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One Reddit user seems to have stumbled upon a story that both Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America were keen to keep quiet since they had made no public announcement about it at all. The user was trying to book partner reward flights for early 2017, and upon realizing they were not available, he contacted Virgin America and got the following response:
Thank you for contacting Virgin America Elevate Desk. My name is LaShanda and I will be assisting you on this matter. In regards to your request, beginning on November 13, 2016 Virgin Atlantic will no longer be a partner of Virgin America. It is mostly not showing on the web as our Partner Award travel due to this fact. We do apologize about the inconvenience, if you have any other additional questions please feel free to contact us at 877-359-8474 and we will be more than willing to assist you.
From Virgin America's Partner page with Virgin Atlantic:
Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic will be sun-setting their frequent flyer partnership on November 13, 2016. Until and including November 12th, 2016, members can continue to make future bookings with Virgin Atlantic using Elevate points, following the same process that is in place today. Virgin America will continue to offer a range of other airline partners through the Elevate program, including Virgin Australia, Hawaiian Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Emirates.
Coincidently, November 13th is the same day that Virgin Atlantic is devaluing is Flying Club reward program. Virgin America Elevate members will not be earning or redeeming miles on Virgin Atlantic.
Bad news for Virgin America Elevate members
This is bad news for Virgin America Elevate members since it is one of the most generous and valuable frequent flyer programs – with its points being far more valuable on a per points basis than Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles. However, other Virgin America partnerships with the likes of Emirates and Virgin Australia are unaffected.
For those Elevate members wanting a quick transatlantic hop, there is still some value to be had with an Upper-Class New York to London pricing out at just 35,000 points, and a hefty $1,150 fuel surcharge.
Why break a good partnership?
There has been some speculation on the reason for the break-up. The main culprit seems to be the soon to be completed takeover of Virgin America by Alaska. Given the close partnership between Virgin Atlantic and Delta, coupled with the big rivalry between Alaska and Delta, it should come as no surprise that the partnership had to be broken off. There is no way Delta would be happy seeing Virgin Atlantic as a de facto partner of Alaska.
While it is unfortunate that the Virgin brands are going through some breakup, it was inevitable with Alaska's acquisition.
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