Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard Review
With its generous sign-up bonus and anniversary bonus miles offer, the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard is a good option for anyone who enjoys flying with Virgin Atlantic. Beware though, some of the perks, including the companion reward benefit, requires making a lot of purchases on your card annually.
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What we like:
Earn rewards points and tier points at the same time
|Intro Offer||Earn 30,000 Flying Club bonus miles after spending $1,000 within 90 days|
|Rewards Rate||3x miles on Virgin Atlantic purchases|
1.5x miles on everything else
|Regular APR||17.24% – 25.24%|
- Get 15,000 bonus miles after every card anniversary
- Get 5,000 bonus miles for adding an authorized user
- Get a complimentary companion ticket every year you spend at least $25,000
- $0 foreign transaction fee
- Other travel cards have more flexibility when it comes to redeeming points
- Virgin Atlantic is known to charge hefty airline fees
- The annual fee isn’t waived for the first year, and there’s no intro APR for balance transfers
Recommended Credit Score
Good to Excellent
Virgin Atlantic Credit Card Review: Is it a Good Travel Card?
Do you like to fly Virgin Atlantic? If you do, and you live near a Virgin hub, then Bank of America’s Virgin Atlantic Mastercard might be a good pick for you. Check out the card’s strengths and weaknesses below to see how it performs.
In this review:
- Virgin Atlantic Credit Card Benefits
- Downsides of the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard
- How it Compares to Similar Cards
Virgin Atlantic Credit Card Benefits
You’ll get a sign-up bonus with this card, rewards points, no foreign transaction fees, and tiered benefits for using your Virgin card.
You can earn 30,000 Flying Club miles if you spend at least $1,000 in the first 90 days of opening an account. That’s an attainable goal for every cardholder if they charge basics like gas and groceries to their Virgin credit card. You can also get a 15,000 miles after each card anniversary when you reach your minimum spending limit.
Finally, you can earn 5,000 more bonus miles if you authorize additional users to your account.
Each mile is worth as much as 1.5 cents when you redeem them for travel, bringing your 30,000-mile bonus to a value of up to $450.
Virgin Atlantic Credit Card Rewards
The Virgin Atlantic credit card will give you 3 miles for every dollar you spend directly with Virgin Atlantic and 1.5 miles for every dollar you spend elsewhere.
You can redeem your miles for reward flights, give your points to someone else, go to a spa, or book something through Virgin Atlantic’s partner brands.
If you meet all the spending requirements and bonus requirements to net 50,000 points, here’s how far they can take you: an offseason round-trip flight from Chicago to London would cost about 25,000 miles. You could make that trip twice, and all you’d have to pay is any fees and taxes tacked onto the ticket.
Companion Ticket or Premium Upgrade
If you spend $25,000 in a year, you can also get a free travel companion ticket when you book one flight. If you don’t want to take a friend, you can get a cabin upgrade instead.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Tier Points
On top of all the benefits we’ve already mentioned, the Virgin Atlantic credit card comes the ability to earn tier points.
Tier points enable you to upgrade your status to higher levels within the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program. You’ll get 25 tier points for every $2,500 spent, for up to 50 points per month. You can earn Red, Silver, or Gold level tiers, with Gold being the highest. These tiers come with additional perks and upgrades, such as free upgrades, discounts, priority boarding, access to Delta lounges, and additional baggage allowances.
Downsides of the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard
Of course, the Virgin Atlantic credit card comes with some downsides, too.
First of all, unless you meet the high spending threshold of $25,000 per year, you won’t qualify for some of the best perks this card offers, like additional Virgin Atlantic miles, lounge access, and the companion ticket.
Additionally, your miles will expire within three years, if you don’t extend their life by using them or earning more.
Finally, the card isn’t fee-friendly. Many travel credit cards waive the first year’s annual fee, so it may be a hard sell when you hear that the Virgin credit card doesn’t. With no waived annual fee and no introductory APR, this isn’t a great choice for anyone carrying a balance and trying to save money in the first year.
But that’s only the beginning, as an airline, Virgin Atlantic also levies several fees of its own.
Virgin Atlantic Fees
Some fees you will be expected to pay for rewards flights include:
- Passenger taxes
- Miscellaneous charges
- Amendment fees
- Cancellation fees
The fees may change at any time and can vary depending upon your destination. That doesn’t mean redeeming points for free travel isn’t still a good deal—it just won’t be as “free” as you thought it would be.
How it Compares to Similar Cards
Although the card’s annual fee isn’t out of line for travel cards, there are several fees you will have to pay to use your rewards, so you might not find as much value in this card unless you are a bigger spender.
Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard vs Spirit Airlines World Mastercard
With the Spirit Airlines World Mastercard, you’ll get a total of 30,000 bonus miles after you make your first purchase and spend at least $500 in the first 90 days. It carries a lower annual fee of $59, and that fee waived for the first year.
You’ll get 2 miles for every dollar spent, and you can start redeeming flights at only 5,000 miles roundtrip. The only trouble is those flights need to be in the offseason, and they’re generally already inexpensive to book without any kind of rewards credit card. Mile for mile, the redemption value is higher with the Virgin Atlantic card, and you’ll pay a lot of fees with each carrier. Which one is best for you comes down to who you fly with the most.
Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred
It’s hard to beat the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, mainly because it’s part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, one of the most flexible rewards programs out there. With this card, you’ll get 60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account. That amounts to $750 in travel if you redeem it through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The Sapphire Preferred card offers 2 points for every dollar spend on travel and dining, and only 1 point on everything else. However, it’s much easier to transfer these points at a 1:1 ratio to partner airlines and hotel loyalty programs.
The Chase card has a comparable annual fee of $95.
Bottom Line: Is the Virgin Atlantic Credit Card Right for You?
Virgin Atlantic fans will find real value in this credit card, but only those that are willing to charge at least $25,000 per year will get the most benefit. You should also be aware that the fees for your free flights may add up to a significant amount every time you redeem your rewards.
Author: Shannon Serpette
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