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Virgin Atlantic, the UK’s boutique long-haul airline, has a very interesting and niche frequent flyer program – Flying Club. Virgin Atlantic partners with a variety of airlines – ranging from Air France/KLM to Hawaiian Airlines to Singapore Airlines; the airline will eventually join the SkyTeam Alliance as Virgin’s strongest partnerships are with Air France/KLM and Delta Air Lines.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a very interesting frequent flyer program in that it won’t solve all of your award travel needs, but it does nicely complement other programs. And where other frequent flyer programs may not provide the best value, that’s where you might be able to use Virgin Atlantic points at an exceptional value – let’s cover some of the best Flying Club Sweet Spots in the program.

You can easily gain more points by transferring in from:

  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Capital One Rewards
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Citi ThankYou Points
  • Marriott Bonvoy

Flying Club Sweet Spots Notes

The sweet spots listed below are valid for one-way travel during the regular/low/standard season. Virgin Atlantic does also publish peak season award charts – the season is determined by the date you fly and can be viewed directly on Virgin’s website. Standard and Peak Season award rates may or may not apply to partner airlines; if a connecting flight is required, you may be charged for each flight separately on some partner airlines (though some partner airlines also allow “free” connecting flights within the same region).

This post will cover Flying Club sweet spots on AF/KL, NH, HA, SA. Read about other sweet spots here.

In addition to the mandatory airline taxes and fees that must be paid on an award ticket, some airlines also charge fuel surcharges – which can be hundreds of dollars in some cases. Sadly, Virgin Atlantic does charge fuel surcharges on some award tickets – in some cases these can be very high (especially on their own flights). The good news is that for travel on some of their airline partners, fuel surcharges can be relatively low – this depends on the airline you are flying, the route, class of service, and more. Expect to pay more in taxes/fees and fuel surcharges if redeeming points for Business Class flights.

fly KLM using Flying Club Sweet Spots

fly KLM using Flying Club Sweet Spots

Sweet Spots: Air France/KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

search for award space: directly on Virgin Atlantic’s website or using Delta Air Lines SkyMiles

Short-Medium Haul flights:

  • flights 600 miles or less: Economy Class: 4k, Business Class: 8k
  • flights in distance of 601 – 1,249 miles: Economy Class: 7.5k
  • flights in distance of 1,250 – 1,749 miles: Economy Class: 9k

Long Haul flights:

  • Zone 1: UK, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Malta, Norway, Sweden
  • Zone 2: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Canary Islands (Spain), Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Libya, Lithuania, Latvia, Macedonia, Madeira (Portugal), Moldavia, Morocco, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Tunisia, Ukraine, Montenegro, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan
  • Zone 3: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, UAE, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Syria, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Djibouti
  • Zone 4: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Chad, Zambia, Sierra Leone
  • Zone 5: Angola, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Reunion Island (France), Seychelles, Mayotte (France), Comoros, Madagascar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
  • Zone 6: USA (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida), Canada (Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island), Antigua, Barbados, Bahamas, Cuba, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, French Guyana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Martinique, Haiti, Puerto Rico (USA), Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Marteen
  • Zone 7: USA (Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Hawaii, Alaska), Canada (Nunavut, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northwest Territories, British Colombia, Yukon), Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua
  • Zone 8: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay
  • Zone 9: China, South Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
  • Zone 10: Australia, Fiji, Guam, Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, New Zealand, Palau, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, New Caledonia, French Polynesia

The cost of a flight in miles is determined based on the zones you are traveling between. Zone 1 and Zone 2 covers Europe and since that’s where Air France/KLM flights originate, here are the sweet spots:

  • Zone 1 <-> Zone 2: Economy Class: 9k
  • Zone 1 <-> Zone 3: Economy Class: 12k, Premium Economy Class: 24k
  • Zone 1 <-> Zone 4: Economy Class: 12k, Premium Economy Class: 24k, Business Class: 48.5k
  • Zone 1 <-> Zone 5: Economy Class: 15k, Premium Economy Class: 30k, Business Class: 61k
  • Zone 1 <-> Zone 6: Economy Class: 12k, Premium Economy Class: 24k, Business Class: 48.5k
  • Zone 1 <-> Zone 7: Economy Class: 15k
  • Zone 1 <-> Zone 8: Economy Class: 17k, Premium Economy Class: 34k
  • Zone 1 <-> Zone 9: Economy Class: 21k
  • Zone 1 <-> Zone 10: Economy Class: 31k
  • Zone 2 <-> Zone 3: Economy Class: 20k
  • Zone 2 <-> Zone 4: Economy Class: 20k, Business Class: 65k
  • Zone 2 <-> Zone 5: Economy Class: 23k
  • Zone 2 <-> Zone 6: Economy Class: 20k
  • Zone 2 <-> Zone 7: Economy Class: 23k
  • Zone 2 <-> Zone 8: Economy Class: 26.5k
  • Zone 2 <-> Zone 9: Economy Class: 30k
  • Zone 2 <-> Zone 10: Economy Class: 39.5k

Sweet Spots: ANA All Nippon Airways

search for award space: using Air Canada Aeroplan or United Airlines MileagePlus

  • Japan <-> Japan: Economy Class: 7.5k
  • Japan <-> South Korea: Economy Class: 9k
  • Japan <-> China/Guam/Hong Kong/Taiwan/Philippines: Economy Class: 11.5k, Business Class: 22.5k, First Class: 30k
  • Japan <-> Malaysia/Myanmar/Singapore/Thailand/Vietnam: Business Class: 32.5k, First Class: 40k
  • Japan <-> Hawaii/India/Indonesia: Economy Class: 22.5k, Business Class: 35k, First Class: 45k
  • Japan <-> Australia/Canada/West Coast USA: Business Class: 45k, First Class: 55k
  • Japan <-> Europe/Mexico/Rest of USA: Business Class: 47.5k, First Class: 60k

Sweet Spots: Hawaiian Airlines

search for award space: using Hawaiian Airlines Hawaiian Miles at the low/saver award levels or for international Hawaiian Airlines flights, using American Airlines AAdvantage

  • Hawaii <-> Hawaii: Economy Class: 7.5k
  • Hawaii <-> West Coast USA: First Class: 40k
  • Hawaii <-> South Pacific: Economy Class: 27.5k, Business Class: 47.5k

There’s a few other routes you can redeem on, but the value isn’t that great so they aren’t considered sweet spots.

Sweet Spots: South African Airways

search for award space: using Air Canada Aeroplan or United Airlines MileagePlus

  • Domestic South Africa <-> Domestic South Africa: Economy Class: 10k, Business Class: 15k
  • South Africa <-> Botswana/Lesotho/Madagascar/Malawi/Mozambique/Namibia/Swaziland/Zambia/Zimbabwe: Economy Class: 10k, Business Class: 15k
  • South Africa <-> Angola/Benin/Cameroon/Côte d’Ivoire/DR Congo/Republic of Congo/Gabon/Ghana/Kenya/Nigeria/Senegal/Tanzania/Uganda: Business Class: 25k
  • South Africa <-> Indian Ocean: Economy Class: 20k, Business Class: 25k

There are a few other sweet spots for travel on South African Airways, however given the airline’s recent financial trouble, they aren’t operating many flights at the moment and aren’t flying to the USA/Europe/South America/Australia – so booking those other sweet spots is not possible right now.

visit Japan with Flying Club Sweet Spots

visit Japan with Flying Club Sweet Spots

Flying Club Sweet Spots: All in All

As you can see by the various sweet spots above, Virgin Atlantic’s program can truly be powerful when redeeming points on different airlines in several regions. Remember that fuel surcharges do vary based on your airline, route, class, etc. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points are relatively easy to earn as you can transfer in from a bunch of transferable bank points programs and from Marriott Bonvoy.

Remember that not all redemptions can be done directly on Virgin’s website and some do require you calling in; changes and cancellations are also simple with Flying Club for a small fee of GBP30 or USD50. Redeeming miles for award tickets through Flying Club can be an incredible deal in many cases – just make sure the surcharges on your itinerary aren’t too expensive.

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