Delta and Virgin Atlantic have announced details for reciprocal flight earning and lounge access.
This is the result of Delta taking a 49% stake in Virgin.
There aren’t any details yet on using Delta miles for travel on Virgin Atlantic. This should follow shortly, but my guess is it’s the same as the existing award chart for the rest of Delta’s partners albeit with fuel surcharges.
Details about spending Virgin Atlantic miles for travel on Delta are available on the Virgin website, however.
I haven’t yet attempted to make a booking. Consistent with US disclosure requirements, they list the cost of taxes and fees for Delta redemptions. And they show it as being ‘from’ $5.
Now, Virgin Atlantic is famous for the exorbitant fuel surcharges it adds to redemption tickets. In fact, though, they pass on whatever the fuel surcharges are on a given paid ticket usually. And being a UK-based airline, many of their flights originate in the UK, and so they pass on the “passenger duty” aka luxury tax or premium cabin departure tax. So bookings from the UK are outrageously expensive.
I haven’t attempted a Delta booking yet but the $5 notation is interesting, because adding fuel surcharges onto Delta awards could mean that taxes and surcharges amount to more than 100 times the amount disclosed on the redemption page which would surely run afoul of US Department of Transportation guidelines. It’s hard to imagine no fuel surcharges for any award on Delta (domestic US awards and US-South America awards don’t have them already). And indeed, while Delta doesn’t add fuel surcharges onto its own award tickets European-originating awards do incur higher feels in the Skymiles program.
The award chart itself is quite reasonable compared to what Virgin charges with many of its other partners. So in those cases where you can find availability on Delta it should actually be a reasonably good value use of Virgin Atlantic miles.
Of course Virgin is a transfer partner of both Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards — rarely the best choice transfer partner, but an option for where to put miles. Personally my Virgin stash has been accumulated mainly from one-day Avis car rentals since they award 1000 miles minimum per rental.