Members of Virgin America's Elevate program can earn and redeem points for flights on Emirates, with service to 135 destinations in 76 countries. From the U.S., Emirates flies from New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, Seattle, Houston, and Dallas/Fort Worth.
The tie-up is a reciprocal one, meaning that members of Emirates' Skywards program can also earn and redeem miles for Virgin America flights.
Earning rates for Emirates flights are as follows:
- Discount coach (B, G, H, K, L, M, Q, T, U, V, X) - 20 percent of flown miles
- Full coach (E, R, W, Y) - 20 percent of flown miles
- Business class (C, I, J, P, O) - 60 percent of flown miles
- First class (A, F) - 80 percent of flown miles
Caveat: "Just make sure to check at the time of booking to see if your class of travel is eligible for Elevate points." That suggests that some discounted coach fares earn no Elevate credit at all.
On the redemption side, fuel surcharges can make many Emirates awards pricey propositions.
A test booking for an Emirates award flight from New York to Dubai priced out at 27,000 points plus $350 in taxes and fees each way for coach, and 57,000 points and $670 in taxes and fees each way for business class.
Although the partnership doesn't add any outsized value to Virgin America's program, it's at least a much needed step toward expanding the partner roster.
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.