If you’ve been shopping around for a travel rewards credit card, reading the blogs and listening to the buzz, you’ve heard plenty about big players like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®.
But a new offer on the scene deserves a look. The Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® is upping its game to get your attention, and the perks on offer are worth considering — even if Virgin Atlantic isn’t one of your regular airlines.
Here are the most valuable benefits of a Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®.
A generous sign-up bonus
Here’s how the issuer phrases the current offer on this card: For a limited time: Earn up to 80,000 bonus miles with the new Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®.
If you time your travel just right, those miles could get you two round-trip economy class tickets to the United Kingdom from the northeast U.S.
Companion Award if you charge $25,000 in a year
Companion passes are an in-demand benefit of travel rewards credit cards. When you travel, a companion pass lets you bring someone along on the same round-trip itinerary for free (or a fee, depending on the certificate), barring some minor fees.
Sometimes a companion pass works only when the primary traveler pays cash for their ticket. But the Virgin Atlantic companion reward works only when you book the primary traveler’s ticket using miles. If you can pull that off, it means you’re both traveling for next to nothing. The catch: You have to spend $25,000 or more in purchases annually to qualify for the companion award certificate.
1.5 miles per dollar spent in most categories
When you use your Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®, you earn 1.5 Flying Club miles per $1 in qualifying purchases. Plus, every time you use the card to make a purchase directly from the airline, your earn rate doubles to 3 points per $1.
Earn flights to destinations all over the world
If you think of Virgin Atlantic as airline laser-focused on travel between the United Kingdom and the United States, you’re right. It is. But their partners, including Delta, Air France, Virgin Australia, Air China and AeroMexico fly pretty much everywhere you want to go. And you can use your Flying Club miles to book seats on those partner airlines.
Use miles for upgrades
Want a more comfortable, luxurious flight but don’t have the cash (or the miles)? You can reserve a seat in one cabin, then use your miles to upgrade to the next-highest class of service, be it the Premium cabin or the Upper Class cabin.
Depending on where you’re flying to and from and what type of flight you reserved in your original booking, upgrades can start as low as 17,400 Flying Club miles.
No foreign transaction fees
A lot of credit cards will charge you an exorbitant fee to use it outside the country. The result can be like a 3% surcharge on everything you buy, which can add up to a big chunk of change.
The Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® charges no foreign transaction fees, meaning no one’s placing a surcharge on top of your spending.
Reasonable annual fee
Obviously, the only “perfect” annual fee is $0. But considering all the benefits of this card and especially those bonus sign-up points, the annual fee of $90 is both reasonable and worthwhile.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2019, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- No annual fee: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card
- Premium travel rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Business travelers: The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best airline credit card for you
7 reasons to get the Virgin Atlantic Mastercard
Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies