Virgin America Elevate Loyalty Program Review

Virgin America Elevate Loyalty Program

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Virgin America Summary Table

  • Home Country U.S.
  • Major Hubs San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas Love Field
  • Airline Alliance None
  • Signature Lounge Virgin America Loft

Virgin America Airline Overview

As its slogan A Breath of Fresh Airline claims, Virgin America prides itself in being different from the pack. With its trendy décor and tech savviness, it exudes a feeling of 21st century flying and is consistently ranked best U.S. airline across multiple categories.

Virgin Locations Served

Unfortunately, unless you live in California, you’ve probably rarely flown Virgin America. They focus primarily on point-to-point service from their 2 main hubs of San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Virgin America offers medium-haul flights across America from these hubs, giving it a much higher average flight time than other airlines.

Features of the Airline

All Virgin flights have a small 2-row first class, which provides larger seats and includes free inflight meals, alcoholic beverages, and entertainment.

The Main Cabin provides seat-back entertainment, which doubles as a menu from which you can purchase food and beverages directly.

While Virgin America is entirely separate from its namesake and parent Virgin Australia, it does have strong ties with the Virgin brand, including codeshares with them and other Virgin-friendly airlines.

Airline Network Map

Virgin America Elevate Mileage Program

Elevate, Virgin America’s mileage program, is revenue-based, meaning customers earn points per dollar on flights and other eligible spending.

There are no blackout dates or restrictions toward redemption on reward flights, which start at 2,500 points for sale fares. Points reflect the current cost of tickets, and award amounts will be higher for busier flights and fares in Main Cabin Select or First Class.

Award flight costs can be easily calculated when booking any flight on Virgin’s website, which shows the ticket cost in both dollar amounts and points redeemed. It is possible to book a round-trip flight using points one-way and cash the other as well.

Points can also be used toward partner airline award miles, subject to fees and local taxes.

Joining Virgin Elevate

Joining is free and easy. Enroll in Elevate on the Virgin America website, and you’ll be eligible to begin earning points as soon as you sign up.

The starting level gives you no additional status benefits beyond this. However, when you begin flying and earning, you will move toward elite status.

How To Earn Virgin Elevate Points

Listed below are multiple ways to earn Virgin America Elevate loyalty pointsElevate reward points are revenue-based, and are earned by the amount of dollars spent per ticket (not by the distance flown).

Virgin sometimes has promotions for its Elevate members where you can earn double points if you book within a certain period.

Earning With Partners

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

Points can also be earned on all Virgin brand carriers at a 1:1 ration, and with some other partner carriers as well.

Earning With Other Credit Card Partners

There are many hotel partners from which you could transfer points into Virgin America Elevate:

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 also partners with American Express Membership Rewards, allowing you to transfer points from that program earned with the following cards:

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card Review
American Express Membership Rewards Loyalty ProgramThe Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN
Gold Card from American Express
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
American Express® Green Card
Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
Blue from American Express®
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express
Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express (review coming soon)

Finally, they also partner with Citi ThankYou Rewards:

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card Review
Citi ThankYou Rewards Loyalty ProgramCiti Prestige Card
Citi ThankYou Premier Card
Citi ThankYou Preferred Card

Chasing The Airline Miles

How To Redeem Virgin Elevate Points

You can redeem Virgin America points without any blackout dates for reward flights.

Points are assigned a currency value, which means cheaper fares will cost you fewer points to book, while peak time or peak destination flights will cost you more.

Details on Booking Awards Flights

Points can also be used on partner airline travel, though these may have blackouts and other restrictions based on their availability, as well as taxes and fees imposed by the carrier.

However, points redemption on partner carriers are often based on distance (not revenue), so they can be an attractive use of points for peak periods if seats are available.

Unlike major carriers, Elevate points may not be used for upgrades from Main Cabin to first class. However, points can be used to purchase first class tickets, and the associated fees are the same as for Main Cabin or Main Cabin Select seats.

Ready for Flying

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • New! Up to $200 Uber Savings Annually.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More. Terms Apply.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline. Terms Apply.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply Now Full review

FAQ

What is Virgin America Elevate? What are the benefits?
Elevate is the Virgin America 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 Atlantic, 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 this point, you’ll earn a 25% (Silver) and 100% (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 here. It is a free program.

What is my Virgin America Elevate number?
You can find your number many 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 in order to log back in.

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

On Virgin America, how do I upgrade with Elevate points?
On the day of 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 go anywhere 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 partnered companies: Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Emirates, Hawaiian Airlines, and Singapore Airlines.

Where does Virgin America fly?
Virgin now flies into a number of different airports. There are 24 listed here, along with more information.

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 simply 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.