Virgin Atlantic launches new World Elite MasterCard credit card

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic and Bank of America have announced the launch of the new Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard credit card and the long-term renewal of their co-brand partnership.

The new Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard credit card rewards cardholders with three miles for every $1.00 spent on Virgin Atlantic purchases, and 1.5 miles for all other purchases.

‘The new credit card programme allows us to give our customers an extraordinary experience, both on the ground and in the air,’ said Chris Rossi, senior vice president, Virgin Atlantic North America. ‘Joining forces with Bank of America and MasterCard ensures our international travellers can use their credit cards easily-whether they’re in London, our other worldwide destinations or their own neighbourhoods.’

Cardholders can earn miles every day that can be redeemed for rewards that include upgrades, Virgin Atlantic flights and partner flights with Delta Air Lines and Virgin America. Specific Flying Club miles earned through the card include:

Three miles per $1.00 spent directly on Virgin Atlantic purchases

1.5 miles per $1.00 spent on all other purchases

Up to 40,000 bonus miles in the first year

20,000 bonus miles after first purchase

Up to 15,000 annual bonus miles after every anniversary

Up to 5,000 bonus miles for adding additional cardholders to existing accounts

Tier points to help achieve or maintain Flying Club Silver or Gold status

Jeff Norwine, affinity banking executive at Bank of America, said, ‘Bank of America is proud to continue its long partnership with Virgin Atlantic. We recognise Virgin Atlantic’s need to deliver an outstanding value proposition to Flying Club members, and this new World Elite MasterCard programme will allow travellers to journey farther and enjoy more of what the world has to offer along the way.’

MasterCard is the exclusive US network for the Virgin Atlantic co-brand portfolio.

Craig Vosburg, group executive of U.S. Market Development for MasterCard, said, ‘Travellers have told us that acceptance matters. This understanding of core traveller needs-combined with MasterCard’s global acceptance footprint-serves as the foundation for a strong value proposition for Virgin Atlantic flyers.’

Those Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members that earn miles will also have access to MasterCard Priceless Cities, which is a programme that brings consumers closer to their passion points by offering access to handpicked experiences and offers in their home cities and around the world, including access to concerts, restaurants, museums and sporting events.

ABTA says 2013 too soon for card charge ban

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has registered its opposition to plans to bring forward to 2013 the ban on ‘above cost’ credit and debit card charges.

The ban on credit card charges is to be imposed by the British government, in response to growing consumer anger over their use by a range of retail industries, including the travel industry. It was recently proposed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ consultation that the ban be brought forward to next year.

In its response, ABTA has argued that its members, agents and operators in the travel industry will need more time to make the IT and marketing changes that the ban will require. It does not want the ban to come into force until 2014, after the EU transposition deadline. The organisation has also said that in its opinion package tours should fall outside the remit of the Consumer Rights Directive, and should be exempt from the ban.

Luke Pollard, head of ABTA’s public affairs, said, ‘Abta supports full transparency of pricing and has worked closely with the Office of Fair Trading to help guide policy in this area. The vast majority of our members offer the option to pay by debit card and absorb the costs themselves to allow consumers flexibility in how they pay. However, it is important that they can offer the option to pay by credit card and be able to recoup their associated costs. We believe that any changes to the policies governing package travel should be made via the forthcoming review of the Package Travel Directive, which specifically addresses the nuances of selling package travel rather than gold plating the Consumer Rights Directive.’

British Overseas Travellers Spending Millions on Card Charges

Travellers intending to use their prepaid credit or debit cards while on holiday abroad this summer are being advised to make sure that they understand what charges apply.

Bitish travellers are spending millions on card charges while on holiday, according to a recent study on currency cards.

Around 3,000 British holidaymakers participated in the survey of holiday spending money, and around 50 of the most popular debit, credit and prepaid holiday money cards were analysed as part of the study carried out by Travelex, a foreign currency exchange specialist.

The study has reported that around 77 percent of British holidaymakers that are going abroad for their summer holidays will be using a credit or debit card to finance purchases or withdraw cash. Around 485 of the respondents had answered that they did not decide to take a prepaid card as they were confused about which one to choose.

Travelex has estimated that travellers may have paid an additional GBP100 million in fees and charges by using their credit and debit cards abroad during this summer, as almost all of these card transactions include a currency conversion or load fee.

Financial expert, Andrew Hagger, said, ‘There has been an explosion in the number of prepaid cards in recent years, with different cards for different currencies and a myriad of different companies offering prepaid cards. However, unlike credit or debit cards, there isn’t a uniform way of displaying these cards so holidaymakers are faced with a bewildering array of fees, charges and terminology.’

 

Millions of Travellers Spend Extra on Credit Card Usage Abroad Every Year

Holiday makers are paying through their nose when they use their credit cards while paying for transactions abroad, says a recent finding.

A survey done by MoneySupermarket, a UK-based financial product comparison website, reported that around 54% of the population polled are unaware of immediate interest applied on a credit card used to withdraw cash from an ATM abroad; while 57% of the respondents, or around 15 million people, didn’t know about additional charges and transaction fees and interest applied on their cards on spending abroad.

Around £10.2bn is spent by Brits using plastic cards abroad. 52% of the respondents of the survey have used a credit card abroad, and 22% of the people polled have used a credit card abroad in the last year.

Bob Atkinson, travel expert at MoneySupermarket.com, said, ‘Some debit and credit cards should only be used abroad in an emergency unless they are specifically designed for overseas usage. If you are planning to use cards abroad then it pays to be clued up on all the charges involved in doing so before you jet off.

It’s extremely worrying that such a high number of holidaymakers are not aware of the extra fees or charges that apply when using a card for purchases or withdrawals, or that they may not be getting the best exchange rate.

Every major credit card, bar one, charges interest from the date of withdrawing cash at an ATM, many have loading fees for over the counter purchases, but you should always check before heading abroad. Failing to do so means you will probably face a hefty bill on the doormat on your return when in fact you thought you had snared a bargain.’