Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic Offer Reciprocal Mileage Earning

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.

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, 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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  1. Why are the programs separate, anyway? If Starwood and InterContinental can each have one rewards program for all of their hotel properties, why can’t Virgin do the same for its airlines?

  2. @Gary – Random off topic comment. You haven’t had any contest for freebies in a while. Hint hint. 🙂 No hotel vouchers to give away lately?

  3. This is marginal, but good, news. I’d never credit my VS miles into Virgin America’s program at 10%, but like Gary, incrementing my VS program means I’ll fly Virgin America some. I like their new planes, and the general tone of their service (plus, they have good SFO-LAX fares). I do find redeeming VS miles to be a pain, though.

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