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I recently received an email about changes to the Virgin Atlantic route network.

Virgin Atlantic is a London-based carrier that is not a member of any of the three major alliances, but does have a partnership with Delta.

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Using 125,000 Delta miles for a roundtrip in Upper Class from anywhere in the United States to anywhere in Europe is a fantastic use of SkyMiles.

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Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Marketing

I checked a few of the Virgin Atlantic routes for award space for May 2015 and found award space nearly every day on one route, many of those days featuring two award seats in Upper Class, bookable with Delta miles with no fuel surcharges.

Virgin Atlantic serves 11 cities in the United States from London and the rest of Europe from there.

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  • How is award space in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class?
  • How can you book it with Delta miles?
  • How can you greatly reduce taxes on awards that involve Virgin Atlantic Upper Class?

Virgin Atlantic Award Space

New York

Virgin Atlantic flies five times a day between JFK and London and also has flights from Newark.

I used Award Nexus to make a calendar view of the Business Class space available to Delta miles in May 2015 between New York and London.

As you can see, there is ample award space in both directions throughout the month.

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All Business Class space available between New York and London with Delta miles for 125k miles roundtrip

Some of the space on the above calendar is on Delta flights. That Delta-operated space is also fully flat, but if you want only Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, you still have plenty of options.

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Virgin Atlantic Upper Class space in May 2015

Both calendars show award searches for one passenger. If you’re flying with a companion, you have fewer options, but there are still days with two award seats in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for two passengers between New York and London.

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Virgin Atlantic is adding a second daily Atlanta flight in addition to Delta’s flights between Atlanta and London.

Award space is open in May 2015 between Atlanta and London with Delta miles if you are flexible.Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.36.18 PM

Most of that award space is on Virgin Atlantic-operated flights.

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San Francisco

The last route I checked was between San Francisco and London.

Award space is very sparse on the direct Virgin Atlantic flights in Upper Class.

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Award space is better in Business Class with Delta miles if you’re willing to connect in Seattle, Los Angeles, Detroit, Minneapolis, or Salt Lake City.

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How to Book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class with Delta Miles

Virgin Atlantic award flights are searchable and bookable on The screen shots above do not come from because the calendar on will usually not include Virgin Atlantic award space. Search the space day by day.

How to Save Money Booking the Awards

If you depart the United Kingdom for the United States in a premium cabin, you’ll be hit with about $300 in taxes.

For that reason, I prefer to return to the United States from continental Europe, and ideally not even France or Germany. Taxes from Spain are more like $50.

You can fly to Europe with Virgin Atlantic Upper Class and return from Europe on Delta, Alitalia, Air France, or KLM in Business Class for only 125,000 Delta miles. Or you can fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to Europe and return in economy class on any carrier for 92,500 miles. As long as you avoid your return beginning in the United Kingdom, taxes should be manageable.

Whether you pay the big taxes departing the United Kingdom or minimize taxes by starting on the continent, you can avoid a cash outlay altogether by paying your award taxes with a Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®. You can then redeem Arrival miles for a full statement credit equal to the taxes and fees on the award.

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