You are currently viewing Virgin Atlantic Flying Club adds huge surcharge for Delta One redemptions to Europe, but it won’t impact most members

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club adds huge surcharge for Delta One redemptions to Europe, but it won’t impact most members

The Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program has devalued Delta One business-class redemptions to and from Europe without notice, but this move will unlikely impact many members.

Delta One awards booked through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club on most dates will still cost 47,500 Virgin points from the East Coast and central U.S. to Europe and 67,500 Virgin points from the West Coast to Europe.

However, Virgin Atlantic has now implemented peak award pricing, increasing awards to 57,500 points from the East Coast and central U.S. and 77,500 points from the West Coast to Europe (excluding flights to and from the U.K. that are already subject to this peak and off-peak pricing).

Keep reading to find out more about Virgin’s latest devaluation of Delta One award flights.

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Virgin Flying Club increases Delta One award prices, adds massive surcharge

If you’re looking to book Delta One tickets through Virgin Atlantic, be aware of the peak and off-peak dates.

Peak dates for 2024 and early 2025 are:

  • Jan. 1-3, 2024
  • March 22-April 15, 2024
  • June 16-Sept. 2, 2024
  • Oct. 25-Nov. 5, 2024
  • Dec. 7, 2024-Jan. 5, 2025
ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Adding peak dates with a price increase of 10,000 miles for a business-class ticket to select destinations within a single region is not an unreasonable devaluation and is still a competitive redemption price across the Atlantic.

What is eyebrow-raising is that Virgin is now imposing a large carrier surcharge, with total fees, taxes and surcharges adding up to over $1,000 per person each way in business class.

Therefore, you can now expect to pay over $2,000 in fees, taxes and surcharges for a round-trip business-class flight on Delta booked with Virgin points. This is right in line with what Virgin imposes on Flying Club redemptions it operates itself. Before the devaluation, one-way Delta One flights to mainland Europe from the U.S. cost customers just $5.60 in taxes and fees.

This additional surcharge seems to only affect business-class tickets, as economy award seats still do not have a surcharge and can be booked for $5.60 in taxes and fees.

If you want to book a Delta One flight through the Delta SkyMiles program, which does not charge any surcharges, you can readily find business-class availability to Europe. You can expect to pay up to 375,000 SkyMiles per person, per flight.

Related: Dynamic pricing vs. fuel surcharges — which is the lesser of 2 evils for your next redemption?

Why will this devaluation not impact most Flying Club members?

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a transfer partner of all major transferable credit card currencies and often offers transfer bonuses and award flight promotions. Thus, there are some great deals to be found when using Virgin points to fly from the U.S. to Europe. For example, I flew from New York to London in April for just 5,000 Virgin points.

But when it comes to finding Delta One award availability on Virgin, award flights have been nonexistent.

I have regularly monitored Delta One availability using Virgin points for flights across the Atlantic over the past six months. There have been, at most, a handful of dates available across the entire 12-month schedule, with most availability from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Iceland’s Keflavik Airport (KEF), a flight of just 5 1/2 hours.

This year, the scarce availability to the U.K. and mainland Europe has been primarily on (super) off-peak dates, such as the dead of winter when you should have no problem finding availability on other carriers, especially if you have transferable credit card points.

Related: 10 no-annual-fee credit cards that earn transferable points

For example, one of the only options I found during my search for Delta One availability to Europe over the next 12 months is from JFK to Portugal’s Lisbon Airport (LIS). Though it will cost you less than 48,000 Virgin points, you’ll pay over $1,000 in taxes, fees and surcharges.

Instead, if you want to use Virgin points to fly to Portugal in January, you can save more than $700 in surcharges by booking the Air France business-class option.

VIRGINATLANTIC.COM

If you prefer Delta rather than Air France, you could book this same flight for 20,000 more miles through the Air France-KLM Flying Blue program to save around $1,000 in fees, taxes and surcharges.

AIRFRANCE.COM

Again, there are no changes to the prices of Delta-operated economy-class redemptions to the U.K. (which remain a great use of Virgin points) or mainland Europe, as these are readily available to book online. Fortunately, economy awards have been spared this new surcharge, so you can typically expect to pay less than $200  in total for fees, taxes and surcharges when flying to Europe in Delta economy through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

Note that while Delta charges $5.60 in taxes and fees when flying from the U.S. to Europe, there are country-imposed taxes and fees when flying from Europe to the U.S.

Unfortunately, Delta’s premium economy product is still unavailable to book with Virgin points.

Bottom line

Devaluations are an unfortunate reality of the points and miles industry. We recommend redeeming points and miles soon after earning them rather than stockpiling them for a rainy day.

Ordinarily, adding a carrier-imposed surcharge of more than $1,000 each way without notice would be unforgivable by Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

However, the reality is that this change will not affect 99% of Flying Club members, as there are virtually no Delta One flights available to book with Virgin points anyway. In the unlikely event you find a seat available, it will likely be on an off-peak date (so the new increased peak pricing won’t matter). Not to mention, you can probably book the same Delta flight through Flying Blue to save hundreds of dollars.