Roundtrip Transcon Virgin America First Class Tickets For 15,000 Miles


Several weeks ago Alaska announced that they were introducing some new discounted distance based awards. Specifically, there are discounted awards available if flying a distance of less than 700 miles, a distance of 701 to 1,400 miles or a distance of 1,401 to 2,100 miles.

As I explained at the time, this presented some incredible opportunities to book one-way awards for 5,000 miles including a stopover.

While not directly related to this type of award, there are certainly other opportunities to take advantage of discounted distance based awards.

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Why You SHOULDN’T Convert Your Virgin America Points Into Alaska Miles


As of earlier this week it’s possible to convert Virgin America Elevate points into Alaska Mileage Plan miles at a 1:1.3 ratio. This follows Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America closing about a month ago. Points convert almost instantly, though the catch is that conversions are one-way — you can convert Virgin America Elevate points into Alaska Mileage Plan miles, but can’t convert Alaska miles into Virgin America points.

I’ve seen a countless number of comments from readers who feel screwed by this deal, though. Take this comment, for example:

“This is a bait and switch scam if you are Virgin Elevate Member. I converted my points today thinking I was getting a 30% bump for it, which I did when the points were converted to miles. However the devil is in the details. When I later checked out a flight I was looking at, I noticed this is where the scam is.”

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You Can Now Redeem Alaska Miles On Virgin America


It’s a big day for Alaska Mileage Plan and Virgin America Elevate, as it’s now possible to convert your Virgin America Elevate points into Alaska Mileage Plan miles at a 1:1.3 ratio (though a transfer in the other direction isn’t possible).

However, that’s not the only new development today.

It’s now also possible to redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles for travel on Virgin America. This is an interesting opportunity, given that Virgin America Elevate is a revenue based program, meaning the number of points required for a redemption is based on how much a ticket would cost. Meanwhile Alaska Mileage Plan is a traditional program, meaning award availability comes at fixed costs.

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Almost Everyone Should Receive 10,000 Free Alaska Miles!


Earlier I wrote about how Alaska seems to be awarding certain people with 10,000 free miles. When the miles were posted to accounts, the description read “SPECIAL SERVICES ELEVATE MEMBER OTO 10K BONUS.”

So it seems pretty clear that this is linked to Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America. Furthermore, the timing makes sense, given that you can now transfer your Virgin America points to Alaska Mileage Plan (though you may not want to, since as of now the transfers are one-way, as you can’t transfer from Alaska to Virgin America).

The problem with the 10,000 mile bonus is that we couldn’t actually figure out based on what criteria they were awarding the bonus. It seemed entirely random, and obviously it left a bad taste in some peoples’ mouths when they didn’t get the bonus, and others did. While I don’t share that sentiment (even though I didn’t get the bonus), nowadays airlines should expect just about all information will be shared due to the internet.

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You Can Now Transfer Your Virgin America Points To Alaska Miles


Last month Alaska and Virgin announced the next phase of their merger, with mileage conversion and status matching starting as of January 9th. Virgin America Elevate points will convert into Alaska Mileage Plan miles at a 1:1.3 ratio. Per Alaska’s website:

“On January 9, 2017, we will invite you to enroll in Alaska’s award-winning Mileage Plan, enabling access to book award travel on Alaska Airlines and Alaska Global Partners network to over 900 worldwide destinations. Plus, you’ll receive more detail on how you can convert your Elevate points to Alaska Mileage Plan miles at a rate of 1.3 Mileage Plan miles per Elevate point. And for elite-level Elevate members, Alaska Mileage Plan will automatically match your elite status!”

The transfer functionality went live a few hours ago, so you can now convert points from Elevate to Mileage Plan.

To start, go to this page, which will prompt you for your Virgin America Elevate credentials:

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Did You Get 10,000 Free Alaska Miles?


As of later today (January 9, 2017), it will be possible for Virgin America Elevate members to link their accounts and match their status to Alaska Mileage Plan. This follows Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America closing a few weeks ago. While we don’t yet know all the details of what the future combined loyalty program will look like (or the future combined airline, for that matter), this is certainly a step in the right direction.

However, leading up to this new linking opportunity, many Alaska Mileage Plan members are reporting 10,000 bonus miles appearing in their account with the description “SPECIAL SERVICES ELEVATE MEMBER OTO 10K BONUS.”

Unfortunately it’s not entirely clear what’s triggering this. It’s obviously somehow related to Virgin America Elevate based on the description, though beyond that it’s anyone’s guess.

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Citi Offering A 25% Bonus On ThankYou Points Transfers To Virgin Atlantic


Citi ThankYou is offering a 25% bonus on points transfers to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club through March 2, 2017. This is the points currency accrued on cards like the Citi Prestige® Card.

This is the third time the Citi ThankYou program has offered such a transfer bonus. There were similar transfer bonuses in August of 2015 and March of 2016.

Ordinarily points transfer at a 1:1 ratio (in 1,000 point increments), while through this promotion you’d get 1,250 Flying Club miles for every 1,000 ThankYou points transferred.

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Rationalizing How Many Starpoints To Transfer To Virgin America


As I posted about yesterday, Starwood and Virgin America are cutting ties as of January 6, 2017. This has to do with Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America, and perhaps more specifically, with the fact that Virgin America Elevate points will convert into Alaska Mileage Plan miles at a 1:1.3 ratio.

As it stands, Starpoints transfer to Alaska Mileage Plan and Virgin America Elevate at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. This presents a pretty cool arbitrage opportunity. Since Virgin America points will convert into Alaska miles at a 1:1.3 ratio, it means you can temporarily transfer Starpoints to Virgin America and then to Alaska, and get a 62.5% bonus in the end. In other words, 20,000 Starpoints will convert into 32,500 Alaska miles (when you account for the 5,000 point bonus, and then the 30% bonus on top of that).

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is trying to decide how many Starpoints I want to convert into Virgin America points in the next week, before this opportunity ends.

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SPG & Virgin America Are Cutting Ties As Of January 6, 2017


This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. A couple of weeks ago Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America closed, which has quite a few implications for frequent flyers on both airlines.

Last week we learned that Virgin America Elevate points will convert into Alaska Mileage Plan miles at a 1:1.3 ratio, which seems pretty fair to me. This has opened up a pretty cool opportunity for those with Starwood Preferred Guest points:

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Virgin Australia Makes Me Wish I Missed Christmas


While the holidays can be a busy time for travel, most people prefer to travel either before or after major holidays. For example, I doubt there are many people who are excited about flying on Christmas (well, other than those who don’t celebrate the holiday, in which case it’s a great day to fly, given that flights aren’t as full).

Well, Virgin Australia did something extra special this year for the passengers who missed Christmas altogether. This includes the passengers who flew from Los Angeles to Sydney and Brisbane on the night of December 24, and landed in Australia on the morning of the 26th.

Rather than having them feel like they missed Christmas, they served them a Christmas dinner, and gave them all kinds of gifts. Perhaps best of all, passengers onboard received a status upgrade:

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Starwood Axes Virgin America As A Points Transfer Partner Without Notice


Update: Starwood is claiming this was a glitch, and that it should be updated soon. I guess we’ll see — clearly something is up, though.

This has been a big week for Alaska Mileage Plan. On Monday we learned that their partnership with Delta is ending, that they’re making some great changes to the program, and at what rate Virgin America points will convert into Alaska miles.

That last part has opened up a pretty cool opportunity, as I wrote about yesterday:

— Starpoints convert into Alaska Mileage Plan and Virgin America points at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred
— Virgin America points will convert into Alaska miles at a 1:1.3 ratio
— This means you can convert 20,000 Starpoints into 25,000 Virgin America Elevate points, and then convert those into 32,500 Alaska miles, which is a 62.5% bonus when converting Starpoints into Alaska miles

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Here’s The Rate At Which Virgin America Points Will Convert Into Alaska Miles


With Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America now complete, frequent flyers with both airlines have a lot of questions. While we don’t yet know at what point the Alaska and Virgin America frequent flyer programs will be merged, I think a lot of us are wondering at what rate Virgin America points will convert into Alaska miles.

A few days ago I wrote a post about this, and suggested that one Virgin America point should convert into somewhere between one and two Alaska miles. I suggested a 1:1.5 ratio, simply because that seemed well rounded. Well, the transfer ratio has now been confirmed.

Virgin America Elevate points will convert into Alaska Mileage Plan miles at a 1:1.3 ratio. Per Alaska’s website:

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Alaska Mileage Plan Makes Earning & Redeeming Miles Easier With Latest Changes


Earlier I wrote about Alaska and Delta cutting ties as of May 1, 2017, which will leave a lot of people very unhappy. On one hand I’m surprised to see them cut their relationship, since presumably this will cost Alaska a lot in revenue. At the same time, it seemed to be inevitable, given the number of routes on which Delta and the “new Alaska” overlap, which doesn’t make the partnership all that mutually beneficial anymore.

However, those are only some of the Mileage Plan changes that have been announced today. There’s some other stuff happening, and it’s mostly great news. Specifically:

As of today it’s possible to earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles (both elite qualifying and redeemable) for travel on Virgin America. What makes this especially interesting is that Alaska has a distance based frequent flyer program, while Virgin America’s program is revenue based. However, as you’d expect, Alaska Mileage Plan will award miles based on distance flown rather than dollars spent.

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Be Alerted When Etihad Award Seats Become Available


ExpertFlyer is a subscription based website that I find very useful as a frequent flyer. It’s useful for looking up flight seatmaps, searching award availability, looking up minimum connection times at airports, looking at available fare buckets, etc.

However, for many the single most useful aspect of ExpertFlyer is the ability to set award availability alerts. In other words, you can set an alert for a specific type of award on a specific flight, and ExpertFlyer will email and text you when that seat becomes available.

Given how many airlines open up award availability last minute nowadays, that’s a fantastic tool to have access to, rather than refreshing award availability all the time, like many of us do.

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