This offer is not at all surprising, though it’s creative and aggressive.
Use promo code 50FIRST today only(though 11:59pm Pacific time on June 21) for a 50% discount on non-refundable first class travel between July 4 and July 7.
There’s essentially zero reimbursable business travel over July 4th weekend, so why not try to monetize that first class cabin without the risk of undercutting the prices that other customers might pay?
In recent years we’ve seen far more discounted first class fares, discounted buyups, and other attempts to generate revenue from first class cabins.
On premium cross country routes Virgin America’s product probably isn’t competitive (New York to key California business markets) but their product is generally superior on other routes.
The next logical step would be discounted paid first class for Wednesday and Saturday travel.
And of course the more first class monetization occurs (which is hard to criticize, except in the case of United’s “tens of dollars” upgrades offered only to non-elites), the tougher upgrades and awards become.
Of course awards in true revenue-based programs aren’t harder, since they’re based on ticket price. But awards become an even worse value than usual under a scenario like this promo, since only paid tickets are discounted and by promotion code so the cost of awards doesn’t drop in a corresponding way.