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The One (and Possibly Two) Reason(s) to Grab the Higher Bonus on the Virgin America Elevate Credit Card (You’re Headed to American Samoa!)

LINK: Virgin America Elevate Visa Credit Card

The Virgin America Elevate frequent flyer program is pretty useless with its distance-based points redemption program. I’ve really paid little attention to it – I generally can’t be bothered with programs that don’t have a chart.

Until today – I saw a release this morning touting a new not-quite-codeshare partnership between Virgin America and Hawaiian Airlines. Whatever. If you want to redeem Hawaiian Airlines miles on Virgin America it’s a joke – flights under 750 miles each way are 20,000 miles roundtrip. Flights over 2,000 miles (transcons) are 40,000 miles round trip. Seriously.

Except – if you want a roundtrip ticket from the West Coast to Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines it’s only 20,000 Virgin America Elevate points.

I have no idea how much flying you’d have to do to earn that many points, but I do know that it would take 40,000 Membership Rewards points to get 20,000 Elevate points. Bleh.

However, Virgin America just increased the bonus on their credit card to 20,000 miles after first purchase. Sure, there’s an annoying $49 fee that they don’t waive the first year, but hey – remember it’s only 20,000 miles for a roundtrip ticket to Hawaii. No, it doesn’t include connecting service on Virgin America. But if you’re in a Hawaiian Airlines city, it’s a free ticket.

Oh, and the other reason: they only charge 6,000 miles for inter-island roundtrip flights on Hawaiian (less than anyone else out there), and you can redeem a one-way for 3,000 miles. If you fly frequently inter-island, that may be a reason to grab the card (for 3 free interisland flights).

Just a thought…

(ADDITIONAL INFO I JUST DISCOVERED:) This Hawaiian Airlines thing is actually sort of interesting. Honolulu to Pago Pago (American Samoa) is also 20,000 points round trip – that costs about $900 in coach normally. And Honolulu to Papeete, Tahiti, is just 20,000 points (though Tahiti is just once a week). That’s a shame because you could use 20,000 25,000 Avios points to get to Honolulu from California and just another 20,000 Elevate points to get to Tahiti — 40,000 points from LA to Tahiti roundtrip. Not too shabby. Perhaps it’s time to consider Pago Pago…(or not)

(Disclaimer: those are affiliate links…feel free not to use)


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  1. the intra Hawaiian Island trips do sound tempting…

  2. Rapid Travel Chai

    Pago Pago for me, anything to make the South Pacific more financially tolerable.

  3. My Week in Points November 11-17: the depths of Gol and George - Rapid Travel Chai - pingback on November 20, 2012 at 7:38 am
  4. you could use 20,000 Avios points to get to Honolulu from California

    just wondering which city pair for only 10,000 one-way? I checked LAX-HNL and it’s 12,500 o/w.

  5. Barclays credit cards 101, and how many can you get at once, 4, 5 or more? - Rapid Travel Chai - pingback on December 12, 2012 at 11:52 am
  6. Good tip. I and my wife just got the VA card approved instantly using your link yesterday Dec. 14 for the 20K points offer on 1st purchase.

    I probably would have waited until later next year, but I noticed when I signed up for the VA mileage program, I got a popup offer for the VA card and they only offered a 10K point bonus. I also looked at the barclay site and they have recently changed the bonus offer from 20K to 10K. So I am happy I jumped on it yesterday.

    Thanks for all the good tips!

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    one of the best in its niche. Awesome blog!

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Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  • My Week in Points November 11-17: the depths of Gol and George - Rapid Travel Chai - Pingback on 2012/11/20/ 07:38
  • Barclays credit cards 101, and how many can you get at once, 4, 5 or more? - Rapid Travel Chai - Pingback on 2012/12/12/ 11:52

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