By: Liza Weeks
The merger between Alaska Airlines and Virgin America closed in December of 2016 and is underway and you may be affected by the changes. But no worries, we have you covered with a summation of everything you need to know.
The biggest change is the Virgin America brand will be completely scrapped in 2019, and the Virgin America Elevate program will no longer exist as of January 1, 2018. The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program will be the sole loyalty program for both airlines, and only Alaska’s name and logo will be used.
But Elevate members need not worry about losing their hard-earned points, they will be converted to Mileage Plan miles! From now until December 31, 2017, Elevate members can convert their points to Mileage Plan miles with a 30% bonus. Should you not choose to do so, your points will be automatically converted on January 1, 2018, but without the added bonus.
AND as an Elevate member, if you open an Alaska Airlines account by April 30, 2017, you’ll enjoy $100 or 10,000 Mileage Plan miles!
Elevate members can continue earning and redeeming points with Virgin and its partners through Fall of 2017. An exact end date for earning Elevate points has not yet been announced but the last date they can be redeemed is December 31, 2017.
You can book award travel on Virgin America flights using Elevate points through December 31, 2017, for travel before January 15, 2018.
Elevate members should look out for an email from Alaska Mileage Plan with their pre-assigned Mileage Plan number and additional information including how to activate their new account.
And remember, at the time of activation you can choose between a $100 coupon code or 10,000 bonus miles. This offer is only available through April 30, 2017, so you want to make sure you activate your account soon so you don’t miss out on the bonus! Since we value Mileage Plan miles at 1.5 cents per mile, the 10,000 bonus miles are worth about $150 making that the more lucrative choice of the two.
Frequent fliers of Virgin probably enjoy the little things that make that airline unique - new, trendy music played at gates an onboard; mood lighting; enhanced in-flight entertainment. Alaska has said it will adopt these features, among others, to maintain the unique flying experience offered by Virgin.
Those who have purchased monthly or annual GoGo WiFi passes may use them on either airline through the end of 2017.
Members of Elevate who joined before March 23, 2017, who qualify for Gold or Silver status in 2017 will be matched to the equivalent status in Alaska’s Mileage Plan program in 2018.
For more information on the merger and what you can expect, check out the FAQs.
Yes, the Virgin America brand is fading off into the sunset. But no, the brand’s unique style won’t be. You will just experience it under a different name and logo. And more importantly, your hard-earned Elevate points won’t be leaving either. You just need to convert them over to Mileage Plan miles, and if you do it before the end of the year you will get some bonus points!
We look forward to experiencing the new Alaska Airlines after the merger. It is now the fifth-largest airline in the US and offers the most West Coast destinations. trvlvip is based out of Seattle and we are loyal to Alaska, and we are looking forward to experiencing Alaska’s more virginal side.
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