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Ending Soon: How I Booked 13 Hours In Business Class For 37,000 Points With This Transfer Bonus

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It’s been a month since I started college, but my desire to travel has made me miss a fast-paced trip this summer. So, while now may not be the right time to jump continent and start exploring, it doesn’t mean you can’t start planning for next summer.

As luck would have it, this month American Express announced 12 limited-time transfer bonuses with some of its strongest transfer partners. This effectively sells many of the best Amex Membership Rewards redemptions. Most of these transfer bonuses end on September 30th.

With Japan nearing its reopening, I wanted to see if I could maximize the 30% transfer bonus with Virgin Atlantic for booking my first trip to Asia.

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See how I did it and why you might want to do the same.

Virgin Atlantic ANA Sweet Spot Awards Chart

One of the best ways to redeem your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points is with ANA, which has a very reasonable award chart. In this way, it is only 90,000 points, not one way from the west coast to Japan, round trip.

root Economy class business class first class
Domestic Japan 15,000 points.
Japan and South Korea 18,000 points. 35,000 points. 50,000 points.
Japan/China/Guam/Hong Kong/Philippines/Taiwan 23,000 points. 45,000 points. 60,000 points.
Japan-Malaysia/Myanmar/Singapore/Thailand/Vietnam 40,000 points. 65,000 points. 80,000 points.
Japan-Hawaii/India/Indonesia 45,000 points. 70,000 points. 90,000 points.
Japan-Australia/Canada/West America 60,000 points. 90,000 points. 110,000 points.
Japan – Europe/Central and Eastern America/Mexico 65,000 points. 95,000 points. 120,000 points.

Now that you can book one-way award tickets, the price is half of the round-trip fare. This means you can book first class from Los Angeles to Tokyo for just 55,000 points. That’s less than half of other loyalty programs.

First class sounds incredible, but when business class from Tokyo to my home airport at Dulles International Airport (IAD) became available, especially Amex offering Virgin Atlantic a 30% transfer bonus. I knew that I could not turn down this opportunity.

How I booked ANA business class with 37,000 AMEX points

Zach Griff/The Point Guy

I found a one-way ticket from Tokyo to Washington, so I knew I needed 47,500 points. That’s half the price of 95,000 points on Virgin’s rewards chart from the East Coast to Japan.

Earning Virgin Points is easy with our extensive list of transfer partners. Almost all major reward currencies can be sent to Virgin including American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Capital One Miles, Marriott Bonvoy and more.


Luckily, Amex’s 30% money transfer bonus came in handy here. You earned 1.3 Flying Club points for every Membership Rewards points transferred. This remittance bonus ends on his September 30th, so act fast if you want to use it for your trip to Japan.

Required Flying Club Points transfer bonus Membership Rewards points required
47,500. 30%. 36,600.

You can only transfer in increments of 1,000, so I was able to book a ticket with just 37,000 Membership Rewards points transferred. So I logged into American Express, entered my Flying Club information, entered 37,000 points, and the transfer was sent.


How to book a flight

I was able to find availability on United Airlines using my preferred Star Alliance award search engine, but unfortunately it is not possible to book ANA award tickets online with Virgin Atlantic. (TPG’s Katie Genter does an excellent job here explaining how she finds the availability of ANA benefits).

After finding availability, I called Virgin Atlantic to confirm. Despite the long wait times listed on the website, I was able to get through to an agent very quickly, who confirmed that a reward seat was available and confirmed that it was available to book. He told me he needed 47,500 miles.

Unfortunately the taxes and fees on booking were higher than normal. Fuel costs were high, which cost him $409.27 in points plus tickets. That’s over the typical pre-pandemic under $150 in taxes and fees, but it was worth about 13 hours in business class.

The agent was unable to secure an award space on ANA, many Transfers are instant and you can transfer points and confirm tickets over the phone.

Unfortunately, this time I was unable to transfer the money immediately and had to wait 5 hours for the points to appear in my account.

Once the points were added to my account, I called Virgin Atlantic and booked a ticket in minutes.



Despite the transfer delay, I was able to book a ticket that cost nearly $8,500 with 37,000 Membership Rewards points plus taxes and fees. This means you’ve won an insane amount of 22 cents per Membership Rewards point. This is 11 times TPG’s current valuation of 2 cents per point.

Not only will you be able to return from your first trip to Asia in style, but you’ll be returning for fewer miles than United charges for an economy class seat on the same route (albeit with higher taxes and fees). ).

Even better, ANA offers one of the best business class offerings in the world, and booking through Virgin Atlantic’s sweet spot is something I’ve always wanted to try. Asking American Express to add a remittance bonus this month was a cherry on top of the sundae and I couldn’t refuse.