Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Alaska Airlines is shutting down Virgin America's rewards program, but with a 'bit of a bonus'

Alaska Airlines will pull the plug on the Virgin America Elevate mileage rewards program.

SeaTac-based Alaska Air Group Inc. plans to fold its new subsidiary's popular loyalty program into the Alaska Mileage Plan on Jan. 1.

Virgin frequent flyers were recently informed of the move as Alaska announced it will probably drop the Virgin America brand in 2019.

Alaska is offering Virgin America fans a bonus for activating and switching early: 10,000 miles or a $100 flight discount credit.

What matters to frequent flyers in any airline takeover are point/mileage conversion rates. Virgin America flyers will be happily surprised, says Steve Danishek, a Seattle travel industry observer and owner of TMA Travel agency.

"The ratio of 1.3 Alaska Miles for every Elevate point seems to be happily higher than anticipated, even more so as coupled with Alaska's announcement that fewer miles will be needed to reach some destinations," Danishek said. "It's a bit of a bonus."

Alaska says its Mileage Plan is the only major airline loyalty program that continues to reward a mile flown with a reward mile on either Alaska or Virgin America flights.

(Andrew McIntosh - Puget Sound Business Journal) 

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