Virgin America Launches Co-Branded Visa

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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Warning: Not all approved applications will come with the “Visa Signature” feature. I received a non-Visa Signature card and immediately called to cancel. I agree with your statements about the card/features/bonus in general but for me having the “Visa Signature” feature was the strongest selling point since you can get several free movie screenings and other perks through-out the year.

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