LAST CHANCE: 25,000 miles with the Virgin credit cards and 500 miles with Shops Away

This week is the last week to take advantage of the current generous sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic credit cards.   Since MBNA seems to have stopped offering enhanced bonuses on its other cards since the new EU interchange rules came in, this one is worth taking more seriously.

There is also a 500 mile bonus on the ShopsAway shopping portal which I recap at the bottom.

Virgin Flying Club offer two different credit card options. There is a free ‘White’ card and a £140 fee ‘Black’ card. Each comes in the standard MBNA double-pack of an American Express and a Visa.

Unlike the British Airways American Express cards, MBNA is happy for you to have BOTH of the Virgin cards. Whilst I would not recommend this, I know that some HFP readers in the past have applied for both at the same time and received both. This does put you under some pressure to hit the spending targets on both cards at the same time.

The free card is the Virgin Atlantic White Credit Card.

There is NO annual fee with this card, and the sign up bonus is 10,000 Virgin Flying Club miles. The usual bonus is just 3,000 miles and it never goes above 10,000 miles so this is as good as it gets.

You will receive 3,000 miles immediately and a further 7,000 miles when you spend just £1,000 in the first 90 days. Should you decide to keep the card, you will earn 1 mile per £1 spent on the Amex and 0.5 miles per £1 spent on the Visa.

My full review of Virgin White is here. The application page is here.

The representative APR of the card is 22.9% variable.

Virgin credit card bonus

The more generous fee-carrying card is the Virgin Atlantic Black Credit Card.

This card comes with an annual fee of £140, with a sign-up bonus of 25,000 Virgin Flying Club miles. The standard offer on this card is 18,500 miles so the additional bonus is 6,500.

You will receive 18,500 miles with your first purchase and a further 6,500 miles when you spend £3,000 in the first 90 days.

We have seen this bonus as high as 32,000 miles in the past.  That was before the new EU interchange fee caps came in, however, and I would be surprised to see that deal coming back in a hurry.

The earnings rate for the Black card is EXCELLENT. You earn 2 miles per £1 on the American Express and a whopping (compared to the competition) 1 mile per £1 on the Visa.

My full review of Virgin Black is here. The application page is here.

The representative APR of the card is 57.4% variable including the fee, assuming a £1200 credit limit.  The annual fee is £140.

And vouchers too ….

There are also two long-term incentives available with the Virgin cards. The White card offers an upgrade voucher (from Economy to Premium Economy only) for a miles redemption when you spend £10,000, and a second at £20,000. The Black card offers the same vouchers at £5,000 and £10,000.

Both cards also offer a less useful incentive – a voucher at £15,000 (White) or £7,500 (Black) for a free companion seat – excluding heavy taxes – when you buy a semi-flexible or flexible ticket in any class.  These have recently become slightly easier to use (because you can qualify with a cheaper type of cash ticket) but are only likely to make sense in Premium Economy.

It is also worth remembering that you can transfer Virgin Flying Club miles into Hilton HHonors points (at 2:3) and IHG Rewards Club points (at 1:1). Getting one of these cards may be a way of giving your Hilton or IHG account a boost.

More information on the cards can be found in the reviews which I link to above.  You do NOT get a pro-rata refund if you choose to cancel later.  The application deadline is 31st May and you have 90 days from application to achieve the £1,000 / £3,000 target.

Don’t forget the Shops Away bonus too

Shops Away is the Virgin Atlantic equivalent of the British Airways Gate 365 e-store.  It allows you to earn a few miles every time you shop at participating online retailers after first clicking through from the Shops Away website.

You will receive 500 bonus Flying Club miles by signing up to the Shops Away newsletter AND making a purchase before 31st May.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Shops Away

To sign up, visit this page of the Flying Club website, log in and click through to Shops Away.

As soon as you land on the Shops Away page, an overlay should appear featuring the image above.  There is a box on the form for your email address.  Fill it in and you are registered.

You then have the rest of the week to find something to buy in order to earn your 500 bonus points!

PS.  Remember that you can also earn 250 miles for installing the Shops Away Mile Finder shopping toolbar.  Click here for more details.

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

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  1. Hi just tried the application links for the Virgin cards and they both have the lower bonus sign up rates. Have the special bonus sign up rates been pulled?

    • James67 says:

      Just type mbna directly into your browser, the 10 and 25k bonus points offers are still showing there on main page.Take a screenshot and then apply. Even if the application no longer attracts the bonus you will have screenshot of mbna homepage to support any future complaint if necessary.

  2. Tilly71 says:

    Advise, the shops away miles take about 5 weeks to credit.

    • Mile Finder 250 miles – installed 20th, points already in my wife’s a/c today 23rd

      • I installed the Mile Finder and then used it to make a purchase earlier this week intending to trigger the 500 bonus miles. Just checked my Virgin statement and I have 250 miles added as “Miles Finder Transaction”. Will that one transaction also get me the 500 mile bonus in due course? Or would I need another purchase not using the Mile Finder toolbar to get that?

  3. Would I qualify for the signup bonus if I also have the MBNA-etihad cards? I think restriction only applies to churning for same card if I remember correctly?

    • James67 says:

      Correct, you will get bonus, on both virgin cards too if you apply for them at the same time.

  4. Drolma-la says:

    You keep repeating the Virgin Shops Away newsletter offer, but I’ve NEVER been able to find it.

    • log in

      navigate to shops away

      keep going further in as if you are going to actually buy something

      painful number of screens but…

      it pops up as an invite

  5. avidsaver says:

    When in the Virgin Clubhouse at Heathrow recently I was offered a sign up bonus of 12,000/white or 32,000/black. The young lady told me that the sign up bonus is always higher if you apply in the Clubhouse.

    • @ avidsaver: Thanks for the heads up on this. How do you apply in the Virgin Clubhouse? Do you have to ask the reception?

      • avidsaver says:

        There was a young lady wandering around the Clubhouse just promoting all the benefits that Virgin could offer. I daresay if you don’t spot her the reception staff will be able to point you in the right direction.

  6. Virgin Shops Away

    Some cheap stuff on 7 day shop incl delivery

    eg various 8GB USB memory sticks for about £3-4

  7. Can someone confirm that the upgrade vouchers are for a return booking?
    So if I spend £10,000 in one year on the Black Amex I will get two return upgrade vouchers.

    • The_Real_A says:

      Best to read the detailed review linked in the article as there are some heavy restrictions on the vouchers.

      • I have read the review and also the T&Cs that came with my card. Nowhere does it confirm that the redemption upgrade from Economy to PE is for a return. I assume it is for a return booking given the way it is described but I can’t seem to find anywhere that is 100% clear. As I have to wait a few months until my card anniversary to actually see the voucher in my FC account I was hoping someone who had used the upgrade voucher could confirm whether each voucher covers a return flight.
        What other heavy restrictions are there on the vouchers? I assumed you just needed standard redemption availability in PE and obviously the necessary points for the Economy redemption.

        • Our upgrade vouchers are due to post on our account in about 2 weeks time. Previous users of this voucher have said you can use the voucher as 2 one way upgrades or 1 return return upgrade. You pay the economy miles and get PE and pay PE taxes – is my understanding of it .

        • I spoke to customer services last December and the Lady confirmed that upgrade voucher is valid for a return journey. It can also be split in to two one way journeys. meaning that a family of four on a one way trip would only need two vouchers.

    • I can confirm on spending £10k on the black card you do indeed get vouchers for 2 return upgrades.

      • Thanks everyone for confirming. I had assumed it was like that but just could not seem to find the precise wording anywhere.

  8. Hi Raffles – once I cancel my BA Amex (and Gold Amex Preferred Rewards for that matter) I’ve read I have to wait 6 months before re-applying to gain any sign-up bonus…. is that the case? Thanks in advance

    • Yes, you have to not have a membership rewards account with amex for 6 months to churn the gold card.

      before I apply for it (with Rob’s referral of course) I phone amex and ask them when I last held the card and if it was 6 months past. They will know the date your account was closed :) They are very helpful

      • Thanks Oly – but it wasn’t clear from your answer if this applies to the BA Amex too?

    • yes

    • No, only for a bonus in the same reward currency – you can get an SPG Amex at any point for eg.

      • Thanks Raffles! I’ve just cancelled my Gold, SPG and BA Amex….and marked 23rd November in my diary as ‘Application Day’ :-)

        • Genghis says:

          It’s best to spread out applications and cancellations (if possible) to keep your spend throughout the year targeted on new sign up bonuses

  9. OT – Virgin wines has an offer for new customers of £60 off when you spend £119.95+
    and on your first order you get 3000 miles

    Worth a go

  10. Melvin says:

    My experience of receiving the 10,000 bonus for the white card differs to that stated above by Rob. I have not received the 3000 miles on first spend even though this was on 10th May. I called MBNA about an hour ago and was told that the 3000 miles was showing as pending but that they would not be issued until my statement on the 27th.

    The T+C’s state:

    1. 3,000 bonus miles will be credited to your Flying Club account after your first card purchase, providing you use either of your cards within 90 days of your account opening and supply your Flying Club membership number to MBNA. A further 7,000 bonus miles will be credited to your account when you apply by 31 May 2016 and spend £1,000 on either card in the first 90 days of your account opening and supply your Flying Club membership number to MBNA. Please allow six to eight weeks for bonus miles to be added to your account. Bonus miles are not awarded on balance transfers, money transfers or cash advances.

    • Funtime says:

      I didn’t get the 3000 miles on first card spend neither. However, I spent £1000 on the visa card by my first statement date of 20/05/16 and the 10000 points plus earned points hit my Flying Club account this morning.

  11. O/T

    Up to £5 statement credit

    Save to Card to get £1 back for each £3 of spend, up to a maximum of £5 total statement credit, at participating Starbucks until 19 June 2016. Valid for the first 75,000 Cardmembers to save. Terms apply.

    —> you could buy a £15 giftcard or top-up

    • oh no you couldn’t, it’s 1x £3 or £3+ gives you £1 statement credit
      max 5x

    • It took a while but for once this is actually available on all my Amex cards!! (BA, Nectar, Plat)

  12. Hi All, I last had the Virgin White card about 4 years ago – If I sign up again will i receive the 10,000 bonus, or is it not possible to churn?

    • You probably will get it – but you can’t complain if not.

    • Jonathan says:

      I have churned with only 6 months gap – their was no mention on the paperwork about the bonus points like before so i called up and it was confirmed over the phone i would get the points again. About 1 week to go until the first statement so time will tell. On another note, was flying UC last night and thanks to an earlier post i can confirm 32,000 VA points for taking out their black card when signing up in the lounge and only have to make 1 purchase of any value – not £3k like on the website.