August 30, 2012
Virgin Is Giving Away A Free Space Flight To The Person Who Flies The Most
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Many businesses and companies have some sort of reward program for frequenting customers. I, for instance, am rewarded with at least two free cups of coffee every month at my local coffee conglomerate, as well as free syrups, refills and soy milk.Credit card companies have cash back programs, giving these card-wielding customers a small percentage back of how much they´ve charged. Sure, it´s not a way to save any significant amount of money, but apparently it´s enough to entice some customers.
Airlines offer their customers free miles which can add up to free trips for choosing to fly their airline.
Virgin Airlines, however, is taking this reward program farther than a cup of coffee or a free trip; They´re running a clever little contest rewarding the traveler who racks up enough miles on Virgin flights during the next 12 months a free trip to outer space.
Richard Branson, Virgin CEO, started Virgin Galactic, his own little space tourism company, back in 2004. Since then, many have been keeping tabs on his company´s progress as they await their turn to track a trip into outer space. Some 500 starry-eyed passengers have even coughed up $200,000 for a chance to be one of the first to take a sub-orbital space flight on Virgin Galactic.
Last month, Virgin America announced their newest, space-aged contest at the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention in Boston. The rules are seemingly straightforward: The contest began a few weeks ago, August 8th, and will run until August 7th, 2013. The Elevate Member with the most miles accumulated in this time frame will earn themselves a free seat into sub-orbital outer space.
“As we prepare to mark our five-year anniversary, we wanted to roll out a new level of benefits to the loyal business and leisure travelers who got us where we are today,” said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush in a July press statement.
“Since Virgin America´s launch, our goal has been to reinvent domestic flying for the better, whether through inventive cabin amenities or a no black-out date loyalty program — which in 2007 was something unique in the domestic industry. We´ve been fortunate enough to attract a loyal guest following, and are pleased to take Elevate to the next level by offering meaningful new benefits for our most valued travelers.”
Of course, Virgin is offering other incentives to frequently fly with them besides the promise of a free, $200,000 flight.
Those who reach Elevate Gold and Elevate Silver status can take advantage of perks such as priority check-in, security clearance and boarding and enhanced “digital/social rewards.”
Members of the Elevate Red set will have first pick at some of the plane´s most jealousy-inducing seats for only $20 extra. Furthermore, these Red members will have the option of booking any unsold seats for a partner 24 hours prior to a flight for free. Very swank, indeed.
Joining the social push, Virgin is also giving Elevate Gold and Silver members double points when they check into a Virgin Airline terminal on Facebook, Foursquare or Twitter.
If you´re a Virgin Airline fan and have always had your eye on a free trip to outer space, looks like you might do well to clear out the next year and spend your life savings on flights across this great country of ours. You´d better hurry! There are likely a few strong contestants who already have a few weeks advance on you!