Last week I outlined Virgin America’s award redemption offerings and noted that a co-branded credit card was on the way. Now details of that credit card are here.
The card is a Visa Signature co-branded with Barclays bank, the same issuer as the US Airways Mastercard and comes with:
- 3,500 bonus points with first purchase. Apparently the ‘usual’ offer is intended as 2,500 bonus points, as the 3,500 offer includes 1,000 for ‘pre-registering’ on the credit card’s website.
- The card comes with a free one-way flight after first purchase, with details described as:
[A]pply by November 30, 2008, and use the card to make a purchase by January 31, 2009. Travel must be completed by May 20, 2009.
- No annual fee.
According to a PRNewswire release, additional details include:
- The card launches October 23rd.
- One point per dollar of spend plus 3 points per dollar on Virgin America spend.
- 0% interest and 1 point per dollar on first balance transfer (up to 2,500 bonus points)
- 300 bonus points for every $5,000 in annual spend (up to 1,200 annual bonus points)
This card certainly isn’t a game-changer. The bonuses aren’t that high, the program itself isn’t that generous, but considering the program offers capacity control-free redemptions (albeit with a sliding scale on points required) there will be those whose reward goals are precisely Virgin America flights and they’ll find this card a useful addition.
Still, the fundamental problem with the program in my view is that the reward for flying Virgin America domestic hops — and topping those off with credit card spend — is simply more Virgin America domestic hopes. There’s little aspirational going on here.