(EXPIRED) 30% off some Virgin Atlantic awards

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Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Virgin Red are offering 30% off on some awards booked from February 16 to February 28, 2023 for travel before 31 May 2023. Frankly, this deal doesn’t excite me very much given the outrageous surcharges on Virgin Atlantic’s own flights, but if you were willing to put up with those and/or redeeming for an economy class award or upgrade, this could make sense — particularly if you stack it with the Citi 30% transfer bonus that starts on Sunday.

The Deal

  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Virgin Red are offering a 30% discount on select awards all plus taxes & fees, which are substantial on premium cabins (and more reasonable in economy but still more than other programs). The following are the select discounted routes – prices are round trip (but you can book a one-way for half the number of miles):
    • Fly from New York, Boston, Washington or Antigua to London Heathrow for 14,000 Virgin Points (reduced from 20,000)
    • Fly from Atlanta, Miami or Tampa to London Heathrow for 17,500 Virgin Points (reduced from 25,000)
    • Fly from Austin, LA, San Francisco or Seattle to London Heathrow for 21,000 Virgin Points (reduced from 30,000)
    • Fly from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv for 12,600 Virgin Points (reduced from 18,000 points)
    • Fly from London Heathrow or Manchester to New York for 14,000 Virgin Points (reduced from 20,000 points)
    • Fly from London Heathrow to Antigua for 14,000 Virgin Points (reduced from 20,000 points)
    • Fly from London Heathrow to Austin for 21,000 Virgin Points (reduced from 30,000 points)
  • Direct link to more info

Key Terms

  • Offer valid for new reward flights and upgrades booked using Virgin Points between 00:01 GMT 16 February 2023 and 23:59 GMT 28 February 2023, for flights departing between 00:01 GMT 16 February 2023 and 23:59 GMT 31 May 2023.
  • A 30% reduction will be applied at the time of booking to the standard Virgin Points price on the routes noted above only
  • Only valid on new bookings
  • Only the mileage portion of the ticket is reduced. You will still be responsible for full taxes and surcharges.
  • See promo landing page for more terms

Quick Thoughts

Keep in mind that this sale is only valid on the routes specified and only on Virgin Atlantic flights. The best uses of Virgin Atlantic miles are for travel on partner airlines like Delta, ANA, Air France, or KLM. While a sale like this makes the mileage portion of the cost of an award ticket attractive enough, it doesn’t reduce the surcharges, which can be outrageous on premium cabin awards.

For instance, one could fly from New York to London in “Upper Class” (Virgin’s name for its business class cabin) for 33,200 miles — and $876.

I have a hard time getting terribly excited about what with alternatives like flying United from Newark to London the same day for 45,000 miles and just $5.60 via Turkish Miles & Smiles.

And given that this period isn’t quite high season to London, there is a lot of close-in availability for that. Here’s a look at available United flights for 45K and $5.60 on the same date as the Virgin Atlantic one shown above.

Surcharges are significantly more reasonable in economy class, though you then need to consider whether, between the surcharges and the miles transferred, it makes sense to book an award rather than book a cheap cash ticket. We’ve seen Norse Atlantic airways offer pretty cheap premium economy tickets to Europe.

Seven thousand miles and $151 one-way might not be a bad price for economy class, particularly close-in like this.

View from the Wing points out that this could also be useful on upgrade awards, so keep that in mind.

If you were already considering a Virgin Atlantic award during the travel window, I expect that you’ll be happier to spend 30% fewer miles. If you didn’t already have Virgin Atlantic travel in mind, I’m not sure that the reduction in miles will move the needle much.

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This is why it is hopeless to explain this game to outsiders. When I try to explain to the Mrs. that you don’t use VA miles to book VA flights, HOWEVER you should definitely use VA miles for Delta flights and definitely also use Flying Blue to book VA flights, she just looks at me with pity.