Virgin America: Buy Elevate Points With 50% Bonus & Earn Points For Referring A Friend

a group of people in an airplane

Virgin America has got a couple of promotions running at the moment that may be of interest. The first is an opportunity to purchase up to 20,000 Elevate points and get a 50% bonus on top, while the second is an opportunity to earn up to 2,500 Elevate points by referring friends to Virgin America’s Elevate loyalty program.

Buy Elevate points With 50% Bonus

Virgin America has joined in the points selling fun with a tiered bonus for those who want to purchase some Elevate points. The promotion lasts until 8 March 2016.

  • Buy 1,500 – 4,500 Elevate Points to get a 25% bonus
  • Buy 5,000+ Elevate Points to get a 50% bonus

If you were to opt to buy points in the lower tier they’d set you back 4.16 cents/point:

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And, if you decide to purchase points in the top tier, they’d set you back 3.47 cents/point:

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Although Virgin America limits customers to 20,000 elevate points per transaction (excluding bonus points), you can purchase up to 60,000 Elevate points per calendar year.

Is This A Good Deal?

Virgin America’s loyalty program is revenue based on both the earnings side (like American’s AAdvantage will soon be) and on the redemption side too which means that the value of Elevate Points is directly linked to the cash price of whatever ticket you’re trying to purchase with your points:

Here’s an example of a flight between Los Angles and San Francisco where the cash price of a ticket is either $59, $199 or $229 depending on cabin of travel and how flexible the ticket is:Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 19.08.15

Now here’s that same flight priced out in Elevate points at 2,047 + $5.60, 8,558 + $5.60 and 9,954 + $5.60

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In this example you would be getting 2.6 cents, 2.3 cents or 2.2 cents per point if you used your Elevate Points to purchase the ticket…..and that’s the sort of valuation you’ll get whenever you go to redeem your Elevate points on Virgin America.

So buying Elevate points at 3.47 cents or even 4.16 cents per point makes no sense at all.

Virgin America’s Partner Airlines

You may be wondering if you can get better value by using Elevate Points on one of Virgin America’s partners – possibly.

Virgin America partners with the following airlines:

  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Australia
  • Emirates
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines

The links above will take to the award charts for each of the airlines.

Redeeming on Virgin Atlantic isn’t the greatest of ideas because of the high “carrier imposed fees” that you’ll be subject to. A round-trip Upper Class award costs 50,000 Elevate points PLUS $1,150 in taxes which, if you purchase Elevate points at 3.47 cents each, would mean you’re paying $2,885 for a Business Class fare…that’s not a great at all. Thats not far off how much you’d pay for a regular cash fare.

The story is pretty much the same for redemptions on Emirates and the number of points needed for redemptions on Singapore and Hawaiian airlines is too high…so that leaves Virgin Australia.


On Virgin Australia things look a little rosier because they don’t charge outrageous surcharges on award tickets. A round-trip Business Class award between Los Angeles and Sydney would cost 80,000 Elevate points & $130 in fees:

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80,000 elevate points at 3.47 cents/point = $2,776 and, when you add on the fees of $130, that means you’re essentially paying $2,906 for a round-trip Business Class fare to Australia….and that isn’t bad at all.

Refer A Friend & Earn Elevate Points

This promotion is about as simple as it gets.

Refer a friend and get 500 Elevate points (up to 2,500 Elevate Points can be earned this way) and the person you refer gets 500 points too.

Not a member of Elevate and no one wants to refer you? Not a problem. Virgin America will give you 500 Elevate Points just for signing up.

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 19.46.27

Bottom Line

If you can find award space on Virgin Australia the 50% bonus may be an ok deal for you but, unless you simply can’t wait to fly to Oz, I’d wait it out. This isn’t a spectacular deal by any means – in fact it’s one of the poorer deals that Virgin America has come up with recently. We’ve had bonuses up around 80% in the recent past so, comparatively, this bonus of 50% looks stingy.

There’s no guarantee that we’ll see another 80% bonus in the next few months but I’d be surprised if the next “buy elevate miles” bonus wasn’t higher than this one…but that’s just an educated guess.

As far as the “refer a friend” promotion goes, hopefully that’s pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t have anyone to refer you then how about generating a bit of good Karma for yourself and getting someone on Flyertalk to refer you? You don’t lose out, you look like a great person and you get to something nice for a fellow flyer.