Virgin

Citi ThankYou Points Will No Longer Transfer To Virgin America

virgin-america-first-class

Just a little while ago I speculated about the ratio at which Virgin America points will eventually be converted into Alaska Mileage Plan miles. As I mentioned, I think a 1:2 transfer ratio is too generous, while a 1:1 transfer ratio isn’t generous enough, so to me a 1:1.5 ratio sounds about right.

As I mentioned in the post, Virgin America Elevate is transfer partners with both American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou, and points transfer at a ratio of two Amex/Citi points per Virgin America Elevate points. Personally I don’t think that represents a very good deal, though it does suggest that Virgin America Elevate points are more valuable than most airline miles (since most of them transfer at a 1:1 ratio).

There’s one other interesting update on that front today — per an email sent out to cardmembers, Citi ThankYou points can no longer be converted into Virgin America Elevate points as of January 22, 2017.

Continue Reading »

At What Rate Should Virgin America Points Convert Into Alaska Miles?

Alaska-Virgin-America

Yesterday Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America was finalized, and there are a lot of frequent flyers wondering what this means for the future of their points, status, etc.

As of now there are a lot more questions than answers, unfortunately. What we know is the following:

— Starting December 19, 2016, Virgin America tickets can be purchased on Alaska’s website, and the two airlines will offer reciprocal mileage earning, as well as priority check-in and boarding for elite members
— Starting January 9, 2017, Alaska will status match Virgin America elite members

Continue Reading »

Air Canada & Virgin Australia Announce New Strategic Partnership

Air-Canada-777-Business-Class - 70

One major trend we’ve seen among global airlines the past few years is that the major alliances have become less important, while individual partnerships and joint ventures have become much more important.

For example, I suspect Qantas’ joint venture with Emirates is about as significant to them as their membership in oneworld. Arguably the same could be said about Delta’s participation in SkyTeam compared to the individual joint ventures they have, largely with airlines that aren’t even in SkyTeam.

As a result we’re seeing a lot more partnerships that go beyond the global alliances. Well, the latest such partnership has just been announced.

Continue Reading »

What Alaska’s Takeover Of Virgin America Means For Customers

alaska-virgin

As I speculated earlier, Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America is finally closing today. This is the completion of a very long process, though really only the start of their integration, as they have a lot of work left ahead of them.

What I’ve been most curious about is what this means for their frequent flyer programs. Lately we’ve seen some loyalty programs provide reciprocal benefits starting day one. So, what’s Alaska offering?

Continue Reading »

Could This 737’s Flight Hint At The Alaska Merger Closing Today?

Alaska-737

As most of you probably know, Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America has been delayed by a couple of months due to negotiations with the Department of Justice. Alaska has finally been given the green light to close their merger, and it looks like that will be happening shortly.

Rumor has it that the deal will close today, and it looks like we have another good reason to believe that. As I posted about in early November, Alaska has a special livery 737 to celebrate Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America. The problem is that they haven’t really been able to fly it due to the delay in the merger.

So this brand new 737 has been sitting on the ground for well over a month, which has to be rather costly.

Continue Reading »

Alaska Settles Lawsuit, Takeover Of Virgin America To Close Shortly

Alaska-Virgin-America

On Tuesday we learned that Alaska finally gained antitrust approval from the U.S. Department of Justice to complete their takeover of Virgin America. While the merger was supposed to close in October, it has been pushed back significantly as the DOJ has been seeking concessions from the airline to ensure that sufficient competition remains.

To get the merger approved, Alaska is having to cut part of their codeshare agreement with American, at least on routes where they overlap. This shouldn’t impact the frequent flyer arrangement between the two airlines, but will mean that it won’t be possible to book codeshares on as many routes.

Even though the DOJ issue was settled, there was still one thing that had to be taken care of before the deal could close. As Alaska stated in their press release on Tuesday:

Continue Reading »

Breaking: DOJ Approves Alaska & Virgin America Merger, But At A Cost…

Alaska-Virgin-America

In April it was first announced that Alaska would be taking over Virgin America in a ~$2.6 billion deal.

Unfortunately there have been rolling delays in the closing of the deal, which have been caused by the Department of Justice not giving the deal their blessing. Rumor had it that the DOJ was asking Alaska to cut codesharing ties with either American and/or Delta, to ensure that sufficient competition remains. On top of that, the DOJ allegedly also asked the new airline to give up several gates in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Combined, these changes could cost Alaska hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue per year.

Last we heard, it sounded like the merger’s closing was being pushed off until 2017, though that seems to have abruptly changed, as the merger is finally proceeding.

Continue Reading »

Virgin America First Class Fare Sale For The Holidays

virgin-america-first-class

A few weeks ago Virgin America had a sale offering 50% off First Class & Main Cabin Select fares for travel over Thanksgiving, which was a great opportunity for those who waited until the last minute to plan their holiday travel.

Virgin America is now back with a similar sale for Christmas and New Year’s, though in most instances it’s not quite as lucrative. Still, this can represent a great opportunity.

Virgin America is offering discounted First Class & Main Cabin Select tickets for travel between December 17, 2016, and January 1, 2017. The promotion is valid for bookings made through 11:59PM CT on Thursday, December 8, 2017, and a 10 day advance purchase is required. As is usually the case with promotions, there are capacity controls, so not every seat will be available through this promotion.

Continue Reading »

Is Alaska’s Takeover Of Virgin America In Jeopardy?

Alaska-Virgin-America

In April it was first announced that Alaska would be taking over Virgin America in a ~$2.6 billion deal.

Unfortunately there have been rolling delays in the closing of the deal. Initially the deadline for the merger to close was October 17, 2016. However, it looks like the Department of Justice isn’t approving the deal without some concessions, which are causing big delays.

Rumor had it that the DOJ was asking Alaska to cut codesharing ties with either American and/or Delta, to ensure that sufficient competition remains. On top of that, the DOJ is allegedly also asking the new airline to give up several gates in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Combined, these changes could cost Alaska hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue per year, so you have to wonder how they’re feeling about the deal now.

Continue Reading »

You Can Now Redeem Delta Miles For Premium Economy… But It’s Expensive

Virgin-Atlantic-Clubhouse-London - 72

Even though US airlines have long had partner airlines that offer premium economy cabins, historically they haven’t allowed miles to be redeemed for that cabin. I suspect it’s because the US airlines didn’t have a premium economy product of their own, so it was easier to just not offer that redemption option.

Well, American and Delta are both in the process of adding a true premium economy product to their longhaul flights (which will be different than the extra legroom economy cabins they currently offer), so soon enough we should see new award and upgrade policies for getting into these cabins. It looks like we already have a clue of what this pricing will be like.

Delta is now letting you redeem SkyMiles for travel in Virgin Atlantic premium economy.

Continue Reading »

Cyber Monday Deal: Save Up To 30% On Virgin America Tickets

virgin-america-economy

So far I haven’t been terribly impressed by the Cyber Monday sales being offered by airlines. Well, Virgin America has one at the moment that’s about as good as it gets, it would seem.

Virgin America is offering up to 30% off tickets:

— You must book by 6AM PT on Tuesday, November 29, 2016
— Fly between December 10, 2016, and March 4, 2017
— Valid only on non-refundable main cabin tickets
— Flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are eligible for a 30% discount, while flights on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, are eligible for a 15% discount
— The following blackout dates apply: December 21, 2016, through January 4, 2017, January 13, 2017, January 16, 2017, and February 16 through 21, 2017
— Use promotion code TINYFARES at the time of booking to take advantage of this offer

Continue Reading »

The Alaska & Virgin America Merger Is Expected To Close This Month

Alaska-Virgin-America

In April it was first announced that Alaska would be taking over Virgin America in a ~$2.6 billion deal. We still don’t actually know what the future of Alaska and Virgin America will look like in terms of branding, and it sure seems like Alaska doesn’t know either, as they’ve gone back and forth.

For a while Alaska had set a deadline of October 17, 2016, for the deal to close. However, prior to that date we learned that there would be a delay. It later became apparent that the reason for this was that the DOJ was concerned about the merger reducing competition too much, and they wanted some concessions from the new merged airline.

Rumor had it that the DOJ was asking Alaska to cut codesharing ties with either American and/or Delta, to ensure that sufficient competition remains. On top of that, the DOJ is allegedly also asking the new airline to give up several gates in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Combined, these changes could cost Alaska hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue per year, so you have to wonder how they’re feeling about the deal now.

Continue Reading »

Are More Virgin Atlantic Partnership Cuts Coming?

Virgin-Atlantic-Clubhouse-London - 72

Last week Virgin Atlantic announced some major changes to their Flying Club frequent flyer program, which are almost entirely bad news. This is especially true if you primarily accrue Virgin Atlantic miles through points transfers.

Virgin Atlantic is transfer partners with all four major transferrable points currencies (Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest), so there are lots of ways to accrue their points.

That being said, in addition to Virgin Atlantic devaluing their programs, they also recently cut ties with Virgin America, without much advance notice at all. This is likely since Virgin America will soon be taken over by Alaska, and Delta has an ownership stake in Virgin Atlantic. Delta and Alaska are big rivals in Seattle, and Alaska also partners with British Airways, so I suspect that’s why they’re cutting ties (these airline relationships are complicated, eh?).

Continue Reading »

Great Deal: 50% Off Virgin America First Class Fares For Thanksgiving Week

virgin-america-first-class

Need to travel Thanksgiving week but haven’t yet booked your travel? Well, Virgin America has a fantastic fare sale at the moment, offering 50% off Main Cabin Select and First Class fares. The promotion is valid for tickets booked by 11:59PM PT on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, and is valid for travel between November 17 and November 25, 2016. Simply use promotion code GOBBLE50 at the time of booking.

In my opinion Main Cabin Select (which is basically a bulkhead or exit row seat with free food and drinks) is often overpriced, though Virgin America’s first class is great. While it’s not fully flat, it’s significantly better than what you’ll usually find in domestic first class (with the exception of premium transcontinental routes).

In many cases first class is only marginally more expensive than economy when using this promotion code. For example, I see fares from Los Angeles to Seattle for $157 in first class, when economy would be $122.

Continue Reading »