Transfers of Citi ThankYou Points to Virgin Atlantic miles will have a 25% bonus through Sunday August 23, 2015.

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You must transfer ThankYou Points in 1,000 point increments, so until August 23:

  • 1,000 ThankYou Points = 1,250 Virgin Atlantic miles

This is huge news as it is the first transfer bonus of Citi ThankYou Points to an airline partner. American Express Membership Rewards has historically run transfer bonuses, including to Virgin Atlantic, though Chase Ultimate Rewards never has.

Getting ThankYou Points

Three Reasons Why You Want Virgin Atlantic Miles

1. AMONG THE CHEAPEST ECONOMY AND PREMIUM ECONOMY AWARDS TO EUROPE (IN MILES)

The first reason to get Virgin Atlantic miles is that economy class awards to Europe require far fewer miles than competitors’ charge. From Boston, New York, Washington, and Chicago, you only need 17,500 Virgin Atlantic miles (14k ThankYou Points) for a one way flight to London.

And taxes and fees on the one way from the United States to Europe are only $131!

Combine a one way from the eastern United States to Europe for 14k ThankYou Points plus $131 and return from a low tax country–like Spain or Switzerland–to the United States on a one way award with United or American miles for a very cheap European vacation.

I wrote more about searching Virgin Atlantic award space, the fuel surcharges you’ll see, and booking the space in Limited Time to Europe: 14k Points.

Or you can fly one way from parts of the United States to the United Kingdom in Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy for only 27,500 miles (22k ThankYou Points) and $231.

Premium Economy on Virgin Atlantic is more akin to United First Class on domestic flights than United Economy Plus. It’s not just a big seat; Premium Economy comes with all the amenities in this promotional video.

2. INCREDIBLE VALUE PARTNER AWARDS

Virgin Atlantic has several airline partners.

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Each has its own award chart, and the values can be good, especially with this transfer bonus. Best of all, on many partners, Virgin Atlantic doesn’t collect any fuel surcharges!

Last year I called Flying Club at (800) 365-9500 and priced out several awards.

The call was fairly smooth although the agent told me that Atlanta to Buenos Aires on Delta wasn’t bookable with Virgin Atlantic miles. When I pressed him to double check, he came back with the news that it indeed is bookable. As always, you may know more than the phone agents, so be polite but firm.

Award prices including unavoidable government taxes (none include fuel surcharges):

  • Atlanta to Buenos Aires in roundtrip economy on Delta: 45k miles (36k TY Points) + $77.32
  • New York to London in roundtrip economy on Delta: 40k miles (32k TY Points) + $190.60
  • Atlanta to Los Angeles in roundtrip economy on Delta: 25k miles (20k TY Points) + $11.20
  • New York to Paris in roundtrip economy on Delta: 60k miles (48k TY Points) + $90.66

I learned a few key things about partner awards from the call:

  • Delta awards have no fuel surcharges, just the same government taxes as booking with Delta miles.
  • The Delta award chart is way underpriced to Southern South America. Buenos Aires for 36k ThankYou Points roundtrip is a steal. The same award would cost 60,000 Delta miles.
3. VIRGIN ATLANTIC UPPER CLASS

Virgin Atlantic’s Business Class–called Upper Class–is one of the best in the world with many folks comparing it to First Class. I am anxious to fly it.

Virgin Atlantic offers its Flying Club members the best award availability, but the catch is the fuel surcharges (plus departing London taxes) of around $1,000 per roundtrip award in Upper Class.

While the out-of-pocket cost is a big drawback, the miles prices are very low. New York and Chicago to London are only 40k miles (32k ThankYou Points) one way in Upper Class and Los Angeles and San Francisco to London in Upper Class are only 50k miles (40k ThankYou Points) one way.

Roundtrip Miles Prices to UK with Flying Club Miles listed Economy, Premium Economy, Upper Class from left to righ

Right now award space is excellent in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for two people who want to fly May and June 2016. For instance, here is Atlanta to London’s calendar. Dates with a purple line underneath have two Upper Class award seats. That’s every day except May 5.

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If you want to avoid fuel surcharges, Delta miles can be used to book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for 62.5k miles one way plus taxes and no fuel surcharges.

Bottom Line

There’s a 25% transfer bonus from Citi ThankYou Points to Virgin Atlantic miles through August 23, 2015.

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