Citi Removes Virgin America as a ThankYou Point Transfer Partner

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Starting January 22, 2017, you’ll no longer be able to transfer Citi ThankYou points to Virgin America.

It makes sense that changes to how you earn Virgin America points are coming, now that the deal to merge Alaska Airlines and Virgin America has closed.  And in January 2017, they’ll begin the process of combining their frequent flyer programs.

It hasn’t yet been revealed how or when you’ll be able to transfer Virgin America points to Alaska Airlines miles.  Including the transfer ratio.

Citi Removes Virgin America As A ThankYou Point Transfer Partner

Citi Sent an Email Announcing the Removal of Virgin America as a Transfer Partner, Effective January 22, 2017

There’s still time to transfer Citi ThankYou points to Virgin America if you want to book an award flight.  And I’ll remind you of your other options!

No More Citi ThankYou Point Transfers to Virgin America

Link:   Alaska Airlines – Virgin America Merger Website

Link:   Citi ThankYou Travel Partners

Starting January 22, 2017, Virgin America will no longer be a Citi ThankYou transfer partner.

Currently, you can transfer Citi ThankYou points to Virgin America at a ratio of 2:1.

I suspect we’ll see similar announcements soon from Starwood and American Express Membership Rewards (the other 2 flexible points programs with Virgin America as a partner).

Citi Removes Virgin America As A ThankYou Point Transfer Partner

The Alaska Airlines Merger Means Virgin America’s Frequent Flyer Program Will Eventually Go Away

But I was hopeful Citi would add Alaska Airlines as a transfer partner as part of the merger process.  It would make the Citi ThankYou program much more useful for award travel, because Alaska Airlines is partners with American Airlines, Delta, Cathay Pacific, and more.

That said, removing Virgin America as a partner doesn’t eliminate this possibility.

Should You Transfer Citi ThankYou Points to Virgin America?

Link:   How to Earn and Use Virgin America Points

Unless you have firm travel plans on Virgin America in the near future, I would NOT transfer Citi ThankYou points to Virgin America immediately.

We don’t yet know how transfers from Virgin America points to Alaska Airlines will work.  Or if the ratio will be favorable.

Citi Removes Virgin America As A ThankYou Point Transfer Partner

Unless You Have Immediate Plans to Fly Virgin America, I Wouldn’t Transfer Points Right Away

Plus, the transfer ratio between Citi ThankYou points and Virgin America points is not great.  You’ll get 1 Virgin America point for every 2 Citi ThankYou points you transfer (in 1,000 point increments).

Similarly, American Express Membership Rewards points transfer to Virgin America in the same ratio, with 200 AMEX Membership Rewards points equal to 100 Virgin America points.

You’ll get a better 1:1 transfer ratio when you move Starwood points to Virgin America.  Plus, for every 20,000 Starwood points you transfer, you’ll get a 5,000 Virgin America point bonus.

What About the Virgin America Cards?

Link:   Comenity Bank Virgin America Premium Signature Card

Link:   Comenity Bank Virgin America Signature Card

Now that the merger is moving forward, it’s likely the Comenity Bank Virgin America Premium Signature Card and Virgin America Signature Card will be discontinued very soon.  So if you’ve been thinking about applying, you might want to do so in the near future.

According to Alaska Airlines, the Virgin America cards, Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card, and Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card® will be “limited to the specific terms and benefits of the associated airline.

So, for example, having an Alaska Airlines card won’t get you a free checked bag on a Virgin America flight.

It’s unclear whether Comenity Bank Virgin America cardholders will have the opportunity to convert their cards to an equivalent Alaska Airlines card.  I’ll let you know if I hear more.

Here’s my review of the Comenity Bank Virgin America cards.

Bottom Line

Citi is removing Virgin America as a ThankYou point transfer partner effective January 22, 2017.

This is expected, because the deal to merge Alaska Airlines and Virgin America closed yesterday.  And we’ll probably see similar news about AMEX Membership Rewards and Starwood point transfers to Virgin America in the coming days.

I would NOT transfer Citi ThankYou, or other flexible points, to Virgin America just yet.  Because we don’t know what they’ll be worth when they combine Virgin America’s Elevate frequent flyer program with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

I’ll keep you posted if I hear more news!

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