Virgin America now status matching American and United elite members

Back in July I wrote about Virgin America introducing elite status levels to their Elevate program, which come with some pretty decent benefits. The elite tiers were revenue based, with Silver status requiring $4,000 of spend annually on Virgin America, and Gold requiring $10,000 of spend annually on Virgin America.

Well it seems they’ve now launched a status match program for American and United elites, with the following tiers corresponding:

If you’re not an Elevate member yet you have to first join Elevate, and then email Virgin America at statusmatch@virginamerica.com with your Elevate number and one of the following:

  • A copy or screenshot of your most recent mileage summary showing your name and current elite level.
  • Or, a copy of your membership card that identifies your name and current elite level in the United Air Lines or American Airlines frequent flyer program.

The status match will be valid through April 30, 2013, and to maintain status beyond that you have to do one of the following:

Those earning requirements are much less than what’s usually required for status, which is 20,000 status points for Silver (the equivalent of $4,000 of spend) or 50,000 status points for Gold (the equivalent of $10,000 of spend. Instead you only need 8,000 status points to maintain Silver (the equivalent of $1,600 in spend) or 12,000 status points for Gold (the equivalent of $2,400 in spend). And as you can see that spend requirement is cut even further if you have the Virgin America Visa Signature card (in the interest of full disclosure that’s my affiliate link).

Virgin America elite benefits are as follows:

As you can see above the benefits include free checked bags, bonus Elevate points, priority security, and priority boarding. But there are also upgrade benefits, including complimentary space available Main Cabin Select upgrades as well as the ability to pay to upgrade to first class earlier than non-elite members can.

While status matches are once in a lifetime, something tells me it’ll be once in Virgin America’s lifetime and not our lifetime, as their expiration date is likely coming up pretty soon. ;)

Regardless, a great opportunity if you’re planning on flying them anytime soon!

(Tip of the hat to Alex)

Comments

  1. Michael says

    If they only let you status match with Virgin Atlantic — now THAT would be worth doing. As Virgin America flies the same routes as American and as I need to requalify for 2014, not sure I’d use Virgin much, if at all.

  2. lucky says

    @ Michael — They’ve offered status matches in the past, and frankly other than lounge access status with Virgin Atlantic isn’t all that valuable.

  3. says

    It is a challenge more than a match. You only get the status for 5.5 months in which you have to spend the lower amount of money to keep it. So it is a lower number but also a much shorter qualification period.

    Their elite program has relatively high qualification levels for the tiers and relatively low benefits once you get there compared to other programs. I suppose the challenge is a decent thing if you have a one time flight or you decide to bail on regular programs wholesale. But pretending that these benefits are good or that this challenge is a smart move for most is pretty bad advice IMO.

  4. says

    It is my understanding that through the status match you do not get the 25% discount codes and you only get one pass to the club at LAX. I can’t remember where I read it though.

  5. lucky says

    @ Kris Ziel — Club passes? It’s news to me that’s even an elite benefit. Also keep in mind the only club you can even buy access to is the Clubhouse at SFO, and it’s in an entirely different terminal.

  6. lucky says

    @ Ryan — I suspect because Delta and Virgin America don’t compete on many routes, and Virgin America is trying to steal some passengers from the competition.

  7. lucky says

    @ Seth –”pretending that these benefits are good or that this challenge is a smart move for most is pretty bad advice IMO.”

    Not sure why it’s *not* a smart move. I’d be willing to bet Virgin America won’t be in business much longer, so there’s not really a “cost” to matching. If you’re flying them even once I think it’s worth matching for the additional benefits.

  8. AdamH says

    So what’s the odds of a status match from UA to VX turning into AA status when VX goes belly up?

  9. lucky says

    @ AdamH — Hah, that’s a great question. It’s anyone’s guess. Let’s see what kind of a financial situation American is in if/when Virgin America goes belly up.

  10. Duncan says

    I will buy you a new jumper if they go bust before 2020! They have yet to get to “Chapter 11″ which seems to be a standard for USA airlines. Once again look at the share holders and look at their business plan. Richard doesn’t like failure at any cost! In new markets it takes them around 5 years so we will see how a pending announcements may alter your thoughts? Early days and the planned losses are not really outside the business plan. They always seem to start as a LCC and morph up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *