Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® review

Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® review

Updated: September 10, 2020
Updated: September 10, 2020
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It’s not that the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® credit card is a bad card, or that Virgin Atlantic is a bad airline. Quite the opposite – the card has a lot of things going for it. It offers an excellent earning scheme, a boost to Elite status, and companion rewards. And Virgin Atlantic is an acclaimed airline with great service that offers some excellent mileage values. You also can use award tickets to fly on a number of mileage partner airlines.

But while the card’s earning scheme is pretty good, and some redemption values are excellent (25,000 miles between New York and London), you have to spend at least $25,000 on the card annually to qualify.

Still, if you’re a big spender who frequently flies on Virgin Atlantic, the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard credit card has multifaceted benefits.

Good sign-up bonus

The Virgin Atlantic Mastercard comes with a nice sign-up bonus for a premium airline rewards card. You’ll earn 30,000 Flying Club miles after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days.

You can also score up to 15,000 miles every anniversary after qualifying purchases, and up to 5,000 miles when you add additional cardholders to your account (2,500 miles for each authorized user).

Great earning scheme

You get 3 miles per dollar when you use the card for Virgin Atlantic purchases, and 1.5 miles per dollar for all other purchases. The 3:1 reward rate for airline purchases is higher than what most airline cards offer, and 1.5 miles for regular purchases is an especially nice feature for an airline co-branded credit card. Most cards only offer 1 mile per dollar on general purchases. An extra half-mile per dollar can give you a nice boost toward a free rewards ticket.

Designed for high spenders

A glance at the features on the Virgin Atlantic Mastercard shows that this card makes sense for Virgin Atlantic loyalists who are prepared to do a large amount of spending. Besides the high $90 annual fee, you need to charge a large amount each year to unlock some of the card’s best features, including:

  • Same cabin class companion reward ticket. You have the opportunity to get a companion reward in the same cabin class, a valuable perk that can save you hundreds of dollars. Keep in mind, though, that it’s only available to cardholders who spend at least $25,000 annually.
  • Up to 15,000 bonus miles each year. The card offers a significant spending bonus each year. The first half of the bonus is not hard to reach: You receive 7,500 for spending $15,000. However, you must spend $25,000 each year to earn the full bonus of 15,000 miles.
  • Elite tier points. The card lets you earn points toward elite membership through your spending. Elite membership with Virgin Atlantic comes with valuable benefits, including bonuses on your reward points and free companion tickets. But you need to spend a large amount to make any headway toward it. You get 25 tier points per $2,500 in purchases (you can earn a maximum of 50 points per month). To reach Silver elite status, you need to earn at least 400 tier points.

Decent redemption options

Virgin Atlantic is an international airline with routes to many countries around the world. Between its own routes and partnership with several major airlines – including Delta Airlines and Singapore Airlines – you should, in theory, be able to book rewards flights to most major destinations. Be aware, however, that an award seat booking on a partner airline can’t be made online, and there have been consistent reports that Virgin Atlantic call center agents may have a hard time finding award seats on partner airlines. Also, as mentioned above, Virgin charges high fuel surcharges and fees on some of its own flights, making some routes less valuable.

Good travel benefits

The card is a World Elite Mastercard that includes a multitude of premium travel benefits, such as car rental insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, concierge service and more. Also, it doesn’t charge a foreign-transaction fee, which means that you can use the card while traveling abroad without having to pay a 2 to 3 percent fee for the convenience.

Why get the Virgin Atlantic Mastercard?

  • You frequently fly on Virgin Atlantic.
  • You’re a high spender and want to boost elite-tier earning.
  • You’ll spend enough to earn a companion reward ticket.
  • You want to take advantage of the World Elite Mastercard benefits.

How to use the Virgin Atlantic Mastercard:

  • To earn as many Flying Club miles as possible, make all your purchases with the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard credit card.
  • Try to use Flying Club miles on airlines that don’t impose fuel surcharges; for example, Delta (except flights originating in Europe).
  • Avoid flights with heavy fuel (or other innocuously named) surcharges that can add hundreds of dollars to your supposedly “free” ticket.
  • Use the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard credit card abroad, since there is no foreign-transaction fee.

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