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Virgin Atlantic has adjusted its policy to make transferring miles between accounts much more affordable, now charging a one-time fee of $15. The development was flagged earlier today by Thrifty Traveler.
Overall, this is a welcome move, especially considering the costs associated with similar services offered by nearly every other US airline, and I hope other airlines follow suit.
Old vs. new fee structure
Before this change, transferring Virgin miles was expensive. It used to cost $22 plus $270 for each 1,000-point increment you moved. This meant that to transfer even a relatively small number of miles, you’d pay an insane $292. Thankfully, the new policy is a massive departure from this; now all that’s required is a one-time fee of $15.
Transfer limits and eligible programs
The new transfer fee applies to both of Virgin Atlantic’s loyalty programs—Virgin Red and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. These programs essentially operate as one, giving you the flexibility to use your points across various services Virgin offers. Under the new policy, you can transfer up to 100,000 miles per year between accounts.
If you’re looking to redeem these points, both Virgin Red and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club offer options for booking flights. Additionally, Virgin Red allows you to book other products like hotels and cruises as it serves as the overarching loyalty program for all Virgin brands.
Virgin is setting a new bar
Virgin Atlantic’s new policy is comparatively more consumer-friendly, offering a simple and relatively low-cost option for transferring miles. To put this in perspective, here’s how other US airlines compare:
Delta: Charges a $30 fee and an additional one cent per mile for transfers.
American: Charges $15 for every 1,000 miles transferred.
United: Requires a $30 fee plus $7.50 for every 500 miles transferred.
Southwest: Charges $5 for every 500 points transferred.
Alaska: Has a $25 fee and charges an additional one cent per mile.
JetBlue: Offers a unique model where points can be pooled with up to 6 other people for free.
Though it doesn’t sound groundbreaking, the new $15 fee represents a significant savings compared to the previous cost structure and nearly every other US airline. Let’s hope other airlines take similar steps to make their loyalty programs as accessible and consumer-oriented as Virgin’s.