The Virgin America Visa Signature® Card will come in for a final landing at the end of 2017, with officials deciding to terminate accounts rather than convert them to a card from merger partner Alaska Airlines.
Alaska Airlines and Virgin America officially merged in December 2016 but continue to work on integration.
Some cardholders might lament the demise of their Virgin card accounts, but they will be eligible for a new customer sign-up bonus on the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card. Currently, that bonus is: Get 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22). To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account
NerdWallet values Alaska Airlines miles at 1.1 cents each on average, making the bonus worth $330.
The Virgin America Visa Signature® Card and Virgin America Premium Visa Signature® Card issued by Comenity Capital Bank are no longer accepting applications and will close open accounts on Jan. 4, 2018, according to Virgin. Bank of America® issues the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card.
Conversions are tricky for issuers and have led to serious customer problems, notably Costco’s 2016 conversion from American Express to Visa.
Virgin posted a questions-and-answers page for Virgin cardholders, who can continue to use their cards until the end of the year. After that, they won’t receive card perks, including free checked bags, even if the flight was booked in 2017. To close your account voluntarily, call 855-871-9842.
Impact to credit scores
An unavoidable downside of canceled Virgin credit cards could be a ding to cardholders’ credit scores. The age of your accounts and your total available credit are factors in credit scores, and both of those factors could be affected. Moreover, applications for new credit — if you apply for the Alaska card — can cause a temporary dip in your score.
Frequent flyer plans to merge
Credit card accounts won’t be converted from Virgin to Alaska Airlines, but frequent flyer accounts will.
On Jan. 1, 2018, the Alaska Mileage Plan replaces Elevate and become the airlines’ sole loyalty program. Virgin has posted instructions for linking and converting to the Alaska frequent flyer program.
The combined company will adopt Alaska’s name and logo, retiring the Virgin America name sometime in 2019, the companies have said.