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Virgin America Unveils Status Benefits For Elevate® Members, Top Frequent Flyer To Earn The Ultimate Reward - A Virgin Galactic Space Flight

07/24/2012 | PR Newswire




BOSTON, July 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, at this year's Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention, Virgin America announces a suite of enhancements to its Elevate® frequent flyer program that promise to make travel even more rewarding for the airline's most loyal guests. As of this summer, the airline's top flyers can enjoy new Elevate Gold and Elevate Silver status levels within the program, with perks that include: 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. Today, Virgin America also announces that in keeping with its mission to elevate the travel experience ? and the concept of loyalty rewards ? to new heights, the Elevate member who earns the most status points between August 8, 2012 and August 7, 2013, will earn the ultimate roundtrip flight reward*: a sub-orbital space flight on Virgin Galactic. These Elevate enhancements, which go into effect August 8, 2012, are timed to coincide with the airline's fifth anniversary.

"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."

Since its launch in 2007, Virgin America has grown a passionate following of flyers for its unique blend of low fares, topnotch guest service and upscale amenities. The airline has swept the major travel awards, including: "Best U.S. Airline" in Conde Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards for the past four years; "Best U.S. Business/First Class" in Conde Nast Traveler Business Travel Poll for the past four years; and "Best Domestic Airline" for the fifth consecutive year in Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards.

Elevate members who earn 50,000 Elevate status points** in a full calendar year will achieve Elevate Gold status and members who earn 20,000 Elevate status points** in a calendar year will achieve Elevate Silver status. Qualifying existing members will automatically receive Elevate Gold or Elevate Silver status as of today, in recognition of their cumulative flight activity over the past year, enabling them to use the new benefits as of August 8, 2012 through 2013. Elevate status points can be earned for purchased flights with Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia, and for select purchases made with the Virgin America Visa Signature credit card.

The new Elevate status levels also offer enhanced social rewards. As the only airline based in Silicon Valley, Virgin America was the first U.S. airline to award frequent flyer points for virtual "check-ins" via Topguest, a product of Switchfly, Inc. 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 like Facebook, Instagram and Foursquare. Elevate Gold and Elevate Silver members will be able to obtain a physical membership card as well as a digital badge ? which is share-able via social networks. The latter will allow status members to earn 3,500**** Elevate Reward points just by referring qualified new friends to Elevate via their social networks.*****

In addition to both the expanded advance purchase upgrade window for Virgin America's exclusive eight-seat First Class and complimentary advance upgrades for the carrier's premium Main Cabin Select, the airline will begin designating the most sought-after seats in its Main Cabin ? seats in rows five, six and nine aboard the Company's Airbus A319 planes and rows five, six, seven and nine aboard A320 planes for status members. Starting later this summer, Elevate Gold and Elevate Silver members will have complimentary access to these "Main Cabin Express" seats at the time of booking. Elevate Red members and all other guests will also be able to purchase Main Cabin Express seats at booking, as available, for an additional $20 on the base fare. In addition to a premium confirmed seat, the service will include priority boarding privileges and preferred overhead bin space. Main Cabin Express seats that remain unsold 24 hours prior to flight will be free of charge as available seats for all guests at check-in.

In 2011, the airline launched a 'beta' test of status benefits to a select pool of its top frequent flyers.

"We're excited to add these new benefits to Elevate in response to direct feedback from our members," added Phil Seward, Director of Guest Loyalty at Virgin America. "We do not have a traditional legacy airline product, with a diluted First Class or premium economy. We heard from our loyal guests that we needed to preserve the industry-leading quality of our product, and offer options that allow frequent travelers to avoid the unpredictability associated with status upgrades. As a result, in addition to offering complimentary upgrades to Main Cabin Select, we're offering an extended advance purchase window to let our status members confirm an upgrade to First Class up to 24 hours before their flight ? the number one most requested feature when we polled our top members. Our top guests tend to be passionate about the brand and we wanted to roll out these new perks with a Virgin twist. Offering a space flight as the ultimate frequent flyer reward seemed a fitting way to recognize our most loyal guest."

Elevate was among the first U.S. loyalty programs to offer dynamic reward pricing ? or the ability for guests to redeem points for any unsold seat ? on any flight, at any time. The highlights of the new Elevate status levels and benefits are listed below, and full program details can be viewed on the airline's website at: www.virginamerica.com/elevatebenefits






Status Points Required (per calendar year)

Status points required to reach Elevate status level

20,000status points

50,000status points

Elevate Reward Points

Earn 5 Elevate reward points per $1 spent on Virgin America flights


+ 25% Bonus

+ 100% Bonus

Earn Elevate reward points for flights on Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, and select partner airlines




Main Cabin Seating

Complimentary Main Cabin Express seat selection

At Check-In

At Booking

At Booking


Complimentary upgrades to Main Cabin Select

- 12 hours

- 24 hours

Advance purchase window for First Class upgrades

- 6 hours

- 12 hours

- 24 hours

Priority Airport Services

Priority Check-in



Priority Security



Priority Boarding



Priority reservation line, live chat, and email

Elevate SilverDedicated Line

Elevate GoldDedicated Line

Discounts and Fee Waivers

Take 25% off any non-refundable Main Cabin ticket

(Good for any day of the year)

1 Ticket per Year

2 Tickets per Year

Complimentary checked bags weighing up to 50 lbs.

1 Free Checked Bag

3 Free Checked Bags

Elevate Redeposit Fee



No Fee

Call Center Service Fee


No Fee

No Fee

Partner Offers

Exclusive deals and seasonal promotions from Elevate partners




With one of the youngest fleets in the U.S., Virgin America offers guests in every class of service custom-designed seating, WiFi, a 'moodlighting' system which transitions across 12 shades based on outside light, power outlets near every seat and the most advanced in-flight entertainment system in the skies. In addition to a Main Cabin that offers leather seating with a deeper, more comfortable pitch, the airline's international-grade First Class offers plush white leather seating with 55 inches of pitch, 165 degrees of recline and lumbar massagers. The carrier's Main Cabin Select offers 38-inches of pitch, free food and cocktails, an all-access pass to media, dedicated overhead bins and priority check-in/boarding. The new Main Cabin Express seats include all Main Cabin amenities along with priority boarding and preferred overhead bin space.

For broadcast-quality b-roll video and photos of Virgin America aircraft and cabins: http://www.virginamerica.com/vx/photos


Virgin America: Headquartered in California, Virgin America offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel. The airline's base of operations is San Francisco International Airport (SFO)'s sleek and sustainable new Terminal 2. The airline's new aircraft offer interactive in-flight entertainment systems and power outlets near every seat. Virgin America offers Gogo? WiFi on every flight and hosts the largest in-flight entertainment library in the North American skies via the touch-screen Red? platform. Elevate's 2.3 million members can earn reward points and get exclusive deals from a growing range of hotel, car rental, shopping and lifestyle partners including the Virgin America Visa Signature credit card. In March, Virgin America completed a frequent flyer alliance with all three Virgin airlines. For more, visit: www.virginamerica.com

Virgin Galactic: Virgin Galactic, owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and aabar Investments PJS, is the world's first commercial spaceline, dedicated to revolutionizing space access. Virgin Galactic will carry people and payloads to space on suborbital flights allowing an out-of-the-seat zero-gravity experience, offering astounding views of the planet from the black sky of space, and conferring astronaut status to those on board. The carrier craft ("WhiteKnightTwo") and space vehicle ("SpaceShipTwo") were both custom-designed by Scaled Composites and closely based on Scaled's legendary SpaceShipOne, the Burt Rutan-designed vehicle that in 2004 claimed the $10 million Ansari X Prize as the world's first privately developed manned spacecraft. The test flight program for both SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo is well underway, and Virgin Galactic is preparing for commercial operations, which will be based at Spaceport America in New Mexico. Already, more future astronauts have paid deposits for flights on SpaceShipTwo than have been to space throughout all of human history. Virgin Galactic's sister enterprise The Spaceship Company, a joint venture between Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites, is now manufacturing additional sets of the Scaled vehicles. Virgin Galactic is also designing "LauncherOne," a new air-launched rocket specifically developed to deliver small satellites into orbit. With commercial flights of LauncherOne expected to begin as early as 2016, Virgin Galactic aims to offer frequent and dedicated launches at the world's lowest prices, transforming the growing small satellite market.

* Terms and Conditions Virgin Galactic Reward Flight: Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. (including D.C.), 18 years old or older who are Elevate members. Program ends 8/7/13. For complete Terms and Conditions and complete details, visit www.galacticcontest.virginamerica.com starting August 8th 2012.


**Elevate Status Benefits are earned based on status Points earned within a calendar year, and are not based on total Elevate Reward Points balance. Reward points earned through promotions and partner offers, as well as certain non-qualifying flight purchases, do not earn status points and therefore do not qualify towards Elevate Gold and Elevate Silver Status. Additionally, travel that is not eligible for earning Reward points will also not be eligible for earning status points. Unless otherwise specified, reward points earned though other Elevate activities such as purchases though Elevate partners, reward points purchases or reward points transfer activities are not eligible to earn status points.


***Topguest T+Cs: This offer is valid from August 8, 2012 until December 31, 2012. To be eligible for this offer you must be both a member of Topguest and Virgin America Elevate rewards programs. No purchase necessary. Employees of Virgin America are not eligible for this promotion. Limited to one 'check-in' per day per guest. Points earned via Topguest will be posted to the guest's account within 48-72 hours of the check-in taking place. Elevate Gold and Elevate Silver members will earn 50 points for each eligible check-in according to their qualifying Elevate status at the time of check-in. Any attempt to deceive or perpetrate fraud related to this promotion or the Elevate program will result in the immediate termination, deactivation, and removal of all benefits, rights, and privileges associated with travel on Virgin America, its partners, and programs. Points earned through Topguest check-ins are not eligible toward Elevate Silver or Elevate Gold status.


****Points reference T+Cs: Points required to redeem an Elevate travel reward on Virgin America will be publicly available on a seat and flight?specific basis and are subject to change. Domestic reward bookings are subject to a security fee of $2.50 per segment, payable by credit card or Virgin America credit file. The Passenger Facility Charge and Segment Fees are waived for domestic reward bookings. For international reward bookings, Virgin America guests are responsible for the taxes and fees incurred from international travel. These taxes and fees are subject to change at the discretion of each country's government and also vary from country to country depending on the origin and destination.

*****Refer a friend T+Cs: Open to Elevate members who achieve Elevate Gold or Elevate Silver status on or before December 31, 2012. Participation requires a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account. Promotion ends December 31, 2013. For complete terms and conditions and complete details, please email referafriend@virginamerica.com





SOURCE Virgin America

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