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American Express is running a 30% bonus on transfers from Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic through September 12. It only appears when logged into your American Express Membership Rewards account, so it’s possible that members with certain cards won’t have this bonus offer available.
This is a great way to book one of my 17 favorite award redemption values.
However they do have strategic uses and I believe the single best one is ANA first class roundtrip from the Central U.S. and East Coast for just 120,000 miles per person. (San Francisco and Los Angeles is just 110,000 miles roundtrip, while business class runs 90,000 or 95,000 miles depending on the city.)
- While Virgin Atlantic does hit you with fuel surcharges when redeeming miles where paid tickets would incur fuel surcharges, Japan awards have fairly modest fuel surcharges.
- Awards are round trip only. And travel beyond Japan would be a separate round trip award.
- You cannot book these awards online.
- Virgin Atlantic awards have a $50 per passenger change fee, and a cancel/redeposit fee of $50 as well. That’s low by US program standards, but there are no changes at all within 24 hours of departure (you can cancel for $50 but you won’t get your miles back, just the taxes paid).
- You can put an award on hold for 24 hours.
I believe that the ANA first class awards with Virgin Atlantic miles are too good to last over time, since the best deals — those orders of magnitude better than what most programs deliver — always go away eventually.
Another strong use of Virgin Atlantic miles is Delta business class between the US and Europe for 50,000 points each way, which becomes an amazing deal witht he 30% tansfer bonus.
There are other award chart sweet spots, like Australia and New Zealand, but availability for those is fairly non-existent.
Beyond American Express points you can also transfer Chase and Citibank points to Virgin Atlantic, so these awards are great redemptions for points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Ink Business Preferred too.
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® Earn 65,000 AAdvantage miles.