January and February can be slow months for travel, particularly domestically. People don’t go on very many leisure trips since it’s just after the holidays, and even business travel is down. As a result, it’s pretty normal to see good fares and even some promotions this time of year. For example, JetBlue is offering double TrueBlue points for travel over the coming months.
It seems Virgin America is following JetBlue’s lead with a similar promotion.
Virgin America is offering double Elevate points when you book and fly on select routes between now and February 29, 2016.
You must book and fly between January 19 and February 29, 2016, to qualify for this promotion, so previously booked travel doesn’t qualify. That way of running a promotion always annoys me a bit. While I understand the airlines want to incentivize incremental travel, penalizing those who booked early seems like a bad business decision.
Furthermore, registration is required prior to travel. Bonus points should post within four to six weeks of completion of travel.
Interestingly only the following markets are eligible for the bonus:
between San Francisco (SFO) or Los Angeles (LAX) and Austin (AUS), Boston (BOS), Cancun (CUN), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DAL), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Honolulu (HNL), Maui (OGG), Los Cabos (SJD), New York City (JFK), Newark (EWR), Orlando (MCO), Puerto Vallarta (PVR), Seattle (SEA), and Washington, DC (DCA / IAD). Additional qualifying routes include flights between Dallas (DAL) and New York City (LGA) or Washington, DC (DCA), between New York City (JFK) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Las Vegas (LAS) or Palm Springs (PSP) as well as flights between Boston (BOS) and Las Vegas (LAS.)
Elevate members ordinarily earn five points per dollar spent on base fare. That means through this promotion, Elevate members will earn 10 points per dollar spent on base fare. Keep in mind that Elevate Gold members earn an extra five points per dollar spent on airfare.
Elevate points can be redeemed for ~2.2 cents each towards the cost of a ticket on Virgin America. That means if you’re earning 10 points per dollar spent, you’re basically earning a ~22% return on your Virgin America spend, which is pretty good. Meanwhile Elevate Gold members are earning 15 points per dollar spent, which is a ~33% return on Virgin America spend.
Keep in mind that if you don’t want to redeem Elevate points towards travel on Virgin America, they also have some airline partners for which they have a “traditional” award chart, including Emirates, Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, and Singapore. Typically they don’t represent quite as good of a value as redeeming directly on Virgin America, but it’s still a nice option to have.
Redeem Elevate points for travel in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
The full terms of this promotion are as follows:
* Only one registration is required to participate in this offer. The typical earn for Elevate members is 5 points per $1 spent on the base fare and 5 status points per $1 spent on base fare. To qualify for this offer, guests must a) be enrolled in Elevate prior to registering for the offer, b) register for the offer prior to their travel date and c) correctly add their Elevate account number to their reservation prior to their first travel date.
In this offer, you will earn 100% bonus points per $1 spent on the base fare for a total of 10 points and 5 status credits per $1 spent on the base fare for all qualifying flights booked and flown a) between January 19, 2016 and February 29, 2016
Only tickets that are ticketed on a Virgin America prefix (’VX’) and operated on Virgin America will qualify for this offer subject to these terms. Bonus Points will be posted to the member’s account within 4-6 weeks after qualifying flights are flown.
Any changes or cancellations might result in disqualification from the offer. All travel not normally eligible for earning reward points and status credits, including Elevate reward bookings, are excluded from this offer. Bonus Elevate will only be earned if the member has entered their Elevate membership number in their booking. If the member has chosen to earn points or miles with a partner airline loyalty program, these flights will be excluded from this offer and no bonus points will be earned on your travel with Virgin America.
This offer is not combinable with any other Virgin America earn promotions. If 2 offers are applicable for one guest the most generous points offer will be applied.
The good thing about revenue based frequent flyer programs is that it’s quite easy to tell whether it’s worth taking advantage of one of these promotions or not. A 22% “return” on spend for travel on Virgin America (or 33% if you’re an Elevate Gold member) is a pretty good return, especially since the legacy airlines don’t seem to be offering any types of promotions. Certainly factor this promotion into your overall flight decision making process over the coming weeks.
Do you plan on taking advantage of Virgin America’s promotion for double Elevate points?