How 5,000 credit card points saved me over $650 on a flight to London

Virgin Atlantic has always been a popular airline choice for travelers looking to fly to the United Kingdom from the United States. However, one major drawback of using Virgin Atlantic for award travel redemptions has been the high taxes and fees associated with booking flights. Despite this, Virgin Atlantic is currently offering a 50% discount on all flights to London for bookings made through March 20 for travel between March 14 and June 30. This promotion applies to all Virgin-operated flights between the U.S. and the United Kingdom in all cabins.

While the taxes, fees, and carrier-imposed surcharges still have to be paid, the 50% points discount on award flights is a great deal, especially for travelers looking to book economy tickets. In this article, we will explore how a traveler was able to fly from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) for just 5,000 points and $152.80 in fees, taxes, and surcharges, saving over $650 on the flight.

The traveler in question needed to fly from New York City back to London in April, and the Virgin Atlantic promotion came at the perfect time to help save money on the flight. A one-way ticket in Economy Light (basic economy) on Virgin Atlantic was priced at $739, while a ticket in Economy Classic, which includes seat selection and a checked bag, was priced higher at $829.

While there are round-trip tickets to Europe available for less than the cash price of a Virgin Atlantic ticket, these fares often require a Saturday night stay, which may not be convenient for all travelers. Additionally, the cost of booking a flight in the opposite direction from Europe to the U.S. is typically three times higher than the cost of a comparable itinerary in the other direction.

Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club operates using award charts, and according to the award chart, Flying Club charges just 10,000 points plus $152.80 in fees, taxes, and surcharges for a one-way redemption from JFK to LHR on off-peak dates. In comparison, other loyalty programs like Delta Air Lines’ SkyMiles charge significantly more miles for the same flight.

The traveler decided to take advantage of Virgin Atlantic’s 50% points discount offer and booked the flight to London through the Flying Club for just 5,000 points plus $152.80 in fees, taxes, and surcharges. This redemption booked the traveler in Economy Classic, allowing for free seat selection and checked baggage, as well as inflight entertainment and complimentary food and drinks.

By using 5,000 Virgin points to book the flight, the traveler saved $676 compared to the cash fare of $829 for Economy Classic. This equates to a redemption value of over 13 cents per Virgin point, significantly higher than TPG’s current valuation of Virgin points.

For travelers looking to earn Virgin Atlantic points, Flying Club is a transfer partner of every major transferable point currency, including American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Marriott Bonvoy points. Many of these programs offer credit cards with generous welcome bonuses that can be converted to Virgin points.

In conclusion, Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club is a valuable loyalty program that offers a range of redemption options, including flights with airline partners and non-flying redemptions like Virgin Voyages cruises. While the taxes and fees associated with award flights can be costly, the current 50% points discount promotion makes it a compelling offer for travelers looking to fly to London. To take advantage of this promotion, bookings must be made online by March 20 for travel between March 14 and June 30.

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