Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Barclays Virgin America Card

Barclays has a limited time offer (until August 31st) for a Virgin America Visa Signature card that provides 20000 bonus points after first purchase, up to 5000 points with a balance transfer, $150 off a companion ticket each year and all this for a $49 annual fee.

Obviously, 20k bonus points seems somewhat small compared to the now-regular 50k offers coming out of Chase and Citi but it is worth mentioning that this is coming from Barclays, a bank not known for offering exceptionally huge offers.

Additionally, you should keep in mind that Virgin America points are actually worth more than most of the other large domestic carriers. Points redemptions generally requires far fewer points than Virgin's counterparts due to the correlation between points and the dollar cost of flights. This makes points worth at least 2 cents, thus valuing 20k VA points at approximately 40k United or Delta miles, which is a fairly decent  offer.

This particular credit card offer also comes with:
  • 20k bonus points after first spend
  • Up to 5k bonus points for balance transfer
  • $150 off companion ticket every year
  • 10k bonus points per year after $25k spend
  • 300 additional points per year per $5000 spent (up to 1200 points)
  • 3 points per $1 on Virgin America purchases
  • 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Annual fee of $49
The earning structure is is a bit weak, earning just 1 point per $1 on non-category spending, say compared to 1.25 Avios earned on the Chase British Airways card. I'm not sure that the additional bonus points each year are incentive enough for me to get this card.

In my opinion, given the few partners Virgin America has, the Barclays US Airways Mastercard seems to make a bit more sense, especially since you get 10k miles with the $89 annual fee. However, if you already have that and are maxed out on all the Chase/Citi/Amex offers, this might be an application worth considering, especially as Virgin America doesn't have blackout dates for award travel.

You can find the application link and full details here.

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

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