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The Alaska Airlines-Virgin America merger has been a long time coming. Since Alaska first announced its acquisition of Virgin in December 2016, the merger process has advanced at a slow pace. The carriers have been working to integrate the Mileage Plan and Elevate programs, allowing elites to earn reciprocal benefits, and now we know when the Virgin America brand will cease to exist.
April 24, 2018, will be the last date you can fly with Virgin America. Beginning April 25, all flights for both Virgin and Alaska will be booked through Alaska Airlines.
— Brett Snyder (@crankyflier) October 5, 2017
As reported by FlightGlobal, Alaska sent an internal memo to employees, reading, “Alaska Airlines has posted the new Airbus schedule for flights after April 24. The flights will be Alaska flights and will only be available through Alaska channels… or through travel agencies and booking sites.” In addition, the memo added, “Guests who try to book an Airbus flight scheduled for after April 24 through Virgin America’s website or app will be redirected to Alaskaair.com.”
Travelers can already see this when searching for flights. Google Flights has stopped showing flights with Virgin America after April 24.
Virgin’s own website shows that there are no dates available after the same date. As of April 25, what were once Virgin America flights are now Alaska Airlines flights. If you book a flight with Alaska after April 24, chances are it could be on one of Virgin’s Airbus aircraft.
As of April 25, the carriers will have a single inventory of flights, bookable on alaskaair.com. Alaska is calling this the next step in completing the merger, which it expects to operate as a single passenger service system by the second quarter of 2018. When the merger was first announced, Alaska said it expects to obtain a single operating certificate from the FAA in early 2018.
The two carriers have dropped news about the future of the singular airline and frequent flyer program in small bits. Most recently, we learned that Alaska elites now get free seat upgrades on Virgin America.
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
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- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
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- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
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- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees