Award Sale, Europe for Just 12,250 Miles Each Way

Virgin Atlantic is offering 30% off economy awards booked by May 11.

This is better than their usual sales (back in the fall they offered 20% off) though one they’ve offered before as recently as February which even discounted premium economy.

At the beginning of last year they offered 25% off something they also offered at this time last year. (Three years ago they even offered 50% off via a 2-for-1 sale.)

So 30% isn’t the best they’ve ever offered, but it’s a good sale. This offer makes East Coast – London economy awards just 24,500 miles round trip but taxes and fees can be as much as ~ $500. The offer is good one-way — so from 12,250 miles — or round trip.

These are routes, mileage costs, and estimated taxes and fees:

To/from UK Economy Taxes, fees, charges and carrier – imposed surcharges
BOSTON 24,500 $445
NEWARK/JFK 24,500 $445
WASHINGTON DC 24,500 $445
CHICAGO 24,500 $445
MIAMI 29,750 $445
ORLANDO (from Gatwick) 29,750 $403
ORLANDO (from Manchester) 29,750 $409
ORLANDO (from Glasgow) 29,750 $404
ATLANTA 24,500 $445
DETROIT 24,500 $445
ATLANTA (from Manchester) 24,500 $409
LAS VEGAS (from Gatwick) 29,750 $403
LAS VEGAS (from Manchester) 29,750 $409
LOS ANGELES 29,750 $445
SAN FRANCISCO 29,750 $445
ANTIGUA (from Gatwick) 31,500 $341
BARBADOS (from Gatwick) 31,500 $298
BARBADOS (from Manchester) 31,500 $303
CUBA (from Gatwick) 31,500 $291
GRENADA (from Gatwick) 31,500 $320
MONTEGO BAY (from Gatwick) 31,500 $358
ST LUCIA (from Gatwick) 31,500 $302
CANCUN (from Gatwick) 31,500 $361
TOBAGO (from Gatwick) 31,500 $306
JOHANNESBURG 35,000 $391
LAGOS 26,950 $377
DUBAI 26,950 $330
DELHI 29,750 $368
HONG KONG 35,000 $372
SHANGHAI 31,500 $364

For the economy passenger that has a lot of Virgin miles, considering there aren’t a ton of Great Uses of Virgin Atlantic miles, there is some value (offset by taxes and fees).

Virgin Atlantic is a points transfer partner of both American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards. However even with this discount I wouldn’t consider trading those points currencies for economy redemptions given the taxes and fees on the award, but premium economy may make more sense in my opinion.

Terms and conditions:

Reward Seat Sale Terms and Conditions
^The 30% reduction in mileage offer must be booked between April 22 and May 11, 2016. For best availability, be sure to avoid our busy holiday periods.
1. Flying Club reward flights are subject to the payment of applicable taxes, charges, carrier-imposed fees and surcharges. The exact amount will be advised at the time of booking online or via our Contact Centres.
2. Offer valid for travel in Economy.
3. This offer is for full mileage reward seats only, and cannot be combined with Miles Plus Money fares.
4. CombiFares are permitted.
5. The 30% reduction in mileage offer can be booked on different routes as long as both routes are included in the promotion e.g. London – San Francisco and Los Angeles to London.
6. Once the booking has been ticketed, amending the route is not permitted.
7. Date changes can be made (normal charges apply).
8. Credit card upgrades can be applied to this offer.
9. All Virgin Atlantic Reward seat travel is strictly subject to availability. Some flights may have no availability on certain routes, and popular dates e.g. weekends, school and public holidays.
10. Passengers are not entitled to earn Flying Club miles or tier points.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This is not such a good deal when you factor in the “Taxes, fees, charges and carrier – imposed surcharges”. Just get a revenue fare to Europe for a little bit more (ex: $569.56 JFK-DUB) – youmight even earn miles on that fare.

  2. can’t imagine why anyone would accumulate/ tfr miles to a program with such ridiculous charges. if I’m going to pay $500 too the EU, it’s gonna be a ticket where I EARN miles, not spend them!

  3. I was interested until I saw those monster fees. By the time you factor those in, you’re not getting much value on most routes from the miles, even at the discount. In general, these high fee programs have little interest to me. They don’t really offer “award” travel as I see it, just mildly discounted travel.

  4. Only worthwhile for a one way flight going to Europe, the taxes are less.

  5. @Nigel–good point about use of miles for ONE-WAY out of US.

    Perfect for those who do transatlantic cruises..

  6. Agree with Nigel. A one-way to London is 12,500 miles plus small fees. Do a return from someplace with lower fees and taxes. Great bargain.

  7. Thanks for including the taxes, fees, and YQ for several different routes. I hope you do this in the future for other carriers as well.

  8. USA to UK seems like a lot less taxes and fees. 12,500 + around $135 in taxes, fees, surcharge seems like a decent deal. I would then look to return using miles from a program with less cash demand for awards.

  9. The one-way gambit TO London is interesting, at least for summer travel. The taxes on USA airline award tickets TO Europe are usually only $5 so, relying on Matt’s data, you’re paying $130 to save 17,750 miles/points. That’s a good trade, and it also gives you another shot at reward availability (always valuable, especially at peak times — although I find LON seats to be the easiest transatlantic coach award seats to find). From experience, I’d also say Virgin’s coach product is slightly better than the US carriers.

    Returning to the USA, everyone slams you on taxes because of the infamous UK carbon tax, which is distance based. I priced coach award taxes on UA from LON to the East Coast the other week and it was about $175. So you have to factor that in when considering whether Virgin’s redemption is a “good deal”: it’s not that much more than a $135 surcharge in that direction, too.

    Of course, if you have the time, the best way to get to the USA from Europe is NOT to fly direct from the UK. If you’re intentionally visiting multiple countries, visit the UK first, and fly home from another country. Even if you only want to go to the UK, you may find it worthwhile to take a discount carrier from the UK to Ireland (advance fares are often only $25), and fly home from DUB where the taxes are about $45. This could save a family a significant amount of money.

  10. Or just fly Norwegian, save your miles, and fly LGW-JFK one-way for $217 haha. 🙂 I had looked into this but the fees are so ridiculous. Thanks for the tips though!

  11. Flying out one way to Europe makes these miles worth it. Then hop on a train, go to somewhere else in Europe, it’s pretty cheap, fly back home using other miles so you can avoid the high taxes. Love these Virgin Atlantic sales.

  12. I am interested in booking one way IAD-LHR. But I could use some help finding inexpensive revenue or award one-ways from western Europe to IAD in July. Thanks!

  13. Gary,
    sorry for my belated comment. Anyway I like to follow you as you have some useful information, but you seem to feel the need to generate threads about everything…… quantity rather than quality. most days/weeks your daily email goes straight in the trash as I have no time to go through the white noise. Regarding this thread why didn’t you just state Virgin in the title…. Click bait? This is meant to be constructive criticism. However sometimes you can’t teach old dog’s new tricks and it’s your blog …..

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