Currently, there are two Virgin America promotions that will enable you to enhance your Virgin America Elevate points without actually having to fly. Some people swear by Virgin America, especially for the coast-to-coast flights and along the West Coast. The main issue I have with them is their points are fixed (like JetBlue and Southwest), and they do not fly to too many cities from New York.
To figure out the number of points needed for a Virgin America flight, take the fare value and multiply it by 46.51 (this is the average give or take). That will equal the number of points needed to redeem for a free flight. This makes each point worth about 2.15 cents, although with some flights you can get a worse or better value. I still haven’t fully been able to determine how it’s calculated, but I’d take 2.15 cents/point as your average value. The good thing about Virgin America is that there are no blackout dates or capacity control. If there is a seat available, it is yours. However, since the points are based on the fare price - if the fare price rises, so do the number of points needed to redeem.
So here are the two promos…
- Virgin America 20,000 point credit card offer – This new promotion is ending August 31st, but is offering new credit card applicants the opportunity to get 20,000 bonus points after their first purchase on the card. Additionally, if you complete a balance transfer within 30 days of receiving the card you will get an additional 5,000 bonus points for a total of 25,000 points. With the balance transfer bonus points included, you might be able to get two coast-to-coast flights out of this promotion. While this is not nearly as good as some of the other offers out there (since many are offering 50,000 points), this is double the typical offer. So if you’ve been eying this card, or are a typical Virgin America flier, this might be the best time to apply. The card also has a pretty low annual fee at $49 (not waived the first year), and if you are able to use the yearly $150 off companion pass, then it definitely pays for itself. The card also includes the following benefits:
- Earn 3 points per $1 spent on Virgin America purchases
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else
- $150 off a companion ticket every year (this could definitely provide some value!)
- Apply for this card here
- Transfer Amex Membership Reward Points to Virgin America with a 30% bonus – This transfer bonus promotion has an indefinite end date but will give you a 30% bonus on all transfers. Typically, the transfer ratio is 200 AMex points = 100 Elevate points, so a 2:1 ratio (while most other airlines have a 1:1 ratio). This is a pretty poor transfer rate and values Amex points pretty low. With this current promotion, you are instead able to redeem 200 Amex points for 130 Elevate points. Even with this offer, you are still valuing your Amex points pretty low at about 1.4 cents per point and probably is not the best value. At the end of the day though, it really depends on how you value your points and where you are aspiring to fly for free.
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