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Everyone has different goals when it comes to travel. Some are interested in redeeming their points to decrease the costs of domestic economy travel and others are interested in redeeming their points for aspirational (some would say unaffordable) premium international travel. Still others may find themselves somewhere in the middle.
In the miles and points hobby, you’ll find that patience is a virtue and you will sometimes find yourself considering a route just because award space is rare and all of a sudden…it’s available.
As you know, you can use miles/points from one airline to fly on a partner airline. For example:
- United Airlines is a partner with Lufthansa Airline in Star Alliance
- American Airlines is a partner with Qatar Airways in Oneworld alliance
- Delta Air Lines is a partner with KLM/Air France Airlines in SkyTeam alliance
Using the examples above, you can use United MileagePlus miles to fly on Lufthansa Airlines (and vice versa). The secret is understanding who offers “the best” redemption rate.
Let’s say that you were interested in traveling from Newark (EWR) – Frankfurt (FRA) and both United and Lufthansa fly this route. After a bit of research you find that United charges 10,000 miles to fly on Lufthansa airplanes and Lufthansa charges 100,000 miles to fly on United airplanes. One could argue that using United miles (to fly on Lufthansa) is obviously the way to go.
Admittedly, the example above is an over-simplification of the process and there are other factors to consider (…that’s a different blog) but I would agree with you.
In theory this is how an airline “partnership” works. However, in practice, it can be a different story as some routes are simply never available (a.k.a. Unicorn routes).
One route where it is extremely difficult to find award space (using partner miles) is Deltas flight between Los Angeles (LAX) and Sydney (SYD).
Delta is a (non-alliance) partner with Virgin Atlantic Airways. In other words, you can redeem Delta miles on Virgin and vice versa. Delta often requires an insane amount of miles to fly on their own airplanes but if you have Virgin miles, you get around Deltas crazy rates. I talk about the process more HERE.
Well this morning I was alerted to ‘saver award’ space on this Delta flight.
If you are interested in the taking advantage of this award space, here are the Virgin Atlantic rates:
|LAX – SYD||50,000 miles||75,000 miles|
|SYD – LAX||50,000 miles||75,000 miles|
The surcharges will be $28USD on the outbound (LAX-SYD), and 114AUD (~$82USD) inbound (SYD-LAX).
HOW DO I OBTAIN VIRGIN FLYING CLUB MILES?
Virgin Flying Club miles are some of the easiest miles to accumulate – even without flying Virgin Atlantic or its partners – because Flying Club is a transfer partner of all the major point currencies including:
- American Express Membership Rewards (1:1, instant transfer)
- Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1, instant transfer)
- Citi ThankYou Points (1:1, instant transfer)
- Marriott Bonvoy (3:1 <48 hours transfer) Note: 5,000-mile bonus for transferring 60,000 points,
I’m considering booking this flight because I have never been to Australia, reviewing Delta One Suites on the A350 is one of my goals, and 75k for 15 hours of flight time is a solid redemption. However, there are some considerations to be aware of if you’re interested in booking this flight.
- Availability: Depending on your flexibility of travel dates, it appears Delta One Suites at the ‘saver level’ are available every Tuesday and Wednesday between March 7 through the end of schedule (July).
- Season: Australia is located in the southern hemisphere so it has the opposite seasons of North America. It’s worth considering if you want to travel to Australia in the Fall (March) or middle of the Winter (July).
- Entrance Into The Country: Australia has suspended admission for non-Australians (except for family) until further notice and who knows when this ban will be lifted. Virgin Atlantic publishes a cancellation fee of $50 per passenger should you find yourself having to cancel.
FYI: Just incase you’re wondering how much Delta charges for the EXACT SAME SEAT on the EXACT SAME FLIGHT…
Are you planning to take advantage of the award availability found through Virgin Atlantic?