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I hear Virgin America is a really good airline, but I’ve never chosen to fly them because they have a frequent flyer program that doesn’t interest me. For example they don’t have an option for international awards (the reason why I collect miles/points), they don’t have an elite program and their earning of points is based on spend. So my $300 JFK-LAX coach ticket that earns me roughly 5,000 American (or Delta) miles, would only earn me 1,500 Elevate points. Beyond that, point redemption is also revenue based, which is the real deal killer. So if I wanted to redeem for a $2,500 JFK-LAX business class ticket, it would cost me 119,000-156,000 points. Thus, it would take 79-104 roundtrips in coach to earn one business class roundtrip on Virgin America, whereas American will give me a free business class roundtrip after 10 coach roundtrips (less if I am an elite member). Not only that, American is in an alliance, so I can get two business class JFK-LAX roundtrips for $95 and $10 in fees for the British Airways Visa 100,000 mile bonus – much better than spending $23,000+ on Virgin America flights!
Anyway, if you do have Virgin America points, they are giving 20% discounts if you redeem by Saturday April 23, 2011. A no brainer if you were planning to redeem points anyway.
“Redeem now to fly at this special rate in the Main Cabin between April 26 and June 15, or from August 25 to October 27. And remember: you can book reward flights on any seat, at any time, with no blackout dates.”