Do you know you can get a sign-up bonus on BOTH the Virgin Atlantic credit cards?

If you have ever had a British Airways American Express card, you will know that it is NOT possible to have both the free BA Amex and the paid BA Premium Plus version.  You need to choose.

Virgin Atlantic also offers two different credit cards – the free White cards and the £140 annual fee Black cards.

You may assume that the same rules applied as with the British Airways card – ie that you had to choose between White or Black.  However, this is not the case.

MBNA is perfectly happy, subject to credit etc, to let you have BOTH the Virgin White and Virgin Black credit cards.

Virgin White

The current sign-up offers on the cards are:

The free White card offers 3,000 Flying Club miles

The £140 Black card offers 18,500 Flying Club miles

We have seen better deals on these cards in the past but those days may be numbered given the EU caps on interchange fees which will slash credit card profitability.

Please note that the White cards have a representative APR 22.9% variable.  The Black cards have a representative APR 57.4% variable including the fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

Remember that MBNA is almost certainly losing the Virgin credit cards soon

Virgin Money recently announced that it has signed a partnership deal with Virgin Atlantic.  Whilst the credit cards were not specifically mentioned, it is unthinkable that this deal does not include the Flying Club cards.

On the basis that MBNA may stop offering the Virgin Atlantic cards at any time, it makes sense to take advantage of this offer whilst it is running.  If / when the cards move to Virgin Money, you will be able to get another sign-up bonus through them!

Can I apply for both White and Black cards at the same time?

I know people who managed to apply for both sets of Virgin cards at once, although this is pushing your luck.  It makes more sense to get one now and then the 2nd one later on.

If you already have one of the Virgin cards, however, you should think about whether you should get the other one:

If you currently have Virgin Black, you have nothing to lose – and 3,000 miles to gain – by taking out Virgin White.  You can always cancel it as soon as the free miles have hit.

If you currently have Virgin White, applying for Virgin Black means you are effectively paying £140 for 18,500 miles, which is a decent deal.  Once you have triggered the sign-up bonus you need to decide whether to keep spending on Black – with the higher earnings rate – or go back to White if you are close to hitting the upgrade voucher.  You CANNOT get a pro-rata refund of the £140 fee if you cancel Black.

My full reviews of the two Virgin cards are here and here.  The application page for both cards is here.

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.

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Comments

  1. I have the Virgin Atlantic white card. Never been in the situation where the card issuer has cancelled the contract.

    What happens to existing customers? Would they be transferred to the new issuer or cards cancelled and need to reapply?

    Quite keen to keep hold of this as it’s one of my non-amex options.

    • If like DC, you’ll be given a poor MBNA card. There will be no “transfer” option. Ie a Virgin Money VFC card will be a new application.

      • It was disappointing when Diamond Club closed, but the replacement Rewards+ option isn’t *that* bad compared to other post-interchange regulation returns.

        1p cashback per £1 spent on Amex
        0.5p cashback per £1 spent on Visa

        (Although not everybody got the same return rate.)

      • Although that’s a good thing as means new sign-up bonus 😛

        • I hope there is a decent one! At least it’ll be easy to hit just using a visa/mastercard.

  2. I’ve also managed to get the sign up bonus on both the Creation IHG cards. I had the free one and they invited me to apply for the £99 one. Not sure what would happen if you had the £99 one and applied for the free one.

    • I (and others here) have the IHG Premiun card (with Creation) and were invited or opted to take out the IHG free card and received the bonus points on both cards, so that way works too!

      • As a side note, 6 months should now be up for those that took out the enhanced IHG offer. I’ve recently cancelled my White. This was for “If your IHG Rewards Club Credit Card account is closed within the first 6 months of opening, IHG reserves the right to deduct the xxxxx bonus Rewards points from your IHG Rewards Club account.” http://www.creation.co.uk/ihgcctermsandconditions/

        • Yep, did the same a couple of weeks ago via secure messaging. Totally painless, reply received within a couple of days. Sadly no retention offer, but didn’t expect one!

  3. “Remember that MBNA is almost certainly losing the Virgin credit cards soon”

    Rob – Any evidence for forecasting how *soon* this will be? Or is it analogous to the rumbling Volcano in Bali?

    What notice/grace period are current Black card holders likely to be given?

    Will they still honour any PE upgrade vouchers earnt if the MBNA deal ends before a holder’s anniversary year? (when vouchers are issued to the VS FC account)

    • Hope they will honour the PE upgrade vouchers…!!!

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I hope Virgin Money start offering a 2-4-1 voucher to rival the BAPP

        • +1 –

          Virgin Money staff if you’re reading, that would be awesome.!

        • I hope they don’t! Much prefer a Lloyds-style offering. Definitely would be good to cover UC though.

        • Or upgrade vouchers which include upper…!!

        • There are many people that the 241 voucher is not good for.

          I much prefer the Lloyds upgrade voucher route, similar to the current Virgin PE upgrades but enabling you to go all the way to J.

    • “Almost certainly” is about as close as anyone can say given the information that is already out there.

      MBNA Diamond Club cardholders got exactly one month notice of closure of the scheme.

    • The existing cards are likely to live on for a while, as happened with IHG / Barclays.

      Once they are closed to new entrants, I would be wary of starting a new card year. Again, look at IHG / Barclays and the free night.

    • Anyone got any experience of applying for these cards recently? – tried to apply for both myself and my wife yesterday and rejected. Experian scores in the high 990’s, not a huge number of live credit cards, checked on Barclaycard and Amex eligibility checks and all good. Seems odd, unless their eligibility check is seeing something in our credit records that no-one else is, or just that they don’t want new applicants.

      • Posted this in bits earlier in the week as I was in the Clubhouse last week:

        The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Amex/Visa additional signup bonuses have now been pulled (previously you could get an extra 13,500 miles on top of the 18,500 sign-up bonus on the Black Card if signing-up with a rep in the Clubhouse at LHR T3 – the White card also had an extra Clubhouse bonus of about 8,000).
        According to the Virgin rep in the Clubhouse, the deal has been pulled as Virgin are “renegotiating their deal with Amex” so another sign this card could be changing soon.
        HOWEVER, you can actually still get the extra bonus miles by applying by phone with MBNA and quoting Virgin Clubhouse Black or White promotion (0800 056 5576). Not sure how long this will last but suggest calling and signing-up asap. I told them on the phone I had seen the Clubhouse promotion a couple of weeks ago and wanted to apply. They found the appropriate promo and talked me through the application in about 15 minutes.
        Note that for the black card which I successfully applied for, 18,500 miles are credited by MBNA on 1st spend on the card and the additional 13,500 are added directly by Virgin within 3 months – card fee is £140.

        • Was told that the black card cant be done over the phone only online so no extra 13500 bonus unfortunatly.

  4. Anyone tried signing up for the white card in a LGW/LHR VS UC lounge?

    Enhanced sign up bonus, like the Black)?

    • for anyone who is wondering the lounge sign up bonus for the black card was 38000 miles last month , so definitely worth signing up when you are passing through the airport.

      • Someone commented this week that the extra lounge bonus has been pulled.

        • Asked about it when I was in there last Tuesday and there was no offer for the card st the time..

      • There was a report on Flyer Talk I think last week that the enhanced sign up miles have stopped at the lounge, they were told it’s because the licence has been lost with Amex.

  5. Tom Lee-Fox says:

    Does anyone know with the black card how the £140 fee is payable? I.e if I took one, got the miles and cancelled after 6 months is the £150 fee still payable or would it only be £70?

    • There is no prorata calculation of annual fees and refund with MBNA. You will certainly loose your annual fees irrespective of when you cancel it.

    • The £140 fee comes out of your first statement-In effect it’s your first transaction.

      I’ve churned both the Black and White cards several times, usually get the black one, meet the spend, then get the white one and do likewise.

      Once the White one is achieved, close.
      The repeat with the Mrs…

      Never needed to with the IHG card but may do so as circumstances have changed.

  6. I know Virgin tend to have increased sign up bonus on the cards sometimes. Anybody know when the next increased bonus is likely to occur?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Believe AMEX has pulled the plug so unlikely to enhance the bonus as they won’t want to encourage new sign ups.

  7. PE upgrade vouchers. Do you have to pay for the second year to keep them, I gather you only get them at the end of the year, anyone know how the timing works?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      You get them on your anniversary and as long as you don’t use the card after this date, I stopped a week before to be sure, you will get the second year £140 refunded.

      • TLG, if you canned the card a week before renewal did you still get your upgrade vouchers posted onto your Flying Club account?

        • Oppssorry that’s TGL

        • MyCity, I read “Stopped a week before” as in stopped spending on it a week before, ie then cancelling the card on it’s anniversary date.

          Its a strategy I intend to follow…

        • TGLoyalty says:

          yep TripRep is correct stopped spending a week before and cancelled after the anniversary to get my £140 back no questions asked.

    • I cancel on my renewal date over the phone once I have a guarantee that the vouchers are there in my VS FC account.

      Heard recent feedback that you won’t be charged the £140 (or it will be refunded) for the 2nd year if you don’t spend on the card after anniversary date.

    • Jamie Carter says:

      I’ve found the PE upgrades usually post into your FC account a few days before your card Anniversary so you should have plenty of time to cancel it before the next annual fee applies. I’ve cancelled on the card renewal date before and haven’t had to pay the fee as it hadn’t hit the account yet. However this year I got the date wrong and called up two days late. They treated the annual fee as a transaction and said I had therefore used the card. They offered me 5000 FC miles to keep the card or a £128.33 (11/12 pro rata) refund of the fee. I cancelled it as I have my fingers crossed for one last increased sign-up bonus.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Did you ring back for another agent or escalate to a supervisor? I know it’s only £12 but the principal of trying to count their own fee as you making a transaction.

  8. Thanks all. I’ll set a reminder for a week ahead of the anniversary.

  9. OT to do with the Premier Tesco card. Has anyone completed the first year and receiced the 5000 CC pts bonus at the anniversary date and than cancelled before the next years fee hits? My anniversary is up next week. Wondering how quickly the bonus points hit the Clubcard account.

  10. Jonathan says:

    I asked MBNA about when their contract with Amex was up, I was told Feb 2018 and they would write to customers in January. The call centre hasn’t been briefed on the situation other than that.

  11. I’ve see. It mentioned here but can you churn these cards? I currently have the black card and had the white card at the same time. I did however cancel the white card about 8 months ago. As it’s free, it would be good to know if I can get the 3000 free signup bonus again?!?

  12. Don’t apply for both at the same time as they will probably phone you up and think you made a mistake and ask which one you want, best leave a few weeks in between.

  13. Just last week I received my new While Virgin Amex and Visa cards from MBNA.

    Both had 2020 expiry dates.

    Would seem to me to be rather wasteful to issue me cards with 3 year expiry dates if a major change was in the offing – why not just one year (which is what RBS did with my bank cards whilst the transfer to the ‘new’ Williams and Glynes bank was in the offing.

    • MBNA have nothing to lose by issuing cards with 2020 expiry dates. In fact saves cash as they may have to replace short dated cards if they still had the deal. MBNA can cull cards whenever they want, giving the required notice in the T&Cs, most likely a month.

  14. Danielle says:

    I have spend over £15,000 on my Virgin White card and haven’t received either the upgrade or free companion voucher which are meant to be triggered after a £10,000 spend and £15K spend, respectively. Does anyone know who I should contact about this? MBNA or Virgin Atlantic? Many thanks!

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