Yesterday, there was quite a scare when Virgin America Elevate disappeared as a transfer partner from the SPG online portal. Well, according to SPG, this is just a “website error,” and the feature is once again available online.
Thanks for letting us know. For immediate transfers, our phone agents are able to transfer. We're looking into website error.
— SPG Assist (@spgassist) December 22, 2016
I am willing to give SPG the benefit of the doubt here, but a part of me will always wonder whether Alaska was hoping to slip this under the radar and reversed the change after customers noticed. Regardless, you can once again transfer SPG points to Virgin America Elevate online, which is all that matters.
As I have remarked in a previous post, this feature is particularly important if you want to take advantage of a transfer that will effectively yield a 62.5% bonus on SPG transfers to Alaska Airlines. This is because starting January 9, Virgin America Elevate points can be transferred to Alaska Mileage Plan miles in a 1:1.3 ratio.
By transferring SPG points to Virgin America Elevate at a 1:1 ratio, you can basically get a 62.5% bonus if you make transfers in 20,000-point increments:
- Transfer 20,000 SPG points to Virgin America Elevate
- With the typical SPG 5,000-point bonus, you’ll get a total of 25,000 Virgin America Elevate points
- Once the transfer between Elevate and Alaska Mileage Plan go live on January 9, you can transfer Elevate points to Alaska miles in a 1:1.3 ratio
- This will yield a final total of 32,500 Alaska miles
For those who were going to transfer SPG points to Alaska miles anyway, this is a great opportunity to get a substantial bonus. But this can get even more lucrative for some people. SPG is selling points with up to a 50% bonus through the end of the year. If you are targeted, you can buy SPG points at 1.75 cents each. With this effective 62.5% bonus, you could generate 32,500 Alaska miles for as little as 20,000 * 0.0175 = $350. That is just over a penny per Alaska mile, which is an incredible deal.
In light of the merger between Virgin America and Alaska Airlines, Virgin America Elevate is a program that will soon be on its way out. For that reason, I do not expect the ability to make SPG transfers to Virgin America to last very long. Citi ThankYou will lose Virgin America as a transfer partner on January 22, 2017, so I would expect a similar timeline for SPG.