In case you have any questions whether airlines are aware of their competitors’ promotions and how consumers are gaming those promos, you can wonder no more. Virgin America just let us know that it is (and has a sense of humor about it).
A few weeks ago, on the back of a failed attempt to purchase Virgin America, JetBlue announced a promotion to woo Virgin America customers. It offered to match customers’ Elevate balance, using various breakpoints to let you know how many TrueBlue points you would get. Once you took a single JetBlue roundtrip flight, before the promo’s expiration, they would give you the match. It broke down as follows:
With no criteria around how you had to earn the Elevate points, customers took the easiest path possible: They transferred in points from a different program. All of a sudden, 40,001 Starwood Preferred Guest points were worth 50,000 Virgin America points and 50,000 TrueBlue points. And that’s if you started off with a zero Elevate balance. The deal quickly went viral.
And if you don’t need Virgin America points? Don’t worry, they’ll soon be part of Mileage Plan.
The Virgin America Email
As someone who had taken advantage of the offer, I received the following email (highlighted by the cover photo):
Okay, so it’s a little eerie that Virgin America made a point of showing that they knew exactly what I was doing. But clearly, they saw a ton of transfers in and figured out what was going on. The icing on the cake, though, is that they took the opportunity to launch a fare sale and take a shot at their competitor. You need to book by August 29 and fly through October 15, with few other restrictions. The terms and conditions do say that the offer is non-transferable. If you didn’t get the email, the unique discount code may not work for you. If you did, however, and don’t plan on using it, it may be worth passing it along so somebody can try. It’s one-time use, so spend wisely.