Virgin America Miles Will Transfer 1 to 1.3 Into Alaska, Giving You a 62.5% Starwood Transfer Bonus Opportunity

Virgin America has announced that conversion of Elevate points to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan will be at 1:1.3. You’ll get 1.3 Alaska Airlines miles for every 1 Virgin America mile.

And they’ll announce how to move miles on January 9:

On January 9, 2017, we will invite you to enroll in Alaska’s award-winning Mileage Plan, enabling access to book award travel on Alaska Airlines and Alaska Global Partners network to over 900 worldwide destinations. Plus, you’ll receive more detail on how you can convert your Elevate points to Alaska Mileage Plan miles at a rate of 1.3 Mileage Plan miles per Elevate point. And for elite-level Elevate members, Alaska Mileage Plan will automatically match your elite status!

One Mile at a Time says this seems like “a very fair and thoughtful transfer ratio” although I think it’s a bit tight-fisted. Virgin America’s program is revenue-based, and their points-pricing deflated.

Los Angeles – Sydney for 80,000 miles roundtrip in business class is about half the cost of comparable carriers. There are other great redemption values as well, though of course Virgin America adds fuel surcharges to awards while Alaska adds them only to British Airways redemptions.

One key play with this new is leveraging new Starwood to Virgin America transfers. Since Starwood transfers points 1:1 into Virgin America (versus deflated transfers at 2:1 from Citibank and 2:1 from Membership Rewards) you can do this:

  • Starwood transfers 20,000 points to 25,000 Virgin American Elevate points.
  • That will yield 32,500 Alaska Airlines miles
  • For an effective 62.5% bonus when moving Starpoints in increments of 20,000.
  • That’s 30% better than transferring to Starpoints directly, which like Elevate is 1:1

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. Another great post and report from you Gary
    Thrilled they are losing Delta.
    I’m a proud Delta hater and feel that they have destroyed the frequent flyer
    program landscape forever in and out of Delta
    I’m reasonably satisfied if not delighted with all aspects of the merging Alaska and Virgin
    Agree that 1.3 seems a bit stingy
    I would have thought 1,5 would have been the proper sweet spot respectfully
    Appreciate Alaska’s outstanding rapid announcements since getting their approval and not leaving us in suspense hanging .Alaska will be getting the lions share of my business going forward
    American Airlines has simply become tragic in most regards walking away after 8 million miles in the program

  2. From the recent email from Virgin Airlines: “…your 2016 Elevate elite status will automatically be extended through 2017” This is great as I was about to drop from Gold to Silver

    But more importantly: “…you can continue to earn Elevate points or Mileage Plan miles when flying on either Virgin America or Alaska Airlines”, but there is no indication how long this will last. Gary, which is the better strategy for earning and using points and miles? Should I credit flights to Alaska Mileage Plan or to Virgin Elevate?

  3. Confusing. Alaska says they are keeping their full mileage crediting for their flown flights. Why would they not give full miles flown for Elevate on Alaska?

    Do they plan to keep Elevate points and have the dodgy conversion that doesn’t equal full mileage? Or when they absorb Virgin do you think they’ll actually give a mile per each mile flown. What a novel idea!

    This still keeps Virgin in “a mile is not a mile” territory with the other liars and planewreckers who even have the gall to call them miles when they are no longer any such thing.

  4. Thanks for the bonus find! It’s good if one wants to transfer 20k, 40k, or 60k SPG points to VA to Alaska. If anyone needs to transfer 90k, and need to book hotel stay, it might be better to consider Marriott’s Hotel + Air Package 1.
    90k SPG to VA, then it should come out to be 143k Alaska Miles.
    90k SPG/270k Marriott points=7 Nights + 120k Alaska Miles
    The difference of 23k miles for a 7 Night stay is not a bad deal, even at a Category 1 Marriott 😉

  5. This is confusing. When I go to Alaska’s site and look at Virgin in the Earn Miles on Partners section, it shows getting 100% of flown miles. Is this what I could expect by putting my Alaska Mileage Plan number into a Virgin reservation now?

    Virgin tells me I’ll still get points flying them even if I credit to Alaska. But Alaska doesn’t even have points and their conversion chart shows 100% miles flown.

  6. Gary there’s one big issue here.

    I’m a current elevate gold. Recent Amex deal gave elevate gold until Jan 2018 if you transferred requisite amount of rewards points into elevate. I did so.

    Now we learn that via email from Virgin that “2016 Elevate elite status will automatically be extended through 2017”.

    WTF? Can I get those rewards back in amex please?

  7. Gary – it looks like Virgin America may have disappeared as a transfer partner for SPG. I’m unable to see it in my account at least.

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