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Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Guide

Updated: 3 days ago

 
Before you read this guide, review "Points and Miles 101" to learn the basics of how it all works!

What's the best card to earn points for Flying Club? Capital One Venture X (75k offer)
 

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a very popular program due to the wide variety of credit card transfer partners, a solid network of flight partners, and some great rates for flights to and from Europe. A major drawback is the amount of fees that can be passed on - especially for their own flights to and from London and Delta One business class to and from Europe. However, frequent transfer bonuses and flash sales make it a very attractive program for all points enthusiasts.


What have we booked through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club?


Delta One JFK-Brussels - 50k + $5.60 each* (30% transfer bonus made it 39k each)

Delta Main Cabin Panama City-ATL-Louisville - 20k + $76 each

Air France business ZRH-Paris-ATL - 58.5k + $380 each (30% transfer bonus made it 45k each)


*as of July 2, 2024, the rate for this flight is now 47.5k - 57.5k + $1032.30


There are a few unique features of this program, so read on for tips and tricks to booking award flights through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club!


 

Transfer points 1:1 from:


Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Points do not expire.


Book flights operated by:

  • SkyTeam member airlines

  • LATAM

  • ANA*

  • Air New Zealand*


*these airlines can't be booked online through Virgin Atlantic. You must first find the award availability through a Star Alliance airline like United or Air Canada (look for an "NH" flight number for ANA and "NZ" for Air New Zealand), and then call Virgin Atlantic to book. Points transfer instantly to Virgin Atlantic, so we suggest confirming the availability with the phone agent before initiating the transfer. Note that Virgin Atlantic can only book flights 330 days in advance.


Pricing structure:

  • Seasonal and zone-based rates for Delta-operated flights to/from Europe (warning: high surcharges/fees for Delta One as of July 2024)

  • Award chart for ANA-operated flights

  • Award chart for Air New Zealand flights

  • Pricing based on distance and segments for all other itineraries (click on each airline on this page to learn more)


Tip: use gcmap.com to calculate the total distance for your flights. This can give you an idea before searching how many points you'll need (based on the linked award charts above).


Fees/surcharges:

  • Fuel surcharges passed on (significant surcharges for Virgin Atlantic-operated flights and Delta flights to/from the UK)

  • $1032.30 surcharge each way for Delta One to/from Europe (avoid!)

  • 50 USD for change/cancellation/redeposit*

  • Lap infants 5,000 points each way - bookable online for Virgin Atlantic and partners *if the taxes and fees are less than 50 USD (i.e. $5.60 for a US domestic flight), the customer service agents will often not charge a change fee and instead waive the refund of the taxes


Best uses:

  • Delta (excluding Delta One), Air France, KLM, and ITA Airways flights to Europe

  • Delta Main Cabin flights from the west coast to Asia

  • Delta Main Cabin flights within North America, Central America, and the Caribbean

  • LATAM flights to South America

  • ANA flights to Japan

  • Korean Air flights to Korea


Customer service:

  • Phone: +1 800 862 8621

  • Online live chat support available through the "My booking" page

  • Limited support available through social media sites


How to search and book:


Step 1: Create a Flying Club account

This isn't required to search, but you will need to have an Flying Club account setup to transfer points.


Step 2: Enter search details on the homepage


With a recent site update, you'll likely first see a page like the image below. Click on the "Reward Flights" option.


"Premium" = premium economy

"Upper Class" = business class


After clicking Search, the site usually redirects back to the older search interface (below).

If the "Points" option is greyed out (above), switch the search to Multi-city (below), select "Points", and then switch back to One Way.


Step 3: Initial results page

If there's availability within a week of the date you searched, you'll see a weekly view of availability (above).


You can see a full month view (below) by selecting the "Flexible Calendar" option. If that option doesn't appear on the page with the weekly view, you can edit the website URL to get the monthly calendar to appear. Where it says "flexible-dates", change it to "flexible-calendar" and hit enter.


Once you have the flexible calendar view, you can scroll month by month to get an overview of the availability for the route you searched.


If there's not any award flights available within a week of the date you searched, it will return an error (below) and you'll need to try again with a different route and/or date.


Note: as with almost all award flights, it's best to search and book one way at a time.


Step 4: Review results


Important: rates on this page will usually display as the TOTAL for all passengers in the itinerary.

Most itineraries booked through Virgin Atlantic (other than Delta-operated flights to Europe and ANA/Air New Zealand flights) are priced based on distance. A flight like ATL-MIA (above) will be cheaper than a flight like ATL-DEN (below). The difference is even greater when searching for international flights - like Seattle-Tokyo vs Atlanta-Tokyo.

Flights operated by Virgin Atlantic (which will only be to/from London or Manchester) will often have excellent rates with points but very high fuel surcharges. As of July 2024, Delta One business class to/from Europe also incur a $1,000+ surcharge. Depending on your itinerary and flexibility, these flights could still be a great deal, but it's worth comparing to other options - including the cash rate.


Step 5: Finalize booking

At this point, you have confirmed the flight availability and are ready to transfer your points to book. Transfers to Flying Club are instant in most cases, but you usually have to sign out and back in to see the updated points balance in your account. Once the points post, search for the flight again and go through the booking process - it's pretty straightforward!


To select seats, the Virgin Atlantic record locator (6 alphanumeric characters) will often be the same for partner flights like Delta, Air France, and KLM. You can use this record locator on the partner site to manage your booking. For other airlines, you will need to contact Virgin Atlantic to receive the partner record locator/booking reference to select seats and manage the booking on the partner site.


A note about flights operated by Air France or KLM: you'll often receive an error when trying to finalize a booking for an Air France or KLM flight through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. When this happens, you will need to call Virgin Atlantic (+1 800 862 8621) to get the reservation finalized. It is a known IT issue between the airlines. To verify that the flight isn't "phantom availability" before you transfer your points, search for the same route with SkyMiles on Delta's website and look for the matching AF or KL flight number(s).


BONUS: Using the Reward Flight Finder

Virgin Atlantic has a tool that allows you to easily search for award availability on Virgin Atlantic or Delta flights. It only advertises flights to/from the UK, but there's a trick to edit the URL to search almost any Delta route.


First, put in a "dummy" route like below.






















Once you get to the results page, edit the URL and change the departure and destination airport codes (use all CAPS), departure month, and year.


And then you'll be able to scroll through a calendar like this:

This tool only returns raw numbers on the availability for a given day, but it's a lot better than aimlessly searching on the main Virgin Atlantic page only to get an error each time!


NOTE: this tool is still under development and testing by Virgin Atlantic, so you might run into errors from time to time.

 





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