Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Virgin Atlantic American Express Card Review

While this public link has been out for a few days now, I figured I might as well also do a brief review of this credit card while I'm on the topic recently.  This Amex card is offered by Bank of America (that alone should be enough incentive for savvy card point collectors to perk up as most of the amazing deals are offered by American Express Bank, Chase and Citi to some extent).

While the card supposedly offers 65k miles, only 45k-50k are relatively easy to get. The first 20k can be had after your first purchase and a further 25k can be attained after $2500 spend in the first 90 days (3 months). Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles are mainly useful to fly to and from London, meaning that only if you are a frequent visitor to that city does it really make any sense to collect those miles.  Mileage point redemptions compared to other airlines for such transatlantic hops (from the US) or Asia-London hops are relatively low, however the taxes and fuel surcharges can be quite hefty.

Another useful way of using the Flying Club miles is by transferring them to Hilton at a great 1:2 ratio.  So 50k Flying Club miles could turn into 100k Hilton HHonors points, redeemable for 2 nights at a top Category 7 Hilton Conrad hotel (which can go up to $500/nt). This actually might be more valuable than the air miles themselves and definitely offers more than both the 40k-50k bonuses given by the Citi Hilton card and the Amex Hilton Card although at a $90 non-waived annual fee.

This credit card offer comes with:
  • Free 20k points after first purchase
  • Free 25k points after spending $2.5k within 90 days
  • Free 2.5k points each for up to two additional cardmembers
  • Up to 15k bonus miles upon anniversary after meeting certain spend requirements ($15k for the first 7.5k and $25k for the second 7.5k)
  • 3 miles per $1 spend on Virgin Atlantic related purchases
  • 1.5 miles points per $1 spend on everything else
  • $90 annual fee

  • Overall, this card isn't bad as the earn rate is higher than your average mileage-earning credit card (beating even the higher Chase British Airways card. However, the $90 yearly fee is a bit steep and with the hefty spend requirement for the annual bonus, it really depends on your situation whether to apply to this card or not. Again, if you are already max-ed out on Chase and Amex credit cards, this could be a good option to consider adding to your credit card arsenal.

  • Disclaimer: This card is only available to US residents.  Also, I am not paid by Bank of America to endorse their products.

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