Until recently, one of the best uses of Membership Rewards points was to transfer 63,000 points into ANA’s frequent flyer program, which could then be used for a roundtrip ticket in Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic from New York to London. Nice. However, ANA is now charging Virgin’s ridiculous ($500-$1000) fuel surcharges on those redemptions.
With that gone, if you’re looking to fly Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic, I thought I’d pass along a friendly reminder that if you redeem Continental Onepass miles for flights on Virgin Atlantic, they do not assess the fuel surcharge. Roundtrip coach awards are 60,000 miles (not a bargain) while Upper Class awards are 100,000 miles and, unlike flights from Newark to London on Continental, there’s actually really good availability on Virgin in Upper Class. And until September 30, you can transfer those Membership Rewards points to Continental for the Virgin redemption.
You can search for Virgin Atlantic rewards to New York on Continental’s site, but they do not seem to have availability on their site for Virgin flights to other cities. You can sign up for a free Flying Club account with Virgin Atlantic and use their tool to search availability on their site, then book directly with Continental using Onepass miles.