Through May 7, 2013, Virgin America is offering up to a 40% bonus on the purchase of Elevate points. The incremental bonuses are as follows:
Virgin America Elevate points are ordinarily a whopping 5.2 cents per point to purchase, with an annual cap of 20,000 points per account.
Maxing out this promotion would get you 28,000 Elevate points (20,000 Elevate points plus 8,000 bonus points) for a total of $1,040. So even after the bonus you’re looking at roughly 3.7 cents per point.
I value Virgin America Elevate points at roughly 2.0 cents each. You can redeem each Elevate point for roughly 2.2 cents towards the cost of a Virgin America ticket. They also have some interesting fixed price redemptions on partner airlines, including on Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. But there are very few circumstances under which I could picture it being worthwhile to outright purchase points, unless you’re topping off an account for a redemption.
I’ve seen better bonuses on purchased miles in the past (including earlier in the year, when they were offering an 80% bonus), and I’m sure we’ll see better promotions again in the future.
It’s worth noting that Virgin America points purchases are processed by points.com, so aren’t eligible for the credit card category bonuses usually associated with purchasing airline tickets.