February 28, 2024

Bucks Blog: Virgin America Subs for Continental in Membership Rewards Program

Hello, Virgin America. Goodbye, Continental.

Starting Oct. 5, Virgin America will join American Express’s Membership Rewards program. That means participants will be able to transfer points they have earned by spending with their Amex card into their Virgin America miles account. The airline’s loyalty program, Elevate, offers online-redemption with no blackout dates.

The arrival of Virgin at Membership Rewards helps, somewhat, to lessen the blow caused by the loss of Continental Airlines, which is leaving the Amex program at the end of September. American Express announced last year that Continental would exit the program, dashing the hopes of some Membership Rewards members that Continental’s merger with United would finally offer the chance to redeem their Amex points for United miles too.

Still, Virgin America is a decent redemption option for travelers aiming to redeem points for trans-continental flights, as the airline’s markets include New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. (It also recently added Dallas and Chicago.)

Meanwhile, Membership Rewards participants have until Sept. 30 to transfer their Amex points into their Continental accounts one last time.

After Sept. 30, an Amex spokeswoman notes, Membership Rewards participants can still book seats on Continental – and any other airline — and pay with Membership Rewards points when they book through American Express’s travel Web site. The downside is that this option doesn’t allow you to combine your Membership Rewards points with airline miles you have already accumulated by flying on an airline. But, if you’re a Platinum cardholder, you earn a 20 percent Membership Rewards point bonus when you book travel in this way.

Does the addition of Virgin America to Membership Rewards help with your travel plans?

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=4fb97c19f064a06462df60630f8a5a6f

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