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Virgin America Elevate Loyalty Program Review

Virgin America Elevate Loyalty Program

Virgin America Summary Table

Branded and Partnered Credit Cards

With Virgin America’s Elevate program merging with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan at the end of the year, it has already been removed by credit card partners.

Virgin America Elevate Credit Cards

For now, you can earn Elevate points directly through their co-branded cards offered by Comenity.

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card Review
Virgin America Elevate Frequent Flyer ProgramVirgin America Visa Signature Card
Virgin America Premium Visa Signature Card

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

For a little bit longer, you can earn Membership Rewards and transfer them to Virgin America. However, the transfer ratio is a very poor 2:1.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

CREDIT CARDMORE INFO
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points
5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
$200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
Annual Fee: $550
Our Review
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American ExpressEarn 25,000 points. Terms Apply.
3x points for flights booked directly with airlines. Terms Apply.
Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $195
Our Review
Blue Cash EveryDay® Preferred from American Express$150 statement credit
6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms Apply.
Annual Fee: $95
Our Review
Blue Cash EveryDay® from American Express$100 statement credit
3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms Apply.
Annual Fee: $0
Our Review
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American ExpressEarn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points
2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x). Terms Apply.
Annual Fee: $0
Our Review

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

CREDIT CARDMORE INFO
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPENEarn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com. Terms Apply.
Annual Fee: $450
Our Review
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPENEarn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points
Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories. Terms Apply.
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
Our Review
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter. Terms Apply.
No annual fee
Our Review
SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American ExpressEarn up to $400 cash back
5% cash back on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores. Terms Apply.
No annual fee
Our Review

Hotel Partner Credit Cards

Several hotel programs will let you transfer points to Virgin Elevate. However, this is almost always a poor use of hotel points. Unless you are really in a bind, save your hotel points for hotel award stays at your destination.

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card Review
Hilton Honors Loyalty ProgramHilton Honors™ Card from American Express
 Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card
Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Card
Marriott Rewards Loyalty ProgramChase Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Chase Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

 

Virgin America Elevate Overview

The Virgin America Elevate mileage program will end on January 1, 2018, when it is officially folded into Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

Elevate points will automatically be transferred into the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program in early 2018. If you transfer now, you’ll get a 30% bonus since points will transfer at a rate of 1 Elevate point to 1.3 Mileage Plan miles.

You cannot transfer back to Elevate, though, so your best bet is to hold until you have a specific award need in either program. As the deadline nears, you can still lock in the 30% transfer bonus while keeping your current options open.

Joining Virgin America Elevate

Enroll in Elevate for free on the Virgin America website. You can earn points for flights taken up to 30 days before enrolling.

How to Sign in to Your Elevate Account

Sign in on the Virgin America homepage. You’ll need to enter your email or Elevate number and password.

Virgin America Elevate Sign-in

Viewing Your Account Activity

You can see multiple years of account activity at the Virgin America Elevate account activity page.

Points Expiration

Elevate points expire after 18 months without activity. Any activity where you earn or redeem points resets the clock.

Virgin America Elevate Benefits

Virgin America Elevate Elite Status

Virgin America Elevate has 3 status tiers:

  • Elevate Red (general member)
  • Elevate Silver
  • Elevate Gold

Elevate Silver:

  • Complimentary Main Cabin seat selection at booking
  • Complimentary upgrades to Main Cabin Select 12 hours prior to departure
  • Priority check-in, security, and baggage handling
  • 1 free checked bag
  • Waived contact center service fee

Elevate Gold:

  • All Silver benefits, plus:
  • Complimentary upgrades to Main Cabin Select 24 hours prior to departure
  • 3 free checked bags
  • Award redeposit fee waiver

Value of Virgin America Elevate Elite Status

Virgin America Elevate does not offer complimentary first class upgrades. Elevate Gold and Silver only get complimentary Main Cabin Select at 24 hours and 12 hours prior to departure, respectively. At least elites get complimentary Main Cabin seat selection at booking rather than check-in for Elevate Red members

Other benefits are typical of major U.S. airlines.

Only Elevate Gold gets award booking and redeposit fee waivers, and they also receive a lucrative 140% bonus points.

With the transition to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, many Elevate elite members may find the new program more rewarding.

Earning Virgin America Elevate Elite Status

You only need to earn points or segments to qualify, not both.

 Elevate SilverElevate Gold
Status Points20,00050,000
Status Segments15 30

Status Points are earned at 5 per eligible dollar spent on Virgin America tickets.

Status Segments are earned for each segment flown on Virgin America.

Hot Tip: Award flights on Virgin America earn Status Segments for the account that booked the award, even if the passenger is different. If you are short Status Segments, book an award for friends or family!

As of 2017, you can now earn Status Points when flying Alaska Airlines (but not Status Segments).

Status Points when flying Alaska Airlines are calculated by fare class and distance flown. Base Points and Fare Class Points are both counted as Status Points.

Elevate Silver (50%) and Gold (140%) earn bonus points just as when flying Virgin America.

Alaska Airlines CabinAlaska Airlines Fare ClassBase Points (% of Miles Flown)Fare Class Points (% of Miles Flown)
Economy – Main CabinR, T, G50%0%
Economy – Main CabinK, V, L75%0%
Economy – Main CabinQ, H, M100%0%
Economy – Main CabinB, S, Y100%50%
First ClassP, F100%75%

 

How to Earn Virgin America Elevate Points

Last Dates to Earn Virgin America Elevate Miles

With the Virgin America Elevate program ending on December 31, 2017, there are only a few months left to earn Elevate points.

From January 1, 2018, all accounts will be Alaska Mileage Plan for the combined airline.

Virgin America has now published a detailed timetable of when points earning will end for each of its partners:

Virgin America PartnerLast Day to Earn Virgin America Points
Alaska Airlines12/31/17
All other partner airlines9/30/17
Car rental partners9/30/17
Airbnb6/30/17
Hotel partners9/30/17
American Express point transfers10/31/17
Points.com point transfer10/31/17
Shopping & other misc. partners9/30/17

Earning Points Through Flying

Elevate reward points are revenue-based, which means they’re earned by ticket price rather than distance flown.

  • Elevate Red (base members) – 5 points per dollar
  • Elevate Silver – 5 points per dollar + 50% bonus
  • Elevate Gold – 5 points per dollar + 140% bonus

Partner airlines earn points according to ticket fare class and distance flown:

Airline PartnerPoints % of Miles
Virgin AtlanticNo longer a partner
Virgin Australia20%-80%
Emirates20%-80%
HawaiianNo earning
Singapore40%-65%

Earning Points in Other Ways

The Virgin America Visa Signature Card allows you to earn up to 3 points per dollar spent. Travel benefits include a free checked bag, $150 off a companion ticket each year, and 20% off RED in-flight purchases.

Virgin America has various partners that still earn miles; see the full list and deadline to earn.

For more, see our article on how to earn Virgin America Elevate loyalty points.

How to Redeem Virgin America Elevate Points

Virgin America Award Flights

Awards flights on Virgin America are revenue-based. The number of points needed depends on the cash price of the ticket.

This means there are no great outsized award values and no need to learn complex award charts.

Simply search for a flight in points on the Virgin America website and redeem for an award.

No Award Upgrades

Elevate points may not be used for upgrades to first class on cash tickets.

Instead, you must directly use points to purchase first class tickets.

Partner Award Flights

Virgin America Elevate partner flight awards use the more traditional distance-based award chart method.

Miles prices often seem cheaper than with other airlines because Virgin America Elevate points are a deflated points currency.

For example, American Express Membership Rewards transfer at a 1:1 ratio for most airline partners. For Virgin America Elevate, it is 2:1.

With the merger with Alaska Airlines, there is only a limited time left to redeem for awards and travel on Virgin America partners.

Airline Redeem Points By Travel By
Alaska AirlinesN/AN/A
Emirates9/30/171/15/18
Hawaiian Airlines9/30/171/15/18
Singapore Airlines9/30/171/15/18
Virgin Australia9/30/171/15/18

Use the Points Calculator to check the points price. This is not a guarantee that awards are available; not all routes flown by partner airlines are possible to book with Virgin American Elevate awards.

Virgin America Elevate Virgin Australia Point Calculator

To check partner award availability, call Virgin America at 877-359-8474. Award availability often differs from what partner airlines make available to their own members.

Also note that taxes and fees added to Virgin America partner awards can be exorbitant.

Hot Tip: Transfer your Virgin America Elevate points to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan at a 1:3 ratio to redeem for flights on Alaska’s partners.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

FAQ

What is Virgin America Elevate? What are the benefits?
Elevate is Virgin America’s frequent flyer program. The program boasts no blackout dates for rewards travel, rewards flights starting at 2,500 points, and points earning at a minimum of 5x per dollar spent.

The program has varying levels of elite status and the ability to use points with travel partners.

Benefits of elite status include reserved seats, upgrades, lounge discounts, additional points earned, faster lines, free checked bags, and discount fares.

Rewards tickets can be used on Virgin Australia, Emirates, Hawaiian Airlines, and Singapore Airlines for international travel. Points can also be used with a variety of travel partners.

What are the Virgin America status levels?
The 3 status levels in the Elevate program are Red (starting status), Silver, and Gold. You must reach 20,000 and 50,000 points respectively to earn the higher 2 status tiers.

At these tiers, you’ll earn a 50% (Silver) and 140% (Gold) bonus on points, and you’ll be able to utilize the full range of benefits offered.

How do I join the Virgin frequent flyer program? How much does it cost?
You can join Virgin America Elevate for free.

What is my Virgin America Elevate number?
You can find your number in several ways. First, you can log in and find your number under your account information.

Next, you can look for an email with your rewards number in it. If you can’t find an email, you can use the “forgot my password” tool to log back in.

If none of those methods work, you can always call customer service to have them provide your number.

On Virgin America, how do I upgrade with Elevate points?
On the day of your flight, you can select Express seats for free as available. Otherwise, you can purchase upgrades with cash up to 24 hours before the flight, depending on your elite status.

How many Virgin America Elevate points does it cost for a free flight?
Points vary depending on the particular flight and time, but Virgin states that prices start at 2,500 points. You can use their points calculator here to find some popular destinations, which can range from 15,000 to 60,000+ points.

Who owns Virgin America?
Virgin America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Virgin Group, which is a company founded by Sir Richard Branson.

What is the Virgin America phone number?
+
1 (877) 359-8474

How do I take Virgin America international flights?
International flights can be booked through partner airlines: Virgin Australia, Emirates, Hawaiian Airlines, and Singapore Airlines.

Where does Virgin America fly?
Virgin flies to over 2 dozen destinations.

What is the Virgin America baggage policy?
Bags cost $25 for the first checked bag in Main Cabin and up to $100 for oversized bags. Sporting equipment costs $50. Fees may be waived depending on your elite status and ticket class.

Is there a Virgin frequent flyer credit card?
Yes, there are 2 versions of the card: the Virgin America Visa Signature Card and the Virgin America Premium Visa Signature Card. These cards earn you even better benefits and discounts on products while helping you earn points more quickly.

While the standard card helps you earn more bonus points, the Premium card helps you earn more status points that will allow you to reach elite status more quickly.

What is the Virgin America Elevate login?
You can sign in to the Elevate program here.