Whether you score a fancy Delta One suite with a closing door or any Delta business class seat, not much beats flying a lie-flat Delta seat over to Europe. There's just one thing: Doing it on the cheap.
Whether you're paying $4,000 or more or forking over 300,000 SkyMiles each way, flying Delta business class abroad can cost a small fortune. But there's a much better way: Thanks to one of Delta's partner airlines, Virgin Atlantic, there's a crafty workaround you can use to book these exact same Delta One flights to Europe for just 50,000 points each way … and sometimes even less!
Utilizing this workaround to book Delta One to Europe can be easier said than done, as it hinges on finding the award availability to actually book those seats through Virgin … though lately, there have been some wide-open opportunities to book it. And while you can't transfer Delta SkyMiles over to Virgin's mileage program, earning the Virgin points you need is even easier: If you've got points on cards like the *chase sapphire preferred*, *venture x*, or the *amex gold*, you've got what you need.
It's one of the best deals in the world of points and miles, period. And we'll show you exactly how to book Delta One business class for cheap.
Use Virgin Atlantic Points to Fly Delta One Instead
We have a mantra here at Thrifty Traveler: When Delta is charging an arm and a leg, check out Virgin Atlantic instead.
Virgin Atlantic's frequent flyer program is one of our favorite ways to book Delta flights and save some serious SkyMiles in the process. Thanks to a close partnership between the two airlines, it's easy to use Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points to book flights on a Delta plane. Time it right, and you can save a boatload of SkyMiles on many Delta flights using this workaround, whether you're hopping on a short domestic flight or flying long-haul abroad.
But the savings can be truly astounding if you're looking to fly business class to Europe. It's not unusual to see Delta charging 200,000 SkyMiles, 250,000 SkyMiles, 350,000 SkyMiles or even more … all for a one-way flight to Europe in Delta One.
For example, the airline is charging a whopping 375,000 SkyMiles for a one-way flight in Delta One from New York City (JFK) to Munich (MUC) next summer. Woof.
But you could book that exact same Delta One flight to Germany – same day, same plane, exact same lie-flat seat – for just 50,000 Virgin Atlantic points. That's less than one-seventh of the cost!
These flights are gone now – get an alert for the next time you can book Delta One for cheap with Thrifty Traveler Premium!
Using SkyMiles, you'd have to fly around the world a few times or open four-plus credit cards to get enough miles to pull this off. But using Virgin Atlantic, you can do it with a single credit card bonus like the 60,000 points you'll earn after spending $4,000 in three months on the *chase sapphire preferred*. That's what makes this sweet spot so amazing.
If you're dead set on flying in a Delta One suite, you'll need to be picky. You'll only find Delta's best business class suites onboard their Airbus A350 and Airbus A330-900neo. It varies from month to month, but you'll typically only find those planes flying Delta's heaviest transatlantic routes like Detroit (DTW), Atlanta (ATL), or New York City (JFK) to Amsterdam (AMS) or Paris.
Why is this sweet spot so insanely sweet? Who knows. For whatever reason, Virgin Atlantic has decided to sell these Delta One flights for a fraction of what Delta itself charges – though finding them at these rates through Virgin Atlantic can be incredibly hit or miss.
You used to be able to book Delta One awards between the U.S. and Asia for just 60,000 points, but the airline cut that sweet spot in early 2021. Even using Virgin Atlantic, those transpacific business class flights now cost 105,000 points or more each way. And the airline recently raised award rates on many other Delta flights across the globe.
But cheap Delta One flights to Europe are still in reach. And you'll need some Virgin Atlantic points to make it happen. Luckily, that's a cinch.
You cannot transfer Delta SkyMiles over to a Virgin Atlantic account – not even a co-branded Delta credit card will cut it.
That's because Virgin Atlantic is a Chase transfer partner. And an American Express transfer partner. And a Capital One transfer partner. Oh, and a Bilt Rewards transfer partner and Citi ThankYou transfer partner, too. And since all those points transfer to Virgin Atlantic on a 1:1 basis, a stash of 50,000 points on any of those credit cards (and more) can get you all the Virgin points you need to book a Delta One flight on the cheap.
Sometimes, it gets even cheaper, as those points programs regularly offer transfer bonuses of 30% to Virgin Atlantic. If you time it right, that means you can book these lie-flat seats for just 39,000 credit card points!
But before you transfer anything to Virgin Atlantic, you want to make sure the flights you want are available.
How to Find & Book Delta One for 50K
Now it's time for the hard part. Fortunately, it seems to be getting easier to pull this deal off.
While Delta's award prices when using SkyMiles can jump all over the place, Virgin Atlantic's are far more stable. A one-way flight on Delta from the U.S. to Europe is 30,000 Flying Club miles every time. That same flight in Delta One will always be 50,000 miles.
The trick is finding the award availability at that price. It's either there … or it's not available at all. And there's little rhyme or reason behind when a Delta award seat is available through Virgin Atlantic. For the last few years, finding these Delta One awards available at 50,000 points via Virgin Atlantic has been a tough task.
But the floodgates opened recently. In just the last few months, we've sent Thrifty Traveler Premium members several award alerts with wide-open award space to book Delta One business class through Virgin for a bargain.
For example, a few months back, we unearthed an incredibly rare chance to fly to Frankfurt (FRA), Brussels (BRU), or Zurich (ZRH) in early 2024 – with seats for up to nine passengers. It was the first time we'd seen this amazing deal crop back up in nearly a year. And a 30% transfer bonus from Chase at the time made it even cheaper.
It got even better just this week. We found some unprecedented availability for Thrifty Traveler Premium members to book a trip to Europe in summer 2024 in Delta One – including from the brand-new route from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Dublin (DUB). Other sites eventually picked up on it but we found it first, sending a text alert to members so they could book before anyone else and an email with a full breakdown of dates, too.
These flights are long gone now … but we're already hunting for the next amazing Delta One deal for our Thrifty Traveler Premium members!
Just look at how easy it was to book the one-way flight from New York City (JFK) to Munich (MUC) – in peak summer, no less. Getting to Munich for Oktoberfest was an option, too! And even return availability to fly home in Delta One was rock solid.
For travelers eyeing a trip to Europe this winter or spring, we also found plenty of availability to book Delta One for 50,000 points on routes like Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Amsterdam (AMS), Boston (BOS) to Lisbon (LIS) or Dublin (DUB), Detroit (DTW) to Frankfurt (FRA), and several others.
If you're starting from scratch or hoping to find seats on a different Delta flight, it'll take some trial and error … and in some cases, a lot of it.
While you're aiming to fly Delta, you'll want to head to VirginAtlantic.com to start searching as that's whose points you'll eventually be redeeming. Plug in a one-way, nonstop Delta route to Europe, and search for Upper Class flights.
It can be difficult to pull up the routes you want because the search engine frequently won’t recognize airports that aren’t in Virgin’s route network. Sometimes, you’ll have to click “See full airport list” to manually choose your destination airport.
If you get errors, don't despair: It just means there was nothing available within the weeklong period you searched. Move your search to a different week or even try different routes until at least one flight pops up.
Unfortunately, Virgin Atlantic made it a bit harder to hone in on the best deals by removing the ability to pull up a month-long price calendar. But don't worry: There's a backdoor way to pull that up. Just tap what you need to into the URL and start scrolling through the calendar to find the flights that work for you.
Be sure to filter for nonstop flights so you only see results in Delta One business class – not the overpriced (and highly taxed) connecting flights on Virgin Atlantic itself.
It's still not a slam dunk: You can scan through months' worth of flights and find just one date that works, if any. You'll need to be flexible to find the dates that work – or just wait for the heads up from a Thrifty Traveler Premium award alert.
But to fly Delta One business class for just 50,000 points and $5.60 across the pond, that's well worth it.
Especially when that exact same flight would cost you a mountain of Delta SkyMiles…
Points and miles can be incredibly powerful. But this example takes the cake.
Booking Delta One flights to Europe for just 50,000 points by turning to Virgin Atlantic instead is one of the best ways to fly, period. And while it had been nearly impossible to lock in this deal for several years, that has changed recently – and that's a big win.