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View From the Wing
(Program Reviews - Side by Side Comparison - Website Reviews)
Rated: July 2014- Virgin America's Elevate website has recently gone through a redesign taking on a fresh new look that highlights Virgin's corporate personality and aims to make the Web experience simple, quick and mobile compatible. Since we last reviewed the website at the end of 2011, Virgin has reinvented the Elevate site, focusing on a simple design and intuitive format. The color scheme features the familiar bold red and white with purple highlights to set the "mood". Elevate departs from the typical frequent flyer program website design with its intense focus on mobile compatibility, opting for liberally spaced text with large buttons and displaying no pictures. Perhaps even more exciting is that the site has completely done away with tedious drop down menus and endless links that so often take you on a time-consuming scavenger hunt through the typical FFP website. Virgin has keyed-in on the demand for a design that gets vital information to the user in a fast flowing format without requiring use of the back button or the need to zoom in and zoom in some more on your smartphone in order to read tiny print. Virgin has followed through with its goal to make every task on the site "fun-erer" by displaying playful avatars and the cheeky sense of humor you have probably come to expect from Virgin.
The home page features an easy-to-understand summary of Elevate, "Earn points, perks and reward flights with no blackout dates." Enough said. Looking to enroll in the program? You will find the enrollment tab prominently displayed in the center of the home page along with two other extra large buttons that display the two most important aspects of Elevate: how to earn and how to redeem points. A menu across the top of the home page provides a more detailed look at the program, including links for Partners, Status, Credit Card and Buy Points. When you enroll in Elevate or sign in as a member you are given the opportunity to choose an avatar to represent you during your experience on the site. Virgin does note however, that the avatar will only represent you while you are on the site and cannot, for example, represent you in court. After logging-in, members are presented with a clear overview of your Elevate account including your total points, recent points earning and redemptions, progress towards elite status and any upcoming flights. For more detailed information on the program, members need only to scroll down to find information such as program benefits, point expiration and how to earn and redeem points with partners. Think you might have missed something? No need to touch that back button, simply scroll down for a recap of all the basic program features that were highlighted on the home page.
The only downside to the simple design might be that those looking for detailed information such as program terms and conditions or frequently asked questions could have a harder time locating them on the new site. Typical to all newly launched sites, we found a few bugs that still need to be worked out, such as a link to "About Elevate" that wasn't working properly at the time of our review and a bug in the program enrollment that caused us to receive an error message. Virgin claims "Our new site is fly!" After our review, we'd have to say that we agree!