Delta Air Lines acquired a 49% shareholding in Virgin Atlantic a couple of years ago. Since then we have seen a gradual reshaping of the business. More flights have been added to North America, whilst routes elsewhere have been dropped (Cape Town, Tokyo etc). Delta flights at Heathrow have been transferred to Terminal 3 so that the two airlines can share facilities.
Despite these integrations, and even though you could earn Virgin Flying Club tier points on Delta, the two airlines were not fully joined:
flight redemptions on Delta were priced more cheaply than redemptions on Virgin Atlantic
mileage and tier point earning rates were different on Delta
The two airlines are being aligned from 1st September.
What is changing (spending)
At present, Virgin Flying Club redemptions between the UK and USA when flying on Delta are:
- 40,000 miles return in Economy
- 90,000 miles return in Business
From 1st September Delta will adopt Virgin pricing:
- 20,000 – 30,000 miles return in Economy off-peak, depending on route
- 40,000 – 50,000 miles return in Economy peak, depending on route
- 95,000 – 135,000 miles return in Business off-peak, depending on route
- 115,000 – 155,000 miles return in Business peak, depending on route
Whilst off-peak Economy redemptions will be cheaper, Business Class redemptions will jump by as much as 72%.
Both airlines allow one-way redemptions. It isn’t clear if taxes and charges will be aligned between carriers.
What is changing (earning)
The current structure is moving to the Virgin Atlantic model which rewards the purchase of flexible tickets more highly.
In summary, looking only at transatlantic tickets:
Delta One / Business tickets jump from the current 150%-200% of miles flown to 200%-400% of miles flown, before status bonus
Main Cabin / Economy tickets remain at 50%-150% of miles flown BUT far more ticket buckets will now earn 50%
There are also changes to tier point earning. This will mainly impact those who were cheekily adding on domestic Business Class Delta segments to transatlantic flights in order to pick up 75 tier points each way (eg routing a Boston flight as London – New York – Boston to earn a whopping 75 tier points each way on the Boston hop. This will now drop to 40 tier points each way).
Whilst these changes are disappointing, it does make sense to fully align earning and spending between Virgin and Delta. At present there were incentives to choose one airline over the other depending on which exact ticket sub-class you were flying.
These changes come into effect for tickets booked from 1st September.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (May 2022)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, one has a bonus of 30,000 points until 6th June 2022):
You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points:
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.
The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Virgin Points, if you apply by 1st June 2022.
Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.
(Want to earn more Virgin Points? Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)