Membership Rewards transfers to Virgin Atlantic will come with a 25% bonus from April 1 through May 15.
The offer should appear on the site and tell you how many miles you’ll receive for your transfer, inclusive of the 25% bonus. As I post this it isn’t up quite yet but should be working within a few hours.
Virgin has pretty darned good availability from most of its North American cities (New York-JFK, Newark, Boston, Washington Dulles, Miami, Orlando, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Vancouver) to London, and also really good availability on to Africa as well. Its business class seat is excellent and will be refreshed as well. The downsides to Virgin are the very high fuel surcharges, which the mileage program assesses on award redemptions (as do most European and Asian programs), and that they’re a long-haul carrier so intra-European connections are often going to be purchased separately (they do partner with British Midland but presumably that partnership will end with British Airways’ acquisition of bmi). Their award chart is generally pricey, for non-stop roundtrips to London it’s quite good.
The program is actually pretty transparent, not just about miles but also about the taxes they charge, their online calculator shows both. For instance, business class roundtrip redemptions:
- New York to London: 80,000 miles plus $887.10 taxes and fees
- Los Angeles to London: 100,000 miles plus $963.10 taxes and fees
- Chicago to Nairobi via London: 190,000 miles plus $1799.90 taxes and fees
Virgin has several airline partnerships, including for redemption, but you can’t combine partner airlines on awards and not all partner routes are available for redemption (for instance one of the more restrictive arrangements, with Air China, allows for redemption only between London and Beijing).
For me this represents a reasonable choice for topping off my Virgin account, I don’t concentrate on this program at all but I do accumulate points at a pretty decent clip because it’s my default airline for crediting one-day Avis rentals since those earn 1000 miles without any special deal or coupon code and is an ongoing offer.