You can now start earning and redeeming Flying Club points on Virgin America flights as well. Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America just announced their partnership today.
Although there are several airlines that have Virgin on their name; Virgin Atlantic (VS), Virgin America (VX), Virgin Australia (International – VA), and Virgin Australia (Domestic – DJ), they are only loosely tied together. Sir Richard Branson controls the Virgin Atlantic, although Singapore Airlines owns 49% stake. At all the other Virgin-branded airlines Mr. Branson is a minority owner.
The email that I got from Virgin Atlantic, where I have close to 700K Flying Club miles banked mainly due to Hilton and Hyatt promos, was very vague when it came to mileage requirements on Virgin America flights. It was easy to find the info about how the earning would work on the VX flights, but the info about redeeming was completely missing. Apparently the info is missing from the VS’s US website, but is available on the UK one.
Earning Flying Club Tier Points on Virgin America
This is very straightforward. You earn 1, 2, or 3 tier points based on the length and the ticketed cabin.
Earning Flying Club Miles on Virgin America
This is relatively straightforward. Most of the discounted Main Cabin fares only earn 50% of the miles flown, the Main Cabin Refundable & Select + upgrades to Main Cabin Select earn 100%, and the First Class fares earn 150%.
You need to have a look at the fare class on the ticket you book to determine the actual fare class.
Main Cabin: S, L, M, U, E, H, B, V
Main Cabin Refundable: Y
Main Cabin Select Instant Upgrade: Z, Q
Main Cabin Select: O, W
First Class: I, D, C, J
Spending Flying Club Miles on Virgin America
Spending Flying Club miles on Virgin America is actually a good option considering that you only need to pay actual taxes that for domestic itineraries start at $5. There are no fuel surcharges (at least not yet) when you redeem for VX.
When I compare the redemption chart for Virgin America it is comparable for domestic US airlines for the economy redemptions. It is favorable for short haul first class i.e. up and down in the West Coast and to/from Vegas. The long haul first class for 75K is not that good of a deal.
It is somewhat weird that it appears if they are treating the Main Cabin Select as a business class when it is premium economy at best. It is double the number of miles compared to economy seats on the longer flights.