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Just a little while ago I speculated about the ratio at which Virgin America points will eventually be converted into Alaska Mileage Plan miles, given that the merger has now closed. 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 (points earned with cards like the Citi Prestige) can no longer be converted into Virgin America Elevate points as of January 22, 2017.
As of now I don’t see anything suggesting that the partnership between Virgin America and Amex will be cut, though I think it’s entirely possible that will happen as well.
To answer a logical follow-up question, reader Andy asked the following question on another post:
Ben, I received an email today from Citi stating that as of January 22nd ThankYou points will no longer be transferrable to Virgin America Elevate. Now that the Alaska/Virgin merger is final, could this be a short-lived way to transfer ThankYou points to Alaska? Would you speculatively transfer ThankYou points to Elevate hoping that they will be later transferrable to Alaska Mileage Plan?
I definitely wouldn’t speculatively transfer points here. Converting Citi ThankYou points into Virgin America points at a 2:1 ratio isn’t a very good deal, and I don’t think that Virgin America points will convert into Alaska miles at a 1:2 ratio (which would be the equivalent of a 1:1 Citi ThankYou to Alaska transfer). I certainly could be wrong, but that’s not a risk I’d take.
So personally I don’t view this as a huge loss for Citi ThankYou points, since I would have never used the transfer option at that ratio anyway. Perhaps some hoped that we’d see a 1:1 Citi to Alaska transfer ratio, though I don’t see that happening. If Alaska wanted to partner with any transferrable points currencies (other than SPG) they would have done so already.