Norwegian Air unveils new no-annual-fee cobranded credit card
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
On Tuesday, low-cost carrier Norwegian Air and credit card company Synchrony launched the airline’s first cobranded credit card in the U.S. The new Norwegian Reward Card is tied to the carrier’s existing Norwegian Reward loyalty program and offers credit card rewards in CashPoints, the currency of Norwegian Reward.
Details on the new no-annual-fee Norwegian Mastercard include:
- A sign-up bonus of $50 in CashPoints after making $500 in purchases in the first 90 days after receiving the card
- 2% on Norwegian flights, 2% on dining and grocery and 1% on everything else
- A bonus of $100 in CashPoints after spending $20,000 each year after the account opening date
- Redeem CashPoints anytime on any Norwegian flight with no blackout dates and no minimum spend requirement
- Priority boarding
- No foreign transaction fees
Norwegian Reward members can also earn Cashpoints with partner hotels, renting cars and shopping online. For every purchase made with the Norwegian Reward Card via reward partners — including Avis, Hotels.com, eShop and more — members earn an additional 1%. The 2% on Norwegian flights booked at Norwegian.com/us with the card are on top of the usual earnings from the net fare.
Kristin Møllerplass, Norwegian’s head of Loyalty and Engagement, has worked on launching the new card for the past year. “We now have 1.4 million members in the U.S. market. This is our most important market and one where we have our highest growth,” she said. “Norwegian wanted to tap that membership base, because it’s very attractive.”
One additional feature of the card is it comes with a double expiration period for points when linked to a Norwegian Reward profile, going from two to four years. The extended expiration period covers all the Cashpoints you earn, not just the ones you earn with card spending. The change was based on member behavior, said Møllerplass. Expiration is still based on the month in which you acquired the points, meaning each set of earned points has its own expiration date.
Norwegian Reward isn’t a fantastically rewarding loyalty program. It’s revenue-based with CashPoints earned at a rate of 2% of the amount spent on LowFare tickets and 20% on Flex tickets. Taxes, charges and optional services are excluded from earning points. CashPoints are equivalent in value to Norwegian Krone, so at current exchange rates, that makes 9.15 CashPoints effectively worth $1 US off Norwegian flights. Unfortunately that means you get a set return of an extremely low 0.22 cents per dollar spent on Norwegian LowFare flights, though obviously that rate is improved significantly if you pay for it with the Norwegian Reward credit card. The sign-up bonus of $50 in CashPoints is also not terribly competitive, though the minimum spend of $500 is low and easily achievable.
On the positive side, since Norwegian Reward is a revenue-based program, there are no limits on award availability, and you can redeem for flights partially with points and partially with cash. Points can be used to pay for seat reservations, luggage fees and more, and can also be pooled within a family. Additionally, Norwegian has a related companion program that offers customers a choice of additional elite status-style benefits after every six flights.
Finally, the earning rates on the US-based credit card are tied to the dollar value of CashPoints, not just directly to CashPoints. That means a $100 grocery purchase that codes in the 2% bonus category will earn you $2 worth of CashPoints or roughly 18 CashPoints, which is a lot better than a $100 grocery purchase earning just 2 CashPoints.
Møllerplass says future plans include a second credit card. “As we look at different members in our Norwegian Reward base, we see growth in our high-frequency flyers and want to offer them a product tailored to their needs as well,” she said. “We’re here to cater to our members. If that’s what they want, they’ll get it.”
Featured image by Ryan Patterson / The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees