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.