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Virgin Atlantic Rewards Credit Card Review

Travel rewards credit cards are available to qualified account holders from a wide variety of airlines, making the task of hitting the skies more rewarding than ever. Whether you fly for business or pleasure, internationally or domestically, travel credit cards are a smart way to earn reduced or no cost flights, seat upgrades, waived baggage fees and more. For travelers who appreciate the experience of flying Virgin Atlantic, the rewards credit card offered through the airline is a great way to rack up points that can be redeemed for flights across the globe in addition to other valuable perks.

 

Card Basics

Virgin Atlantic has created a frequent flyer rewards program known as the Flying Club, offering a number of ways to earn rewards for free flights on the airline and its partner airlines. For new cardholders, the Virgin Atlantic rewards credit card is offering a 20,000 bonus mile credit after the first purchase is made with the card. Account holders can also earn up to 15,000 additional reward miles at each account anniversary, after qualifying purchases are made. For each new account additional cardholder added to the credit card, up to 5,000 additional Flying Club miles can be earned.

In addition to the bonus Flying Club miles earned through the current promotions offered through Virgin Atlantic, cardholders earn rewards easily by simply utilizing the card for purchases. Any purchases of Virgin Atlantic airfare earn cardholders 3 Flying Club miles per $1 spent, without limitation. Similarly, 1.5 Flying Club miles are earned per $1 spent on all other purchases made with the card. Any Flying Club miles accrued throughout the year can be redeemed for airfare through the airline, seat or cabin upgrades, or companion seats for friends or family.

While the Flying Club rewards program is helpful in achieving the necessary number of rewards to redeem for international or domestic flights, the Virgin Atlantic rewards credit card offers an additional way to boost your earning power. Cardholders are also eligible to earn tier points by using their credit card. One tier point is earned per $2,500 spent on purchases, with a maximum of 2 tier points earned each month. Additional tier points can be earned by flying Virgin Atlantic or any of the airline’s partners. Racking up tier points through purchases and flights gives cardholders a higher status over time, which leads to additional benefits not available to lower status cardholders or frequent flyers.

Unique Cardholder Perks

The Flying Club rewards program is not the only perk of using the Virgin Atlantic rewards credit card. Account holders also have access to a number of unique perks offered directly through the airline, including exclusive access to airport lounges, special entertainment events, and discounts on a variety of events only available to cardholders. A dedicated concierge service is also one of the perks associated with the Virgin Atlantic rewards credit card which offers account holders VIP access to dining, hotel stays, hard-to-get event tickets and car services.

While extra rewards are nice to have, the safety that comes with the Virgin Atlantic rewards credit card makes it stand out among other travel credit cards. Account holders are able to connect with fraud resolution specialists to get clear guidance and assistance with reporting credit card fraud with each credit bureau. Additionally, purchase assurance is an added perk of the travel rewards card, offering protection of up to $1,000 on items that are damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase. Cardholders also have the benefit of an extended warranty on some items purchase with the credit card which extends the original manufacturer’s warranty up to one additional year. For cardholders who worry about purchase protection and identity theft, the Virgin Atlantic rewards credit card is a smart choice.

Virgin Atlantic cardholders also have access to travel assistance and emergency roadside help when needed. The travel assistance program offered through the credit card provides medical, legal and travel-oriented help no matter how far away from home you may be, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The emergency roadside assistance program offers access to a 24-hour, toll-free network of providers that can lend a hand with unexpected roadside needs. Also, cardholders are automatically protected for up to $500,000 through common carrier travel accident insurance when airfare is purchased through the Virgin Atlantic rewards credit card.

The Fine Print

With the seemingly endless number of travel rewards credit cards available to frequent flyers these days, it is always recommended that cardholders understand the fine print of the cardholder agreement. For travelers interested in the Virgin Atlantic rewards credit card, an excellent credit history and score are required to qualify. No introductory interest rate is available at this time, and the standard purchase APR ranges from 12.49% up to 19.49%, based on creditworthiness. Balance transfers are available up to the individual cardholder’s credit limit, but no promotional interest rate is available at this time. A fee is assessed for all balance transfers equal to 3% of the total amount transferred to the new card.

The Virgin Atlantic rewards credit card has a relatively low interest rate for well-qualified account holders, but an annual fee of $90 is due each account anniversary. There are also fees associated with late or returned payments, and the penalty APR of 29.99% is applied when a payment is missed. Cardholders are also assessed a fee for any cash advances taken against their available credit limit, equal to $10 or 3% of the amount advanced, whichever is greater. The cash advance APR ranges from 15.49% up to 22.49%, depending on the cardholder’s initial purchase APR.

The Final Verdict

Although the Virgin Atlantic rewards credit card offers an attractive array of perks and reward-earning potential to cardholders, the travel card is not the best fit for every frequent flyer. Individuals who conduct most of their travel through Virgin Atlantic or their select partner airlines can earn free flights and upgrades relatively quickly. However, travelers who prefer to switch up their preferred airline from time to time may not benefit from the lower Flying Club rewards potential. Additionally, flyers who want a low-cost travel rewards card are better offer finding a credit card with a lower annual fee and more flexible fees for balance transfers or cash advances.

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United MileagePlus Rewards Card Review

Over the last few decades, air travel has become less of a luxury reserved for the wealthy and their companions. Jetting away to a different city for work or personal time is not nearly as restricted as it used to be, thanks in part to more reasonable airfare and a growing number of competing airlines. Oh, and the bevy of rewards programs readily available to those who travel on a frequent basis doesn’t hurt, either.

Experienced travelers know that using a travel rewards credit card that is designed for racking up frequent flyer miles is a smart way to enhance the travel experience. Whether it is working toward a free flight, or using cardholder status as a means to get additional perks before, during or after a trip, travel rewards credit cards are the perfect addition to a traveler’s wallet. The United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card made available through Chase Bank is worth a second look for frequent flyers with a penchant for flying United.

 

Card Basics

The Mileage Plus Explorer credit card comes with a strong rewards program for cardholders which has the potential to pay off in a big way over time. Let’s start with the current promotions. New card members have the opportunity to earn up to 30,000 bonus miles when the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card is used to make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first three months after the account is opened. Additionally, a 5,000 bonus miles credit can be earned when an authorized user is added to the account and that user makes a purchase within the first three months after account opening. When the cardholder spends $25,000 in net purchases throughout the year, an additional 10,000 bonus miles can be credited to the account each and every year.

The bonus offers made available through the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card are incredibly attractive to card members who plan to spend big within the first three months, or have a tendency to spend big throughout the year. Fortunately, for less frequent spenders, the rewards miles still have the potential to add up. Cardholders earn two miles for each $1 spent on purchases directly through United airlines, with all other purchases earning one mile per $1 spent. The great news for all card members is that miles never expire and there is no limit on earning potential. Any miles earned through the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card can be redeemed for any seat, any time, on flights operated by United airlines.

Unique Cardholder Perks

Not having to worry about blackout dates or caps on mile earnings are the strongest benefits of the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card. However, additional perks exist for cardholders that make the card that much more rewarding. Cardholders are not required to pay a baggage fee on the first checked bag for themselves and one companion flyer, which could add up to $100 in savings per each round trip flight. Additionally, priority boarding is available for primary card members and their companions which allows travelers to board before the general boarding group.

The United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card also comes with no foreign transaction fees when purchases are made outside the United States. All United credit cards are chip-enabled, not only providing additional security but also allowing for a more acceptance within the U.S. and abroad. Cardholders also have the benefit of added comfort with United Club passes. Card members receive two United Club passes each year the account is open, providing access to the airline club with complimentary drinks, snacks, workspace and Wi-Fi.

Travelers also have additional protection when utilizing the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card for purchases through the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver program and the Purchase Protection program available directly through Chase Bank. Extra perks come by way of room upgrades and certain amenities are more than 700 luxury hotels and resorts around the world. Also, card members gain access to special events, private experiences and discounts through Chase’s Inside Access programs.

The Fine Print

Most travel cards come with some restrictions, either by way of rewards limitations or ongoing fees. The United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card does not impose earning restrictions on miles, but an annual fee of $95 is assessed. Currently, though, new card members have the annual fee waived for the first year.

Chase Bank offers some insight into who is best qualified for the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card, explaining that individuals with exemplary credit are encouraged to apply. A high credit score and strong credit history will help in getting potential card members approved for the travel card. For those who qualify, the interest rate on purchases ranges from 16.24% up to 23.24%, and the actual rate charged varies depending on broad market movement. Cash advances comes with a standard APR of 25.24%, and balance transfer fees are the same as the initial APR for purchases.

Although interest rates are a substantial part of the total cost of carrying debt on a credit card, additional feels may come in to play affecting the card holder. Late payments or returned payments due to insufficient funds result in a fee ranging from $15 up to $37, depending on the total balance due. Any balance transfers are assessed a fee of $5 or 5%, whichever is greater, of the total amount transferred to the credit card. Similarly, cash advances cost card holders $10 or 5% of the advanced amount, whichever is greater. The combination of these fees and the interest rate charged on carried over balance can add up quickly for cardholders.

The Verdict

The United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card is a smart choice for frequent flyers who prefer to travel via United flights. However, because the card offers no other way to redeem rewards aside from United airfare and their partners, this travel credit card is not recommended for individuals who are seeking a robust rewards program or cash-back options. The annual fee, the purchase APR and the cost for cash advances or balance transfers may make this card unattractive to frequent flyers who are cost-conscious or those who do not utilize the card enough to reap its benefits.

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How to never let your miles expire!

Miles is one topic that we can go on talking about endlessly! So, we’ll do our best to keep it short & sweet here! Many people worry about not being able to put their miles to use, and having to watch them fade into oblivion! No one wants to end up with wasted miles after all!

Vector illustration of red expired stamp on white background

One of our readers was left with around 10,000 miles after he had redeemed his first reward flight. These miles were sitting idle in his account and he thought they were in no way enough for buying anything worthwhile. These miles were about to expire, and he was constantly worrying about how to redeem them in some useful way. After all, it’s a pain to watch them die!

Wallet Wisdom: Never ever let your miles die!

After he searched extensively about how to put these miles to use, he discovered that he didn’t have to let them die a painful lonely death! He figured a way of keeping his miles from expiring, and doing it cheaply.

What should you do?

The best way of keeping your miles active is by buying some song through the reward program’s shopping website. You can spend $ 0.99 on an iTunes songs on that portal. Doing so will earn you some miles, and your miles’ expiry date will be reset automatically! Brilliant!

Another excellent method of keeping your miles active is by transferring them. Use this option only if there’s some special transfer promotion going on.

To conclude

Whatever you do, never waste your miles. All you need to do is simply earn a mile in most of the programs to keep them alive!

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The Best American Express Credit Cards for Travel Rewards

 I’ll admit it, I’m a pretty big American Express fan.  My first credit card was a Starwood Preferred Guest credit card by American Express, and I now proudly hold a American Express Platinum card in my wallet.  So, yes, I’m happy with the company and their suite of credit cards.  But, which ones are the best for travel rewards?  Let’s dig in with this post and see which cards are available, shall we?

Platinum Card from American Express

The ‘granddaddy’ of travel rewards credit cards, the Platinum Card from American Express has seen some competition as of late.  However, the benefits of this card are massive (and should be that way, with the $450 annual fee).  For one, you have access to the Membership Rewards partners, one of the most diverse group of transfer partners in the travel market.  And, most are available to transfer to at a 1:1 ratio.

Many of those same partners offer ‘transfer bonuses,’ sometimes up to 50% for a limited time.  You’ll receive two points per dollar spent on travel purchases on their booking engine, and one point per dollar on every other purchase.  Furthermore, you’ll receive $200 in statement credits for airline fees annually, and free Boingo internet for as long as you have the card.  A 40,000 point sign-up bonus for spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership isn’t half bad, either!

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card

I’m in love with SPG.  For one, their hotels, from the hip W Hotels, to luxurious St. Regis properties, to the ubiquitous Westins, are some of the best properties in their respective cities.  I love the SPG Card from American Express especially because of the value of SPG points: the program allows for the most transfers to airline partners in the business.

And, when you transfer more than 20,000 at a time, you’ll earn a 5,000 mile bonus.  If you like sign-up bonuses, I would apply now: you’ll receive 30,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $5,000 in the first six months of cardmembership (20,000 for the spend, 10,000 on first purchase).  The annual fee is a reasonable $65 a year.

American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card

The little brother of the Platinum card, the Premier Rewards Gold Card is worth a mention because of its bonus categories.  You’ll earn three points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airline, and two points per dollar on gas and grocery stores.  This can really add up for those making purchases regularly in these areas.

Conclusion

There are many American Express cards out there, but I believe these three to be the strongest out there.  The combination of transfer partners, either with SPG or Membership Rewards, combined with the backing of American Express makes these all winners in my book.  I love American Express’ purchase protection, and have had great experiences working with their customer service department.  So, what do you think?  Did I recommend your favorite cards, or do you have your own favorites?  Let us know in the comments.

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How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

For the last five years, Chase customers have been using the Ultimate Rewards Program to earn tons of points for travel perks. As the program has developed, many travel partners have been added, including airlines, hotels and more. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways for you to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points so that you can make the most of your purchases and earn vacations more quickly!

Three Credit Cards to Choose From

Chase offers three different cards when it comes to earning Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for airline miles or hotel points. You can opt for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Ink Bold or the Chase Ink Plus. None of these cards come without annual fees, but the annual fee of $95 is waived for the first year for each of these cards.

More Options For Earning Points

Chase does offer several other no-annual-fee credit cards that will earn points, but the points that are earned cannot be transferred for redemption by any of the partner programs. You can still use them for the actual program you are registered for, or exchange them for cash back or gift card options.

You can transfer your points among different Chase cards that are associated with the Ultimate Rewards, so if you have a higher-tiered card, you can transfer the points earned from your no-fee card, like the Chase Freedom, and then have more options when you want to redeem them.

Different Earning Potential Among Cards

There is a distinct difference when it comes to earning points if you are using the annual fee version or the no-fee versions of these Chase credit cards. All of the Chase cards mentioned offer earning potential of 1 point per dollar spent. When you have one of the annual fee versions of the cards, you will have the ability to earn bonus points in specific categories, up to 5 points per dollar spent.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 2 points per dollar spent on airfare, dining and travel purchases, while the business cards, the Chase Ink Plus and Chase Ink Bold, each offer 2 points per dollar spent on gas and hotels. The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers an additional perk of a 7% bonus at the end of the year on all of your points earned. This means if you have earned 40,000 points during the year, you will receive a bonus of 2,800 points at the end of the year!

For business customers using the Chase Ink cards, it is possible to earn 5 points per dollar spent on all of your business expenses—including cell phone, internet services and cable charges. You can earn up to 250,000 points per year this way!

Redeeming at the Ultimate Rewards Mall

One of the great things about the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is the many ways in which you can redeem your points. The online shopping portal, the Ultimate Rewards Mall, not only offers amazing deals from hundreds of your favorite retailers, but you can also enjoy bonus points for most purchases—some may be up to 30 points per dollar spent!

Just as an example, if you spent $200 with a 30 points-per-dollar bonus, you would earn 6,000 points. When you consider that a standard rate is $35 for 1,000 miles, purchased through the airline, you are essentially getting 6,000 miles for $200—a significant savings—because you are not just buying the miles, you have $200 worth of merchandise to go along with it.

Bottom Line

Maximizing earning potential is a priority for any rewards credit card holder. After all, why have the credit card if you are not going to take advantage of the perks? Learn how you can get the highest earning rates, and how to spend in a way that gets you the most points or cash back.

In this case, you can see just how great the Chase offers are, especially if you want to redeem your points with the travel partners of United Airlines, British Airways, Marriott, InterContinental, Korean Air, Southwest Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton and more!

Read this post for ways to redeem your Ultimate Rewards.

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The New Hawaiian Airlines Business MasterCard Review

Who doesn’t like Hawaii?  Besides those afraid of islands and beautiful surroundings, Hawaii is a dream vacation for many on both sides of the Pacific.  With great water, beaches, pineapples, and great golf, it’s a major vacation destination for not only mainlanders but also Japanese tourists due to its ‘Middle of the Pacific’ location.

Hawaiian Airlines seems like a natural airline to fly to the Aloha state, doesn’t it?  But, how do you get the points necessary to fly on Hawaiian?  With a credit card, of course!  And, if you are a small business owner, you can apply for the New Hawaiian Airlines Business MasterCard, in addition to the personal version.  Let’s check out some of the benefits below!

Apply Now: The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®

 

The Benefits

Sign Up Bonus

Everyone loves a good sign up bonus.  Thankfully, Hawaiian’s business credit card delivers.  By meeting the spend requirement of $1,000 of purchases in 90 days, you will earn you 35,000 miles.  Not too shabby (and, if you pair it up with the personal credit card, that’s another 35,000 miles!).

Bonus Miles

You’ll earn lots of bonus miles with this card if you’re flying Hawaiian Airlines often.  Every dollar spent with the airline will earn two miles, and one mile will be earned for every other purchase.  In addition, special partners on their website can earn you ten points per dollar.  Furthermore, if you spend $50-99,000 in the year of your card, you’ll receive an extra 20,000 miles.  Spend over $100,000, and you’ll earn 40,000 bonus miles.  This is available every year that you own the card, so if you have a business that spends over $100,000 a year, you’ll have plenty of bonus points!

Other Benefits

Are you someone that takes their entire closet with them when they travel?  Well, you’re in luck.  With this credit card, you’ll receive a free checked bag when flying on Hawaiian.  For me flying to Hawaii, all I need is a backpack and a swimsuit, but for others, their entire wardrobe is necessary.

For one-time only, you’ll receive 50% off a companion ticket when you fly from North America in coach.  That’s pretty nice if you want to fly to Hawaii immediately after receiving the card, instead of waiting for the points to deposit into your account.  You’ll also receive 5,000 point discount on all Hawaiian Airlines award redemptions from North America to Hawaii.  Anything helps!

 

The Nitty Gritty

The card does levy an $89 fee per year, which is not waived.  However, the card does have ‘SmartChip’ technology, which is becoming more and more popular stateside.  Furthermore, if you use the card abroad, there are no foreign transaction fees.   And, the card includes the new “ChipCard” technology, making it easy to use the credit card in places like Europe and South America.

 

Conclusion

Earning miles in such a niche program may not seem to make a lot of sense to you, but with roundtrips running just 40,000 miles (and sometimes less with discounted awards), a signup bonus is essentially a flight to Hawaii.  Furthermore, with partners like Membership Rewards, which can help you top off your account, and the ability to book awards on ANA, Delta, Korean Air, JetBlue, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Australia makes this program make sense.  In addition, if you’re on a longer Hawaiian vacation and would like to island hop, intra-island flights run just 7,500 miles.  What do you think?  Is this card worth it?  Let us know in the comments!

Apply Now: The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®

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These Credit Cards Offer Airport Lounge Access

Everyone loves the airport lounge.  It makes traveling just a bit easier, and it’s always great to pick up some free snacks (and booze) before or after your long flight.  A warm shower doesn’t hurt after a transatlantic or transpacific journey, either.

With many cards cutting benefits for lounges these days, many of you have inquired about the very best credit cards to use for gaining access to these wonderful airport spaces.  You’re in luck, the information you seek is below!

 

1.  Citi Executive/AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard

The first card we can detail for you is the Citi Executive/AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard.  This mouthful of a name for a credit card basically means that for the steep annual fee of $450, you’ll be able to access both Admirals Clubs and US Airways clubs.  Furthermore, their sign up bonus is quite large, depending on the offer you receive (60,000-100,000 miles) for spending $7,500 in three months upon account opening.  You’ll also receive $200 in statement credits within 12 months of account opening for the card.

2.  American Express Platinum Card

What used to be the card for lounge access has faltered over the past year or so.  No longer can you access US Airways or American Airlines clubs anymore, and United Club access was lost a few years ago.  Now, only Delta clubs allow you to enter, but only for you (guest access costs extra).  However, the card does offer up free Priority Club access, which is a membership-based lounge access system where you pay per access.  Their network is worldwide, however.

3.  United Mileage Plus Club Card

For those of you who just want club access, Chase offers this card which gives members no bonus miles at sign up, but gives $100 of statement credit towards the first year’s $395 annual fee.  You’ll also receive $60 in credits if you are a Premier 1K member.  Two free checked bags, priority boarding, and Platinum Hyatt status is another benefit of this card.

4.  Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

For a steep $450 annual fee, you’ll receive access for only the primary cardholder to Delta’s Sky Club lounges.  Guests cost $29.  You’ll also receive one free checked bag, double miles on purchases, and priority access when flying.  New applicants will receive 10,000 miles as well as 10,000 qualifying miles towards elite status.

5.  Ink Bold and Ink Plus

Both of these cards offer us Lounge Club access, which acts similarly to Priority Club membership.  However, one key difference is the fact that you get two entries free at the start of the membership.  They do have less lounges (only 350 worldwide), but it’s nice to have, especially in conjunction with a Priority Pass membership.

 

All in all, these cards are your best bet for finding lounge access with your credit card.  There are some expensive options out there, sure, but when you look at individual club memberships, they do make sense.  Also take into account your status that you may have with an airline- if you do a lot of international traveling, you may not need a lounge membership.