Alaska Airlines and Virgin America are in the processing of becoming one and in doing so the airline is trying to align their frequent flyer programs and policies which are very different. Alaska Airlines has been promising Alaska’s Elites better benefits when flying Virgin America for months, and we are finally starting to see the results. Some upgrades and better economy seats are now complimentary for elites!
Scott reported yesterday that Alaska Airlines Elites now enjoy main cabin select upgrades on Virgin America Flights. When flying Alaska Airlines, elites have access to complimentary seats in premium economy. Therefore, the change to include upgrades on Virgin makes sense. Now we just have to wait till 2018 to enjoy First Class upgrades on Virgin America. The only sad part, by the time complimentary upgrades to first class are available on Virgin America, the awesome recliners will be gone.
Complimentary Main Cabin Select
Today I discovered through an acquaintance (Thanks Nate!) that Alaska Airlines Elites can also select Main Cabin Express Seats for free online. Historically, seats towards the front of the plane on Virgin America cost upwards of $25 or more depending on length of flight. Virgin America allows Virgin’s Elites to select Main Cabin Express seats for free. Meanwhile, Alaska elites did not receive this benefits. Now, all seats in economy are free for Alaska Airlines Elites. Of course, upgrades to Main Cabin Select still require a request and cannot be selected online.
To enjoy a complimentary Main Cabin Express seat, follow the prompts from Alaska Airlines. Log in to the itinerary through Virgin America and select better seats. This works regardless if you purchase the ticket through Alaska or Virgin America’s ticketing channels.
Although Main Cabin Select seats are standard economy seats, sitting in the forward cabin is nice. These seats mean elites can get off the plane quicker and are not in the back by the bathrooms! It also means meal and drink service is a bit quicker at the start of each flight, as flight attendants start service in the forward cabin.
More Changes Are In the Air
Alaska Airlines is working hard to bring Virgin America under the Alaska name. There are several changes that are still in the works. Remember, Virgin America Elevate will terminate on December 31, 2017. At that time, any Elevate Points will be converted to Alaska miles. Most Elevate partnerships end in September. Even American Express Membership Rewards transfers will cease shortly!
We may be a long ways from the end of Virgin America, but changes are happening now. This change should definitely make some elites happier and encourage Alaska flyers to give Virgin a try.