A recent post by View from the Wing said not “to be tempted” by the current 25% transfer bonus from Citi ThankYou Points to Virgin Atlantic miles. His argument was that there are so few good uses of Virgin Atlantic miles that he had to dig “deep in the barrel” to come up with any.

Well I dug for 15 seconds to find two great uses to South America and Europe. My message: do be tempted by the transfer bonus.

Top of the Barrel Use #1: South America for 40% Off

Go to delta.com and search for economy award space from your home airport to Southern South America, places like Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. On the search results, check the box “Delta Only” and update the results.

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Now any roundtrip you find for 60,000 Delta miles plus taxes can be booked for 45,000 Virgin Atlantic miles and the same taxes.

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During the 25% transfer bonus, that’s 36,000 ThankYou points, basically a 40% discount on Delta’s already fair price.

Top of the Barrel Use #2: Europe for 10k Points

If you live in one of the dozen cities served by Virgin Atlantic, go search for award space in economy over the heart of summer.

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 3.12.55 PM You’ll find that most Eastern cities to London are 17,500 miles + $135 one way.Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 3.13.19 PM Western cities are a little more, 21,250 miles + $135.Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 3.14.42 PM

During the 25% transfer bonus that’s 14,000 or 17,000 ThankYou Points + $135 for one way to Europe. (The return is a worse deal, so return with a different type of miles.) And you can do even better!

There are frequent 30% off award sales, like the one that ended a few weeks ago, that bring the one way price from the Eastern United States down to 12,250 miles one way. If you transfer 10,000 ThankYou Points to 12,500 Virgin Atlantic miles now and wait, it is very likely–though by no means guaranteed–that another such sale will come along, and you can book a one way award to Europe for those 10,000 points + $135 in taxes and fuel surcharges.

Is This Transfer Bonus for Everyone?

Of course not! Virgin Atlantic runs what I think of as a niche frequent flyer program. It has some great uses like the two listed here and a few more here and here, but for most awards it represents poor value. That must be why View from the Wing is urging you not to be tempted by the transfer bonus. But I think that completely misunderstands transfer bonuses.

There hasn’t been a transfer bonus for at least several years that was a good deal without a specific high value use in mind. (The last one I did just because it was such a good deal was one between Delta and Membership Rewards in 2011 or so. You transferred 50k MR to 50k Delta and got 15k MR back as I recall.)

Transfer bonuses are only ever a good deal if you have a high value use in mind, usually an immediate high value use. There are immediate high value uses for this transfer bonus. If one works for you, be tempted to transfer. If not, don’t transfer.

Getting ThankYou Points

The Citi Prestige® Card comes with 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

My review of the Citi Prestige Card which explains its many benefits like $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, and 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels.

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

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