Virgin Atlantic Restoring 2020 Award Pricing For Delta Transatlantic Non-Stop Flights

On New Years Day Virgin Atlantic updated its award pricing for travel on Delta. One of the few bright spots in Virgin’s Flying Club program was inexpensive Delta awards, so this was disappointing in the extreme. Prices went up in some cases more than 100%, largely focused on longer distance premium cabin awards.

Then, two days later, their spokespeople started saying that transatlantic awards wouldn’t go up as much as they had published and there would be an update. They’ve now said non-stop transatlantic awards to places other than the U.K. will revert to their earlier inexpensive pricing, but flying Delta anywhere else in the world or with connections will be a lot more expensive than it was in 2020 in many cases.

Here’s What Delta Awards With Virgin Miles Used To Cost

Prior to the no-notice devaluation Virgin Atlantic charged the following prices for business class awards on Delta:

  • South America 45,000 miles
  • Africa 60,000 miles
  • Australia 75,000 miles
  • Europe 50,000 miles

Virgin’s New Years Day Massacre

Two charts were published, one for travel between the U.S. and U.K. on Delta based on specific destination and a second chart based on distance flown which in general was much worse.

Here’s the one-way price now for flights between the U.S. and U.K.:

One-way Coach Off-Peak Coach Peak Business Off-Peak Business Peak
Boston/New York/Philadelphia 15,000 25,000 47,500 57,500
Atlanta/Detroit/Minneapolis 17,500 27,500 47,500 57,500
Porland, Salt Lake City 20,000 30,000 67,500 77,500

All connecting itineraries and awards not between the U.S. and E.U. will price based on the new one-way distance-based chart, with each flight segment priced separately:

One-way distance Coach Business
0-500 7,500 17,500
501-1,000 8,500 27,500
1,001-1,500 11,500 40,000
1,501-2,000 12,500 45,000
2,001-3,000 15,000 52,500
3,001-4,000 22,500 80,000
4,001-5,000 27,500 105,000
5,001-6,000 35,000 130,000
6,001+ 45,000 165,000

Now though there’s a separate, third pricing system that wasn’t part of the January 1 rollout. It applies to non-stop flights between the U.S. and Europe on Delta that doesn’t involve the U.K. so for instance flights to Paris, Amsterdam, and elsewhere. These awards will revert to their old pricing of 30,000 points each way in coach and 50,000 points each way in business class.

Using Virgin miles to fly Delta non-stop between the U.S. and non-U.K. Europe will remain a sweet spot in the program, for now.

This Makes Little Sense

US-Europe non-stops on Delta remains priced as it was in 2020, while itineraries that include connections and all other Delta flight award prices change. Virgin Atlantic has provided no explanation for,

  1. Why they’ve decided to partially walk back the devaluation they implemented without notice on New Years Day?

  2. Why they are devaluing the Flying Club program, raising prices on Delta flights to most destinations in some cases by over 100%, when flights are empty, prices are low, and they need their Flying Club members more than ever before?

  3. Why they disrespect members who save up their miles for years by pulling the rug out from under them without notice?

This helps reduce expense buying awards on Delta. Delta already forgave some Virgin Atlantic debt as part of the London-based carrier’s bankruptcy, in order to avoid dilution of its 49% stake. Effectively controlled out of Atlanta it should be no surprise that Virgin Atlantic is a program which devalues in both good times and bad.

(HT: God Save The 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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. Nonstop DL saver awards have always been a rarity – so no harm no foul on making this exception VS.

  2. Last time I looked, before the devaluation, Virgin Atlantic was adding over $800 fuel charges to Delta flights US to Europe and back. That used to be just $50.

  3. Looking at it some more, I now realize that may have been where 1/2 of the trip was operated by Virgin Atlantic, and the other half by Delta. Can’t find ANY flight right where both flights are operated by Delta.

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