Virgin America and Alaska Airlines have merged.
Starting January 9, 2017, you can link your Alaska Mileage Plan and Virgin America Elevate accounts. Then you can transfer 1 Virgin America points to 1.3 Alaska miles.
That is almost exactly the fair ratio in my opinion. On the Mile Value Leaderboard, I have Alaska miles worth 1.75 cents each and Virgin America points worth 2.3 cents each.
1.75 * 1.3 = 2.275, which rounds to 2.3
You can currently transfer SPG Starpoints 1:1 to Virgin America points, and like all 1:1 SPG transfer partners, you get 5,000 bonus points for every 20,000 transferred.
If you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to 25,000 Virgin America points now, you can transfer those to 32,500 Alaska miles on January 9th. That’s a 62.5% transfer bonus from Starpoints to Alaska miles!
Will Virgin America points automatically convert to Alaska miles on January 9? The wording makes it sound like “no.”
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. [Emphasis mine.]
In that case, for how long will we have separate Virgin America and Alaska programs through which we can redeem miles?
And will we be able to transfer Alaska miles to Virgin America points at a rate of 1.3 to 1 during that time? It doesn’t sound like it.
Good Alaska Redemptions
Alaska miles are on sale through the end of the month for 2.11 cents each. In my post detailing the sale, I listed some of the top Alaska award redemptions like Cathay Pacific First Class to Africa for only 70,000 miles.
And don’t forget Alaska’s newest (and very cheap) partner Japan Airlines: you can book its fancy First Class to North Asia or India for only 70,000 miles.
Airline consolidation is bad for miles enthusiasts. Less competition means less spent on marketing, and frequent flyer programs are a marketing expense.
However, in the short run, the ability to combine two smaller accounts into one bigger one is great news. In this case, your Virgin America points are worth 1.3 Alaska miles, which means your SPG points are worth 1.625 Alaska miles.