Bad news from Virgin Atlantic Flying Club as the program has just devalued one of its most coveted sweet spots, namely the redemption for ANA All Nippon Airways First Class award flights.
Virgin Atlantic has implemented the devaluation of the partner award chart without any advance notice to its members following the carrier joining the Skyteam alliance a week ago.
Many have already feared that it was quite a possibility that Virgin would make amendments to the award redemptions and its numerous partners now that the airline is part of an alliance for the first time.
Virgin Flying Club has a whole range of airline partnerships which they formed out of necessity as a previously independent (non-alliance) carrier. Now that they joined SkyTeam it was feared that these partnerships would be broken off once the agreements expire.
It hasn’t come that far yet, but Virgin has definitely taken the knife to the award chart.
ANA First Class used to be really the sweet spot in the Virgin award chart, see the old pricing here:
Now the ANA award chart (access here) has been adjusted to the new rate:
These rates are for round trip awards and a one way can be booked for 50% of the quoted mileage. Tha Business Class Awards weren’t impacted but First Class has taken a hit.
For the one way to the U.S. West Coast the rate went up by 17,500 miles per way or 35,000 round trip. East Coast & Central U.S. increased by 25,000 miles per way or 50,000 round trip.
Previously you could fly in First Class to/from West Coast USA <-> Japan in First Class for only 55,000 one way (now 72,500), which was absolutely amazing and even more so when you can pair it with one of the frequent transfer bonuses from Amex and Chase.
Here is a previous Award Success from when I redeemed one of my Flying Club tickets in 2022:
Award Success: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Redemption For ANA First Class Los Angeles-Tokyo-Bangkok
Even under the new rates, ANA tickets remain a very good deal when issued under Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and this could have been much worse. I was afraid the awards would be discontinued entirely or severely increased. Instead, the program didn’t touch the Business Class awards at all and First Class only by a moderate amount.
The only downside is that Virgin charges full fees for fuel surcharges which have themselves increased substantially with ANA. Before transferring any miles to Virgin, it’s imperative to keep these costs in mind.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has amended the award redemption chart for ANA partner tickets without any advance notice. Impacted are the First Class flights between Japan and Hawaii, Western, Central, and East Coast USA. While unpleasant, this could have ended up substantially worse than it did.
Sometimes it’s worthwhile to shop around a bit and keep your points as universal currency until a good opportunity arises to transfer them out and book something. Considering the current situation we’re in I’d say hold off transferring anything and if you hold any Virgin balances it might be a worthwhile thought to think about redeeming them in the near future.