80% Bonus When You Buy Virgin America Elevate Points

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Virgin America’s Elevate program is offering up to an 80% bonus on the purchase of points through Saturday, April 4, 2015.

Elevate-Points-Bonus

While Virgin America has offered an 80% bonus on purchased points in the past, they’ve never actually offered a bigger bonus, so this is as good as it gets. For context, they offered a similar 80% bonus promotion for just eight hours last October.

Virgin America Elevate points ordinarily cost 5.2 cents each to purchase, so through this promotion Virgin America Elevate points can be purchased for ~2.89 cents each. You can purchase up to 20,000 points per account per calendar year, before factoring in the 80% bonus (meaning you can purchase a maximum of ~36,000 points through this promotion).

80-Bonus

Should you buy Elevate points?

Like many low cost carriers, Virgin America has a revenue based frequent flyer program, whereby the number of points you earn is based directly on how much your ticket costs.

They’re also revenue based on the redemption side, whereby you can redeem each point for ~2.1-2.3 cents towards the cost of a revenue ticket on Virgin America.

For example, here’s a comparison of revenue fares and award fares between Chicago and Los Angeles:Virgin-America-Elevate-2

Virgin-America-Elevate-1

So obviously it doesn’t make sense to purchase points for ~2.9 cents each when you can only redeem them for ~2.2 cents each.

That being said, what makes Virgin America unique among low cost carriers is that they have award charts for redeeming points on their partner airlines.

Virgin America partners with Emirates, Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore, and some other carriers. The downside is that in many cases they impose fuel surcharges for travel on partner airlines, which wouldn’t apply if strategically booking them through another airline.

Virgin-Atlantic-Upper-Class
Redeem Elevate points for travel in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

The redemption rates on many of these airlines are quite good, at least before factoring in the fuel surcharges. For example:

  • A roundtrip between New York and Milan in Emirates business class will run you 55,000 Elevate points, though there are $1,090 in taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges on the ticket
  • A roundtrip between New York and London in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class will run you 35,000 Elevate points, though there are $910 in taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges on the ticket
  • A roundtrip between Los Angeles and Sydney in Virgin Australia business class will run you 80,000 Elevate points, though there are $926 in taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges on the ticket

Emirates-Business-Class
Redeem Elevate points for travel in Emirates A380 business class

So the values aren’t bad in terms of the number of points required, but the fuel surcharges sting.

Virgin-America-Elevate-15
Virgin-America-Elevate-13 Virgin-America-Elevate-14

Bottom line

Personally I won’t be purchasing Virgin America Elevate points through this promotion, though if you’re looking to top off your account for an aspirational redemption then this isn’t a half bad offer.

Do you plan on purchasing Virgin America Elevate points with an 80% bonus?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

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Comments

  1. @ beachfan — It doesn’t look to me like Elevate points can be redeemed for travel between Colombo and Singapore, since they don’t publish rates for that region.

  2. Participated in the last promo like this and flew Biz on Virgin Australia for ~$1500 OW all-in which I think is a great deal (considering how hard it is to find biz award space non stop to AUS). Am here now actually…enjoying an Opera view upgrade at the PH 🙂 So yeah, considering speculatively buying another round of points to cash in on another trip like this later in the year and hopefully Virgin Australia will have their new biz product by then? (just hope VA doesn’t deval!)

  3. What are your thoughts on paying 2 cents / mile to transfer Virgin miles from my friends to me?

  4. @ Albert — In general I’d avoid transferring points given that you’re basically paying without generating any points, but if that’s the only option and it’s not too many points, then it might not be a horrible idea.

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