Virgin America Starwood Preferred Guest Partnership Offers Reward Members More Transfer Options & Earning Potential
Great news for both Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members and frequent Virgin America flyers. Virgin America and Starwood announced last week that the two brands have entered into a mutually beneficial partnership that will give SPG members the ability to transfer Starwood “Starpoints” to Virgin America “Elevate” points at a 1 to 1 ratio going forward. At the same time, Elevate rewards members will earn up to 2 points per dollar spent on or during hotel stays at any Starwood property.
Dana Rosenberg, Vice President of Global Partnerships at Starwood was enthusiastic about enhanced flexibility the partnership offers for both Starwood Preferred Guest and Virgin Elevate reward members.
“This new partnership will enable SPG and Virgin America to extend loyalty outside of our hotels and beyond the window seat by giving our members transfer benefits and earning power,” said Dana Rosenberg, Vice President, Global Partnerships at Starwood. “This will enhance the travel experience for our most valuable members and gives both Virgin American and Starwood an opportunity to reach frequent travellers who aren’t part of our programs and capture greater share of the global, high-end traveller.”
Stuart Dinnis, who’s the Director of Loyalty with Virgin America was quick to note that the new partnership made sense given that both Virgin and Starwoods’ brand identities fall in similar lines.
“Both of our brands are known for providing fresh, modern and upscale travel experiences and Starwood Properties will be tremendously popular with our discerning flyers. We’re looking forward to welcoming SPG members who may not have yet experienced Virgin America’s award-winning service,” Dinnis said.
The announcement comes at an interesting time, as Virgin America has also just expanded their routes to include daily non-stop flights from Los Angeles to Hawaii. What makes this even more interesting from a timing perspective is that despite a recent deal with Marriott to acquire Starwood, the world-renown loyalty program is continuing to expand their partner portfolio.
Starwood Maui Vacation Giveaway
In an effort to generate additional buzz around the new partnership, the two brands have also come together to offer loyalty members an opportunity to bid on a couple of valuable vacation packages. Right now members can win a vacation package for two on Virgin inaugural flights to Maui. The package includes four night stays at SPG’s Westin Maui. SPG had been running a separate giveaway to Honolulu, but it was already sold for 150,000 Starpoints. You can still bid on the Maui vacation package here.
Virgin has always been one of my preferred domestic airlines to fly. Why? Well, the ambiance and mood-lighting may have something to do with it. They shake things up with not only the look and feel of their cabins, but they provide unmatched comfort and convenience to modern travelers.
Most of their planes are new with various classes of service offered. Included are touch-screen TVs, WiFi and power outlets throughout the cabin by each seat.
The Elevate Rewards Program itself offers some valuable benefits to members, including dynamic reward pricing which lets you use points to claim any unsold seat on any flight — even last minute. Elevate members can acheive “Elevate Gold” and “Elevate Silver” status which allows for free checked bags, priority check-in, boarding and security clearance. Complimentary upgrades for more space as it becomes available are also attainable as are preferred seat assignments in coach. Lastly, Elevate status gives members access to the Virgin America Loft Lounge at LAX Airport.
If you’ve got the Virgin America Credit Card, card members don’t have to pay fees to cancel or change a flight, even if it’s non-refundable.
Their unique service offerings and comfort hasn’t been overlooked. For the past 8 years in a row, Virgin has racked up awards for “Best Domestic Airline” by both Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.
Where Does Virgin America Fly?
Currently, Virgin America flies to the following destinations and routes are expected to expand.
Austin, Boston, Cancun, Chicago, Denver, Dallas Love Field, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Los Cabos, Newark, New York (JFK and LGA), Orlando, Palm Springs, Portland, Puerto Vallarta, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington D.C. (IAD and DCA), Honolulu and Maui–Kahului.
Transfer Starpoints to Virgin Elevate Points – How it Works
So how do you transfer SPG points to Virgin America? First, you can initiate the transfer via Starwood’s website. Note, however, that there are some terms associated with transferring your points. Make sure you read the below terms carefully so you don’t get any surprises.
- Starpoints Transfer to Virgin Elevate Points at a 1 to 1 ratio
- No minimum SPG transfer requirement if you’re a platinum member
- Starwood Gold members must transfer at least 1500 Starpoints
- Starwood Preferred members must transfer a minimum of 2500 points to Virgin
- Earn 2x Virgin Elevate Points per $1 on Starwood Hotel stays
- Transfer up to 79,999 Starpoints to Virgin per transfer. Every 20,000 Starpoints transferred will net you a bonus of 5,000 Starpoints, for a total of up to 94,999 Virgin Elevate points
- You can only make one airline transfer transaction within 24 hours
- Make sure your SPG and Virgin Elevate accounts have the exact same full names
- Transfers may take up to 48 hours to go through and they can’t be reversed, it could take up to 7 – 10 business days for Virgin Elevate Points to propogate into your frequent flyer account
- Transferring SPG points to the Elevate Frequent Flyer Program does not count towards earning status
- Note that if you book a Virgin flight over the phone you’re subject to a $20 fee