The Virgin America Elevate Program Will Cease to Exist on January 1, 2018

Mar 29, 2017

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Update 3/29/17: Virgin America confirmed with TPG reader Molly that there is no deadline to transfer Elevate points to Alaska miles with the 30% bonus.

Since the Virgin America and Alaska Airlines merger closed in December of last year, the process of combining the two airlines has been a slow one, with major news coming in piecemeal over the last several months. Most recently, Alaska announced that it would be completely scrapping the Virgin American brand sometime in 2019. And today, we’ve learned that most of the Virgin America brand as we know it will be dying much sooner — on January 1, 2018.

Virgin America emailed Elevate members today, detailing that the Elevate program will fold into the Alaska Mileage Plan program on January 1. As of that date, the Alaska Mileage Plan will become the sole loyalty program for both airlines — bringing the Virgin America brand one step closer to its demise.

If you have Elevate points in your account, they will be automatically converted to Alaska Mileage Plan miles as of early 2018. However, the two carriers are encouraging Elevate members to convert their Elevate points to Alaska miles before the start of the new year by offering a 30% bonus on transfers — or at a 1 to 1.3 ratio. This 30% transfer bonus has been around for a while, but now it looks like you won’t get the bonus if you let them sit in your account and automatically convert after January 1.

As a reminder, you can convert your Elevate points to Mileage Plan miles by going to this website and logging in to your Virgin America Elevate account. For example, with the bonus, if you convert 50 Elevate points, you’ll get 65 Mileage Plan miles, but note that if you wait until after January 1, you might get just 50 Alaska miles for your 50 Elevate points in this example — this remains unclear, but likely based on the wording of Virgin America’s email.

As you can see in the graphic above, there are some dates in particular that Virgin America is alerting its Elevate members to pay close attention to. For example, through fall 2017, you’ll be able to earn and redeem Elevate points with most partners. If you have Elevate points, the last date you’ll be allowed to redeem them (or earn them) is December 31, 2017.

If you have a Virgin America redemption in mind, be sure to book it before the Elevate program completely disappears. Alaska’s already detailed some plans for the future of the combined brand, but there are still some specifics that have yet to be addressed. This news is just one more step toward the integration of the two brands and the Virgin America brand we’ve known being permanently grounded.

For more coverage on the Virgin America-Alaska Airlines merger, check out some of our other posts:

Stay tuned to TPG for more coverage as news from this merger continues to emerge.

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