Transfers of Citi ThankYou Points to Virgin Atlantic miles will have a 25% bonus through tonight, 11:59 PM ET March 2, 2017.
This is a fantastic deal that sets up a chance to book one way awards to Europe for 8,000 ThankYou Points + $152.60.
You must transfer ThankYou Points in 1,000 point increments, so until March 2:
- 1,000 ThankYou Points = 1,250 Virgin Atlantic miles
Getting ThankYou Points
- Citi Prestige Card: 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. The card also earns 3x points on airfare and hotels, 2x points on dining out and entertainment, and has a host of benefits like lounge access and $250 in free airfare per year.
- Note that there are two public offers out there right now for the Citi Prestige, 40,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in three months, as well as 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in three months. If you don’t see that offer when you pull up the application page, try opening it in an incognito window or a different browser. I have seen both the 40k and 50k offer.
- Citi ThankYou Premier Card: 30,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first three months the account is open. The card also earns 3x points on travel and gas and 2x points on dining and entertainment. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year.
Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.
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 requires far fewer miles than competitors’ charge. As long you avoid Peak travel* dates:
- from Boston, New York, and Washington, you only need 10,000 Virgin Atlantic miles (8k ThankYou Points with current transfer bonus) for a one way economy flight to London
- from Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, and Orlando, you only need 12,500 Virgin Atlantic miles (10k ThankYou Points) for a one way economy flight to London
- from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, you only need 15,000 Virgin Atlantic miles (12k ThankYou Points) for a one way economy flight to London
*Peak travel dates are: March 31 to April 18, 2017; June 22 to September 06, 2017; December 13 to January 3, 2018. They apply to economy, Premium Economy, and Upper Class redemptions.
And taxes/fuel surcharges on the one way from the United States to Europe are only $152.60!Combine a one way from the eastern United States to Europe for 8k ThankYou Points plus $152.60 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. Returning from London will incur expensive departure taxes.
Virgin Atlantic has since changed its award prices to fly their own flights, but Scott 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 17,500 miles (14k ThankYou Points) and $282.50.
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.
Virgin Atlantic has relatively frequent 30% off sales on awards between the United States and Europe, like this one last February. Another 30% off sale stacked with the current 25% transfer bonus would mean a one way to London from Boston, New York, and Washington would cost only 6k ThankYou Points in economy or 10k ThankYou Points in Premium Economy! That’s crazy cheap, even considering the out of pocket cost!
2. INCREDIBLE VALUE PARTNER AWARDS
Virgin Atlantic has several airline partners.
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!
Award prices including unavoidable government taxes (none include fuel surcharges):
- Atlanta to Buenos Aires roundtrip in Economy Class on Delta: 45,000 miles (36k TY Points) + $99
- Los Angeles or San Francisco to Auckland roundtrip in Business Class on Air New Zealand: 125,000 miles (100k TY Points) + $69
- London to New York roundtrip in Economy Class on Delta: 40,000 miles (32k TY Points) + $186
3. VIRGIN ATLANTIC UPPER CLASS
Virgin Atlantic’s Business Class–called Upper Class–is world class.
Virgin Atlantic offers its Flying Club members the best award availability, but the catch is the fuel surcharges (plus departing London taxes) of over $1,000 per roundtrip award in Upper Class. Same as the advice I gave above about flying only to London with Virgin Atlantic miles in economy/Premium economy applies here as well. Flying to London from the majority of the east coast as well as Chicago or Detroit will cost 47,500 Virgin Atlantic miles (38k ThankYou Points) and $437.60 out of pocket.
While the out-of-pocket cost is a big drawback, it could make sense to take advantage of booking Upper Class with the transfer bonus. Crunch your own numbers to find out.
Right now award space is excellent in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for two people who want to fly in September or October 2017. For instance, here is New York to London’s calendar. Dates with the 47,500 price have two Upper Class award seats available.
If you want to avoid fuel surcharges, Delta miles can be used to book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for 70k miles one way plus taxes and no fuel surcharges.
Today’s the last day for a 25% transfer bonus from Citi ThankYou Points to Virgin Atlantic miles. Tonight at 11:59 PM ET, March 2, is the cutoff.
If you’re planning a trip to Europe, you should consider your options with Virgin Atlantic. This transfer bonus makes for incredibly cheap economy and Premium economy awards to Europe, as well as a few other sweetspots redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles on partner airlines.