Virgin Atlantic Devalues Delta Partnership Effective September 1

Virgin Atlantic is 49% owned by Delta. It is no surprise that an already largely-mediocre program has been getting worse — first late last year and now announced for Delta earn and burn.

On the other hand it is only 49% owned by Delta so they still offer award charts and inform members in advance when they are devaluing the program. (Well, they did give us a couple of weeks when knifing the program back in the fall.)

Let’s hope that trend continues because I want to redeem for some more amazing value ANA first class awards using points transferred from American Express, Chase, and Citibank. The best deals always go away, and this is one of the very best award values in the world.

Copyright: boarding1now / 123RF Stock Photo

Here is what Virgin Atlantic is doing effective September 1. (HT: Traveling for Miles)

  • Increasing mileage-earning on Delta premium cabin tickets

  • Reducing elite qualifying points on domestic domestic and short haul flights, and even reducing qualifying points on discount premium cabin long haul fares. It’s not like Virgin Atlantic status gives you much anyway, why bother?

  • Introducing new award prices for ‘standard season’ and ‘peak season’ dates:

    Peak season dates:

    22 June – 6 September 2017
    13 December 2017 – 6 January 2018
    29 March – 16 April 2018
    22 June – 6 September 2018
    13 December – 31 December 2018

  • Reducing the cost of coach awards, especially during off season

  • Substantially increasing the price of premium cabin awards

Here’s the Delta standard award chart:

And the Delta peak season award chart:

Putting the lie to their claim that this is an improvement is that they also explain “As a thank you for your loyalty, all Delta Air Lines flights ticketed before 1 September 2017 will still earn the existing mileage rates.” (Emphasis mine.)

If changes were better, you’d want the changes applied immediately and even retroactively. They’re thanking you for your loyalty by not making retroactive changes (gee thanks) and at the same time making clear that these changes are not and should not be welcomed by members.

Traveling for Miles offers a more in-depth look at these changes.

Virgin Atlantic remains an underrated program for its excellent ANA partner redemptions, but I wouldn’t accumulate large stashes of points in an account with them — especially now that transfers not only from Chase and American Express but also Citibank are instantaneous.

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. I haven’t flown Delta in “forever,” BUT I’ve flown Virgin Atlantic multiple times. Each time was in Upper Class, and each time was on points — either transferred from American Express or through Virgin America. And, because of that, I got a Bank of America Virgin Atlantic MasterCard — that way, points down expire. However, since that “partnership” vanished with the acquisition of VX by AS, I will (in all likelihood) be flying BA if going to the UK, not VS.

    Certainly these changes with DL/VS don’t make it likely I’ll be a frequent flyer on either airline any time soon!

    With about 35k in VS points, I’ll probably continue to hold the card, and make one more points transfer in other to fly one more time (and not kiss the 35k away), then close the card and the FF account.

  2. 1. Only R/T award tickets can be booked on Delta.
    2. Good luck finding R/T saver award seats in both directions on Delta One.

    If only one way award tickets were allowed.

  3. It says the surcharges on Delta flights are $450 in economy. Thats a waste of miles, as the cash price is about the same!

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