Virgin Atlantic Partners: Who They Are and How to Get the Best Redemptions

There are lots of ways to earn rewards and score free travel with one of 11 Virgin Atlantic partner airlines.
Last updated Dec 10, 2019 | By Christy Rakoczy
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Founded by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic is known for its great flying experience. But did you know the airline also has an awesome loyalty program called the Flying Club? This program doesn't just offer the chance to redeem Virgin Atlantic miles for valuable rewards. It also provides ample perks, including the opportunity to earn bonus miles, free seat upgrades, airline lounge access, and more.

The good news is, you can get in on the savings and upgrade your travel experience by taking advantage of Flying Club benefits if you fly on Virgin flights or use credit cards that offer points or miles transferable to Virgin. And once you're a member, you can get incredible value by redeeming club miles with one of 11 different airline partners.

To make the most of your points, though, it's important to understand who the Virgin Atlantic partners are and which ones offer the most bang for your buck when redeeming points.

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The basics of the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program

It’s free to sign up for Virgin Atlantic's Flying Club. Once you’ve registered, you can earn miles on Virgin Atlantic flights as well as tier-qualifying points that you can use to get more membership perks from Virgin and its partners.

Miles you earn with Virgin can be transferred to friends and family members or redeemed for:

  • Free flights with Virgin or one of 11 partner airlines
  • Merchandise with spending partners and participating merchants
  • Spa treatments at Virgin's Gatwick or Heathrow Clubhouses
  • Chauffeur service after arriving at your destination

Tier-qualifying points also allow you to take advantage of special Flying Club membership benefits, which vary depending on whether you've qualified for the Red, Silver, or Gold tier.

  • You become a member of the entry-level Red tier simply by joining the Flying Club for free. Red allows you to earn miles on every flight and buy additional miles that can be redeemed for rewards.
  • Silver requires you to earn at least 400 qualifying Tier Points per calendar year. When you reach Silver tier status, you get 30% additional bonus miles for every flight. You're eligible for Premium Check In with every ticket, as well as free seat selection when you travel Economy Light.
  • For Gold tier status, you need to earn at least 1,000 qualifying Tier Points per year. Gold comes with a host of benefits, including 60% bonus miles on all Virgin flights; free seat selections for you and traveling companions when flying Economy Light; free exit row seats in Economy Classic; extra carry-on baggage; Upper Class Check In, regardless of which class you're flying in; exclusive Clubhouses passes for you and a guest; one complimentary Clubhouse spa treatment and 10% off all future treatments; and access to the Revivals lounge in Heathrow.

Virgin Atlantic partner airlines

In addition to redeeming your miles for Virgin flights, you can also redeem with your choice of 11 Virgin Atlantic partner airlines, including:

  • Air China
  • Air France
  • Air New Zealand
  • All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • KLM
  • Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Virgin Australia

What you need to know before redeeming with Virgin’s partner airlines

When miles are redeemed directly with Virgin Atlantic, they're valued at around 1.1 to 1.2 cents per mile. A $223 flight in economy class from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Heathrow Airport, for example, would cost around 20,000 miles. But you may actually be able to get a better value by redeeming with Virgin’s partner airlines. Virgin Atlantic charges fuel surcharges on many flights redeemed directly with the airline rather than through one of its partners.

If you're planning to redeem with Virgin Atlantic partner airlines, research what miles are worth with different airlines so you can get the most bang for your buck. This is easier said than done because different partners value miles differently and have varying rules for how they can be spent. Some partners, for example, charge a certain number of miles for free flights based on distance, while others do so based on zones.

To find the redemption rules for partner airlines, visit Virgin Atlantic's partner airline page and click on the airline you're interested in. For example, when you click on the Delta page, you'll see that a flight to the U.K. costs between 20,000 and 30,000 miles (plus taxes) depending on where in the U.S. you fly from.

Delta rewards flights from US to UK through the Virgin Atlantic Partner program

Singapore Airlines, on the other hand, has an entirely different chart that provides more detail about how many miles you'd spend to visit certain destinations.

Singapore Airlines rewards flight chart through the Virgin Atlantic Partner program

Some Virgin Atlantic partner airlines don't provide details on how much rewards flights cost at all. If that’s the case, you'll need to either contact the partner airline directly or call Virgin's Flying Club at 800-365-9500 to find out the cost and book a flight with Virgin miles.

How you can best use your Virgin Atlantic miles with partner airlines

It can be challenging to determine which flights offer the best value when redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles — especially since you often must call Virgin or work with the partner airline directly to find out how much each flight will cost.

To make things easier, we've compared the cost of different domestic and round-trip flights to find some of the most affordable trips. Here are our best picks for redeeming your Virgin Atlantic miles with partner airlines:

  • Fly ANA to Japan: A first-class ticket will cost you just 110,000 miles round trip from the Western U.S. and Canada or 120,000 miles round trip from the Eastern and Central United States.
  • Fly Delta to Hawaii: If you're in the mood for some fun in the sun, you can score a flight from the U.S. to Hawaii for around 40,000 Flying Club miles each way. If you booked directly through Delta, you'd have to spend 45,000 SkyMiles instead.
  • Fly Air New Zealand to New Zealand: Want to head to the land down under? It will cost you around 62,500 Virgin miles to get to Auckland when you redeem for an Air New Zealand Business Class flight departing from Chicago, Houston, or Los Angeles. This is a relative bargain compared with the 90,000 United Miles this same trip is likely to cost you.
  • Fly KLM to London: Virgin Atlantic's direct flights to London come with high taxes and fees, but you can skip those by booking on Air France-KLM. You can fly from JFK to Heathrow for just 23,500 miles — compared with 35,000 miles if you travel the same route on a Delta one-way flight operated by Virgin.

How to sign up for the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program

Becoming a Flying Club member is quick, simple, and free. Simply visit Virgin Atlantic and select “Join now.” You'll need to provide some basic personal information, including:

  • Title
  • First, middle, and last name
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Preferred login and password
  • Address and contact number
  • Preferred communication method

Within just a few minutes, you'll be ready to start earning points. You'll also receive a membership number, which you can share with partner airlines when booking trips with them to ensure you can use Virgin miles.

How to earn more Virgin miles

With Virgin Atlantic's Flying Club program, you can earn miles several ways, including:

  • By flying with Virgin Atlantic or partner airline flights marketed under Virgin Atlantic flight numbers: A flight from JFK to Heathrow, for example, would earn you a minimum of 431 miles if you flew Economy Light. Virgin also offers details for each partner airline on the number of Virgin miles you can earn for flights. You’re only able to earn miles for one airline loyalty rewards program per flight, though.
  • By purchasing miles: You can buy miles in increments of 1,000 and purchase a maximum of 100,000 miles per calendar year. It costs $27 per 1,000 miles. There’s also a one-time $25 transaction fee for each purchase, no matter how many miles you buy.
  • By using a Virgin Atlantic-branded credit card: You can earn 30,000 Flying Club bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of opening a Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard. When you use your card, you earn 3X miles per dollar spent directly with Virgin Atlantic, and 1.5X on all other purchases, and 25 Tier Points (to move to a higher membership tier in the Flying Club) for every $2,500 in purchases (up to 50 Tier Points per month). This card is best for loyal Virgin Atlantic customers, rather than those who prefer to fly with different airlines.
  • By converting points from other credit card loyalty programs to Virgin miles: You can convert points or miles earned through Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYouRewards, e-Rewards, Heathrow Rewards, Hilton Honors, and more. This means if you use other credit cards, such as your Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can convert rewards earned into Flying Club miles. We'll go into more detail about that below.

Qualifying for a higher tier, such as moving up from the Red to the Silver or Gold tier, also allows you to earn either 30% or 60% more miles, respectively. This can be a big boost to the miles you get for flying.

Virgin Atlantic rewards transfer partners

Virgin allows you to transfer rewards points from other credit card loyalty programs to the Flying Club. But before you move your points, determine the transfer ratio to make sure it's worthwhile. Here are some of the other credit card rewards programs with points transferable to Virgin:

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, so 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points will net you 1,000 Flying Club miles. While Virgin Atlantic isn't the best transfer program for your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, it can make sense to transfer if you can get a good deal on a flight with a Virgin Atlantic partner.

Recommended Chase cards to use include the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve.

American Express Membership Rewards

American Express Membership Rewards also transfer at a 1:1 ratio, so one Amex Membership Rewards point gets you one Flying Club mile. Amex members can occasionally earn rewards redemption bonuses for transferring their Membership Rewards to Virgin. If you can score this bonus, making the transfer provides a lot of bang for your buck.

Recommended American Express cards to use include the Amex Blue Cash Preferred and Amex Blue Cash Everyday.

Marriott Bonvoy Points

Marriott Bonvoy credit card points transfer to Flying Club at a 3:1 ratio. Moving hotel points to airline partners doesn't always provide the best value, but Marriott's transfer ratio with Virgin Flying Club is one of the better options out there if you want to use your hotel points to fly instead of book accommodations.

Recommended Marriott cards to use include the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant.

Citi ThankYou Points

Like some of the others on this list, Citi ThankYou Points transfer to Flying Club at a full 1:1 value. Taking advantage of periodic limited-time bonuses can also boost the value of your transferred Citi points.

Recommended Citi cards to use include Citi’s Premier, Prestige, and Chairman cards. Each of them have transferable points that can be redeemed for Flying Club miles.

Final thoughts on Virgin Atlantic partners

Virgin Atlantic's Flying Club gives you bang for your buck because you can take advantage of partner credit cards to earn extra Flying Club points and maximize the value of your points by redeeming with airline partners. Just be smart about which flights you redeem for and your membership can help take you further than you imagined.

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Benefits

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