Consumer Payment Card News

Upper Crust Perks

The snob appeal of the nation’s most affluent card products ramped up a few notches this week as Virgin Atlantic Airways and Delta Air Lines announced they will join the American Express “International Airline Program.” Under the program, cardholders of the American Express “Centurion” or “Platinum” have the option a purchasing a free companion ticket when buying an international first class or business class seat on any of the 20 participating airlines. For example, an eligible cardholder can purchase a two one-way seats on the Air France Concorde from New York to Paris for about $4,300 or two first class round-trip seats on Virgin Atlantic from New York to London for around $7,700. U.S. cardholders can use the program as often as they like but there is a maximum of one complimentary companion ticket per trip, per cardholder traveling. The are some limitations. For example, the program is only good for select foreign cities served by Delta and is not good on flights from Europe on the Air France Concorde. Other participating airlines in the program include Aero Mexico, Aer Lingus, Air New Zealand, Air France, Alitalia, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, Continental Airlines, Japan Airlines, LanChile, Lan Peru, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, SAS, South African Airways and Swiss International. The American Express “Platinum” card carries a $395 annual fee and the “Centurion” card has a $2,500 annual fee. For more information visit

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