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Virgin America, Emirates Link Mileage Programs

Virgin America, Emirates Link Mileage Programs

Beginning this week, members of Virgin America’s Elevate program can earn and redeem points for flights on Emirates, with service to 135 destinations in 76 countries. From the U.S., Emirates flies from New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, Seattle, Houston, and Dallas/Fort Worth.

The tie-up is a reciprocal one, meaning that members of Emirates’ Skywards program can also earn and redeem miles for Virgin America flights.

Earning rates for Emirates flights are as follows:

  • Discount coach (B, G, H, K, L, M, Q, T, U, V, X) – 20% of flown miles
  • Full coach (E, R, W, Y) – 20% of flown miles
  • Business class (C, I, J, P, O) – 60% of flown miles
  • First class (A, F) – 80% of flown miles

Caveat: “Just make sure to check at the time of booking to see if your class of travel is eligible for Elevate points.” That suggests that some discounted coach fares earn no Elevate credit at all.

On the redemption side, fuel surcharges can make many Emirates awards pricey propositions.

A test booking for an Emirates award flight from New York to Dubai priced out at 27,000 points plus $350 in taxes and fees each way for coach, and 57,000 points and $670 in taxes and fees each way for business class.

Although the partnership doesn’t add any outsized value to Virgin America’s program, it’s at least a much needed step toward expanding the partner roster.

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  • Nick Aster

    With taxe and fees, redemption on emirates is a complete joke. Same goes for virgin Atlantic where a “free” round trip is over $700 in tax. It’s nice to be able to earn elevate points in other ways but why even bother pretending there is redemption value?

  • Shankar/Selina

    Like to see the actual taxes distributed and the so-called fuel surcharges. Do they actual expect people to believe their bull? Perhaps a little government investigation might set them straight.