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Now through October 15, 2013, Virgin America is offering Elevate members the opportunity to earn up to a 50% bonus on purchased or gifted Elevate points. The bonus is tiered bonus, meaning the more points you buy, the higher bonus percentage you’ll receive.

Earn up to a 50% bonus on purchased Elevate points.
Earn up to a 50% bonus on purchased Elevate points.

Here’s how the bonus is set up:

  • Buy 2,500 – 5,000 points to get a 30% bonus
  • Buy 5,500 – 10,000 points to get a 40% bonus
  • Buy 10,500+ points to get a 50% bonus

You can buy or receive up to 20,000 Elevate points per calendar year, in increments of 500 points.The thing to keep in mind is, Elevate points cost an astounding 5.2 cents each, and you can usually only get a value of about 2.3 cents out of them at most when redeeming, so I wouldn’t suggest doing this unless you’re very close to an award redemption. The Elevate program is a hybrid fixed value/ traditional frequent flyer programs – when you redeem on Virgin America you can use points for any flight, but when redeeming on partners there is an award chart and availability is limited.

Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia are both partners and you can use the calculator on this page to figure out how many points you’ll need. A sample Los Angeles to Sydney itinerary in business class costs 80,000 points and $849 in taxes and fees. If you are buying points at 5.2 cents apiece, you are essentially purchasing that flight for $4,160 + $849 = $5,009.

LAX-Sydney Award Chart using Virgin America points.
LAX-Sydney Award Chart using Virgin America points.

Not great considering those flights are generally around the $5,000. Plus, you are subject to award availability and you don’t earn miles on award redemptions, not to mention the fact that Virgin America only lets you buy up to 20,000 points per calendar year (30,000 with this 50% bonus), so you’re not getting anywhere even close to the award threshold.

I’m not that excited about this offer, but there could be value for those who are looking for a few extra Elevate points on a specific upcoming award itinerary. However, remember that Virgin America is also an American Express transfer partner at a (less-than-stellar) 2:1 ratio, but they have run a couple transfer bonuses, which can make the value proposition a little bit more enticing, and certainly much better than purchasing the miles outright.

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

Though the Business Gold Rewards card doesn’t have the benefits package of the more premium Business Platinum Card, it also doesn’t have that card’s $450 annual fee. In fact, the $175 annual fee on this one is waived the first year, so getting it is like a risk-free trial of its benefits plus it comes with appealing bonus spending categories like 3x on the category of choice and a range of 2x spending categories as well.

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More Things to Know
  • Special Offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership
  • Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories
  • Plus, 2X points on the 4 remaining categories and 1X points on other purchases
  • 3X and 2X apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter
  • Track, organize, and stay on top of your business expenses with powerful expense-tracking tools
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
  • Terms and limitations apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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