Virgin Atlantic award space is now available to book via Delta.com and the best part is there is NO fuel surcharges on flights from the USA to London! Unlike Virgin Atlantic Flying Club there is NO fuel surcharges when booking with Delta miles. Not to mention, award space is fairly plentiful via delta.com which means there is finally a way to use your SkyPesos to get across the Atlantic!
For this story, I checked out a couple of popular routes and compared Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to Delta. Notice that each time, the taxes & Fees for Flying Club redemptions is $100+ more when using Virgin Atlantic Miles!
NYC – LHR In Economy:
Delta 60,000 miles + $184 r/t VS Virgin Atlantic 35,000 miles + $374.80
LAX – LHR Economy:
50K SkyMiles + $184 vs 42,500 Flying Club miles + $404
The easiest way to find award space on Virgin Atlantic is via VirginAtlantic.com. You will have to sign up for a flying club membership before you can search available space, but you do not need miles in your account to perform searches. If award space is not available on the date initially selected, a calendar of available dates will show up and allow you to select dates with award seats in the cabin you desire. Once you found the date and flight you want on Virgin Atlantic, mousy over to Delta.com and see if it’s available.
From my own experience, it was easy to find economy space on Virgin but impossible to find Upper Class when using skymiles. I did a manual search for every day in July and August and found nothing, I also called Delta.com and the lovely agent could not find any Business Class space on Virgin between the USA and London either.
If upperclass bookings on Virgin Atlantic do come available expect a substantial savings if booked with SkyMiles. Right now Delta charges ~$280 + 100,000 skymiles for Business Class to London from anywhere in the United States. This is a HUGE saving compared to the 90,000 Flying Club miles from the West Coast or 80,000 from the East + ~$1100 in taxes and surcharges.
Traveling Beyond London
The good news is business class and economy space on Virgin Atlantic beyond London is available and you can mix and match airlines to get you to Africa and the Middle East. And just like other routes, Delta does not add the surcharges that Virgin Atlantic tacks on! However, Delta does add a hefty charge if your travel originates outside the United States.
NYC – Cape Town:
Economy: Delta 100k SkyMiles +$167.50 vs Virgin Atlantic 85+miles + 667.10
Business: You MUST call to book a business class flight if you want to originate in the USA. Fly DL Business to LHR and then switch to Virgin Atlantic Upper class. For some reason Delta.com will not support/find these flights, but award space is open and loaded in the system in Virgin’s Upper Class when traveling beyond London, just not Transatlantic.
Remember, both Delta & Virgin Atlantic are direct transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards. Although less points are needed to fly Virgin through the flying Club instead of SkyMiles, Virgin Atlantic tacks on HIGH surcharges that can be avoided with Delta!