Got a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®? Or even Amex points from cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express or the American Express® Gold Card? The clock is ticking to get even more out of those points.
Both banks are currently offering an identical 30% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic. But you'll want to act fast: Both transfer bonuses end in a matter of days.
With Chase points, you've got through Thursday, June 15 to take advantage.
Read our guide on Chase transfer partners and how they work!
The 30% transfer bonus from American Express, meanwhile, ends a day sooner: this Wednesday, June 14.
Read our guide on Amex transfer partners and how it works!
Using transfer partners like Virgin Atlantic is one of the best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points or American Express Membership Rewards points for even more value. And these transfer bonuses make it even better – think of it as a way to get some free airline miles. Even if you don't use Virgin Atlantic or know much about their Flying Club program, you should.
Thanks to some excellent partnerships, you can use Virgin Atlantic miles to book an amazing flight to Europe in Delta One business class for as low as 39,000 points or even a lie-flat seat to Japan and back at an enormous discount, among other opportunities.
This bonus just makes things even sweeter. But keep in mind, these transfers are a one-way street: Once you send your points to Virgin, you can't get them back to your Chase or Amex account. That makes it critical to come up with a game plan and ensure the flights you want are actually available to book before transferring points.
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 London-Heathrow. 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 Chase and Amex, and it’s a no-brainer. You can transfer points to a Virgin Atlantic account from Amex, Chase, Capital One, Bilt, and Citi as well as Marriott. All of them (with the exception of Marriott which transfers at 3:1), transfer on a 1:1 basis.
However, with these current 30% bonuses, Chase or Amex should be your obvious go-to. If you transfer 50,000 Chase or Amex points, you’d get 65,000 Virgin Atlantic miles. These points transfers generally clear immediately – meaning the points will be available in your Virgin Atlantic account as soon as you make the transfer.
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.
Unfortunately, Virgin Atlantic made it even harder by removing a handy award calendar you could use to scroll through a month's worth of flights at a time. Fortunately, there's a workaround you can use to still pull this feature up.
Best Ways to Use This Bonus
So what can you book?
Big Delta Deals
We don’t need to tell you that trying to understand the value of 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 – especially if you want to fly business class.
Enter Virgin Atlantic. You can easily use Virgin Atlantic to book the exact same Delta flight and save a boatload of SkyMiles. The London-based airline offers a far more stable – and frequently cheaper – alternative to book Delta flights than using SkyMiles outright.
Case in point, it’s next to impossible to find decent rates flying Delta One business class using miles. The airline regularly charges 300,000 SkyMiles or more for a business class seat to Europe, including the new Delta One suites.
But with Virgin Atlantic, it's just 50,000 miles to fly Delta One to Europe. Unfortunately, Virgin Atlantic destroyed a similar sweet spot to get to Asia for just 60,000 miles a few years back.
Still, there's plenty of value here with redemptions to Europe – though you'll have to be flexible, as finding these business class awards at such cheap rates through Virgin Atlantic has gotten much harder recently. But when you can, it's a steal. Here's an example.
Delta was charging almost 350,000 SkyMiles to fly Delta One from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Amsterdam (AMS) earlier this year. That's just a one-way flight. Ouch.
But you could have booked the exact same flight – same plane, same seat, same day – through Virgin Atlantic for just 50,000 miles. Factor in this 30% bonus, and you'd only need to transfer 39,000 points to make it happen.
Booking that for less than 39,000 points is one of the best deals you'll find in the world of points and miles. It can require some flexibility to lock in flights at these low rates. It all hinges on finding award availability, and you won't see that every day – in fact, it's dried up altogether recently. But that's not always the case: We've sent Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members several alerts late last year to book this deal.
Just remember: Never transfer points to Virgin Atlantic (or any airline) until you know the flights you want to book are available. These transfers are a one-way street – you can't get them back to your credit card account afterward.
Read our guide on booking Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles, and you'll be ready to start hunting for the deal of a lifetime.
Flying Delta economy to Europe using 30,000 Flying Club points each way is typically much, much easier. There was wide-open availability from many U.S. cities on Delta nonstop flights this summer. With this bonus, 47,000 points is all you'd need to transfer and book flights that would otherwise cost $1,800 or more!
One other great way to save some SkyMiles on Delta flights? Nonstop flights from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii, which cost 30,000 to 45,000 miles round-trip in economy, depending on where you're starting from. There can be huge savings over what Delta typically charges for the same flights.
Flights from West Coast cities like Seattle (SEA) or Los Angeles (LAX) will run you just 30,000 miles roundtrip, while a midwestern city like Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) jumps to 45,000 miles roundtrip. At 45,000 miles through Virgin Atlantic, you could book by transferring just 35,000 points!
Delta typically charges almost 80,000 SkyMiles for these exact same flights!
The same is true for nonstop flights from Seattle (SEA) to Tokyo-Haneda (HND) in economy. But you can book them for just 55,000 Virgin Atlantic points, meaning you'd need to transfer just 43,000 credit card points with this bonus.
Fly in Style with ANA
You can also use this transfer bonus to score an amazing 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 cabin is spacious, private, and offers some of the best catering in the aviation world. And even ANA business class is outstanding, and rivals Qatar Qsuites for #1 in the world, too.
Go figure Virgin Atlantic also has a sweet spot for booking ANA flights, and this transfer bonus makes it even sweeter. While Virgin Atlantic recently raised award rates to fly ANA first class, it's still easily the best way to book these flights.
A one-way flight in ANA first class flight from Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) to Tokyo now costs 72,500 Virgin points – just 56,000 Chase or Amex points with this bonus. Or you could get from Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) or New York City (JFK) to Tokyo for just 66,000 points. That’s still substantially less than what United charges for a one-way fare in business class.
Much like booking Delta One via Virgin Atlantic, finding award availability on ANA can be a chore. First class availability is practically nonexistent these days, so focus on a business class booking. These days, booking within three weeks of departure seems to be your best bet.
You can't book these flights online through Virgin Atlantic, which means it requires a bit of extra legwork. You'll want to search for award availability through a site like United.com and then ring up Virgin Atlantic at 1-800-365-9500 when you're ready to book. On the plus side, you can now book these awards as one-ways.
Read our guide to booking ANA flights with Virgin Atlantic miles
Of course, ANA’s business class is nothing to scoff at either – especially if you can snag the brand new business class seats it calls “The Room” which are currently flying from New York City (JFK) and San Francisco (SFO), too.
Read our full review of flying ANA's The Room business class from Chicago to Tokyo!
Lucky for you, business class award rates weren't affected by Virgin's recent devaluation. That means you can book roundtrip flights to Tokyo in business class for as low as just 70,000 points with this bonus – or transfer just 35,000 credit card points to Virgin for a one-way flight.
Fortunately, Virgin Atlantic has a reasonable $50 fee to cancel award tickets and get your miles back if plans change.
These 30% transfer bonuses to Virgin Atlantic from both Chase and American Express can unlock some of the best deals in the world of points and miles. We regularly see both banks roll out bonuses like this a few times a year.
But the window is closing. Make sure you put it to use before the Amex transfer bonus ends Wednesday, June 14 – or by Thursday, June 15 if you've got Chase points.