Got elite status with American or United? Wondering what it would be like to enjoy similar status in Virgin America’s Elevate program? This limited-time status match — Virgin America’s first since rolling out its elite tiers on August 8 — is a chance to experience the perks of loyalty without actually earning them.
Through April 30, 2013, Virgin America will match the statusElevate members have earned in either American’s AAdvantage or United’s MileagePlus programs.
Elevate members with Silver or Gold status with United, or Gold or Platinum status with American, will receive Silver status with Virgin America. Elevate members with Platinum or 1K status with United, or Executive Platinum status with American, will receive Gold status with Virgin America.
Status will remain in effect through April 30, 2013, and can be extended through the end of 2013 by earning the following Elevate status points by April 30:
- Silver – 8,000 points (3,000 points for Virgin America Visa cardholders)
- Gold – 12,000 points (5,000 points for Virgin America Visa cardholders)
To have their status matched, Elevate members must provide either a copy or screenshot of their most recent mileage summary, or a copy of their elite membership card from American or United.
Deal or No Deal
Status matches typically take place among full-service airlines, where the benefits of elite membership in the various programs are roughly similar.
But low-cost carriers such as Virgin America, JetBlue, and Southwest have been reluctant to call attention to their elite programs, because they tended to compare unfavorably with the full-service airlines’ elite offerings.
So Virgin America’s very public matching offer invites a closer look at the perks that come with elite status in the Elevate program.
Here’s what you get as an Elevate elite:
- Complimentary space-available upgrades to Main Cabin Select (38-inch-pitch seats)
- Complimentary access to the best seats in the Main Cabin
- Expanded advance purchase upgrade window for paid first-class upgrades
- Points-earning bonuses: 25 percent for Silver, 100 percent for Gold
- Priority first-class check-in, security clearance and boarding
- Discounts of 25 percent on a non-refundable Main Cabin ticket – one per year
- for Silver; two for Gold
- Free checked bag allowances
- Dedicated elite phone lines
No complimentary first-class upgrades, it’s true. But otherwise, Virgin America’s package of elite perks is pretty robust, comparable in most respects with those of the legacy carriers.
If Virgin America’s route network is a good fit with your travel patterns, and you’re in a position to take advantage of this match, give it a try. The price is right, and you might discover a new airline worthy of your business.
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