With Starwood points transfers at 1:1 probably too good a deal to begin with — other currencies transferring to Virgin America usually offered just half the value at 2:1 — and with Alaska Airlines’ acquisition of Virgin America which has already led to the announced end to Citibank transfers to the Elevate program, it sure raised alarm bells when Virgin America transfers disappeared from the Starwood website.
However Starwood indicated this was a glitch, that transfers were still available by phone. And the reason many are considering it is because Virgin American miles will transfer to Alaska Airlines at 1 to 1.3.
So 20,000 Starpoints -> 25,000 Virgin American points –> 32,500 Alaska miles. 60,000 Starpoints ultimately yield 97,500 Alaska miles. That’s pretty powerful.
Some folks speculated that the disappearance from the website meant that transfers were going away (and they’d go away by phone as wel). Others speculated a change in transfer ratio.
However we now see that transfers to Virgin America are back available again on the Starwood website. It really does look to have just been a temporary glitch.
Given the context, it’s easy to see why a reasonable hypothesis would have been an end to transfers. But that hypothesis was not correct.