Is the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard Worth Its Annual Fee?
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
Virgin Atlantic Airlines offers the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® in partnership with Bank of America®. There’s a $90 annual fee, but how do you know if this card is a good value? Here are things to consider when deciding if the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® is worth its annual fee.
Will you earn the welcome bonus?
The card comes with a welcome bonus: For a limited time: 60,000 bonus Virgin Points after spending $2,000 or more on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. If you can meet those requirements to earn the bonus, it will help in offsetting the annual fee.
NerdWallet values Virgin Atlantic points at 1.1 cents a piece, so the bonus is worth about $660 in award flights.
Will you frequently fly Virgin Atlantic?
Use the card to pay for Virgin Atlantic flights and every $1 you spend on Virgin Atlantic gets you 3 points. Keep the card and each year you’ll get up to 15,000 Virgin Points as an anniversary bonus, depending on your spending level. Virgin Atlantic flies from several major cities in the U.S. including Boston; New York; Washington, D.C.; Orlando, Florida; Miami; Atlanta; Las Vegas; Seattle; San Francisco; and Los Angeles, which works well for business travelers. Additional U.S. cities are served by partner Delta Air Lines. As a London-based company, Virgin Atlantic also serves over a dozen international cities, with four in the U.K. If you don’t normally fly out of one of these cities, this card may not be worth the annual fee for you.
Can you get enough value to offset high booking fees?
When you use your points to book a trip, Virgin charges taxes, fees and pricey surcharges that often start at more than $200. This means you’ll be paying more out of pocket for award flights than you might at other airlines. For example, the below flight from Orlando, Florida, to London only requires 25,000 miles, but you’ll have to pay $426.95 on top of that in fees. There are no ways around these fees and they aren’t pretty. A better strategy is to use your points on partner airlines, which can often result in lower fees.
» Learn more: How to redeem Virgin Atlantic points step by step
Will you find additional card perks valuable?
Even if you are not a frequent flyer, you can take advantage of additional perks offered with the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®:
Purchase assurance: You’ll have up to $1,000 in protection on purchases made with the card that are damaged or stolen within three months of purchase.
Extended warranty: You’ll receive double the manufacturer’s warranty (up to a year) on items you purchase using the card.
Emergency roadside assistance: You’ll have 24-hour emergency services if anything should happen while you’re driving.
Identity theft recovery: You’ll have help should you become a victim of identity theft.
Travel assistance: You’ll have 24-hour emergency help with your travel needs, including medical and legal assistance related to travel-related incidents.
Entertainment: You’ll receive advance purchase options for concerts, events and entertainment, as well as discounts on the same. Plus, Virgin offers a concierge service to help you obtain hard-to-get dinner reservations, hotels or entertainment tickets.
Many of these perks come standard with other credit cards as well. If you have multiple credit cards, you may already be receiving these valuable perks.
» Learn more: The best credit cards for travel insurance benefits
Will you spend a lot on your card?
As with any credit card connected to an airline, the more you spend, the more you get. As a member of Virgin’s Flying Club, you can receive a free companion ticket after spending $25,000 on the card in a year. The ticket allows you to bring a friend or family member along with you on a flight at no extra charge. But if you prefer, you can upgrade your flight for yourself instead.
Shoppers can also enjoy retail partnerships with Virgin Atlantic on its Shops Away online retail store. You’ll receive bonus miles for every $1 you spend at more than 1,000 retailers, including Macy’s and Apple.
Plus, you can get free two-day shipping and returns when you receive your free ShopRunner membership, another perk of being a cardholder.
If you add another cardholder to your account so they can spend money as well, you’ll receive 2,500 bonus miles. You can earn that bonus twice, for a total of 5,000 miles.
The bottom line
Unless you fly Virgin Atlantic a lot, the $90 annual fee for the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® is a steep price to pay for the card’s perks and shopping deals. While the sign-up bonus makes the card worthwhile for Virgin flyers in year one, the ongoing benefits are lacking. Plus, you may already be receiving some of those benefits through other credit cards.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card