Even though it is on the verge of being swallowed up by Alaska Airlines Group, which will no doubt lead to still-undetermined changes, Virgin America has unveiled an upgrade in benefits for elite-level members of its Elevate frequent flyer program – and the news includes a swipe at rival JetBlue.
Virgin said it has expanded its Elevate Status Match offer – previously open to elite-level loyalists of American, United, Delta and Southwest – to include JetBlue as well. Mosaic-level members of JetBlue’s TrueBlue program can now obtain Gold status in Virgin’s program just by joining Elevate and applying at Virgin’s Status Match page. “Members can enjoy Gold status perks for three months, plus the opportunity to retain Gold status through the end of 2017,” Virgin said.
Meanwhile, Virgin has increased the bonus points that Elevate Silver and Gold members can earn, and has introduced a new pathway to elite status by counting flight segments.
Members can achieve Elevate Silver status now by completing 15 flights on Virgin, or by earning 20,000 status credits at 5 per $1 spent. Thirty completed flights will now confer Gold status, as will 50,000 status credits. Plus, the new flight counter is retroactive to January 1 of this year.
Once a member achieves Silver status, he or she will earn a bonus of 50 percent, or a total of 7.5 points per $1, up from the previous 25 percent bonus. For Golds, the earning bonus has increased from 100 percent to 120 percent, or 12 points per $1 spent.
Why would Virgin go to the trouble of doing this? A spokesperson told TravelSkills, “The Elevate enhancements announced today are part of our continuing mission to make flying fun again and even more rewarding for our frequent flyers. We’re also encouraging guests who may be feeling a bit ‘blue’ with their current carrier to fly Virgin America and enjoy a more premium travel experience.” He also reminded us that airline mergers can take years, not months, to complete.
When TravelSkills met with Alaska Airlines execs in San Francisco this week, they promised a generous transfer rate for Elevate members when the program the programs integrate next year. Stay tuned!
Is it worth attaining status with Virgin now that its days are numbered? Please leave your comments below.
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