Virgin America Visa Signature Credit Card Review

Virgin America Visa Signature Credit Card Review

Who is the Virgin America Visa Signature Credit Card good for?

Virgin America previously had a partnership with Barclays for its reward credit cards, but in 2014 it changed to a lesser-known bank partner, Comenity. They now issue a card that is even more rewarding than before.

Like its sister airline Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America’s co-branded cards come in two flavors, black and white. The white card, the Virgin America Visa Signature Credit Card, is the premium product. In many ways, though, it is the same as the basic card, which has a significantly lower annual fee.

Both carry many of the benefits you’d associate with a modern co-branded credit card, but the Virgin America Visa Signature Card really shines if you have your eye on elite status. You can earn up to 15,000 status points a year through purchases, just shy of Silver status.

AIRLINE TRANSFER PARTNER
ANNUAL FEE

$149

APR

15.99% to 24.99% based on credit worthiness

Recommended Credit Score

750+

Type of Card

Visa

ISSUER

Comenity

Sign-Up Bonus:

Currently you can get 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within three months of opening the account. As this is a new card, there is a chance of higher promotional offers in the future, but this is in line with the typical sign-up bonus on the Barclays’ version that preceded it.

Points Earned:

  • 3 points per dollar on Virgin America flights and in-flight purchases
  • 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else

What Do Your Points Get You?

Virgin America advertises that members of its loyalty program, Elevate, can book any seat at any time with no blackout dates or restrictions. That’s because all Virgin America award flights are priced according to demand. You can get the very last seat on a flight with your Elevate points but you’ll pay a premium for it.

Virgin America awards are based on the current cash price of a ticket. When you search for tickets it’s not uncommon to see the price start at a few thousand points for a mid-week flight and hit 10,000+ points for redemptions on weekends or more desirable days.

Virgin-America-Credit-Card-Perks
Virgin America Visa Signature Credit Card perks

Partner awards, however, are governed by a more traditional fixed point system. Your Virgin America Elevate points can net you seats on Hawaiian Airlines, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia flights.

Usage Perks:

  • Points never expire as long as the credit card account remains in good standing
  • Ability to earn up to 15,000 status points every year with 5,000 status points awarded per $10,000 in purchases
  • Status points carry over to the following year for cardholders
  • No change or cancellation fees on Virgin America flights booked with the card
  • One free checked bag each for the cardholder and a companion
  • $150 off a companion ticket each year
  • 20% off in-flight purchases

Usage Quirks:

  • Award pricing is pegged to cash pricing so point value is limited
  • Change and cancellation fees are not waived for award flights

How Far Do Your Dollars Go?

Since the airline pegs the award price to the cash price of the ticket, there is a limit to the value of your Virgin America points. Specifically, the average award will get you around a 2-cent-per-mile value according to Virgin America, though often in practice it can be as high as 2.3 or 2.4 cents.

You can get more value using points on legacy airlines in upper class. However, for many Elevate members avoiding the legwork of finding an available award seat is very appealing.

Virgin-America-Points-calculator
Virgin America’s points calculator

With Virgin America it’s not just about the price, it’s also about the experience of on-demand food and beverage service even in coach and new planes for every flight. If those things are important to you, Elevate points are even more valuable.

Additional Cardholder Benefits:

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Purchase security
  • Zero liability
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