Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Lots of one-way business class flights from New York to Zurich for 50,000 Virgin Points plus $6

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Delta Air Lines is, as most readers know, a 49% shareholder in Virgin Atlantic, and you can book reward flights on Delta with Virgin Points.

If you book flights from the US to the UK on Delta with your Virgin Points, you are hit with high surcharges. This appears to be down to the transatlantic joint venture agreement that the two airlines have, which means that surcharges are identical across carriers.

To other parts of Europe, however, you only pay Delta’s standard surcharges – which are effectively nothing.

Fly New York to Zurich for just 50,000 Virgin Points plus $6

This means that a one-way flight FROM the US to Europe (excluding the UK) will only come with $6 (yes, $6) of taxes and charges on Delta Air Lines.

The snag is that availability is exceptionally hard to find.

Via US site View From The Wing, which itself quotes US subscription newsletter Thrifty Traveller, a lot of Delta business class reward space has appeared between New York JFK and Zurich in October and November.

The screenshot below shows dates when you can get FOUR seats on the same aircraft. There are far more dates with just one or two seats:

You still need to get back from Zurich, of course, but that won’t be too expensive.

This only leaves you on the hook for the taxes and charges for a one-way British Airways or Virgin Atlantic flight TO New York.

You may also be willing to book a World Traveller Plus (BA) or Premium (Virgin Atlantic) ticket outbound, with lower surcharges, given that it would be a day flight, knowing that you’ve got your dirt cheap Delta flat bed for the return.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (September 2023)

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, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 bonus points (SPECIAL OFFER TO 2ND OCTOBER) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 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 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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 (11)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Flying Marty says:

    For me these are some of the best value rewards that you can get with Virgin points.
    There web site is really restrictive though.
    For example, I can plug in AMS to ATL using points in economy, but when I swap the direction the points option is not available and it defaults back to ‘money’. Of course in that direction the higher fees kick in.

    • Mouse says:

      I found a similar weirdness – it would allow me to search JFK-ZRH on points but not IAD-ZRH (which should be available with KLM or AF).

    • Ginger Binger says:


  • Tom says:

    Presumably you can play the same game by seeking out AA flights from the US to continental Europe, paying with Avios and with similarly low fees?

    Funny that it only works eastbound though.

    • Devils Advocate says:

      Thats because APD applies for UK departures.

      • Tom says:

        Not if your westbound flight initiates in Zurich or elsewhere in Europe outside of the UK.

        I often originate long-haul flights from places like Zurich, Stockholm or Dublin to avoid APD and to get better prices.

        • Harry T says:

          Dublin is particularly good if you’re connecting at LHR, as you are treated as a domestic arrival and don’t need to go through the border or flight connections. Can just stroll up to departures and use the First Wing.

          • Tom says:

            Harry, assuming that you got your boarding pass out of LHR when you checked in at DUB, then you would not need to use First Wing. Just stroll over to the First Lounge or Concorde Room as appropriate.

  • Sunlit says:

    One way flights from Dublin. US immigration is at the airport, so no risk of refusal stateside and cheaper OW fare!

  • pigeon says:

    Each to their own, but the DL JFK-ZRH service arrives 10.30, so you could connect on a BA service, arriving into LHR 14.05, meaning your arrival day in London is pretty much wasted. Instead I’d take an extra night in New York, followed by the LHR-JFK day flight in Premium.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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