American Express and Virgin America are running two promotions that can be combined.
- Receive a 25% transfer bonus when you transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Virgin America (normally ratio is 200 MR points to 100 Virgin America points, this makes it 200 to 125)
- Receive Gold Status with Virgin America when you transfer 80,000 or more MR points to Virgin America
The Fine Print
- Transfer bonus valid until October 8th, 2015
- Status bonus valid until December 31st, 2015
- Transfers for status bonus can be done in multiple transactions during the promo period
- Status will be awarded for qualifying Card Members within 14 days of transfer of 80,000 points and will remain in effect until Feb 28, 2017
- For each conversion of points into the Frequent Flyer program of a U.S. airline, a fee of $0.0006 per point, with a maximum fee of $99, will be charged to your Card account. We charge this fee to offset the federal excise tax we must pay on such conversions
You can see a full list of the benefits that gold status gives you here.
Virgin America points have a fixed value of 2.2¢ when redeeming them for domestic Virgin America flights, which means you’d be getting 1.375¢ per point in value from your American Express points. That’s not bad value, but it’s not great either. You can also redeem them for partner flights but you’re usually stuck with a high fuel surcharge so I’m not sure that’s a great idea.
I don’t think having gold status with Virgin America really makes sense unless you often have paid flights with them, but each to their own. The other thing to consider is what transfer bonuses American Express has offered in the past, you can view a full list by clicking here and I’ve also listed the Virgin America bonuses below for convenience.
- January 15th – February 15th, 2015: 35% bonus
- April 16th – April 30th, 2014: 30% bonus
- January 17th – January 31st, 2014: 40% bonus
- September 16th – September 30th, 2013: 40% bonus
- October 27th – September 2nd, 2012: 30% bonus
- March 19th – March 26th, 2012: 30% bonus
They also offered the following targeted bonuses:
- September 15th – October 15th, 2014: 50%
- November 7th – November 21st, 2012. 50%
As you can see they offered a 35% bonus earlier this year and targeted bonuses of up to 50%. Personally I’d wait until something better comes along unless you really want that gold status. Hopefully we’ll see more of these bonuses, especially with Best Western due to leave the program at the end of the year and Avios having it’s transfer rate cut.
Hat tip to View From The Wing