Strange aspect of this hobby is that we end up with 50,001 Virgin America miles and forget we have them or have no plan.
Here are some options:
Earn and burn: empty the account using the miles for award travel on Virgin America and move on. Awards are revenue-based, so look for cheap fares to stretch miles.
Play with partners: like other Virgin airlines, think medium mileage prices and high cash surcharges. Keep in mind that Virgin points typically cost double other miles so do the math when comparing to other programs. See details for Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Emirates, Hawaiian and Singapore. There are mileage calculators for each partner for specific routes. Adding connections will price the additional routes separately, I believe. You have to call in to book anything. Hawaiian looks to have interesting values for those not wanting large cash outlay.
Gaze north for a sign: wait and see how the program is combined with Alaska MileagePlan. If miles convert 1:2 and we get access to Alaska’s partners, this can be a great windfall.
Become a Virgin America flyer: yes, that is an option, too. Virgin is growing and will be folded into Alaska in some form. New transcons from Newark will make it the only airline offering transcons from both JFK and EWR.
- Virgin America Loft at LAX is accessible through Priority Pass.
- Consider a status match. Each match comes with a 90-day challenge which if completed will retain status through the end of the 2017 program year. Those who did a status match in 2015 are excluded.
- If you have a Virgin America credit card, the challenge requirement to retain Gold drops from 12,000 to 8,000 Status Points and for Silver from 5,000 to 3,000 Status Points.
- The credit cards typically have bonuses of 10k and 15k. There have been prior offers targeted, inflight or other channels offering 20k and 30k.
- The Virgin America Premium card, which has a $149 fee, waives change or cancel fees on paid tickets (not awards), see card terms here.
- The Virgin America Premium card also awards 5,000 Status Points per $10,000 spend, up to 15,000 Status Points per calendar year, see card terms here. Status match terms and card terms do not exclude Status Points earned from credit card spend from 90-day challenge qualification, so you should be able to re-up Gold with $20k card spend and never set foot on a Virgin America plane.
Why earn Virgin Gold through credit card spend without planning to fly them? If Alaska combines the program next year (seems unlikely) you will be transferred to status with them. You might wait to do this in 2017 for status through 2018 if this is your goal since a 2018 combination is more likely. Or, use the status for onward matches to other airlines.
My plan? I still have no idea.
Readers, what is your Virgin America 50,001 plan?