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Virgin America Launches New Rewards Credit Cards

SmarterTravel

Virgin America today introduced its new rewards credit card lineup: the Virgin America Visa Signature card (annual fee: $49), and the Virgin America Premium Visa Signature card (annual fee: $149). The cards are issued by Alliance Data Retail Services.

Benefits for the cheaper Signature card include the following:

  • Free first checked bag each for the cardholder and a guest
  • Annual $150 discount on a companion ticket
  • 20 percent discount on inflight purchases
  • Cardholders earn three points per $1 on Virgin America, one point per $1 elsewhere
  • 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days

The more expensive Premium Signature card features the following additional benefits:

  • No change or cancellation fees for Virgin America bookings
  • 5,000 elite-qualifying points for every $10,000 spent, up to 15,000 points annually
  • Ability to carry forward elite points when renewing
  • 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days

A single-currency credit card like Virgin America’s, which earns points in a single program, is only as good as the program it’s linked to. In this case, that’s Virgin America’s Elevate program.

Like the airline itself, Elevate is a small program, with limited opportunities to earn and redeem points. For many travelers, who need an airline with a more comprehensive route network and a loyalty program with more robust benefits, that puts Virgin America at an insurmountable competitive disadvantage.

These cards are for the select few for whom Virgin America works as a primary or secondary carrier, and for whom Elevate is the primary or secondary loyalty program.

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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