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Virgin America gives one lucky loyalty member the gift of space flight

Posted by Melanie Nayer  July 23, 2012 11:40 AM

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Virgin America is giving flyers a reason to believe in loyalty programs again.

The award-winning low-cost airline announced new status benefits to its Elevate® frequent flyer program, including one out-of-this-world (literally) award to its top frequent flyer: the Elevate member who earns the most status points between Aug. 8, 2012 and Aug. 7, 2013, will earn a seat on a sub-orbital space flight on Virgin Galactic (currently fetching about $200,000 per seat).

Take a moment to digest that.

Virgin America made the announcement today at the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention in Boston.

In addition to space flight, the airline’s other loyalty flyers top will enjoy new perks with Elevate Gold and Elevate Silver status including: priority check-in, security clearance and boarding; points earning bonuses; free checked bag allowances; enhanced digital/social rewards; private discounts; an expanded advance purchase upgrade window for the airline’s exclusive eight-seat First Class; complimentary space-available upgrades to the carrier’s premium Main Cabin Select service; and complimentary access to the best seat assignments within Main Cabin (Virgin America's definition of "coach seating").

Elevate Red members will have access to the most sought-after seats in its Main Cabin for an additional $20, and include priority boarding privileges and preferred overhead bin space. Main Cabin Express (comparable to a business class seat) seats that remain unsold 24 hours prior to flight will be free of charge as available seats for all guests at check-in.

You need 50,000 Elevate points to earn Gold status and 20,000 Elevate points for Silver status. If you're already an Elevate member, Virgin will automatically grant you Elevate Gold or Elevate Silver status as of today, based on your cumulative flight activity over the past year.

“As we prepare to mark our five-year anniversary, we wanted to roll out a new level of benefits to the loyal business and leisure travelers who got us where we are today,” said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush. “Since Virgin America’s launch, our goal has been to reinvent domestic flying for the better, whether through inventive cabin amenities or a no black-out date loyalty program – which in 2007 was something unique in the domestic industry. We’ve been fortunate enough to attract a loyal guest following, and are pleased to take Elevate to the next level by offering meaningful new benefits for our most valued travelers.”

Remember: it's not all about credit cards and cashing in when it comes to points on Virgn America. The airline also awards frequent flyer points for virtual “check-ins” via Topguest, and Elevate Gold and Elevate Silver members will now be able to earn double points by virtually ‘checking in’ at the airline’s airport terminals, gates and other locations through applications including Facebook, Instagram and Foursquare.

All of the details, including the Virgin Galactic details and Elevate status levels and benefits, can be viewed on the airline’s website at:

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This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Melanie Nayer is a travel writer who spent many years in the newsroom before jetting off to see the world. Her goal is to bring readers the best insider information More »

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