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Virgin America has just announced that they’re offering double status credits and double Elevate points for first class travel through November 15, 2016.
Registration is required prior to travel, and even previously booked travel qualifies for the promotion as long as you register prior to the travel date. Bonus points and status credits should post within 4-6 weeks of qualifying flights. Only paid first class bookings qualify, so upgrading to first class wouldn’t make you eligible for this offer.
Earning double Elevate points
Virgin America Elevate members ordinarily earn five Elevate points per dollar spent, and through this promotion you’d earn an additional five Elevate points per dollar spent.
Keep in mind that Elevate Silver members ordinarily earn a 50% bonus on base points, while Virgin America Gold members ordinarily earn a 140% bonus on base points. That means that if booking a first class ticket during the promotion period:
- Elevate Red members earn 10 points per dollar spent
- Elevate Silver members earn 12.5x points per dollar spent
- Elevate Gold members earn 17x points per dollar spent
Elevate points can be redeemed for ~2.2 cents each towards the cost of a Virgin America ticket, meaning a Gold member booking a first class ticket would earn a whopping return of ~37.4%.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t include the points you earn through credit card spend. For example, The Platinum Card® from American Express now offers 5x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines, and I value those points at ~1.7 cents each, so that’s a further return of ~8.5%.
That means an Elevate Gold member purchasing a first class ticket with the Platinum Card would earn a return of ~46% by my valuation, which is incredible.
Virgin America’s first class product is better than what’s otherwise offered by airlines for their domestic first class, though not as good as international business class. Their pricing has increased considerably over the years. This certainly makes some of their west coast first class pricing actually worth considering, in my opinion.
Earning double Elevate status credits
Virgin America status is also revenue based:
- Silver status requires 20,000 status points per year
- Gold status required 50,000 status points per year
You get five status points per dollar spent, so ordinarily you’d need to spend $4,000 or $10,000 for Silver or Gold, respectively. Through this promotion you can potentially slash that requirement in half.
This promotion ultimately comes down to an additional return of ~11% on Virgin America first class spend. Virgin America’s points accrual rates are already excellent as far as revenue based programs go, in particular for Elevate Gold members. If you’re a Gold member and using the right credit card, you can get a return of almost 50% on your Virgin America spend.
Will this promotion cause anyone to pay for first class on Virgin America?