I recently wrote about planning a trip to Europe, in which I outlined a sort of trick I’ve found in booking award tickets. While I mentioned in that article that I was focused on using my Chase Ultimate Rewards points, I have also considered using Delta miles for one leg as I have quite a bit of SkyMiles built up from business travel.
I want to try and fly Business Class (crazy enough, I haven’t yet), but I didn’t really expect there to be any reasonable award redemptions out there. After some further research, I learned that you could redeem as little as 70,000 SkyMiles from the east coast to Europe in Delta One. While I haven’t got the exact dates or routing I want, I think I’m stuck on paying that price — so instead of considering other options, my plan is to continue checking Delta’s site in hopes that some award availability opens up. I think some people may find this incredibly time-consuming, or frustrating, but I find it to be quite thrilling. Never knowing what may show up!
While Delta does not publish much partner award space on their website, they do claim that their website is where you can book it, so it has to be out there somewhere. Which brings me to the point of this article. In my search, I have looked up availability to Paris, as well as many surrounding European cities — one of those being London.
So when I searched on Delta’s website for award travel to London, in Delta One, a fare for 85,000 SkyMiles + $5.60 showed up. The one main difference was that above the fare, where you’d usually see “Delta One,” I saw “Upper Class” — what Virgin Atlantic calls their business class — which peaked my attention. I have since learned to look for “VS” in the corner, as this signifies any Virgin flight.
I rarely see any partner availability on Delta’s website, let alone premium cabin space. So initially I wanted to grab it before it was lost — luckily, I didn’t.
Was it worth 85,000 miles?
This was the first question I asked myself. Regardless of the product, 85,000 miles would leave me with very little left over in reserve– even though I am still waiting to cash in on my Platinum Choice benefit. And as much as I want to enjoy the luxuries, I am naturally frugal. So in order to justify the spend I looked up Virgin Atlantic upper class to determine what I’d be spending my miles on. I broke down the decision as follows:
- At first glance, there is nothing to be too crazy about over Virgin Atlantic Upper Class. Sure, I don’t have enough (or any) experience to weigh in on the matter, but I have studied a lot of different business classes — and this one seems lacking. It seems as though the seats are pretty tightly packed together, and there doesn’t seem to be much privacy. But hey, maybe I need to try it out myself!
- One of the things I’ve read about more than the in-flight experience, is London Heathrow’s Clubhouse — which all Virgin Atlantic business class passengers get access to. While I don’t know if I’d spend that amount of money or miles just to experience a lounge, on the ground- I wouldn’t get access to it on this trip, regardless. Like most lounges, you won’t get access upon arrival, only prior to departure.
- Finally, the real kicker — is this experience worth 15,000 more miles than Delta One. To that, I say absolutely not. Once again, I haven’t tried either, but I am thorough in my research, and I am a firm believer in everything Delta. If anything I think you could say that the two products are comparable — meaning there is no way to justify paying 15,000 more miles.
It is worth noting that part of me really wants to just try Delta One. As much as I’ve flown them domestically, I think it is only right that they are the first airline I try in international business class. But in reality, I just don’t think that Virgin Atlantic is such a great deal. And unlike Delta, Virgin does post an award chart, so this price won’t go any lower.
Ultimately, it is all about personal taste. Maybe I try Virgin Atlantic and think it is amazing, but for now, I think I’d rather save my miles.