Virgin Atlantic is back with another incredible discount on its economy awards to the United Kingdom.
For about 13k miles plus $100 one way, you can go from Boston, New York, Washington DC, or Chicago to London, Manchester, Glasgow, or Edinburgh.
For about 16k miles plus $100 one way, you can go from Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas, Los Angeles or San Francisco to London, Machester, Glasgow, or Edinburgh.
The downside to Virgin Atlantic awards is that fuel surcharges are collected, but there are ways to take advantage of this deal while keeping your out-of-pocket cost to a minimum.
How can you book these 13k awards? What are the restrictions? How can you minimize fuel surcharges? How is award space? How can you get Virgin Atlantic miles for the trip?
According to the Reward Seat Sale page and my searches:
- Book by January 27, 2014.
- Fly any time currently on the schedule. You can book up to 331 days out.
- Get 25% off the miles price on economy awards.
- Awards to London, Manchester, Glasgow, and Edinburgh all price at the same discounted price.
- Book one way for half the price of roundtrip awards.
Booking These Discounted Awards
From here, you can select your desired flights, and the discounted miles price will be displayed throughout the process.
Minimizing the Out-of-Pocket Cost
If you book a one way award from the US to Europe, you’ll pay $2.50 in taxes and a modest fuel surcharge, so the total out-of-pocket cost from New York to London is $131.50.
If you fly one way from London to New York, you face the punitive UK Air Passenger Duty and other taxes of almost $200 (which is why I never return from London on awards) plus a modest fuel surcharge for total out-of-pocket costs of $295.
If you book New York to London as a roundtrip, you pay $456 out of pocket.
Three Ways to Save on That $456 Price
1. Booking two one way awards would cost the same amount of miles, but would save $29. ($132 + $295 = $427 vs. $456)
That’s not huge, but to me it’s worth booking two one ways instead of one roundtrip award to save $29.
2. You can try other routes on Virgin Atlantic awards.
For instance New York to Edinburgh is $60 less out of pocket than just New York to London.
3. You can book the return from Europe with another type of miles. For instance, book only the one way from the US to Europe with Virgin Atlantic miles and book the return from Europe with another type of miles from a low tax country.
For instance, you can book New York to Edinburgh for 13k Virgin Atlantic miles + $76 and return from Madrid to New York for 30k United miles + $84 for a roundtrip that costs 43k miles + $160. That’s pretty sweet, and would be one of the best deals around for summer travel to Europe.
How Is Award Space?
One of my favorite things about this deal is that the discounted space is available all year, and Virgin Atlantic has excellent award availability this summer!
Check out New York to London this July. Every day with a circle has award space!
Run your favorite route, and I think you’ll see that Virgin Atlantic has the best award space to Europe this summer (or close to it.)
Getting Virgin Atlantic Miles
If you have any Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards , or SPG Starpoints lying around, they transfer 1:1 to Virgin Atlantic miles.
I got the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express for this exact type of flexibility to transfer to 30 airline partners. Both cards come with 25,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $5k in six months.
My favorite Membership Rewards cards is the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card with its 3x category bonus on airfare and 2x on gas and groceries. Check CARDMATCH to see if you are targeted for a 50k point sign up bonus some people are being offered.
Virgin Atlantic is offering an incredible discount on economy award tickets booked by January 27 for all of 2014. For only 13k miles plus about $100 out of pocket, you can fly from several cities to the UK, and award space is excellent at the height of summer.
Virgin Atlantic miles are easy to get from transfer partners like Starpoints, Memberhip Rewards, and Ultimate Rewards.