Read more »


Where Are the Good Values with the 40% Transfer Bonus from Membership Rewards to Virgin America Elevate?

Amex Membership Rewards is offering a 40% transfer bonus when you move your points to Virgin America’s Elevate program until September 30th. That means that 200 Membership Rewards points translate to 140 Elevate points.

No, I didn’t know what the hell that meant either. But that’s why you’re reading this, isn’t it? I thought I’d post some of the more reasonable uses for this promo:


Transcon flights on Virgin America in coach are roughly 13,000 points roundtrip, which rounds up to 19,000 Membership Rewards points. Not bad. First class are a ridiculous 140,000 points. We won’t even discuss that.

Short-haul (SFO-LAX, for example) are 4,500 or so Elevate points round trip, or about 7,000 Membership Rewards points (even better than Avios!)

They allow redemptions on 4 partners: Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, Hawaiian Airlines, and Singapore Airlines. you can do the calculations for the number of miles you need here.


Redemptions on the 2 Virgins (?) include ridiculous fuel surcharges, so we’ll skip those. Well, except for short- and mid-haul routes on Virgin Australia. Trans-Tasman routes are pretty reasonable: Sydney-Auckland is 16,000 Elevate, or 23,000 Membership Rewards points for round trip in coach (plus $180). Better than the 35,000 that United charges (though they have no fuel surcharges). Flights within Australia are also reasonable: Sydney to Gold Coast, for example, are 6,000 elevate or 9,000 Membership Rewards points (plus $36 in fees) for a roundtrip ticket (the same as it’d cost you for Avios.


Good value on inter-island flights: 5,000 Elevate points, or 8,000 Membership Rewards points for a roundtrip ticket within the islands. I believe this is the best-priced award option within Hawaii. Hawaii to the West Coast is 20k Elevate/29k Membership Rewards (worse than Avios, better than most airlines). Good value to Pago Pago (American Samoa) and Papeete (Tahiti) from Honolulu — 20k Elevate/29k Membership Rewards roundtrip in coach.


Great value on Singapore Airlines from New York to Frankfurt: 20k Elevate or 29k Membership Rewards (plus $144 in fees) for a roundtrip coach ticket. Business is 70k Elevate /100k Membership Rewards (nothing special). Houston-Moscow, though, is much more expensive. Flights to Asia are about on-par (perhaps slightly more expensive) than you’d find on other airlines.

Did you enjoy this post?
Sign Up to Receive 1 Email Each Day
Join the more than 7000+ people who get 1 email each day with all the airline news, credit card ideas and general nonsense we've provided for more than 10 years.
Leave a comment ?


  1. I saw this offer and was seriously considering it for an intra-Austalia flight (SYD-AYQ) but since my dates are not entirely locked down, it looks like Avios are roughly equivalent in cost and have lower fees if I had to make a change. I’d be more willing if the ratio was 100 MR -> 140 elevate.

  2. HA award is 6k RT not 5k

  3. Oops disregard that previous comment. Had the 3k oneway in my head and didn’t realize the RT was less.

  4. Do you have any idea what availability is like on HA to American Samoa and Tahiti, in coach?

Leave a Comment

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>