Virgin America Announces Dates for the Rapture: Partner End Times in Advance of Program Closure

In March Alaska Airlines announced that they expect to end Virgin America Elevate at the close of 2017. They project a ‘single operating certificate’ to fly as one airline at the beginning of 2018. They’re working towards mid-year 2018 labor agreements and a move to a single reservation system at the end of 2018 (with a trickle of final merger-related activities running through 2020).

As part of this process Virgin America Elevate has announced the last day for transactions with their various partners. Virgin America has some relationships that won’t continue in the combined Alaska Airlines program, some that will, but they need to cut off transactions so that they can retire the program and move points over to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

The last day to earn and redeem with airline partners is September 30, and they’ll only book awards at this point for travel through January 15.

Most partner-earning ends September 30, though Virgin America’s Airbnb partnership ends June 30.

Membership Rewards transfers and Points.com transactions will be available through October 31, although neither of these are things I’d normally consider.

Here’s the full list:



The big loss here is redemptions on Virgin Australia. Premium cabin awards between the US and Australia are usually only available close to departure, but the pricing through Virgin America is excellent.

Although net net Virgin America members do reasonably well with the merger — at least in terms of frequent flyer program (but not inflight premium product). Points transfer from Virgin America to Alaska at 1:1.3 which in my view is a bit light but still not unreasonable, and Alaska Airlines still awards miles based on distance flown rather than ticket price. Six weeks ago they re-affirmed their commitment to a generous frequent flyer program and upgrades.

Alaska offers exceptional value on their award chart with many of their partners that span SkyTeam (e.g. Air France, Korean), oneworld (e.g. Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines), and airlines outside of any alliance (e.g. Hainan Airlines, Icelandair). And the companion ticket that comes with their credit card is one of the best deals in travel.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I get that the title was tongue-in-cheek, but I would have liked to have at least seen the tongue-in-cheek reference mentioned or explained in the article. I guess the parallel wasn’t as clear to me as perhaps a more seasoned travel-hacker and I enjoy a good wink-and-nudge joke…

  2. What I would like to know is when the VA planes will be taken out of service, because they are nicer than Alaska.

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