackback

[…] Check out FM’s post which walks through the details of booking: How to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles. […]

trackback

[…] Try FM’s submit which walks via the main points of reserving: How to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles. […]

trackback

[…] How to book awards: Book online at VirginAtlantic.com.  See: How to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles. […]

trackback

[…] How to book awards: Book online at VirginAtlantic.com.  See: How to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles. […]

Dot
Guest
Dot

Lots of good info!Thanks

trackback

[…] Virgin Atlantic: 22.5K one-way for direct flights (if a flight requires multiple segments, the award price is higher).  See this post for tips on booking Delta awards with Virgin Atlantic awards. […]

Benny
Guest
Benny

Did anyone use Flying Blue to search for DL awards recently? Booked a couple of transatlantic/transpacific tickets 4 months ago by searching Flying Blue and calling VS, smooth experience (Including flight to ICN that not shown up in VS website).

Trying to change one of my itineraries today but all search results came back as no flights available on Flying Blue. Even tried flights directly available on VS (e.g. DTW to CUN on early Dec., plenty of available choices on VS), no go on Flying Blue as well. Thanks for any help or suggestion!

JL100
Guest
JL100

Bummer almost all my flights on Delta are connecting since I don’t live at a Delta hub. Too bad, was looking forward to a better points option to book Delta.

OhBoy
Guest
OhBoy

I’m unable to get past the gray. When I enter LHR, the Book with Miles options becomes available and I select it. But then when I update LHR to SFO (for example), it resets to Money.

Derrick P
Guest
Derrick P

Is it possible to use book Delta Codeshares flights using Virgin Atlantic miles?

David
Guest
David

What if VS site only finds availability on their own planes? How do I “force” it to look at partner airlines? And, if a flight shows as available on Delta’s website, would I be able to get it if I called Virgin instead of trying online?

qofmiwok
Guest
qofmiwok

Has anything changed lately? Virgin’s direct Virgin/Delta route map no longer shows CDG or AMS, just LHR and other UK airports. And nothing is coming up in search to CDG or AMS.

Lawrence
Guest
Lawrence

Just a quick question. How many miles for a flight on DL on their Delta One seats with one or two stopover using Virgin Atlantic miles?

Gabby
Guest
Gabby

Can I sign up for the Virgin card and the Alaska card on the same day? What are the rules for BOA? I need a refresher

Santiago
Guest
Santiago

Funny enough I just booked this for my wife, father, daughter (under 2) and I from ATL to EZE last night! 90K / Person RT and only 10K for our daughter… gotta love it!

angry380
Guest
angry380

Notice that Delta seems not release A350 transpacific flights to Virgin Atlantic. I see saver award availability on some days for ATL-ICN or DTW-ICN but no luck. I gave up and went ahead with ATL-PVG so I can experience D1 suite.

NK3
Guest
NK3

Regarding searching for flights, I too find the VS website very clunky. I actually use their app for it. It is extremely similar to thr Delta app.

JJ Lee
Guest
JJ Lee

Nick and Greg, I’m assuming you guys actually keep this card and put your non-bonus categories purchases on this card?

Jane
Guest
Jane

Booked domestic delta flight on Virgin Atlantic website and now want to cancel. Do not appear to be able to do this online on Virgin website.
Logged onto delta website and has button to cancel flight. If I cancel on delta website, will I def receive my virgin miles back ??

Tyler
Guest
Tyler

Hello, I just texted the Virgin Flying Club only to be told I cannot use my Virgin miles on Delta. The wording of the response was as follows: “Hi, you are speaking with Becky. I hope you are well. I’ll be more than happy to help you with that! It’s great to hear you’re a member of the Flying Club! You can use your loyalty miles on our flights only for upgrades.”

Anyone else have trouble with this before?

Edit: Virgin Atlantic on Twitter told me the opposite! Hi Tyler, hope all is well. Great to hear you are a member of our Flying Club. You can use miles to fly with Delta. Here is a link to our website with more information on spending miles with them. https://www.virginatlantic.com/gb/en/flying-club/partners/airlines/delta-air-lines.html

So I guess the text line isn’t always correct or misunderstood.

Wembley
Guest
Wembley

I’m having no luck with Virgin. In July I was able to check Sea to Pek every day for several weeks and got 4 biz class tix for 60k each way. Now we’ve cancelled that trip and ii’m looking for Mia to CDG which is an airfrance flight. AitFrance website shows availability for June but cant get Virgin (or delta) to even pull those flights. Now I even struggle to pull up sea to pek when doing a search with flexible dates and miles. Once I get an error I seem to get it consistently. Sometimes using the LHR hack works for those flights then when I put in another route it fails again.