Earlier this week, in reviewing United’s newly announced double-mile offer for flights between Chicago and Los Angeles or San Francisco, I suggested that “perhaps United’s promotion will force Virgin America’s hand.”
Two days later, it did just that.
Between May 25 and August 31, Virgin American Elevate members can earn triple points (15 points per $1) for flights between Chicago and Los Angeles or San Francisco.
Registration is required.
Deal or No Deal
Virgin America’s offer doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It was a response to United’s promotion, which in turn was a response to a similar offer from American.
Here’s a summary of the bonuses now on offer through August 31, for flights between Chicago and Los Angeles or San Francisco:
- American – Double redeemable miles plus double elite-qualifying miles
- United – Double redeemable miles plus double elite-qualifying miles
- Virgin America – Triple points
If you’re a frequent flyer on these routes, the addition of double elite-qualifying miles to the American and United offers will likely trump Virgin America’s triple points.
For occasional flyers, who wouldn’t reach elite status even with the bonuses, triple redeemable points may be the better deal.
Of course, before booking, be sure to compare prices. The competitive pressure on these routes should help ensure comparable airfares among the contenders. But the free market doesn’t always work the way it’s supposed to. And you should never pay extra—too much extra, anyway—to earn frequent flyer miles, elite-qualifying or not.
Reader Reality Check
Any plans to fly these routes this summer? Which bonus will you choose?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.