Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® review

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See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®

Rewards rate

1.5X–3X

Annual fee

$90

Intro offer

50,000 miles

Regular APR

15.99% - 23.99% variable

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)

Editor’s note: Some of the offers on this page may be expired. Check out our Best Credit Cards page for the most up-to-date offers for our favorite credit cards.

Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard Overview

For frequent flyers of Virgin Airlines who prefer rewards for future trips, the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard could be worth adding to your wallet. Earn 3X points on Virgin Atlantic purchases including flights, holiday packages, and in-flight extras plus 2.5X points on all other purchases. That makes the $90 annual fee is easy to recoup. Also, for those who don’t travel as much, this can act as a good flat-rate card for everyday buys.

That being said, this card is geared towards Virgin Atlantic customers only. While you can earn points on any eligible purchase, all rewards are only redeemable on Virgin Atlantic travel. For most this may be too narrow but for brand loyalists, this card can go a long way.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Pros

  • 30,000 Flying Club bonus miles when you spend $1,000 or more within the first 90 days of account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Opportunity to earn a Premium upgrade or a companion ticket (after qualifying purchases)
  • Popular airline partners like Delta Air Lines, Air France and Air China

Cons

  • 3% balance transfer fee ($10 minimum)
  • Blackout dates may apply
  • No introductory APR period (18.24% – 26.24% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers)

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: 3X points per dollar spent directly on Virgin Atlantic purchases. 1.5X points per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn 30,000 bonus Virgin Points after spending $1,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Annual fee: $90
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 18.24 percent to 26.24 percent, variable

Current Welcome Offer

New cardholders can earn 30,000 bonus points when they spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of opening an account. This is halved from the previous 60,000-mile bonus after spending $2,000 within 90 days of owning the card. While the value is a clear downgrade, it is easier to obtain with cardholders only having to spend $334 per month versus $668.

According to the Points Guy valuation, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points are worth 1.5 cents per dollar, which is an average rewards rate for travel cards. In total, this bonus is worth $450, much higher than the $90 annual fee.

Rewards Rate

With a rate of up to 3X points on every purchase, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points accumulate quicker than you think. Redemption may be limited, as points can only be used on Virgin Atlantic travel options but can be applied on a variety of travel bookings such as flights, seat upgrades, and more. You can also use a combination of points and miles to cut costs. Keep in mind that blackout dates can apply depending on dates and locations.

How you earn

Built for Virgin Atlantic loyalists who travel often, the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard gives you multiple opportunities to earn bonus miles.

Virgin Atlantic offers three membership tiers (Red, Silver and Gold) through which you can gain benefits like premium check-in, lounge access and rewards flights. Every $2,500 you spend on net purchases with the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard, you’ll earn 25 Tier Points (a maximum of 50 Tier Points can be earned each month and 600 Tier Points each year).

Super-spenders can earn either a premium upgrade or same-class companion ticket after spending $25,000 annually. Other bonus mile-earning opportunities include 15,000+ Flying Club bonus miles each anniversary (after qualifying purchases) and up to 5,000 Flying Club bonus miles when you add an authorized user to your card. Miles don’t expire as long as your account is active once every three years.

If you value a solid list of transfer airline partners, the card boasts quite a few, including:

  • Delta Air Lines
  • Air France
  • Air China
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • All Nippon Airways
  • South African Airways
  • Virgin Australia
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Scandinavian Airlines
  • Air New Zealand

You can also earn and spend miles with Virgin Atlantic’s list of 13 hotel partners.

How to redeem

There’s no limit to the number of miles that you can earn, and miles can be redeemed for either Virgin Atlantic flights, partner flights or upgrades. Whether booking a Virgin Atlantic Holiday, getting a rental car, or reserving a room with one of the hotel partners, your Virgin points go far. Say you spend $1,500 each quarter on Virgin Atlantic purchases and an additional $200 a month on all other purchases. You’ll have earned 21,600 miles by the end of your first year. Based on your spending, you’ll qualify for the 30,000-mile welcome bonus (achieved after spending $1,000 within your first 90 days of account opening), for a total of 81,600 miles.

However, you can only spend points on travel bookings and extras, which can be a big drawback for those who prefer to spend points on purchases or redeem for statement credits.

How much are the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard rewards worth?

You earn 1.5 cents per dollar spent with your Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard. As you can only redeem points through Virgin Atlantic offers, this point value stays consistent versus other cards that can vary depending on the redemption method like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This rate is higher than some popular airline miles, such as Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus.

Other Cardholder perks

Because of its partnership with Mastercard, this card has more than enough perks to make it worth its yearly price tag. Not only does it come with protections such extended warranty protection as well as a few Bank of America benefits ($0 liability guarantee for fraudulent transactions, FICO® Score for free access and account alert reminders), but it also offers benefits for special events and shopping.

Travel protections

This card offers travel benefits like emergency roadside assistance, travel assistance, extended warranty and concierge services,

You can also expect purchase assurance, meaning stolen or damaged items purchased with the card may be eligible for up to $1,000 in protection within 90 days from the date of purchase, common carrier travel accident insurance and identity theft recovery assistance.

Concierge service

Every cardholder has access to Mastercard’s concierge service, which helps you get VIP access to top-tier restaurants, hotels, and hard-to-find tickets. You will also get exclusive access to special events and discounts. The service is available 24/7 so you can get assistance any time you need. You can contact them through the Mastercard Concierge app, using an online request form or by calling the number on the back of your card.

Shopping bonuses

The Virgin Atlantic makes shopping even more rewarding with Shop Away, an online shopping site that lets you earn bonus points, up to 12 points per dollar spent on popular brands. Earn points on clothing, toys, beauty products and more. This becomes even more valuable when combined with the complimentary ShopRunner membership, giving cardmembers free 2-day shipping and returns at over 140+ stores.

Rates and fees

There’s a $90 annual fee for the Virgin Atlantic World Elite card, a great price for frequent Virgin Atlantic flyers. This can easily be offset by taking a Virgin Airlines flight of $170 or more. You can also recoup it through $350 in other purchases.

While there are no foreign transaction fees, making it a great go-to card overseas, there are other fees to consider. Currently, there are no intro APR offers on purchases and balance transfers so the ongoing, variable 18.24 percent to 26.24 percent when you leave a balance on your card. For balance transfers and cash advances, a 3 percent or $10 fee, whichever is greater. There’s also a penalty. For late penalties, the APR is 29.99 percent and a late fee up to $40 is applied.

How does Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard compare to other travel cards

The Virgin Atlantic World Elite credit card is a great addition for Virgin Atlantic loyalists, but what about the travelers who want more from their travel credit cards? For frequent travelers, a more general travel card or rewarding co-brand card may be a better fit.

Bank of America Image

Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®

See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Annual fee

$90

Intro offer

50,000 miles

Rewards rate

1.5X–3X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
Bank of America Image

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

50,000 points

Rewards rate

1.5X–2X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
American Express Image

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

Annual fee

$650

Intro offer

150,000 points

Rewards rate

2X–6X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)

Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard vs. Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card

For those who want a general rewards card on par with the Virgin Atlantic card, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is a good choice. Both cards have similar annual fees (the Bank of America Premium Rewards card being $95 per year). The welcome bonus of 50,000 bonus points (after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days) is worth more than the Virgin Atlantic card bonus but it costs more upfront to receive.

However, if you don’t have a brand preference when traveling, the perks of the Bank of America Premium will definitely go much farther. This card gives cardholders access to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel collection, which comes with room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, and a $25 food and beverage credit. You can also receive a $100 flight credit, cutting down costs on flights.

Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard vs. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express

If you prefer a co-brand card, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is very rewarding. While the annual fee is much higher at $650, the rewards rates are as well. You earn 6X points when you stay at hotels in Marriott Bonvoy program as well as 3X points at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2X points on all other purchases. That’s twice as much as Virgin Atlantic rates and applies to more categories.

You also get airport perks that Virgin Atlantic World Elite card doesn’t like access to Priority Pass Select lounges and up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck along with standard travel protections.

The biggest downside is the point value with Marriott Bonvoy points being only 0.84 cents per point versus Virgin Atlantic 1.5 cents. However, because of the varying categories and higher rates, it’s easier to earn more points with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card.

Best paired with Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard

Because of its specificity, the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard isn’t the best travel card by itself. This card would pair well with a general travel card that has no annual fee such as the Capital One VentureOne credit card. Not only do you earn 5X points on hotels and rentals cards, but you have a solid rate on all other general purchases at 1.25X points.

It can also be a good idea to have another co-branded card for hotels if you have a brand you love to stay at. For example, the Hilton Honors American Express has great rates on Hilton hotel and resort bookings at 7X points per dollar and 3X points on general purchases. It also earns 5X points at supermarkets, gas stations and restaurants in the U.S., all without charging an annual fee. Either option gives you a no-cost way to earn points towards your next trip.

Frequently Asked Questions