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Yesterday I wrote about how Virgin America flight numbers are being discontinued as of April 25, 2018. As of that date, all Alaska and Virgin America flights will have Alaska flight numbers. This is the next step in the two airlines being integrated operationally, and there are quite a few implications of this for customers, especially as it relates to earning and redeeming miles.
Yesterday I explained the benefit of this as it relates to redeeming Alaska miles. Alaska doesn’t let you mix partner airlines on award tickets, and for all practical purposes, they counted Virgin America as a “partner” airline up until now, even though they own them. Now that Virgin America flights have Alaska flight numbers, it means you can use Virgin America flights to get to international gateways on Alaska Mileage Plan partner awards.
Redeeming British Airways Avios on Virgin America flights
There are also quite a few implications as it relates to redeeming partner airline miles for Virgin America flights. Specifically, it’s possible to redeem British Airways Avios for Virgin America flights as of April 25, 2018.
British Airways has a distance based award chart, with award costs based on the distance of one-way, nonstop flights, as follows:
- Segments of 1-1,150 miles cost 7,500 Avios in economy, 30,000 Avios in first class
- Segments of 1,151-2,000 miles cost 10,000 Avios in economy, 40,000 Avios in first class
- Segments of 2,000-3,000 miles cost 12,500 Avios in economy, 50,000 Avios in first class
These are now also the award costs for travel on Virgin America flights as of April 25, 2018. For example, this means you can redeem:
- 7,500 Avios for a Virgin America flight between Los Angeles and Seattle
- 10,000 Avios for a Virgin America flight between Chicago and San Francisco
- 12,500 Avios for a Virgin America flight between San Francisco and Maui
These are some fantastic redemption rates. Keep in mind that you can’t book Alaska award flights through British Airways’ website, so you’ll have to call to get these redemption rates. However, the phone ticketing fee should be waived, since these tickets can’t be booked online.
To search award availability, just use Alaska’s website. If they show saver level award availability then it should also be bookable using Avios.
The best ways to earn British Airways Avios
In addition to the excellent sign-up bonus on the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, you can also convert several points currencies to British Airways Executive Club. Specifically, you can convert:
- Amex Membership Rewards points, which can be earned on cards like the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, etc.
- Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be earned on cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card, etc.
- Starwood Preferred Guest points, which can be earned on cards like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
Being able to redeem British Airways Avios on Virgin America is a fantastic development, though keep in mind that this is only valid for flights as of April 25, 2018. These awards are only bookable by phone with British Airways, so you’ll want to find the availability online and then give them a ring.
Has anyone taken advantage of the opportunity to redeem Avios on Virgin America flights yet?