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No more cheap £4 US to Europe flights on Virgin Points after ‘no notice’ devaluation

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Virgin Atlantic has, with no notice, massively devalued Virgin Flying Club redemptions on US airline (and 49% Virgin shareholder) Delta.

Before we go into this, I want to be clear about one thing. There is no change to the pricing of Virgin Flying Club redemptions on Delta if you are flying from the UK.

Business Class redemptions from the UK to US on Delta remain at 95,000 to 135,000 points off-peak and 115,000 to 155,000 points peak, return.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic air miles devaluation

What Delta flights have been devalued?

This no-notice change impacts you primarily if:

  • you planned to redeem on domestic Delta flights in the US, or
  • you planned to fly from the US to Europe, excluding the UK, to benefit from Delta’s exceptionally low taxes and charge

What is the new Delta redemption pricing?

This (click here) is the Virgin Flying Club page for Delta earning and redeeming.

A new distance-based chart has appeared for all flights which do not involve the UK. This is one-way pricing:

Delta and Virgin Atlantic air miles devaluation

Historically (ie until yesterday), one-way redemptions from the United States to Europe (excluding the UK) on Delta cost just 50,000 Virgin Flying Club points and $6 of tax.  This is for Business Class.

This is no longer the case.

Boston to Amsterdam, for example, would now cost 80,000 Virgin Points + $6 one way. This is an increase of 30,000 Points, based on 3,500 miles flown.

US West Coast changes are even more extreme.

Los Angeles to Paris, one way, used to be 50,000 Virgin Points plus $6. This jumps to a crazy 130,000 Virgin Points plus $6 – and this is just one way, remember.

Whilst not really relevant for UK residents, the pricing jump for Delta flights from the US to Asia is also extreme.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic air miles devaluation

And it gets worse

If you look at the small print in the chart above, you will see that it says:

“Pricing is on a per sector basis”

If you are flying from, say, Salt Lake City to Paris with a Salt Lake City to Los Angeles connection, you need to pay for the domestic leg on top.

This adds an EXTRA 27,500 Points as Salt Lake City to Los Angeles is 590 miles. You add this on top of the 130,000 Points needed for Los Angeles to Paris.

Why has Virgin Atlantic done this?

This was, with 99% certainty, forced on Virgin Atlantic by Delta.

Delta has been doing its best to move to a revenue-based frequent flyer programme in recent years. Virgin Atlantic redemptions were simply looking too cheap compared to Delta’s own programme and compared to what other SkyTeam partners charge.

The reason that flights from the UK to USA on Delta have been untouched is due to competition from Avios, and potentially because these flights attract substantial carrier charges.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic air miles devaluation

Conclusion

These changes are unfortunate, but the bottom line is that few Virgin Flying Club members in the UK will be impacted by this change.

Whilst the one way redemptions from the US to mainland Europe were astonishing value with just $6 of taxes and charges, I doubt many readers booked one.

(That said, I DID book one, twice, so Anika could fly back from the US to her family in Germany. This will be a very expensive favour if I do it again.)

It will hit you if you are redeeming for domestic Delta flights in the US, although some short economy trips are cheaper under this new chart.

Irrespective of all this, the lack of notice by Virgin Flying Club to its members shows a worrying lack of mutual trust and respect. At a time when Virgin’s long term future is still not guaranteed, moves like this will only encourage members to cash out to IHG Rewards Club or Hilton Honors or for a few hundred Greggs sausage rolls whilst the going is good.


HFP Virgin Atlantic Rewards credit card

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (September 2021)

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 15th October 2021):

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

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 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

Until 2nd November 2021, there is a special offer on The Platinum Card from American Express.

You will receive a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points which converts into 60,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn 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.)

Comments (79)

  • Dominic Barrington says:

    It feels very poor indeed that, as a VS member resident in the USA, I read about this on here, but no email at all from the airline.

  • Baji Nahid says:

    I would be curious to know if many brits utilised the opportunity. Nonetheless it is bad news.

    Also i would hope to see Virgin Join the SkyTeam alliance. Would it not help them bolster their partnership with other airlines and allow them to start new destinations like seoul and obtain connections from SkyTeam airlines flying into heathrow/Manchester

    • ChrisC says:

      They are already in a joint venture with Delta, Air France and KLM so can already connect to CDG and AMS at both LHR and MAN.

      • Alex W says:

        I seem to recall these AF/KLM redemptions are poor value so nothing gained there.

        • Mikeact says:

          Generally true, nothing like the good old days, but with flexibility in mind some decent redemptions can still be had with connections..direct flights are usually the big ones. Also, the monthly Promo offers, 25/50% off can make a reasonable difference, one way or return, if they can work with your final destination in mind. If not, take advantage of the offers and like us enjoy an unexpected couple of weeks on Aruba!

  • Lumma says:

    This was great to mix with low tax Iberia redemptions out of Madrid. You could create an epic 3 stop holiday with the taxes saved

  • S says:

    Since when did flying to/from EU become such a niche for readers of this site? I assumed this was a popular redemption given the extreme savings and mild inconvenience of the short haul add-on

    • Rob says:

      The article says it won’t impact many UK FC members. It will disproportionately impact our readers which is why we led with it today.

      • Stuart says:

        100% Agree.
        All my points went on Delta Domestic and ex EU Delta. I have status in both One World and Star Alliance, this will likely end me using Virgin as an option, as I always consider the FF benefits on all my cash bookings.

        • Colin says:

          Likewise Stuart. EVERY Virgin Miles/Points redemption I have ever made has been either Delta domestic, ex US/Asia or ex US/Europe. Was hoping for a few more post-covid but now seriously wondering what to do with my points stash as KLM/AF redemptions are poor value compared to Oneworld, especially with BA`s RFS on shorter intra-Europe trips.

  • Rob(staaaar) says:

    Alas, I had a £4 redemption booked earlier this, though cancelled due to covid; Was hoping to reschedule, so genuinely cheesed off at this. Best get shot of my 1/4 million VS points pronto somehow…

  • James says:

    I have Amsterdam-Seattle and vv booked for Easter. 50000 each way, bit more tax to SEA though. Shame because they are really good value. Delta redemptions using Skymiles are horrendous value unless you fly domestic or grab a flash sale.

  • Paul says:

    Massively disappointed but I suppose not surprising, Norwegian premium out, Delta business back, albeit via europe, was a great way to get a US ‘business’ return for, essentially, peanuts. Now, where were all those ideas of what to do with Virgin miles from when many seemed convinced they would be gone by May. Or June. Definitely by July. Never make it past August. September will certainly see an announcement…..

  • Ben says:

    Wish I’d known about these redemptions before, sounds like they were a bargain! Rob it would be great to have an article on cheap ways to get from the US to the UK/Europe.Ex-Europe revenue flights can be amazing value in business (recently booked a NCE-JFk rt for £1100) but I find if I’m ever stuck in the US without a return leg to Europe (I live in NYC) it’s expensive to get back. Any other cheap redemption options US-EU/UK?

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