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If you have Virgin America points, you now have more opportunities to get excellent value from your rewards!
Via One Mile at a Time, you can now book Virgin America award flights with Alaska Airlines miles! This is a big deal, because folks with Virgin America points can now redeem their points with 2 very different “award charts”.
I’ll help you decide if booking Virgin America award flights with Alaska Airlines miles makes sense for you!
Book Virgin America Awards With Alaska Airlines Miles
Link: Alaska Airlines
You can now book Virgin America award flights with Alaska Airlines miles.
Virgin America and Alaska Airlines price their award seats in different ways.
Virgin America prices award seats according to the cash price of the ticket. So the value of Virgin America points depends which Virgin America flight you choose. But you’ll usually get a value of ~2.15 cents per point.
Alaska Airlines prices award seats according to zones. The price of the ticket does NOT affect the amount of miles you’ll pay.
So you can examine both award prices and decide which website will give you the best value for your points!
Remember, you can now convert your Virgin America points to Alaska Airlines at a ratio of 1 : 1.3. But you will NOT be able to transfer your points back if you change your mind!
So if you transfer 1,000 Virgin America points to Alaska Airlines, you’ll end up with 1,300 Alaska Airlines miles.
How to Decide Which Program to Use to Book Virgin America Award Flights
Virgin America and Alaska Airlines use different methods for pricing their award seats. Virgin America prices their award seats according to the cash price of the ticket. Alaska Airlines does NOT.
1. Book Inexpensive Tickets Through Virgin America
If you’re booking a cheap flight, you’ll likely get the best deal with Virgin America. And if you need to take an expensive Virgin America flight, you’ll probably get better value for your Virgin America points by transferring them to Alaska Airlines.
For example, a ticket from Austin to Las Vegas will only cost you 6,349 Virgin America points (equivalent to 8,253 Alaska Airlines miles after the 30% transfer bonus).
Alaska Airlines does NOT base their award prices on the cash value of each ticket. They charge according to zones for partner award flights within the US.
Here, you’ll pay 12,500 Alaska Airlines for the exact same flight.
Booking your flight through Virgin America will save you 4,246 Alaska Airlines miles (or 3,266 Virgin America points).
2. Book Pricey Last-Minute Tickets Through Alaska Airlines
Another great reason to book Virgin America flights through Alaska Airlines is for last-minute tickets!
Airlines tend to charge lots more for tickets if you’re buying a day or 2 before your departure. And because Virgin America bases the award prices on the cash price for each ticket, you’ll pay a LOT of points if you book at the last minute.
Alaska Airlines will charge the same amount of points no matter how late you book, as long as there is a saver level award available. For example, a ticket for January 16, 2017 (a last-minute ticket!), costs 23,198 Virgin America points (equivalent to 30,160 Alaska Airlines miles).
But you’ll only pay 12,500 Alaska Airlines miles (equivalent to 9,615 Virgin America points) for the exact same seat on the exact same plane. So you’ll save 17,660 Alaska Airlines miles (or 13,583 Virgin America points) by transferring your points to Alaska Airlines!
3. Book First Class Tickets Through Alaska Airlines
There are plenty of good deals when you book coach flights through the Virgin America website. But if you want to book a First Class ticket, you’ll almost ALWAYS want to transfer your Virgin America points to Alaska Airlines.
First Class seats on Virgin America are NOT cheap. And because award seats are based on the cash price of the seat, you can expect to pay a lot of points!
For example, a one-way ticket in coach from Denver to Maui will cost ~13,000 Virgin America points. That’s a good deal, and better than anything you’ll find on the Alaska Airlines website.
However, you’ll pay ~55,000 Virgin America points to fly in First Class! That’s equivalent to 71,500 Alaska Airlines miles!
Meanwhile, you could get the EXACT same ticket on the Alaska Airlines website for 40,000 Alaska Airlines miles. You would save 24,230 Virgin America points (or 31,500 Alaska Airlines miles) by transferring your Virgin America points to Alaska Airlines!
As of right now, I can’t find any Virgin America flights when I search for stopovers. But if Alaska Airlines gives us that option, it would add a lot of value to transferring your points to Alaska Airlines!
Alaska Airlines and Virgin America Are Still Separate Airlines
You will NOT be able to use Alaska Airlines’ lower prices with their new award chart. You’ll have to fly on Alaska Airlines planes to get that deal. And Virgin America is still a separate airline.
If you aren’t particular about which airline takes you to your destination, you can find some amazing deals with the new Alaska Airlines award chart.
I recommend holding off on transferring your Virgin America points, unless you have an Alaska Airlines miles redemption in mind. That’s because you’ll have more options to redeem your rewards by keeping your Virgin America points. And transfers from Virgin America to Alaska Airlines are final.
Need More Virgin America or Alaska Airlines Miles?
You can earn more miles by applying for:
- Bank of America Alaska Airlines Card – Earn 30,000 Alaska Airlines miles after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account
- Bank of America Alaska Airlines Small Business Card – Earn 30,000 Alaska Airlines miles after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account
- Virgin America Premium Signature Card – Earn 15,000 Virgin America points (equivalent to 19,500 Alaska Airlines miles) after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account
- Virgin America Signature Card – Earn 10,000 Virgin America points (equivalent to 13,000 Alaska Airlines miles) after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account
You can now use Alaska Airlines miles to book award seats on Virgin America flights! This is great news for folks with Virgin America points, because you can choose whether you book Virgin America award flights through Virgin America or using Alaska Airlines miles.
Virgin America ties their award prices to the cash price of the ticket. Alaska Airlines does NOT. So if you’re purchasing an expensive ticket (last-minute fare, First Class seat), you’ll probably get a better value by transferring your Virgin America points to Alaska Airlines.