Why You Should Use Citi’s 30% Bonus on Transfers to Virgin Atlantic

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Last month, we saw American Express offer a 30% bonus on transfers from their Membership Rewards program into Virgin Atlantic. Now Citi is out with their own bonus and through October 13th, 2018, you will receive a 30% bonus when converting Citi ThankYou points into Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles.

This now means that for every 1,000 Citi ThankYou points you transfer, you will receive 1,300 Virgin Atlantic miles. You can also currently earn 60,000 Citi ThankYou points on the Citi ThankYou Premier card. This matches the highest offer ever and you can learn more about it under the points rewards section of our Top Credit Cards Page.


Citi Transfers to Virgin Atlantic


You may not use Virgin Atlantic or know much about their Flying Club program, but you should. While there are far better options for getting to Europe than Virgin with miles, it has some excellent partnerships that you can use to your advantage. And this bonus just makes it even sweeter.


The Basics on Virgin Atlantic 

Virgin Atlantic is a quirky airline with a quirky frequent flyer program. The airline flies from several U.S. gateways to London-Heathrow (LHR), as well as between several international hubs like Dubai (DXB) and Hong Kong (HKG). But you’ll rarely see us recommend using Virgin Atlantic miles to fly Virgin Atlantic flights.

While its award chart offers some pretty decent rates for getting to Europe and back, the fees it charges on award tickets are exorbitant. You can expect to pay $500 or more for just an economy roundtrip ticket flying in and out of LHR. That’s just not worth it.

Luckily, there are some incredible partnerships where you can save a ton of miles by booking with Virgin Atlantic, with far more reasonable fees. Add in this transfer bonus from Citi, and it’s a no-brainer. You can transfer points to a Virgin Atlantic account from all three major banks as well as Marriott. All of them, including Citi, transfer on a 1:1 basis.

However, with this current 30% bonus, Citi is a much more attractive option. If you transfer 50,000 Citi ThankYou points, you’d get 65,000 Virgin Atlantic miles. These transfers generally take a day or two to complete.

Virgin Atlantic’s website can be a tad difficult to navigate. Getting award flights to show up on a given route can take a few tries. One good trick is to search for airports by country or region and pick them, rather than manually typing in the city name or airport code.


Major Delta Deals

Virgin Atlantic isn’t part of an airline alliance, but they have a handful of lucrative one-off partnerships with airlines. And few are closer – or more valuable – than the partnership with Delta. We don’t need to tell you that trying to understand and use Delta SkyMiles can be frustrating. There’s no award chart, so the airline’s pricing when booking a flight with miles can be all over the map. Often, a Delta award flight can be obscenely expensive.

Enter Virgin Atlantic. The London-based airline can offer a far more stable – and frequently cheaper – alternative to book Delta flights than using SkyMiles outright.

Virgin Atlantic no longer puts out an award chart for booking Delta flights. But it’s always worth checking through Virgin to see if you can score a deal. And this promo just underscores that. Case in point, it’s next to impossible to find decent rates in the fantastic new Delta One suites with miles. The airline regularly charges 300,000 SkyMiles or more for a spot in the enclosed suites on a flight to Europe or Asia.


Citi Transfers to Virgin Atlantic

Delta One suites. Photo courtesy of Delta News Hub


With a refurbished plane starting to fly between Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and Tokyo-Haneda (HND) come November, Delta has some one-way flights available for 90,000 SkyMiles. That’s good for Delta, but still pretty steep.

On those days you can score a 90,000-mile flight, Virgin Atlantic is selling the exact same flight for just 60,000 miles. Factor in the Citi transfer bonus, and you’d need just 47,000 Citi ThankYou points to book it. You simply cannot beat that.

This is just one example of how you can utilize Virgin Atlantic, but it’s worth remembering. And that’s true whether you’re looking to fly Delta One or just snag an economy seat. Anytime Delta is charging a boatload of SkyMiles, it’s worth checking out Virgin Atlantic.

Thrifty Tip: See our full guide on booking Delta award flights with Virgin Atlantic miles.


Fly in Style with ANA

You can also use this transfer bonus to score a great deal on a trip to Japan on one of the world’s best airlines. ANA is one of Japan’s flag carriers, and it lives up to its five-star reputation. Its first class cabins are spacious, private and have some of the best catering in the aviation world. From the front of the plane to the economy cabin, it’s one of the best experiences in the air.

We’ve written before about the incredible value of using ANA to get to Japan for cheap in business class. But Virgin Atlantic also has a sweet spot for booking ANA flights, and this transfer bonus makes it even sweeter.


Citi Transfers to Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic’s award chart for ANA flights is tough to beat.


Just 60,000 miles to fly from the western U.S. to Japan round trip in economy is a pretty good deal. And the airline’s standard pricing for both business class and first class is also a steal. With this transfer bonus, the value is unbelievable.

A round trip first class flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo, Japan (HND) or San Francisco (SFO) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) would require just 85,000 Citi ThankYou points. That’s just over what United charges for a one-way fare in business class!

Of course, ANA’s business class is nothing to scoff at either. During this promo, it could be yours by transferring just 70,000 Citi ThankYou points.


How to Get Citi ThankYou Points

Transferring Citi ThankYou points to Virgin Atlantic with a 30% transfer bonus is great, however not if you don’t have Citi ThankYou points. However, right now is a great time to earn Citi ThankYou points as the Citi ThankYou Premier card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.

This matches the highest offer ever and you can learn more about it under the points rewards section of our Top Credit Cards Page.

 Keep in mind that because this transfer bonus lasts just over a month, you don’t have a ton of time to earn these points for the purposes of utilizing this promotion. However, there is never a bad time to start earning ThankYou points for a future promotion like this one.


Bottom Line

Virgin Atlantic isn’t the most popular or useful frequent flyer program, but it shouldn’t be ignored. And with this transfer bonus, it should absolutely be on your radar to book some incredible trips on the cheap. This is just another reason why earning points in flexible points programs should be a top priority.


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Lead Photo (CC BY 2.0):  Delta News Hub via Flickr

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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