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Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is an excellent secondary option for UK-based travel hackers. And with some luck, you will receive 4,000 free miles per year from Tesco Clubcard. 😉 But Flying Club comes with two substantial disadvantages:
- Virgin Atlantic reward flights come with substantial surcharges to pay, and you cannot avoid UK APD either
- Partner awards can usually only be booked by calling Flying Club. Besides being less convenient for many, it also means you need to find a different source for checking award availability
But I recently stumbled across a hack for convincing the Flying Club website to search for Delta Airlines award space online. Depending on the route, this can reduce a “taxes and surcharge” payment from several hundred pounds to £4! Here’s how it can be done…
Step 1 – Search for a Virgin Atlantic route
The Flying Club website really wants you to book rewards on Virgin Atlantic, so you will usually only be offered city options that Virgin Atlantic serves…
Make sure to click on “Pay With Miles” and Show flights for “within 5 weeks”
Step 2 – Refine Search
Your search will result in an award calendar showing the dates where reward flights are available for the route you chose (Seattle to London in my example). But I don’t actually want to fly from Seattle to London so I will click on “refine search”.
Assuming I actually wanted to fly from Seattle to Tokyo – a route served by Delta Airlines – I might try to type Tokyo into the search box, but that won’t work… I will be told “no matches found”. That is where I would previously have given up and called Flying Club for help.
Step 3 – Click on the Location Button
This is my new discovery. You can click on the location button and open up a wide range of airport options.
Step 4 – Book Your Really Cheap Delta Reward Flight!
As if by magic, I can now see reward flight options on Delta Airlines between Seattle and Tokyo.
When booking Delta rewards, you pay extra for connecting flights, so you should be aiming for direct point-to-point flights. Those dates showing 60,000 miles + $5.60 will be the days where I can book a reward flight in Business Class on the direct flight between Seattle and Tokyo.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club’s Award Chart for Delta Rewards (NON UK!)
Sadly, due to the DL/VS joint venture agreement for travel to/from the United Kingdom, you will pay hefty surcharges on Delta flights to/from the UK, so you should be more interested in those opportunities elsewhere in Delta’s route network (such as Amsterdam, Paris, etc.) that don’t have surcharges to be added. Here is the award chart provided by Flying Club for such reward flights.
If you have a need for a reward flight on Delta Airlines – one that doesn’t touch the United Kingdom – then you can save a substantial amount of surcharges by booking with your Virgin Atlantic miles. Yet another travel hacking opportunity for the savvy mileage collector…