delta 2,500 miles for a change
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Flying Delta using Virgin Atlantic miles has long been one of the easier to explain examples of Frequent Flyer Mile Arbitrage. While Delta might be showing their own New York to Amsterdam flight in Business Class as requiring 320,000 miles one way (yes, really), you could use 50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles to book the same award.

The Old Virgin Atlantic Rates on Delta Metal

This applied to every flight in the system, with a New York to Los Angeles Delta One seat costing just 22,500 Virgin Atlantic miles. Check out some of these (now dead) business class sweet spots (one way):

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US transcon: 22,500 miles

US to Caribbean: 30,000 miles

US to South America: 45,000 miles

US to Europe: 50,000 miles

US to Asia: 60,000 miles

US to Australia: 75,000 miles

Well, RIP.

Thrifty Traveler has found a nasty “no notice” New Year’s surprise.

Virgin Atlantic has launched a new award chart for Delta flights – and it’s now distance based. You can see the Delta redemption page here.

There’s one table for reward flights to the UK only.

The off-peak redemptions are still OK:

47,5000 miles off peak from the East Coast and Central Zone to the UK.

67,500 from the West Coast to the UK

Peak Season to the UK

57,5000 miles peak from the East Coast and Central Zone to the UK.

77,500 from the West Coast to the UK

Peak season travel dates: 20 June 2020 – 6 September 2020, 12 December 2020 – 31 December 2020, 1 January 2021 – 5 January 2021, 26 March 2021 – 19 April 2021, 19 June 2021 – 5 September 2021, 15 October 2021 – 26 October 2021, 11 December 2021 – 31 December 2021

Everything else is now distance based

virgin atlantic distance based

This means rates in most cases double and in some cases nearly triple!

A US Transcon like NY-LA is up from 22,500 miles to 52,500 miles.

A US to Europe flight from the East Coast like NY to AMS jumps from 50,000 to 80,000 miles.

A US to Europe flight from the West Coast jumps from 50,000 to 120,000 miles!!

That sweet deal from Detroit to Tokyo Narita that was 60,000 miles in Delta One? That is now a mind blowing 165,000 miles!!!!

And the icing on the cake? Absolutely no notice whatsoever from Virgin Atlantic. Can you imagine if you were shopping a flight last night for 60,000 miles and woke up to find it’s now 165,000 miles?

I’d expect that from Delta, but I expected more from Virgin Atlantic.

At least, for now, the award chart for flying ANA using Virgin Flying Club remains intact.

Long story short

Welcome to 2021, everyone.


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New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.

I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at this year's South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.


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