As most of you probably know by now, Alaska Airlines is buying Virgin America in a $2.6 billion deal. JetBlue was also bidding for Virgin America at the time, and arguably would have been a better fit, as JetBlue’s strength on the east coast would have complemented Virgin America’s strength on the west coast.
While long term this takeover is bad for consumers due to a competitor being eliminated, short term it has led to some promotions and positive changes. JetBlue was giving away free tickets to 500 “JetBlue Virgins,” who were residents of California or New York and had never flown JetBlue before.
Then Virgin America made some positive changes to their Elevate program, and also extended their status match program to JetBlue Mosaic members.
Virgin America has just announced a bonus promotion, where they’re offering bonus points for cross country travel.
Virgin America is offering 50% more Elevate points and status credits for select routes between May 2 and June 12, 2016.
The promotion is valid for travel between San Francisco (SFO) or Los Angeles (LAX) and Boston (BOS), New York City (JFK), Newark (EWR), and Washington, DC (DCA / IAD).
Elevate members ordinarily earn 5 points per dollar spent on base airfare, so through this promotion they’ll earn 7.5 points per dollar spent instead. You can also earn Virgin America status based on how much you spend ($4,000 for Silver or $10,000 for Gold), so you’ll also earn status 50% faster on the above routes through this promotion.
Registration is required prior to the travel date, though previously booked travel qualifies. Bonus points and status credits will post to a member’s account 4-6 weeks after qualifying flights are flown.
While the bonus redeemable points are nice, they’re not enough of a reason to switch flights to Virgin America. However, I think some will find the accelerated elite status credits to be the best part of this promotion.
The bigger deal is still the program changes which Virgin America announced last week, which were extremely positive. Virgin America is probably the single most rewarding revenue based airline in terms of return on spend. Gold members get 12 points per dollar spent, and each of those points is worth over two cents, so that’s a return of 25%+. That doesn’t include any promotions, or the points you earn through credit cards for purchasing your ticket.
If you do have any transcon travel coming up, be sure you register for Virgin America’s promotion.