How to Fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class From London to New York for £1,700 Return

Jun 12, 2019

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The best ways to accumulate miles are to do so at little-to-no cost by travelling or by spending. But did you know you can also purchase points or miles in many loyalty programmes? Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic allow you to purchase Avios and Flying Club miles, respectively.

Usually, it doesn’t make sense to purchase all the miles you need and expect to use them to fly premium cabins at a very cheap price. This is because airlines usually price the miles to be more expensive than the value you can obtain from using them — and, of course, you are also subject to award availability. The standard price for purchasing Flying Club miles is 1.5p each, with a handling fee of £15, which is higher than TPG UK’s current valuation of 1.2p each.

Until 30 June, however, Flying Club is offering both a 40% bonus for purchases of 70,000 miles or more (pre-bonus), and an increased buying limit of 150,000 miles (before the bonus). So you can purchase 210,000 miles per account for £2,265. This reduces the cost per mile down to a very reasonable 1.09p each, which is lower than the TPG UK valuation.

You can use these miles to fly nonstop from London (LHR) to New York (JFK), Washington, DC (IAD) or Boston (BOS) for only £1,700.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, New York JFK
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, New York JFK.

Redemptions to these cities at the lowest, standard season dates cost 95,000 miles return in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class plus around £565 in fees, taxes and surcharges per person.

Here is the cost for a redemption for available dates in September:

Purchasing 70,000 miles with the current 40% bonus offer will cost you £1,065. Add in the £665 in fees, taxes and surcharges and you will be shelling out around £1,700 for the return journey.

Compare this to cash fares for the exact same flights in September and you’re looking at a huge saving:

Now, there are obviously some caveats to this deal, though it’s not ‘too good to be true’. The biggest condition is that you are subject to award availability, which can be very limited. You  will not find availability every single day to New York (or anywhere else) at these low mileage rates like you would with an expensive cash fare. I would not recommend purchasing miles speculatively (i.e. without an immediate planned use), even at this sale price.

It is best to find availability before purchasing any miles, and if you are happy with the flight options and total cost (factoring in the substantial fees and taxes), then consider purchasing the miles at the same price and redeeming immediately so you are not stuck with miles you have purchased, but cannot use.

Also remember that you will not earn any miles for these flights, as redemption flights do not earn miles. The change and cancellations fees of a redemption ticket may also be different to that of an equivalent cash fare. Additionally, in order to buy miles, you have to have at least made one Flying Club earning or spending transaction.

You can purchase Flying Club miles here, and don’t forget to check out our guide to Flying Club here.

Featured image by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy

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