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Update – Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here –  Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express , The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN

American Express Membership Rewards, the points program of cards like the Platinum Card and the Premier Rewards Gold as well as The Amex EveryDay Credit Card and The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card is currently offering a 35% transfer bonus to Virgin America through February 15, 2015.

VX transfer bonus

Normally points transfer at the lackluster ratio of 2 Amex points to 1 Elevate point, but with this promo, you can transfer 200 Amex points to get 135 Elevate points instead. This bonus is hard-coded so there is no need to register for it.

When it comes to Virgin America transfer bonuses, we saw both a 30% one last year and a 40% bonus last year, though in previous years, they have even been as high as 50%, so I might hold off on this one, unless you have a specific redemption in mind and are short a few thousand points.

Worth It?

Virgin America Elevate is a fixed-value rewards program where you can use points to purchase any open seat on a flight at a value of between 1.5-2.3 cents per point depending on the fare and itinerary. With the normal transfer ratio, that means you are getting between 0.8 and 1.15 cents per American Express Membership Rewards point – a low value which doesn’t make much sense at all considering you can use Amex’s Pay With Points feature to purchase Virgin America flights at 1 cent per point, and you earn Elevate points on those flights – you don’t earn points when redeeming for flights using Elevate points.

So, it would really never make sense to transfer Amex points into Elevate unless there was a lucrative transfer bonus. In my opinion, a 100% transfer bonus where you could get points at a 1:1 ratio would be great. However, with the 35% bonus, at least you’re getting between 1.08-1.55 cents per Amex point in value.

If you frequently enjoy the mood lighting onboard Virgin America, one of these cards absolutely should be in your wallet.

Partners

While redeeming on Virgin America may not make sense, the airline has 28 partner airlines, and you can use the calculator on this page to figure out how many points you’ll need.

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For instance, roundtrip from JFK to London on Virgin Atlantic would cost you 15,000 points + $475 in taxes and fees in economy, 25,000 points + $790 in Premium Economy, and 35,000 points + $910 in Upper class.

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One of the better options is to redeem for Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines as it’s only 20,000 points plus $11.20 in coach for a round-trip flight between Los Angels and Maui, compared to 25,000 miles which most of the other carriers charge.

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If you wanted to fly on Emirates from New York (JFK) to Dubai, you could redeem on Emirates for 45,000 in coach plus $740, or in Business Class for 100,000 plus $1,410. Neither of these options are good uses of Elevate points.

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Another one of their partners is Virgin Australia, but they have taxes/fees as well. It would cost 40,000 points plus $826 in coach, 60,000 points plus $826 in premium economy or 80,000 plus $926 in taxes/fees.

My Thoughts

I’m not really tempted by this transfer bonus because the value of Elevate points are essentially capped at about 2.3 cents each, but it’s still nice to squeeze an extra 35% out of each Amex point, so if you were considering an immediate transfer to top up your account, then it may be worthwhile.

Do you plan on taking advantage of this transfer bonus from American Express to Virgin America Elevate?

The Platinum Card® from American Express

While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 a year for baggage fees and more at one airline. Terms Apply.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations worldwide. Terms Apply.
  • Enroll to enjoy the benefits of complimentary Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status with your Platinum Card.®
  • No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.