Virgin America Visa 20,000 Point Signup Bonus Until August 31, 2012

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The first-use bonus on the Virgin America Visa Signature is usually just 10,000 Elevate points, but from now through August 31, the first-use bonus is double that, at 20,000 Elevate points, which equates to as much as $460 in Virgin America flights since Elevate points are worth about 1.6-2.3 cents a piece when redeemed for Virgin America flights.

When you complete a balance transfer within the first 30 days, you get another 5,000 bonus points, bringing the combined possible bonus to 25,000 Elevate points. That’s the equivalent of spending $5,000 since Elevate members earn 5 points per dollar spent on Virgin America.

20,000 Elevate points is the highest sign-up bonus Virgin America has ever offered.

Here are the other details of the card:

20,000 bonus points with first purchase
3 points per $1 spent on Virgin America
-1 point per $1 on everything else
10,000 status points when you spend $25,000 annually
300 bonus points for every $5,000 in net purchases each year up to an annual maximum of 1,200 points
$150 off a companion ticket each year
$49 annual fee

So the only real difference is the extra 10,000 bonus points, which is the equivalent of spending $2,000 on the airline. Elevate points usually get you between 1.6-2.3 cents each for redemptions, so those extra 10,000 points are worth between $160-230.

Virgin America also just launched an elite status program that requires 20,000 status points for its lowest level, Silver. If you spend $25,000 annually on this card, you get 10,000 bonus status points, so you’re already halfway there. As a Silver member, you also get a 25% bonus on Elevate points, so in essence, you’d be getting the normal 5 points per dollar on airfare, plus 3 points per dollar if you purchase it with this credit card, plus a 1.25-points elite bonus per dollar for a total of 9.25 points per dollar.

If you had Gold status (requires 50,000 points a year – the equivalent of $10,000 in Virgin flight purchases), you’d earn a 100% points bonus. So you’d be earning 13 point per dollar when you used the Virgin America Visa for flight purchases. Spending the $10,000 on flights necessary to achieve Gold status would then net you 130,000 Elevate points, or nearly $3,000 worth of redemption value for Virgin America award tickets. Not a bad deal at all – that’s almost 30% back on your money.

If you’ve been thinking about getting the Virgin America Visa but have been hesitating because of the bonus, this is as high as it’s ever been and as we’re likely to see it go for now (though last year, Virgin America did offer a free one-way flight as a sign-up bonus on the card). You can apply here.

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