Maximizing Virgin America Elevate New Member Bonus

Yesterday I posted about Virgin America’s promotion for new Elevate members. Not only are they offering new Elevate members 500 points just for signing up, but they’re also offering bonus points after you take your first flight.


They’re offering bonus points to both the person referring and the person being referred to Virgin America Elevate. When the new member takes their first flight by December 31, 2014, both members will earn the following number of bonus points:

  • Main Cabin 2,500 points
  • Main Cabin Select 5,000 points
  • First Class 7,500 points

On this post, Gene left the following comment:

So, let me see if understand this correctly. If I refer my spouse (not a member), and he flies one-way first class SFO-SAN for $219, we will earn 15,500 points between us, which are worth around $345-$380? If so, that’s a smokin’ deal!

This sounds too good to be true, but I think Gene is correct. The terms don’t state anything about having to fly roundtrip in order to earn the bonus points, so presumably a one-way first class ticket between San Francisco and San Diego (which costs as little as $219) would qualify.


Then both the referrer and referee would earn 7,500 bonus Elevate points, and the member flying would earn an additional ~1,000 points (you earn five points per dollar spent on Virgin America flights), plus 500 Elevate points for having signed up. So that’s a total of 16,500 Elevate points for $219, which is ~1.33 cents per Elevate point.

How much are Virgin America Elevate points worth? Well, you can either redeem points on one of their partner airlines using their award chart, or you can redeem them for roughly ~2.2 cents each towards the cost of a Virgin America ticket.


As you can see, that same $219 Virgin America first class ticket would cost 9,675 points.

Do keep in mind that the points you earn through this promotion would be split between two accounts, so it’s not like you have 16,500 points in one Elevate account, which would be much more useful. But still, between two accounts you’re earning $360+ worth of points on a $219 ticket.

Bottom line

There is potential to come out way ahead with this promotion, especially if you’d have to take a flight on Virgin America anyway. I don’t quite think it’s a “no brainer” to go out of your way to fly Virgin America in order to take advantage of this given that Virgin America points are tough to come by otherwise, but it’s certainly a promotion I will consider.

It’s also worth noting that this is an extreme example. Most Virgin America first class tickets aren’t this cheap.


  1. Lucky, do I get 2500 miles regardless of how many flights I fly on coach, or I get, for example, 5000 miles for 2 flights on coach?

  2. Thanks for the shout out! And to Kendra for telling me this post even existed (easy to miss with the new BA layout).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *