Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club program is one of our favorite frequent flyer programs – prior to joining SkyTeam, Virgin Atlantic already had a number of unique partnerships and them entering the alliance just added more airlines on which you can redeem your Flying Club miles. Virgin Atlantic has fantastic award charts for travel on their partner airlines – combine this with the fact that it is super easy to earn Flying Club miles, Virgin’s program is quickly becoming really attractive.
How to Collect Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles are fairly easy to collect as you can transfer them in from flexible and transferable bank points programs:
- American Express Membership Rewards (1:1 ratio, instant transfer)
- Capital One Rewards (1:1 ratio, transfer to Virgin Red, instant transfer)
- Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1 ratio, instant transfer)
- Citi ThankYou Points (1:1 ratio, instant transfer)
You can also transfer miles in by converting from Marriott Bonvoy – just be aware the transfer time is 1-2 days at a 3:1 ratio with a 25% bonus for every 60k Marriott points transferred.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Partner Airlines
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club partners with all SkyTeam airlines, plus the following:
- Air New Zealand
- ANA All Nippon Airways
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- Virgin Australia
Virgin Atlantic does also partner with the following airlines, but you can only earn miles for flights on these airlines and you aren’t able to redeem your Virgin points:
- SAS Scandinavian Airlines
Flying Club: Perfect for Short-Haul SkyTeam Flights
Virgin Atlantic publishes a separate award chart for their pre-SkyTeam airline partners and then one, unified award chart for their “new” SkyTeam partners. Basically, if an airline was a Virgin Atlantic partner prior to VS’ SkyTeam joining, that airline has their own award chart. Then the “additional” airlines from SkyTeam have a single award chart which is distance-based.
oneworld has British Airways’ distance-based redemptions but SkyTeam never had an attractive way to redeem fewer miles for shorter flights. Sometimes shorter flights are expensive, yet there is plenty of award availability but there might not be a great way to redeem miles for a certain flight.
The following is a part of the award chart that applies to the “new” SkyTeam Virgin Atlantic partner airlines like Aeromexico, China Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, etc.:
- Flights in distance of 0 – 500 miles: 5.5k miles Economy Class, 14.5k miles Business Class
- Flights in distance of 501 – 1,000 miles: 7k miles Economy Class, 15.5k miles Business Class
- Flights in distance of 1,001 – 1,500 miles: 10k miles Economy Class, 21.5k miles Business Class
- Flights in distance of 1,501 – 2,250 miles: 11.5k miles Economy Class, 35k miles Business Class
- Flights in distance of 2,251 – 3,000 miles: 15.5k miles Economy Class, 40k miles Business Class
Note the chart above does not apply to all of Virgin’s partners, but rather the newer ones after Virgin joined SkyTeam. As you can see, some of those redemption rates are excellent and based on the distances you fly.
The Economy Class prices for all of the distance bands above are great, while in Business Class only the first couple are going to get you a great redemption.
Let’s take a look at a SkyTeam example – let’s say we are exploring Indonesia and want to fly from the capital of Jakarta to the beautiful island of Bali. Garuda Indonesia operates multiple flights per day between the two places and you’d think they would be decently priced as it is about a 1.5h domestic flight – the average price is $130 – $150+ on this route, one-way. That’s a little too much to pay for a domestic flight. You could of course fly a low cost carrier for $40 or so, but who wants to fly low cost carriers?
The distance of this domestic flight on Garuda Indonesia falls into the second distance band in the Virgin award chart and therefore a one-way flight would cost just 7k miles in Economy Class plus minimal taxes and fees. Considering there are frequent transfer bonuses from banks to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, you could book this flight for even less points. This is just one example, but there are many others where a shorter SkyTeam flight costs too much and now there’s a great way to book it thanks to Virgin’s membership.
Booking Award Flights
To book an award ticket with Flying Club miles, you will need to call Virgin Atlantic. Only some airlines like Delta, Air France, KLM, etc. show up on Virgin’s website. You will need to find SkyTeam award availability elsewhere (like Air France or Delta) and then call Virgin to book.
Thankfully, Virgin’s agents are competent so you shouldn’t have trouble booking a flight if you find saver/partner-level award space.
All in All
Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club program just keeps getting better. Earning Virgin miles is fairly easy as you can transfer them in from a bunch of different transferable bank points programs and transfers are usually quick – sometimes Virgin will allow you to hold an award ticket for 24h while you set up the transfer. Redeeming Virgin miles on their own flights may not be the best deal due to fuel surcharges and also the UK’s high departure tax, and therefore you will find the most value redeeming on partner airlines.