Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is quickly becoming one of my favorite frequent flyer programs. Virgin Atlantic used to be a small boutique airline, but over the past few years they have been growing at a rapid pace adding flights here and there – all long-hauls. The airline even joined the SkyTeam alliance due to their close partnership with Delta Air Lines. Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club program has several attractive redemption rates across various airlines – the airline has a few partners outside of SkyTeam as well, where you can find fantastic deals using miles, like on Air New Zealand or Hawaiian Airlines, for example.
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 ANA Award Chart
Virgin Atlantic has different award charts and they all depend on the partner airline. In most cases, Virgin prices flights per segment – so the more you fly, the more you pay; there are some exceptions to this rule, however.
ANA is a member of Star Alliance but still continues to maintain a partnership with Virgin Atlantic, a SkyTeam member. ANA All Nippon Airways is an airline from Japan offering an incredible flying experience, especially in First and Business Class.
When you want to redeem Virgin Atlantic miles for ANA, the rates are as follows (one-way):
- Japan <-> Japan: Economy Class: 7.5k
- Japan <-> South Korea: Economy Class: 9k
- Japan <-> China/Guam/Hong Kong/Taiwan/Philippines: Economy Class: 11.5k, Business Class: 22.5k, First Class: 30k
- Japan <-> Malaysia/Myanmar/Singapore/Thailand/Vietnam: Business Class: 32.5k, First Class: 40k
- Japan <-> Hawaii/India/Indonesia: Economy Class: 22.5k, Business Class: 35k, First Class: 45k
- Japan <-> Australia/Canada/West Coast USA: Business Class: 45k, First Class: 55k
- Japan <-> Europe/Mexico/Rest of USA: Business Class: 47.5k, First Class: 60k
Note this doesn’t include the entire award chart, rather just the more attractive options. You will need to also pay the usual taxes/fees with a credit card. Note that Virgin Atlantic has fairly low change and cancel fees, so be sure to lock in a premium ANA award when you find award space as the flying experience is phenomenal.
As you can see, you can fly from Japan to the West Coast of the USA for just 45k miles in Business Class or 55k miles in First Class, one-way. The “rest of USA” would cost 47.5k miles in Business Class or 60k miles in First Class, one-way, still amazing rates.
Finding Award Availability on ANA
ANA is a member of Star Alliance and the airline operates flights to numerous destinations around the world. To begin, you will want to look at where ANA operates flights to/from – the easiest way is to check Tokyo HND/NRT’s Wikipedia airport pages.
Once you have found your desired route(s), you can search for nonstop availability using either Aeroplan or United (or ANA). The best way to search is on the nonstop flight and filter out any connections. There needs to be availability in the following cabin classes for there to be award space:
- Economy Class (X)
- Business Class (I)
- First Class (O)
When you see a flight with availability in these classes, you can usually book the flight with any ANA partner airline.
Note that it may be hard to find award availability in First Class and Business Class at certain times – think during peak travel times and during popular travel times to Japan. ANA does release a fair amount of award space, but you may have to hunt for it – and it will most definitely be worth it.
Once you’ve found award space, you will need to call Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book – just provide the agent with your flight details and they should be able to create the booking for you – some agents will even hold the booking for you as you transfer miles in.
All in All
One of the best sweet spots in the miles and points world is redeeming Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for travel in First and Business Class on ANA. The airline offers an incredible experience in the air with so many elements from Japan – be sure to select the local meals instead of the western options to have a taste of Japan. Finding ANA award availability can be tough at times, but not impossible. Best of all, you can change or cancel Virgin Atlantic awards for around $30-$50, so locking in any ANA award makes sense if you think you can make it work with your schedule. There are also frequent transfer bonuses to Virgin Atlantic from many of the various transferable bank points programs – which only makes this redemption even better.