For the second time this year, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has increased the cost of redeeming Virgin Points on one of its partner airlines without warning.
As of December 7, 2023, the cost of many Delta award flights booked with Virgin Points has increased. This represents the loss of a few sweet spots, especially for economy flights within North America, and a sizeable shift in the overall utility of Virgin Points for booking Delta flights.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Increases Award Pricing for Many Delta Flights
On December 7, 2023, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club increased the cost of many Delta award flights. The pricing is effective for flights on or after January 1, 2024.
Based on the new award charts, nearly all of Delta’s flights have increased in cost, with the exception of routes to the UK and Europe, and the shortest economy routes of under 500 miles.
Unfortunately, many of these increases are significant, with some routes jumping in cost by as much as 60%.
For example, here’s the old chart for Delta flights booked with Virgin Points, excluding flights to the UK and Europe.
And here’s the new chart that took effect on December 7, 2023, for flights departing as of January 1, 2024, excluding Europe and the UK.
It’s worth noting that for flights that take place before the end of 2023, you’ll still pay the old price, even if you book on or after December 7, 2023.
As you can see, almost all economy redemptions have increased in cost, and now price out at 30–60% more than they used to.
Business class redemptions of 3,001+ miles were spared; however, flights of up to 3,000 miles have increased in price by 20–50%.
This means that if you used to book Delta flights with Virgin Points, it’s going to cost you a lot more than it used to.
The Second No-Notice Partner Award Devaluation This Year
Generally speaking, booking Delta flights using its own SkyMiles loyalty program doesn’t offer very competitive redemptions, while using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club instead led to considerably better value in many situations.
In the US, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a transfer partner with Amex US MR, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards, which means that Virgin Points are relatively easy to come by.
Delta SkyMiles has co-branded credit cards, as well as a few US transfer partners with Amex US MR and Diners Club.
It’s worth noting that you can also transfer points from hotel loyalty programs to Delta SkyMiles and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
Historically, when comparing redemptions within the two programs, you’d almost certainly save miles by booking through Flying Club rather than with SkyMiles.
The devaluation of Delta flights booked with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club suggests that Delta is seeking to harmonize award pricing for its flights across programs, so that you’ll find roughly similar prices whether you’re booking with a partner airline or with Delta SkyMiles directly.
Delta’s 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic is another variable that may be a factor in the airline’s desire to even out redemption prices.
However, a more concerning aspect to Virgin Atlantic’s changes in this context is that this is the second no-notice devaluation from the airline this year.
In March 2023, Flying Club increased the cost of ANA First Class flights without any warning. While it’s still one of the best ways to book the product, it now costs much more than it used to.
The program’s other sweet spots could possibly be next on the chopping block, and given the current track record, it doesn’t seem like we can count on much notice when this may happen.
Therefore, if you have any points parked in the program, it could be wise to redeem them sooner rather than later, as you’re otherwise at risk of another sudden devaluation.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has increased the cost of many award redemptions with Delta without warning, with some routes jumping up to 60% in price. This is the second devaluation from Virgin Atlantic Flying Club in 2023, both of which occurred without warning or notice.
The increases are set to go into effect on December 7, 2023, for flights as of January 1, 2024. Prices will increase on routes almost across the board, with the exceptions of destinations in the UK and Europe.
This devaluation certainly raises questions about what the future holds for other Flying Club sweet spots, so if you have points sitting in your account, consider using them soon.