Now that Alaska Airlines and Virgin America have merged, Virgin America’s frequent flyer program Elevate is on its way out. Starting January 9, you can transfer Virgin America Elevate points to Alaska Mileage Plan miles in a 1 to 1.3 ratio.
If you are sitting on large sums of SPG points, and can find uses for Alaska miles (which has a ton of high quality partners, including Emirates, Cathay Pacific, and Japan Airlines), this might be a great opportunity to capitalize on that transfer ratio. This is because SPG points still transfer to Virgin America in a 1:1 ratio, with the usual 5,000-point bonus when you transfer 20,000 SPG points.
A week or so ago, we had quite a scare when Virgin America disappeared from the list for online point transfers. SPG assured members that it’s just a computer error, and the ability to make transfers returned the day after. Well, SPG has finally announced an end date to their partnership with Virgin America. After January 6, 2017, you will no longer be able to transfer SPG points to Virgin America Elevate points.
An SPG representative shared the following on FlyerTalk:
SPG has a long-standing partnership with both Alaska Airlines and Virgin America, and was excited to hear the news about the official close of their merger. This presents a great opportunity for Elevate members to join and enjoy all the benefits of Alaska’s award-winning Mileage Plan starting January 9th. Instead, SPG has decided to focus its partnership on Alaska Mileage Plan and end its partnership with Virgin America’s Elevate program.
This means SPG members will no longer be able to earn Elevate points on hotel stays, or directly transfer Starpoints into Elevate accounts after January 6, 2017.
SPG members will be able to use Starpoints to travel on Virgin America by transferring Starpoints to Alaska Mileage Plan miles and redeeming them for Virgin America flights on alaskaair.com starting January 9, 2017. Furthermore, SPG members can continue to transfer Starpoints to Alaska Mileage Plan at a 1:1 ratio – and earn a 5,000 bonus miles when they transfer 20,000 Starpoints to Alaska Mileage Plan.
SPG currently transfers to both Alaska and Virgin America in a 1:1 ratio. So if you can wait until January 9 to ticket an award, it is definitely better to transfer to Virgin America now than to Alaska later. Keep in mind that you can transfer up to 79,999 SPG points per day, but since it’s best to transfer in increments of 20,000, I personally treat the limit as 60,000. If you are transferring more than that, you will want to act sooner rather than later.
As a reminder, SPG is still running their Winter Sale on point purchases, which is good until the end of the year. The offers are targeted, but you can buy miles with up to a 50% bonus, which is the cheapest I have seen SPG sell their points. If you are targeted at this rate, you can potentially generate Alaska miles at just over a penny each, which is an awesome deal.
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