The Virgin America Elevate frequent flyer program is pretty useless with its distance-based points redemption program. I’ve really paid little attention to it – I generally can’t be bothered with programs that don’t have a chart.
Until today – I saw a release this morning touting a new not-quite-codeshare partnership between Virgin America and Hawaiian Airlines. Whatever. If you want to redeem Hawaiian Airlines miles on Virgin America it’s a joke – flights under 750 miles each way are 20,000 miles roundtrip. Flights over 2,000 miles (transcons) are 40,000 miles round trip. Seriously.
Except – if you want a roundtrip ticket from the West Coast to Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines it’s only 20,000 Virgin America Elevate points.
I have no idea how much flying you’d have to do to earn that many points, but I do know that it would take 40,000 Membership Rewards points to get 20,000 Elevate points. Bleh.
However, Virgin America just increased the bonus on their credit card to 20,000 miles after first purchase. Sure, there’s an annoying $49 fee that they don’t waive the first year, but hey – remember it’s only 20,000 miles for a roundtrip ticket to Hawaii. No, it doesn’t include connecting service on Virgin America. But if you’re in a Hawaiian Airlines city, it’s a free ticket.
Oh, and the other reason: they only charge 6,000 miles for inter-island roundtrip flights on Hawaiian (less than anyone else out there), and you can redeem a one-way for 3,000 miles. If you fly frequently inter-island, that may be a reason to grab the card (for 3 free interisland flights).
Just a thought…
(ADDITIONAL INFO I JUST DISCOVERED:) This Hawaiian Airlines thing is actually sort of interesting. Honolulu to Pago Pago (American Samoa) is also 20,000 points round trip – that costs about $900 in coach normally. And Honolulu to Papeete, Tahiti, is just 20,000 points (though Tahiti is just once a week). That’s a shame because you could use
20,000 25,000 Avios points to get to Honolulu from California and just another 20,000 Elevate points to get to Tahiti — 40,000 points from LA to Tahiti roundtrip. Not too shabby. Perhaps it’s time to consider Pago Pago…(or not)
(Disclaimer: those are affiliate links…feel free not to use)