Despite all of the raves about the Virgin America flight experience, I still have yet to fly with them. In fact, I am 100% guilty of always waiting for United to match the Virgin America fare sales out of EWR (which they have been pretty consistent with). With that said, I never really took a good hard look at the Virgin American elevate frequent flyer program.
Until January 2014, the American Express Membership Rewards program is offering a 40% transfer bonus for transfers of Membership Rewards points to Virgin America Elevate Points (the normal ratio is 200 Membership Rewards points = 100 elevate points, and they must be transferred in increments of 200).
Like Southwest, Virgin America awards are revenue-based, and are calculated based on the price that they are selling revenue tickets for. With this current transfer bonus, 200 Membership Rewards Points transfers to 140 Elevate Points (+ there is a small transfer fee).
Out of curiosity, I logged into my elevate account (where I surprisingly already had 1,775 points from previous social media promotions and such throughout the year) and tried playing around with award search portal. Believe it or not, I was actually very impressed with the redemption rates!
By now, I have been so
spoiled used to the many great and frequent Membership Rewards to British Airways Avios transfer bonuses, that Avios have always been my go-to Membership Rewards travel partner (I love their distance-based award chart, and the fact that I can go from the east coast to west for just 12,500 points).
I plugged in a quick search for EWR to SEA in April and saw that I could book the flight for just 6,697 elevate points (~9,600 Membership Rewards points)! That’s a much better redemption than my usual 12,500 Avios.
Since I already had 1,775 elevate points in my account, I was able transfer just 7,200 Membership Rewards points to book the ticket.
All in all, it’s safe to say that I am very happy with my redemption, and I can’t wait to experience my very first Virgin America flight (and very first post-baby flight!). I am also thisclose to transferring over more points to my elevate account to use on future bookings.
Have you taken advantage of this transfer bonus yet? Have you ever flown Virgin America? Feel free to share your experiences.