Virgin America Offers Mileage Points for Location-Based Virtual ‘Check-ins’

by Staff on November 15, 2010

Virgin America is teaming with Topguest, a geolocation ‘check-in’ club that provides guests with real-world travel rewards when they check-in virtually on applications such as Facebook Places and Foursquare, to offer bonus points in its Elevate frequent-flyer program.

Guests traveling with Virgin America are able to earn bonus points in Elevate by virtually ‘checking in’ at the airline’s airport terminals, gates and other locations. Each ‘check-in’ using location-based mobile applications such as Facebook Places and Foursquare will earn guests 25 Elevate points.


This offer is valid until May 15, 2011. To be eligible, you must be both a member of the Topguest and Virgin America Elevate rewards programs. The offer is limited to one ‘check-in’ per day per guest. Points earned via Topguest will be posted to the guest’s account within 48 hours to 72 hours of the check-in taking place.

“Our flyers tend to be tech-forward and more plugged in to social networks and location-based services, so we’re pleased to now offer them real world rewards for virtual check-ins,” says Brett Billick, director of CRM at Virgin America. “With the rapid growth and popularity of location-based apps, this is something our guests have actually been asking for – and we think it will provide an inventive new way for our travelers to earn Elevate rewards.”

Virgin America operates an all-Airbus fleet that consists of A320s (like the one seen here) and A319s. The A319 has the same wings, engines, fuselage width, tail and flightdeck as the A320, but has a slightly shorter fuselage and thus carries slightly fewer passengers

To participate, travelers can download Topguest’s new iPhone or Android application or sign up online at www.topguest.com. Once signed up, guests can add their Elevate member number and then connect to Facebook Places, Foursquare and most other geolocation applications, including Gowalla and Twitter.

Once a traveler checks into a designated Virgin America location – such as the airline’s home base at San Francisco International Airport – the Topguest application will notify him or her in real time that he or she has received an Elevate points reward. All official Virgin America locations are viewable in the “Top Spots” tab of the Topguest application.

“With Topguest, consumers have access to exclusive travel perks, right from their phone,” says Geoff Lewis, chief executive officer of Topguest. “Teaming up with a tech-savvy travel brand like Virgin America as our first airline partner makes perfect sense. Given the popularity of mobile check-ins, the new offering will help drive loyalty and engagement with their customer base.”

This new opportunity is not Virgin America’s first foray into the location-based world. In August, the airline partnered with Loopt, a location-based social-mapping company, to deliver a special offer of two-for-one tickets to Mexico for those who checked-in virtually at select taco trucks and airports in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Virgin America flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Toronto, Orlando, Dallas-Fort Worth (starting December 2010), Los Cabos (starting December 16, 2010) and Cancun (starting January 19, 2011, subject to receiving Mexican government approval).

Elevate offers guests the ability to redeem points for any unsold seat on any Virgin America flight, at any time. Four roundtrips or 2,500 points can earn members a reward flight. Elevate members are able to retain their points indefinitely, as long as they either earn or redeem points at least once every 18 months.

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