Are VX Elevate points nearly worthless?

Discussion in 'Virgin America | Elevate' started by gradientdescent, Feb 11, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. gradientdescent

    gradientdescent Member

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    Am just starting to fly VX regularly after sticking with UA for the past few years.

    It seems like VX's Elevate program is pretty impoverished... can't use points for upgrades, can't obtain status, can't spend points on Virgin Atlantic until Q2 2011 (from what I've read), and when you fly discount economy on Virgin Atlantic, you get 10% of the miles flown as points.

    One analysis I read noted that a VX member would have to fly something like 27 trips from JFK to LON to earn a free ticket on that route.

    Does anybody take Elevate seriously, and if so, why are they excited to bank their hard-earned points with this program? Should I be crediting my VX travel to another program instead?
     
  2. aviators99
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    aviators99 Silver Member

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    No, it is not a great program, especially for use on other carriers. But it's *okay* if you are going to use it to travel on VX. The thing I like about it is that the points are directly convertible to dollars for use on VX. So every seat on the plane can be bought using either dollars or points, with the dollar amount dictating how many points. So you want to look for the cheapest flight, as opposed to the most expensive flight (what you would do with legacy FF programs).

    I earn most of my VX points using their credit card, which I only use at places that don't take Amex (plus to purchase VX travel, for the 3x bonus). Then when I am taking personal travel on VX, I just use the points. With other airlines, I wait until the points have the most value. If a flight is $99 round trip, I wouldn't dream of wasting CO miles on it, when the same amount of miles could get me a $999 trip. But with VX, a $99 trip is a great thing to use points for.
     
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  3. gradientdescent

    gradientdescent Member

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    I like your point however about using VX points to buy cheap seats: that's true, it's the opposite mentality from other legacy FF programs. But for me, I feel that using miles for last-minute expensive tickets is a pretty valuable feature of legacy programs. It doesn't feel very exciting to score a $99 ticket with a few points. FF miles seems exciting when used for upgrades to expensive seats that I would never purchase, or when you can spend 25k miles on a last-minute seat that otherwise costs $600. Maybe that's just me.
     
  4. Sean
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    Sean Gold Member

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    I'll put it this way. VX is my absolute favorite airline in terms of domestic passenger experience. I love the mood lighting, the entertainment and the ability to order food from your seat.

    However...

    EleVate points are so worthless that I cannot justify flying on VX, even when they are cheaper than United. With 7 or 8 transcons two years ago I now have enough points to get maybe a one-way transcon on a Tuesday. On United now that I have Premier executive status, I'll earn 9,152 miles for every IAD-LAX round trip. I can get 3/4ths of the way to a free one way ticket with a single flight!

    My EleVate points will languish untill i can redeem them for a LAX-SFO flight, or they'll expire, i don't really care.
     
  5. I just hope legacy airlines don't try to push for something like this
     
  6. friedice
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    friedice Active Member

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    I guess people here have reasons for not liking EleVate, but I actually find the program very useful when redeeming for my purposes. First of all, EleVate points have a fixed value of 2.1x c/mile (can't remember the exact number). In legacy programs that would be considered a great value if you could redeem miles for domestic coach at that rate. Secondly, when U use points as opposed to paying, certain fees and taxes are eliminated, making it only $2.50 one way in taxes. That could save an additional $20-30 per roundtrip, depending on the itinerary. Thirdly, although this was mentioned, if the flight is available, you can always get it for points and you don't have to pay any close in fees that several legacy carriers still have. This program is especially great if you're flying short segments for points and you are based from SFO or LAX. As an example, the other day, I flew my GF from LAX to SFO last minute, the flight was about $160 accross every carrier that flew that route. I used VX points at a rate 2+c/ mile, for a total of ~7.5k points (instant upgrade to Main Cabin Select, exit row seats). if I used some legacy carrier such as UA or AA, it would have been 12.5k, and AA would have charged me $100 close in fee if I weren't Gold.

    Now, having said all that, I agree that in terms of earning by flying, this is a not so great program. So what I do, is I use my Virgin America Visa card for purchases, including US Mint. Works out really well.
     
  7. I do have to agree with the earlier posts. In terms of flight experience, VA is on the top of my list but earning VA points is just difficult especially for bargain flyers like me. I would prefer to buy flights when they're on sale than use my points but of course if the airfare is cheap then I earn even less points.

    Ever since I joined eleVate, I've only redeemed 2 one-way flights from the points I earned from 4 roundtrip flights.
     
  8. hungarianhc
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    hungarianhc Silver Member

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    I don't find the elevate program very good at all.

    However, for non-frequent fliers, I think Virgin America is by far the best domestic experience in the country. I enjoy flying it, and I'll fly it every so often if the fare is right. But beyond that, I typically just fly once every 18 months, in order to keep my points active. I figure someday I'll have enough points to redeem a flight to CUN or something like that. Maybe I never will... If I keep flying them this infrequently, and they de-value, maybe i'll just be forever chasing :).
     
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  9. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    You could bank VX flights with VS at 50% credit. VS points are considerably more useful- in fact, I wish VS would take over Elevate and put people into Flying Club, the same way that Miles and More has taken over other LH group airlines.
     

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