If you’re unhappy with Delta Air Lines’ dynamic award rates to Europe, there’s a solution — in economy, at least.
We currently see plenty of Main Cabin economy award seats bookable through partner Virgin Atlantic, and the number of points required is dramatically lower.
Delta’s SkyMiles loyalty program may charge at least 40,000 miles each way from the United States to the United Kingdom in economy.
However, you can book the same Delta-operated flights with Virgin Atlantic starting at just 10,000 points each way from the East Coast on off-peak dates. Peak dates require just 15,000 points.
Flights from other parts of the U.S. start at just 12,500 points on off-peak dates and 20,000 points on peak dates.
Admittedly, Virgin’s Flying Club charges more fees, taxes and surcharges than Delta’s SkyMiles would. However, if you are considering transferring credit card points to Virgin instead of Delta to book these flights, we value the 31,000 credit card points you would save far more than the $220 in cash you would need to pay.
Delta-operated flights from the United States to mainland Europe are priced higher at 30,000 Virgin points each way in Main Cabin, though you will be charged just $5.60 in fees and taxes (with no surcharges). Delta can charge more than twice that number of miles for the same flights — like this itinerary from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) next April.
This can be a great way to save tens of thousands of points per flight, especially because Virgin Atlantic is a transfer partner of every major program with transferable currency:
Reward your inbox with the TPG Daily newsletter
Join over 700,000 readers for breaking news, in-depth guides and exclusive deals from TPG’s experts
While Delta does not usually release Premium Select (premium economy) or Delta One (business class) seats to partners, there are several routes where we have seen nine-plus seats per flight in economy, bookable with Virgin points, even during the busy summer period.
You can use Virgin’s handy reward seat checker for Delta flights to and from the United Kingdom, allowing you to view monthly availability.