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When I was on the American Express site this morning, I noticed a new bonus for transferring your Membership Reward points to Virgin America. Through October 15, 2104, you will receive a 50% bonus on all transfers.
The typical transfer ratio is 200 Amex points = 100 Elevate points, so with this promotion you’ll get 150 Elevate points for every 200 Amex points transferred. While a transfer bonus is always great, this is still much less then the typical 1:1 transfer ratio you get with other airlines.
Like JetBlue and Southwest, Virgin America has a fixed point program. Essentially, take the fare value and multiply it by 46.51. That will equal the number of points needed to redeem for a free flight. This makes each point worth about 2.15 cents. Since the typical transfer ratio is 2:1, this means that each Amex point is equal to about 1.075 cents – a pretty low value for most. With the 50% bonus offer, however, this will bring each Amex point to be worth about 1.6 cents. This is actually not a bad redemption value (although not nearly as high as you can get), but if you like to redeem your Membership Reward points for Virgin America flights or typically get a less value when redeeming for other awards, this could be an okay promotion for you. Remember though, you still need to pay to transfer your points (called the Airline Excise Tax Offset Fee) which costs $0.0006 per point (with a maximum fee of $99 per transaction).