Has Virgin America devalued Elevate redemptions for travel on Singapore Airlines?

Back in March I wrote about Virgin America’s new partnership with Singapore Airlines. While I don’t typically take interest in revenue based frequent flyer programs like Virgin America’s Elevate, having partner carriers with fixed value redemptions sure makes them more interesting.

For example, 35,000 Elevate points is enough for a roundtrip coach ticket between the US and Asia. In theory the premium cabin redemptions looked great as well, though as I later uncovered Virgin America didn’t have access to Singapore Airlines longhaul premium cabin award space.

But what’s disappointing nonetheless is that between then and now they seem to have raised award costs without so much as an announcement. For example, using the mileage calculator, here are the new award rates for travel between New York and Singapore:


Meanwhile here are the previous rates:


So the price went up by 10,000 points per person in coach (which is the only one that matters since Virgin America didn’t have access to any premium cabin award space), while the cost in business and first class went up 15,000 and 30,000 points, respectively.

It seems other redemptions went up in price as well, though the amounts vary. What’s concerning and disappointing here is that not only didn’t they provide any advance notice, but they also didn’t even make an announcement at all, at least as far as I can tell. They just raised redemption rates and hoped no one would notice, I guess.

Changes without notice seem to be a trend in this industry lately, and it needs to stop.

(Tip of the hat to AJ)


  1. There is at least one unaffected route: JFK-FRA is still 20K. That seems like a pretty good deal.

    Not sure how much IAH-DME was but it’s 40K right now (after 15% online booking discount with SQ, it’s ~35K KF miles + fees).

  2. patricia said,

    “what’s the point to publish F and J award quotes if they’re 99% off limits?”

    Which also begs the question what’s the point of aspiring to ever dwindling FC award options by the time you have the points they’ll be double the price, or half as common, or both. Either plunk down the absurd $10,000+ for international revenue FC service or just do without. That kind of money goes further at hotels, restaurants, spas, attractions, and just about anything else I can think of. If you really need the absolute best then charter a flight that has exactly what you want, exactly when you want it.

  3. On another SQ related note…any idea why no flights on SQ metal to/from the United States have been showing up on ITA for at least the past few weeks? If you force a search for SQ only flights, it only returns code shares that connect to SQ metal once outside the US.

  4. @Jamie – just did a search on ITA and both SQ routes from the US (IAH->DME and JFK->FRA) show up but only if you uncheck “only show flights and prices with available seats” box. It could be a side-effect of SQ blocking those routes from *A partners even in Economy. I talk in comments on another post that United told me that SQ is blocking award space for partners on flights from the US to non-Asian destinations even in coach. More details here – http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2013/08/19/10-best-credit-card-sign-up-bonuses-for-august/

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