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The biggest topic during the past few days is probably the 10,000 special bonus mile that Alaska Airlines is handing out to all Virgin Elevate members. In the middle of the frenzy, Alaska quietly published new award chart for Virgin America flights.
How does the new award chart for Virgin stack up to Alaska’s own award chart? Let’s find out! All comparisons below are for award flights using Alaska miles.You can also look up the various tables using Alaska’s interactive award chart online.
Alaska award chart for Virgin America within the Continental U.S.
One-way economy award on Virgin starts at 7,500 miles for intra-state flights, and 12,500 miles for out-of-state flights. It’s interesting to see that the chart is not distanced-based like the one for Alaska’s own flights (see table below). For flights along the west coast, it might be cheaper to fly Alaska instead of Virgin. For example, instead of paying 12,500 miles to fly Virgin from San Francisco to Portland, you can use only 5,000 miles on Alaska!
Alaska award chart for Virgin America to Hawaii
Virgin flies nonstop from San Francisco to Honolulu and Maui, and from Los Angeles to Maui. One-way economy award on Virgin to Hawaii starts at 20,000 miles, compare to 17,500 on Alaska’s own flights. It is not a huge difference. First class award are the same on both airlines.
Alaska award chart for Virgin America to Mexico
Virgin America currently operates three nonstop routes to Mexico: San Francisco and Los Cabos, San Francisco and Puerto Vallarta, Los Angeles and Cancun.
- Coach award on Virgin starts at 17,500 miles one-way, compared to as low as 12,500 miles on Alaska
- First class award on Virgin will cost 32,500 miles, cheaper than 40,000 miles on Alaska.
Alaska is really making it complicated with an award chart for Virgin America flights that is different from the one for its own. Keep in mind that you can still redeem Elevate points for Virgin America flights. So before booking your award, be sure to compare your options, Should you use Alaska miles to fly Virgin or Alaska, or should you book Virgin America through Elevate programs? We will explore that in the next post.