Earn triple miles, more status points: Virgin America first class

By Chris Chamberlin, October 8 2014

Business travellers heading to the United States can earn up to triple Virgin America Elevate miles in first class, while piling up bonus ‘qualifying points’ at the same time.

After flying from Sydney or Brisbane to Los Angeles with Virgin Australia – or also from Melbourne until October 26 – jetsetters can connect onwards with Virgin America to destinations such as New York, Boston and San Francisco, earning a hefty bonus at the same time.

First class passengers earn triple the usual points, while those who book Main Cabin Select fares will reel in double points.

That’s anywhere across the Virgin America network – so whether you’re heading to The Big Apple or just hopping to San Francisco or Las Vegas, you’ll earn a nice sum of bonus points on your travels.

Earning bonus qualifying points

Elevate members flying in any class of travel – including ‘Main Cabin’ economy – can also pocket bonus qualifying points, which makes the climbing the status ladder upwards to Elevate Silver and Gold a much easier task.

Better yet, qualifying points can also be redeemed for travel, which means your next award flight will be within easy reach while the promotion also takes you to the next tier at a faster rate.

The number of bonus qualifying points you’ll earn is calculated on your Virgin America travel between October 6 and December 19 2014, as follows:

  • 2,500 qualifying points earned = 1,000 bonus qualifying points
  • 5,000 qualifying points earned = 2,500 bonus qualifying points
  • 10,000 qualifying points earned = 5,000 bonus qualifying points
  • 15,000 qualifying points earned = 10,000 bonus qualifying points
  • 20,000 qualifying points earned = 15,000 bonus qualifying points
  • 25,000 qualifying points earned = 25,000 bonus qualifying points

Bonus miles earned on Main Cabin Select and first class fares during the promotion period aren’t deemed qualifying points.

First class from Los Angeles to New York

From Los Angeles to New York in first class, Elevate members would ordinarily earn 10,080 miles on the return journey when booked on a typical US$1,099 non-refundable fare.

Relax, you're flying in first class...
Relax, you're flying in first class...

With triple points, that becomes 30,240 miles – plus a bonus 5,000 qualifying points on the base-level earn of 10,080 – for a grand total of 35,240 miles.

Or, on fully-refundable US$2,458 fares that would normally serve up 22,720 miles, Elevate members would instead earn 68,160 miles through the triple points promotion.

Add to that an extra 15,000 bonus miles for a nice bounty of 83,160 miles – 37,720 of which are also deemed ‘qualifying points’.

All up, that single return first class trip is enough to land you Elevate Silver, while two return trips would more than meet the 50,000-point threshold for Elevate Gold status.

Redeeming Elevate miles

Assuming you didn’t stump up more than twice the base-level first class fare just for a refundable ticket, the 35,240 miles you’d normally earn is enough to take you from Los Angeles to Chicago O’Hare via San Francisco in first class.

While you won’t have enough points for a round trip at the pointy end, you could use the remainder of your balance to fly back from Chicago on a direct flight to Los Angeles in Main Cabin Select, while paying a total of US$11.20 for taxes and surcharges.

Not at the pointy end? Don't worry, there's plenty of room in Main Cabin Select...
Not at the pointy end? Don't worry, there's plenty of room in Main Cabin Select...

If your travels take you to North America a little more frequently, one-way first class flights from LA to New York can be had on Virgin America for 50,419 miles + US$5.60.

Alternately, just 6,000 Elevate miles is enough for a business class flight with Virgin Australia from Sydney to Melbourne, which can also be done for 3,500 miles in economy – both with a co-pay of US$15.

It’s also just 16,000 miles to fly from Sydney to Perth in a lie-flat bed in business class on Virgin Australia’s A330s or 9,500 to do the trek in economy, both again with a payment on the side of US$26.

To start earning miles in Virgin America’s Elevate scheme, you’ll first need to sign up for a free membership if you haven’t already done so, and then register for the deal before your first flight during the October 6 to December 19 promotion window.

Also read: Virgin America gives inflight safety video the Glee treatment

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!


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