Via Wandering Aramean, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America have announced a frequent flyer tie-in.
You can now earn miles in Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club when flying Virgin America, or in Virgin America’s Elevate when flying Virgin Atlantic. But the earn rates are really bad.
Virgin’s Flying Club earning is as follows:
Main Cabin* – 50% of miles flown
Main Cabin Refundable* – 100% of miles flown
Main Cabin Select Instant Upgrade* – 100% of miles flown
Main Cabin Select* – 100% of miles flown
First Class* – 150% of miles flown
Only main cabin refundable and main cabin select offer 100% mileage earning. Lower fares earn 50% of mileage flown.
Not that you’d want to, but crediting Virgin Atlantic flights to Virgin America’s Elevate program offers pathetic earn rates. The cheapest fares only earn at 10% of miles flown as points (that’s not as bad as it sounds, given Virgin America’s ‘points’ system, but it’s still pretty bad).
Still, this means that if I ever get around to flying Virgin American that I’m not ‘throwing away the miles’ because at least I can credit to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, as I have a decent stash of those — when there’s not a decent promo for rental cars, I credit my Avis rentals there (1000 miles even on a one-day rental and on discounted rates) and they’re an American Express transfer partner so I can always top off if I need to.
More options are better than fewer, the reciprocal earning is good even if ungenerous. For now it appears to be just an earning relationship and that there aren’t yet opportunities for reciprocal redemption.