Virgin America Elevate is beginning to look more like a full-fledged frequent flyer program with its recent changes. The program has thankfully revised its points expiration policy and points will no longer expire as long as members earn or redeem points at least once every 18 months. Points previously expired in 18 months, regardless of account activity.
Earning points (and keeping your points from expiring) is now even easier with the introduction of a new mileage mall. Virgin America Elevate members can now earn points through online shopping at The Red Store. Over 150 popular retailers are featured including Apple Online Store, BarnesandNoble.com, BestBuy.com, homedepot.com, macys.com, Target.com and more.
Elevate members can earn up to 12 points per $2 spent. For example, the Apple Store, Dell, Staples, Best Buy and Buy.com earn one point per $2 spent while Target, Barnes & Noble and QVC.com earn two points per $2 spent.
You can search for products by categories such as Department Stores, Electronics, Flowers, Gift Cards, Health & Beauty and more.
Virgin America also recently partnered with the program’s first hotel group, Hilton, and Elevate members can get double miles for Hilton stays through April 20, 2010. Visit http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?2258 to shop and to book your Hilton hotel stay.
Bottom line: One of the downsides to the Virgin America Elevate program has been the restrictive “use ’em or lose ’em” expiration policy. No doubt Virgin America noticed statements like this one from a FlyerTalk member, “As far as I’m concerned, the 18-month expiration means I look at VX as a carrier without a frequent flyer program when deciding whether to choose it over any other airline,” and decided to do something about it. Elevate members can now keep their points alive indefinitely and the change to the expiration policy makes the program more competitive with other FFP programs that allow members to retain their points with account activity.
Elevate has had a slow start so it’s good to see these latest developments. Virgin America also announced that “More Elevate partnerships and rewards are planned to roll out later this spring”, which is encouraging. We would like to see the program improve the shopping experience for members by allowing them to spend their miles for online purchases.