Virgin Atlantic is offering a 50% rebate when redeeming their points for award travel on their own flights by November 7 for travel through March 25, 2023. While there are ways to get more value out of this than it first appears, simple business class redemptions – even with 50% of your points back – aren’t such a good deal.
- You still pay full taxes and fees, it’s only the miles that will be rebated (you get half the points back in four weeks)
- To take advantage of this offer you need to first link your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account to Virgin Red. Easy enough, but they’re trying to promote the loyalty currency linking Virgin brands. (If you’re already using points in a Virgin Red account, there’s no additional step to take.)
- Rebate is offered on routes between the U.S. and U.K., and between the U.K. and the Caribbean only.
Chase, Capital One, Citibank, American Express and Bilt points all transfer to Virgin so it’s easy to access these points if you don’t already have them.
I’m going to temper excitement for this deal somewhat. Let’s have a look at a date when business class roundtrips on Virgin Atlantic between the US and London are modest, remember they’re offering the points rebate during a less peak travel time.
Remember you are still paying taxes and fees. Miles on Virgin Atlantic redemptions only cover the cost of the fare. So here you’re only saving $800, and you still pay the rest of the taxes and junk surcharges: $1745!
You’ll pay 47,500 miles roundtrip after rebate (instead of 95,000 miles) plus $1745, and even with the 50% rebate you’re only getting 1.7 cents per mile in value against the $800 the miles save you.
I’d say that The Points Guy calling this “the redemption deal of the year” is just silly. Isn’t the Avianca LifeMiles award sale going on right now, offering New York JFK – Brussels for 25,500 miles one way, better? Fewer miles and no fuel surcharges. Indeed, the everyday redemption price using Avios through Iberia for business class roundtrips between the Northeast and Madrid are a better deal.
You can get a rebate on upgrades, not just full redemption tickets, and the deal is better for Virgin Atlantic credit card customers with upgrade and 2-for-1 vouchers. You’ll also get better value (on a cash saved versus miles spent basis) for economy redemptions in many cases, where Northeast – London runs just 5000 miles after rebate and the surcharges are naturally lower.
Virgin Atlantic awards do count towards elite status. This 50% rebate is a lot better than paying full price for Virgin Atlantic award travel! But you’ll often still find better value redeeming Virgin’s points for travel on their better deal partners while those awards last.