September 9, 2021 Needles in the Haystack
Where to get 320,000-mile Delta Biz Class tickets for 100,000 points, or less
Travelers bemoan the lack of Business Class availability to Europe on Delta routes, but the truth is that you CAN get there for cheap. Instead of using 320,000 to 640,000 miles on Delta, use 100,000, or less with the current Amex transfer promo, more on that here.
You may recall FCF’s Delta/Virgin loophole here, and here, where you use Virgin Atlantic miles (that you get by transferring Amex points) rather than Delta SkyMiles to buy seats — on Delta flights. Sounds weird, but it’s because Delta only releases a limited number of low-cost mileage award seats to its own SkyMiles members — which is a different number than it releases to its partner Virgin Atlantic. In other words, by using Virgin Atlantic miles / Amex points for the same Delta flights, you can open up low-cost award space that Delta doesn’t offer.
The 5 Hidden Routes Available for Booking Now
We’ve done the heavy lifting, checking dozens of routes over thousands of dates, and FCF research shows award space ripe for the taking (for up to four passengers per flight) on the following routes:
|4 to 8 Days Per Month||9 to 12 Days Per Month||13+ Days Per Month||4 to 8 Days Per Month||9 to 12 Days Per Month||13+ Days Per Month|
(Using Virgin Atlantic miles, an Amex points transfer partner)
|Boston-Amsterdam||Dec. to Feb., Mar.||Nov.||Jan., Feb.||Nov.||Dec.|
|New York-Frankfurt||March||Dec. to Feb.||Dec., March||Jan., Feb.|
|New York-Milan||Nov., Feb.||Dec., Jan.||Jan.||Dec. to Feb.||Dec.|
|Minneapolis-Paris||Nov., Dec.||Jan.||Feb.||Nov., Dec., Jan.||Feb.|
How to Search for Delta Flights
Bookable Online Using Virgin Atlantic Miles
You don’t have to create a Virgin Atlantic mileage account to check for availability. However, if you’re booking award seats, then you’ll have to log in. Just go to “Book” and click “Advanced search.” For more on searching for Delta flights, see our report here.
How to Add Connecting Flights
If you need to add extra flights to a nonstop Delta flight with good availability, it will cost more miles. A one-way domestic (non-transcontinental) flight costs 22,500 more Virgin miles. More here on how to book Delta connecting flights with Virgin miles. That said, compared to the savings this strategy presents, this is nothing.
Other Important Points to Remember When Using Virgin Atlantic Miles on Delta Flights
Credit Card Partnerships: Virgin Atlantic has more credit card point transfer partners than Delta (Amex Rewards, Chase, Citi, and Starwood/Marriott). Delta only has two (Amex Rewards and Starwood/Marriott).
Transfer Bonuses: Currently (more on that here) and throughout the year, Virgin Atlantic and Amex Membership Rewards offer transfer bonuses. Their most recent bonus was 30%. Meanwhile, Delta’s co-branded credit cards never offer transfer bonuses.
Is It Risky to Book With Miles NOWADAYS?
Both Virgin Atlantic and Delta have a “travel fee waiver” currently offered for new bookings until the end of this year. This includes award flights. That means you won’t have to pay any fees if you need to cancel your ticket.
Normal mileage award booking policies vary by airline, but you can generally redeposit or change your mileage ticket for as little as $50, if not free. Details here.
Think of the change and/or redeposit fee as an insurance policy. If your plans change and you decide not to travel, you can do so with very little hassle and cost. We think it’s well worth it.