A Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Sweetspot You Might Not Know About

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Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a decent “back-up” frequent flyer programme for members based in the United Kingdom, given the number of opportunities to earn Virgin miles on the ground. It’s all well and good to be exclusively loyal to British Airways and Avios, but you would be limiting yourself to the award availability that Oneworld chooses to offer. As a result, collecting a second mileage currency can be the difference between a fruitless search for award space and successfully booked award travel plans.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club does have a substantial downside, however. Rewards on Virgin Atlantic come with serious surcharges to be paid, and that is on top of the substantial APD tax to be paid on flights departing the United Kingdom. And there are relatively few partner options that help you avoid those taxes and surcharges.

But recently I stumbled across an excellent sweetspot within Flying Club’s reward options. It involves flying Business Class on Delta Airlines.

Which Routes Cost 50,000 Virgin miles (+ $5.60) in Business Class?

This reward price applies for one-way Delta Airlines flights that operate non-stop from the United States to Continental Europe.

Perhaps it is easier to specify first what won’t work…

  • Flights to/from the United Kingdom (return or one way)
  • Itineraries departing Continental Europe (return or one way)
  • Itineraries that involve a connecting flight

But if you have the flexibility to manage a one-way reward ticket to Continental Europe (and position your way home on a separate ticket), you can find a serious reward bargain. If you travel frequently to the United States, you can book a return ticket as well for 100,000 miles + $100+ in taxes, but again your itinerary must START in the US.

Help Me Out With Some Ideas…

The award calendar shown above is for Los Angeles to Amsterdam. I find that Wikipedia is a great resource for determining which airlines operate to which airports. So, if arriving into Amsterdam is most convenient for you, these American cities appear to be options:

  • Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Portland (Oregon), Salt Lake City, Seattle, Tampa

If Paris Charles de Gaulle airport is more convenient, you could fly from these American cities direct:

  • Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Raleigh/Durham, Salt Lake City, Seattle

All it takes is some imagination and effort. Choosing New York’s JFK airport as your starting point, you might be able to find reward availability on a Delta flight to:

  • Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Reykjavik, Zurich
  • (seasonal) Athens, Berlin, Copenhagen, Malaga, Nice, Prague, Shannon, Venice

If you are based outside of London, then you are probably already accustomed to connecting flights. With some caution on leaving margin for flight delays – re-read this old post regarding “positioning flights” – you can substantially increase your chances of nabbing a Business Class reward AND pay nearly nothing in taxes.


It makes sense that Virgin Atlantic Flying Club applies consistent reward flight pricing between its flights and Delta’s. That alignment occurred a couple of years ago, as I wrote about back then. But a sweetspot has still been left open, provided you’re willing to arrive to a European airport such as Amsterdam or Paris. Just compare that to the outrageous surcharges you’d pay for a one-way in Business Class on British Airways from the US to London…


  1. Oxonlad says

    I like Virgin Upper Class much more than BA Club (and the Clubhouse knocks BA’s lounges well out of the stadium) but Oneworld has much wider choice for reward flights across the world (just bagged a couple of flights HKG-SIN in October for 20.000 miles and £70 taxes) and diverting spend to Virgin miles ‘wastes’ spend that could go to Avios. I only collect Virgin miles now where Avios aren’t available such as on Virgin wine.

  2. Colin says

    A great site for finding origin/airline/destination combinations is flightmapper e.g fiding delta airline flights from Amsterdam http://info.flightmapper.net/airline/DL/AMS

    United States
    Detroit (DTW) Direct
    Dulles, Washington (IAD) Direct
    Edward L. Logan, Boston (BOS) Direct
    George Bush, Houston (IAH) Direct
    Hartsfield-Jackson, Atlanta (ATL) Direct
    John F. Kennedy, New York (JFK) Direct
    Los Angeles (LAX) Direct
    McCarran, Las Vegas (LAS) Direct
    Miami (MIA) Direct
    Minneapolis/Saint Paul (MSP) Direct
    O’Hare, Chicago (ORD) Direct
    Orlando (MCO) Direct
    Portland (PDX) Direct
    Salt Lake City (SLC) Direct
    San Francisco (SFO) Direct
    Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) Direct
    Tampa (TPA) Direct

    Its also great for finding destinations from any obscure origin airport, showing who flys and on what days on a very handy google map

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