Virgin America Hands Out Elevate Points For Just Virtually "Checking In"

It's beginning to look like this right here is the future of social networking. While it all started as a way to keep in touch with friends in rapid fashion, it's quickly evolving into something more. Groupon is a good example of this, and now Virgin America is taking things to another level as well. The new airline has just become the first airline to offer frequent flier points for location-based "virtual check-ins." Talk about a new way to keep customers coming back.

The airline has always been one to embrace technology, with fantastic rear-seat entertainment options and in-flight Wi-Fi for their guests. But now they're teaming with Topguest in order to offer travelers the ability to earn "Elevate" points via virtual check-ins. All you need to do is check-in at Virgin locations with geolocation apps like Facebook Places and Foursquare. Simply pop open your app while in a Virgin America airport terminal, gate, etc., and you'll get 25 Points. Not a lot, but hey, it's free points just for checking in!

What are the chances that the other, older, legacy airlines do something similar? Our bets are on "not likely."


Tech-Forward Airline Teams Up with Topguest to Offer Travelers Ability to Earn Elevate™ Points via Virtual Check-ins

Flyers Can Earn Points by Checking in at Virgin Locations with Geolocation Apps like Facebook Places and Foursquare

San Francisco, CA – November 15, 2010 – Virgin America, the California-based airline that is reinventing domestic travel, today announces that it is teaming up with Topguest, the new geolocation ‘check-in’ club that provides guests with real-world travel rewards when they virtually check-in using applications like Facebook Places and Foursquare.   As of today,* guests traveling with Virgin America are able to earn bonus Elevate points just by virtually ‘checking in’ at the airline’s airport terminals, gates and other locations.  Each ‘Check-in’ using popular location-based mobile applications like Facebook Places and Foursquare will earn guests 25 Elevate points.*

“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,” said 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.”

To participate, travelers can download Topguest’s new iPhone or Android application or sign up online at  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 them in real time that they’ve 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,” said 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 location-based social mapping company, Loopt, 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.

With outstanding service, beautiful design and a host of high-tech amenities, Virgin America has captured a list of industry best-in-class awards since its 2007 launch, including “Best Domestic Airline” in the Condé Nast Traveler 2008, 2009 and 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards and “Best Domestic Airline” in Travel + Leisure’s 2008, 2009 and 2010 World’s Best Awards. The airline’s touch-screen seatback in-flight entertainment platform offers a 30-film library, live TV, videogames, seat-to-seat chat, 3,000 MP3s, Google maps, a digital Shop platform, an award-winning on-demand food menu and more.   In May 2009, Virgin America became the first airline to offer WiFi on all its flights.

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).**