The merger between Alaska Airlines and Virgin America is pending, but the implications may be coming sooner than we thought. According to user mipaho on Reddit, Virgin American might be ending its partnership with Virgin Atlantic on November 13, 2016. Presumably, this means you will no longer be able to redeem your Virgin American miles for travels on Virgin Atlantic starting that date.
This is significant, because Virgin America actually has a pretty great award chart for travels on Virgin Atlantic. Virgin America is a transfer partner with SPG (1:1) and American Express Membership Rewards (2:1), so points are relatively easy to accrue as well.
For example, you can redeem just 35,000 Virgin American points for round-trip ticket from New York to London, in Business Class! Virgin Atlantic does levy fuel surcharges, which can be up to $1,150 round-trip, but the number of miles required is so low that it can still be a good value. Here are some other noteworthy redemption options:
- Hong Kong (HKG) to London (LHR): 60,000 points + $600 in fees roundtrip
- Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR): 50,000 points + $1,150 in fees roundtrip
- San Francisco (SFO) to London (LHR): 50,000 points + $1,150 in fees roundtrip
- Chicago (ORD) to London (LHR): 35,000 points + $1,150 in fees roundtrip
This also works in the other direction, and you likely won’t be able to redeem Virgin Atlantic points on Virgin America flights anymore. Virgin Atlantic is a transfer partner with Chase (1:1), and their miles are particularly useful for short-haul flights on Virgin America. For example, you can redeem just 10,000 miles for a round-trip ticket between Los Angeles and San Francisco in Coach, with no fuel surcharges.
I suspect this change has something to do with the announced merger between Virgin America and Alaska Airlines. However, this change seems premature, considering the deal still hasn’t even been finalized. I also think it’s strange that Virgin American didn’t make a public announcement this end in partnership, especially since it’s going in effect in less than 2 weeks.
At this point, it appears that Virgin Atlantic is the only partner that is being discontinued. Virgin Australia, Emirates, and other partnerships will remain in tact. This means there are still valuable uses for Virgin America points, though options will be come more limited.
What do you make of the end of the partnership between Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic?