Virgin America Elevate Rewards Program Review

Can the Virgin America Elevate rewards program elevate your travel experience? This program definitely offers some tempting perks for frequent travelers on the West Coast. You may be curious about becoming a member of the Virgin America Elevate rewards program because you’ve heard that it offers a generous amount of points per dollar at its basic tier. You may also be interested in the free checked bags, complimentary upgrades, bonus points and Virgin America Loft passes that you can look forward to as you jump tiers. Take a look at the perks and drawbacks of Elevate to see if this is the loyalty program you should get off the ground with.

Three Levels of Elevation

Virgin America has three tiers in its Elevate program. Here are the three levels you can look forward to enjoying when you join:

  • Elevate Red
  • Elevate Silver
  • Elevate Gold

The nice thing about Virgin America Elevate is that you can start earning points right away. There are no special requirements to join the Elevate Red level and immediately begin earning five points for every dollar you spend on Virgin America flights. You will be bumped up to Elevate Silver status once you earn 20,000 status points in a calendar year. Elevate Gold status will be yours to enjoy once you earn 50,000 status points in a calendar year.

Virgin America Elevate Program Perks

Virgin America has crafted a very generous loyalty program that is hard to turn down. Elevate Red allows you to start earning points the moment you book a Virgin America flight. However, additional perks won’t kick in until you slide into Elevate Silver status. This is when you’ll begin to enjoy complimentary upgrades to Main Cabin Select, priority check-in status, priority security line access and priority boarding whenever you fly with Virgin America. You will also get one free checked bag when you fly. You can really get a taste of the good life when you use your two free passes and discounted passes for the Virgin America Loft lounge at Los Angeles International Airport.

Elevate Silver members receive exclusive deals and promotions from Elevate partners throughout the year. Things really start to glitter once you reach Elevate Gold status. All of the Elevate Silver perks carry over to this tier. The big value of reaching this tier is that you will receive a bonus of 100 percent on all points earned on Virgin America flights. In addition, your baggage perk will be bumped up to cover three free checked bags.

Pros and Cons

One of the brightest spots in the Virgin Elevate rewards program is that there aren’t any blackout dates or restrictions on reward flights. You already know what a big deal this is if you’ve dealt with the frustration of trying to redeem reward miles with airlines that do have blackout dates.

The miles you earn with Virgin America are yours to use during the hectic holiday season or the busy summer months. The downside is that you may not get a chance to use your points by the time you do have a big trip planned because they expire after 18 months of inactivity. This is definitely a factor to consider if your travel habits are sporadic. However, it won’t be an issue if you travel consistently. Something that’s easy to love about Virgin America’s loyalty program is how simple it makes earning and redeeming points. This may be the best choice out there for people who love straightforward programs that deliver what they promise without a lot of complicated calculations.

Virgin America bases rewards on spending instead of miles traveled. This means the points you earn will be based on the price of your ticket instead of how many miles you travel during each trip. This is a benefit for business travelers and people who routinely fly in premium cabins.

One other neat feature of this program is that members are allowed to transfer up to 30,000 of their reward points to another Elevate member every calendar year. The only condition is that the reward points that are transferred can’t be used as status points. The final drawback to consider is that members will only earn points on one seat per flight if they book several seats. It might be worth looking into a program that offers more flexibility in this area if you routinely book business seats for several travel companions.

Should You Consider Elevate?

Elevate is a generous and pleasantly simple rewards program. You will likely appreciate the fact that points can be earned when you use certain credit cards or book hotel stays with program partners. In addition to redeeming your points for air travel, you can also use them for cabin upgrades and hotel stays. Elevate offers a well-rounded program that doesn’t make you jump through hoops or obsess over every travel plan you make for the sake of optimizing your reward-earning potential.

One important thing to remember is that Elevate will become an arm of the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan in 2018. Members can likely look forward to extra rewards and a much larger network of available global destinations when that happens. Current members of the Elevate program can receive a bonus of 30 percent on points if they start converting their points to the Mileage Plan program now.


Delta SkyMiles Rewards Program Review

You probably already know that it’s not financially wise to fly without booking your flights using a loyalty program.  This is especially true if you fly more than just a few times each year. Flying without a loyalty program means missing out on opportunities to earn free miles and enjoy perks that can make every travel experience more enjoyable. You might be having a hard time deciding which airline loyalty program to finally commit to. The competition has never been stronger when it comes to the measures airlines will take to entice new members and keep existing ones happy.

The Delta SkyMiles program is one of the top contenders out there. Does this program offer the type of perks that you can really use? Discover what you need to know if you’re thinking of committing to the Delta SkyMiles program.

What There Is to Like About the Delta SkyMiles Program

Delta offers some great perks for people who travel domestically and internationally. The SkyMiles program is a particularly good choice if you routinely go back and forth between hubs like Detroit, Atlanta, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York because of perks like frequent routes and state-of-the-art airport lounges. You can also get a lot out of the SkyMiles program if your travels frequently take you to cities around the world.

Delta has partnerships with popular airlines like Air France, KLM, Aeromexico and Virgin Atlantic that make it possible to earn and use miles. Earning miles is pretty straightforward when you’re a member of SkyMiles. You can look forward to earning between five miles and 11 miles for every dollar you spend when you fly. How many miles you actually earn on each trip will depend on your membership level and the type of seat you book.

Delta SkyMiles Tier Levels

One interesting thing about award travel in the SkyMiles program is that it is based on ticket pricing instead of the distance that you fly. You can also earn points through SkyMiles partners simply for using your credit card or booking hotels stays. The big advantage that SkyMiles points offer over points from competing loyalty programs is that they will never expire once they’re in your account. There is also the chance to earn medallion-qualifying miles on your trips. Medallion-qualifying miles are the measured miles that can actually help you boost your membership level into a higher tier. Here’s a look at the tiers you can achieve in the Delta SkyMiles program:

  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Diamond

Travelers really like the fact that SkyMiles offers a generous amount of award seats at the lowest redemption levels. Points can also be used on cabin upgrades. Members in every tier enjoy waived baggage fees, priority check-in status and priority boarding. Perks like priority security screening, expedited baggage service and free access to Delta Sky Club locations kick in as you move your way up through Delta’s membership tiers. There are even crossover rewards that can help you get the white-glove treatment when you stay in select hotels or rent cars with certain rental agencies.

Delta SkyClub in Tokyo Japan

What You Might Not Like About the Delta SkyMiles Program

One of the biggest complaints that people have about the SkyMiles program is just how difficult it is to reach Platinum and Diamond status. You will really need to do a lot of traveling to accrue enough miles to enter both of those tiers. However, people who travel as part of their lifestyle actually prefer the exclusivity of these tiers because it means they get to enjoy a truly unique experience that sets them apart when they fly with Delta.

It is possible to accrue points more quickly without flying more frequently if you sign up for a credit card like the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express or the Delta Reserve® Credit Card. All of these cards will award you with two miles for every dollar spent on Delta purchases and one mile for every dollar spent on all other purchases. One other potentially big drawback of joining the SkyMiles program is that your reward miles aren’t exactly yours to use from the start. You actually need to have a minimum balance of 5,000 miles before you can use your miles to cover the cost of a flight.

Should You Be a Delta SkyMiles Member?

The Delta SkyMiles program offers a lot of attractive perks for travelers. This is a program that will benefit people who travel frequently and make a lot of purchases using their credit cards while on the road because it rewards high spending from all angles. It is almost foolish not to sign up for the SkyMiles program if you have the type of travel schedule that will qualify you for Diamond status. This tier of membership offers a long list of perks that can make every travel experience really enjoyable. You can also look forward to exclusive privileges that will save you time and spare you from hassles when you’re jetting between destinations.

People who will only reach Silver status or Gold status still have quite a few perks to look forward to. The bottom line is that the SkyMiles program is definitely one of the best loyalty programs available today. It is a good choice unless you can find another program that is offering some specific perk that fits a unique travel need that you have.