We know all miles are not created equal and each mileage currency have some unique features. Virgin Atlantic is one such program which shines in certain areas where Delta Airlines might want to give you some hard time.
Delta Airlines publish flash deals for using your miles to book tickets at a discount mileage, but some of these deals go unadvertised or last longer than what Delta Airlines make you believe. Since Delta no longer publishes a award chart you might not know if the price displayed is the actual price or a "flash deal" price. Also most of these flash deals are for round trip and so one-way trip will not necessary be half the miles of round trip ticket. Also Delta Airlines is known to add dynamic mileage pricing component and thus the price might be higher than what you should actually pay.
Here is an example itinerary for Los Angeles (LAX), USA to Narita (NRT) / Haneda (HND), Japan in Delta One Suite. As you can see the round trip price is 120,000 Delta Skymiles for few dates but if you want to book just one way that price is 78,000 Delta Skymiles instead of half price of 60,000 miles.
Here is where Virgin Atlantic miles would come handy. Virgin Atlantic is a Delta Airline partner and as of recent pass has started displaying award availability for Delta Airlines on its Virgin Atlantic website. The good news is Virgin Atlantic has access to same level of inventory as what Delta Airlines has and it does not add the dynamic pricing what Delta does. So, if you wanted to book just one-way ticket it would cost 60,000 Virgin Atlantic miles for the same award from Los Angeles (LAX) to Narita (NRT) / Haneda (HND) above.
Let's check another example where Delta applies Dynamic pricing. Here we are looking to fly from Delta non-stop flight from Portland (PDX) to Narita (NRT). Delta Airlines want to charge 125,000 miles for the below itinerary. Interestingly Virgin Atlantic still wants 60,000 miles only!
The other great thing about Virgin Atlantic miles is that they routinely have 30% transfer bonus when you want to transfer your American Express points to Virgin Atlantic miles so you end up getting better value than with Delta Skymiles.
So what is the downside of using Virgin Atlantic miles? Virgin Atlantic charges mileage cost based on segments, so adding segments would add up the price for the mileage redemption. Also if you enter source and destination which does not have direct route then Virgin Atlantic does not show any availability. But with all that quirks you get a great redemption value and yes, do not forget that Virgin Atlantic charges a reasonable change / cancellation fee of only $50!
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