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Last month I wrote about Virgin America’s “Flights with Benefits” program, where you could sign up for the Virgin America Elevate program and get 500 points, plus 500 points for everyone you refer to the program (up to a maximum of 2500 points)
I’ve already maxed out my referral bonus, but feel free to leave yours in the comment. If you sign up, both you and the person that refers you gets 500 points. Or also feel free to sign up friends and family as well. The offer ends May 31st.
About the current Virgin America Elevate program
Currently, Virgin America has a fixed price rewards program called Virgin America Elevate, with each point worth 2.2 cents. So your 2500 points would be worth ~$55. Currently I saw some one-way sale flights for $59 which translated to 2,049 points – so if you got 5 friends to sign up, you could easily get enough points for a one-way flight!
You CAN also use Virgin America Elevate points on their airline partners, but there are often fuel surcharges.
Hawaiian Airlines does not charge fuel surcharges and the fuel surcharges on Virgin Australia or Singapore Airlines are not too bad either. Virgin Atlantic and Emirates are ridiculous. You can check it out on the Virgin America award calculator.
You can transfer Citi ThankYou points and American Express Membership Rewards to Virgin America, and currently there is a 50% bonus on transferring from Amex.
Converting to Alaska miles?
As we saw earlier, currently Alaska has an offer to buy Virgin America. At this point, even if the deal goes through, there is still rampant speculation about what will happen to the 2 loyalty programs. It appears that Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan will be the surviving loyalty program, so collecting Virgin America Elevate miles may be a backdoor way to get some Alaska miles
I wouldn’t expect anything to happen with the 2 loyalty programs until 2017 or 2018, so it’s a long con… Still, if you weren’t that interested in getting Virgin America Elevate miles, you might be interested in them more now knowing they’ll likely convert to Alaska miles at some point.
The question on everyone’s mind now is at what rate will they transfer? Frequent Miler says 1:2 (so 2500 Elevate points will turn into 5000 Alaska miles), while One Mile at a Time suggests closer to 1:1.5. At this point we don’t know but still, this could be a way to get up to 5000 Alaska miles per person (if you have enough friends to refer)