New benefits for frequent flyers: Virgin America offering free flight to space

On July 23rd, at this year’s Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention, Virgin America announced 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.”

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.*****

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

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