Virgin America’s official frequent flyer program will transition to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan January 1, 2018. With the transition of frequent flyer programs, Virgin America will sunset it’s own frequent flyer program – Elevate. Virgin America Elevate has unique partnerships that will be severed with the transition of programs. This includes partnerships with airlines, hotels, retailers and more.
The End of Virgin America Elevate
The end of the ability to earn points from partners will make the Virgin America Elevate program less attract during it’s last few months in existence. After September 30, 2017, Elevate will only have three partners: Alaska Airlines, Points.com, and American Express Membership Rewards. Then, on October 31st, Points.com and American Express Membership Rewards partnerships will end.
The current Virgin America Elevate program is ending. Alaska Airlines is trying to monetize their merger with Virgin America and will bring all fliers under one program. The Virgin America name will continue to fly through 2018. In 2019, Virgin America will be fully integrated into Alaska Airlines.
The Virgin America Elevate program will fly through December 31, 2017. Starting January 1, 2018 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan will be the only frequent flyer program of both Alaska and Virgin America. Yet between October 1st and December 31st, the program will be extremely limited.
Good Bye Uniqueness
The termination of several of Virgin America Elevate partnership is disappointing. Virgin America has several partners that Alaska Airlines does not. Singapore Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Virgin Australia, Morgan Hotels, Virgin Hotels, Viceroy Hotels, Thompson Hotels, AirBnB are just a few unique partners. In addition, outside of the travel industry Virgin America partners with energy companies and other lifestyle brands. Virgin America has built a unique group of loyalty partner unlike anyone else. Do note the Airbnb partnership is ending earlier than most partnerships. The last day to earn with Airbnb is 6/30/17.
Alaska Airlines has added new airline partner in recent months including new partnerships with Condor and Finnair. Although Alaska is growing their airline partners, Alaska has not expanded their partnerships in other areas. This is one big advantage of Virgin America Elevate that will be lost.
See the complete list of partners that will terminate in September and October.
Partner Awards also End Early
It is also import to note that partner award travel will end this fall. The last day to redeem points for partner travel is also September 30, 2017. Starting October 1, 2017 only Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members and miles will be able to be redeemed for partner travel. If you want to use Elevate points for travel on Singapore Airlines, Hawaiian, Emirates, or Virgin Australia book sooner than later.
Virgin America also has a very short window for future award travel. Instead of allowing awards through the normal award window of ten to twelve months in the future, the last day for partner award travel is January 15, 2018. After January 15, 2018 awards on current partners are unavailable. The early termination of partner awards is truly disappointing.
Final Thoughts and Warnings
If you are planning future travel, plan accordingly. Places and business entities which once earned Virgin America Elevate points may not earn Alaska Airlines miles. If you want to transfer membership reward points the end date is near. Do not forget, American Express Membership reward points will not be transferable to Virgin America starting in November. Anything and everything that was once good, unique or bad about Virgin America Elevate is ending. The end is nearly here and the beginning of the new Alaska is now.