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Virgin America Transfer Bonus – 10K to Hawaii & More!
Virgin American and American Express have released a very good promotion for transfers between their programs. Specifically, you will receive a 50% bonus when transferring Membership Rewards to Virgin America Elevate points through March 10, 2016.
Under the 50% bonus, the old transfer rate of 2 Membership Rewards to 1 Elevate points becomes 2:1.5. What does this mean? Well, it means there are some amazing deals to be found. Virgin America Elevate is a revenue based loyalty program, so the points required are based on the fares and they have some very good prices right now.
Amazing Deal to Hawaii!
I started my search by looking for SFO-OGG since I know they have had cheap fares on that route. Here is what I found on many days:
So 7,297 points + $5.60 to Hawaii? That is amazing! There must be a catch. Is Virgin charging more for the flight back? Nope.
A week later we can fly back to the mainland for the same price. A combined 14,594 Virgin America Elevate points roundtrip! More importantly, with this transfer bonus, it is less than 20,000 Membership Rewards points roundtrip to Hawaii. That is even better than the Avios 12,500 redemptions and Virgin arguably has a better product than American.
American Express does charge an excise fee when transferring points to U.S. based loyalty programs. The fee for a 20,000 point transfer is $12, so your total for this flight (rounding up) is 20,000 points plus $23.24. Amazing.
Here are some other great redemptions I found. I’m sure there are a ton more! (Share what you find in the comments!)
- JFK-OGG – 27K Elevate or 36K Membership Rewards + $32.80 roundtrip
- LAX-LAS 2.4K Elevate or ~3.3K Membership Rewards + $13.18 roundtrip
- LAS-SFO 3.3K Elevate or ~4.2K Membership Rewards + $13.72 roundtrip
- DAL-SFO 6K Elevate or 9K Membership Rewards RT + $16.60 roundtrip
Forget about the Avios devaluation! Some of these prices are so much better. Dallas to San Francisco for 9K roundtrip! That is great.
How to Transfer
To transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards to Virgin America Elevate you need to first add your Virgin number to your Membership Rewards account. Once that is added, go to the “Transfer Points” section under “Travel” and select Virgin America Elevate. You should see the details and terms of the transfer bonus.
How to Search
To search for space you will need to be logged into your Virgin America Elevate account. Once logged in simply search for your desired flight. On the results screen click the toggle for “Elevate Points” and you should see the price for each segment in points + taxes.
I have always been a fan of the Virgin America Elevate program when the value is right. In this case with the 50% transfer bonus, we are seeing fares that are nothing short of amazing. We used to be excited for 4,500 one-way Avios redemptions, but now we are seeing much less than that on shorter routes and great deals even on the longer ones. With Virgin’s heightened product, flying them over the legacy carriers is definitely something worth considering.
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