Bonus Miles ‘Loophole’ To Be Closed!

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The brilliant arbitrage situation where it is possible to get 1.625 Alaska Mileage Plan Miles for every SPG Starpoint by transferring via Virgin America Elevate, is (predictably) being shut down on 6th January 2017.


Starwood confirmed a few days ago that Virgin America Elevate would cease to be a Starpoints transfer partner  from that date, meaning that some other great redemption opportunities will be going away then too:

“SPG has a long-standing partnership with both Alaska Airlines and Virgin America, and was excited to hear the news about the official close of their merger. This presents a great opportunity for Elevate members to join and enjoy all the benefits of Alaska’s award-winning Mileage Plan starting January 9th.  Instead, SPG has decided to focus its partnership on Alaska Mileage Plan and end its partnership with Virgin America’s Elevate program. This means SPG members will no longer be able to earn Elevate points on hotel stays, or directly transfer Starpoints into Elevate accounts after January 6, 2017.

SPG members will be able to use Starpoints to travel on Virgin America by transferring Starpoints to Alaska Mileage Plan miles and redeeming them for Virgin America flights on starting January 9, 2017.  Furthermore, SPG members can continue to transfer Starpoints to Alaska Mileage Plan at a 1:1 ratio – and earn a 5,000 bonus miles when they transfer 20,000 Starpoints to Alaska Mileage Plan.”

Use Alaska Miles for Cathay Pacific First Class!

You still have a week to make transfers and take advantage of some fantastic value redemptions, so although I’m sad to see Virgin America Elevate go, at least enough notice has been given to prepare.

Remember that today is also the last day to purchase discounted Starpoints!

Bottom line

Definitely bad news, but also quite predictable. If you think you might want to redeem Virgin America Elevate or Alaska Mileage Plan Miles in the next year or so, now is the time to transfer!


  1. Andrew H says

    I didn’t know Elevate was ceasing to become a SPG transfer partner. I’ve got 5000 Elevate miles. Hmm, what to do with them? Any suggestions welcome 🙂

    It’s going to be harder to built up an Elevate points total now. Should I transfer them to Alaska? Or leave them?

      • Andrew H says

        Thanks, Craig. I do have an Alaska account.. I was going to build up Elevate points to spend on Singapore Airlines flights, but as I won’t be able to transfer SPG points to the Elevate program anymore, it’s going to be considerably harder to earn enough Elevate points to spend on any flight. It’s a shame they’ve removed all the Virgin Atlantic options from Elevate as well… I had my eye on their Hong Kong/London route. Another good deal gone.

        I’m hoping Joe or Tom will run an article or two on what to do with your Elevate/SPG points for anyone who was saving them up to use on Elevate transfer partners.

        • Joe Deeney says

          Pleased to let you know I’ve got something along those lines planned out for later today (if I get time before the festivities start!), but more with a focus on what Alaska Miles are good for really (and you can, of course, continue to transfer Starpoint to Alaska in future).

  2. Adam says

    If you can’t find anything to use your elevate miles on you can use to transfer to hotel partners. I read an article earlier in this year by Raffles on this option but for the life of me I can’t get it to work when I opened a points transfer account.
    Anyone else had any success using elevate to ihg option in

    • Craig Sowerby says

      I haven’t noticed any useful exchanges since the Aeroplan to US Airways conversion went away a few years back. I can’t even find a list of generic exchange opportunities as it forces me to define the programmes I’m aiming to exchange points between…

      Nonetheless, considering Elevate points will become Alaska miles, I wouldn’t rush to convert them into IHG points!

      Of course today is your last day to buy SPG points at the discounted price, then move 20K over to Elevate. That can easily top up any Elevate balances you’re looking to spend pre-merger.

  3. Adam says

    Same here, HFP article was not that long ago but I couldn’t find any decent transfer partners at all, not even IHG?
    I did opt to purchase 20k SPG on our 2nd account @ 50% bonus transferred over to AA @ 25k towards EY 1st on the A380.
    Happy new year all!

  4. Craig Sowerby says

    Has anybody gotten the free 10,000 Alaska miles? Silly me… I never got around to opening an Elevate account so it looks like I’ll miss out on $200 or so of free miles 🙁

    • Joe Deeney says

      No yet, but as I look after about 5 family members Virgin Elevate accounts, I’m still optimistic. I’ll write a little post about why later today I get chance

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