With the fate of Virgin America finally sealed, many of us in the frequent flyer community were wondering when exactly Virgin America’s Elevate loyalty program would be merged into Alaska Mileage Plan (it was also stated that Virgin America Elevate would be gone by sometime in 2018). We got answer to that question today.
This morning, Virgin sent an email out to Elevate members, stating that the Elevate program would be discontinued on January 1, 2018, which is far earlier than I thought. Seeing as elites of the new Alaska will only begin receiving complimentary upgrades on Virgin America aircraft in ‘late 2018,’ I was expecting that that would be the time the two loyalty programs would have been fully integrated. Turns out I was wrong.
So, we know that Virgin America Elevate will be going away in just over 8 months. While I’m sure plenty of Virgin America loyalists aren’t feeling too hot about the program they know and love going away, I’m 100% sure that they have plenty of things to look forward to from the Alaska Mileage Plan program.
Mileage Plan is, without a doubt, the best loyalty program in the United States. It stands alone in awarding miles based on distance flown, allows free stopovers on both one-way and roundtrip awards, has awesome earning rates on many airlines, and has some of the cheapest award ticket prices out there (like 67,500 miles one-way from the US to South Africa with a stop in Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific business class). Additionally, free elite upgrades are plentiful (I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve missed an upgrade on Alaska), a perk which was nonexistent on Virgin America. Elevate was absolutely a decent program, but I think that former Virgin America elites will be hugely impressed by Mileage Plan.