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AMEX Offers 30% Bonus To Virgin America – Steer Clear

I love the American Express Membership Rewards program because you never know whats next! The most current transfer bonus comes from Virgin America, not to confuse it with Virgin Atlantic. While a 30% transfer bonus is decent, their points to miles ratio is pretty bad. These transfer bonuses pop up throughout the year, such as the current 50% transfer bonus to British Airways and the popular transfer bonuses to Delta, which there hasn’t been a Delta transfer bonus since 2011.

The transfer ratio from AMEX MR to Virgin America is 2:1. Meaning for every 2 AMEX points you transfer you will receive 1 Virgin America point (Elevate Point). The normal transfer rate is 200 AMEX points to 100 Elevate Points. With the 30% bonus, you get 130 Elevate Points for every 200 AMEX points you transfer.

Besides the transfer ratio between AMEX and Elevate Points, the value of each Elevate Pt when redeeming a reward ticket becomes 2.3 cents, about the same value as when redeeming rewards with Delta. BUT you have to take into account the value of the points being transfer from AMEX to Elevate Pts, since the ratio is 2:1, the actual value of your ticket cost more from using Virgin America rather than another airline. I searched for the cheapest flight from Seattle (SEA) to New York (JFK), the cost came out to $629.20 or 27,256 Elevate Points/42,000 AMEX Points.

Redeeming travel awards with Delta requires between 25,000 and 40,000 miles. I checked the same flight from Seattle to New York, except Delta offers a direct flight starting off at 32,500 miles. Not only is the flight better but the price in points is 9,500 less and $5 less!

I personally try to find the best travel deals when using my rewards miles or rewards points, so I always like to see what offers and deals are currently running. For me its clear that Virgin America loses value with their 2:1 transfer ratio from my American Express rewards. I have never flown on Virgin America and do not know their service, plane comfort or anything else about the airline.

About Derek

I currently live in beautiful Alaska with my wife! Living in Alaska i have learned that it cost so much more just to travel anywhere! In order to fly anywhere it cost us an extra $250+ a ticket. We use miles and points to fly nearly everywhere for free, usually in First Class. You can also follow me on Twitter or Facebook or why not signup to receive new blog post via email or in RSS reader