Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Best-ever Virgin credit card bonus: 10,000 – 25,000 Flying Club miles sign-up offer

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The first aggressive credit card promotion of 2014 has been launched, and it has come from Virgin Flying Club and MBNA.  Ironically, it was only last week that I mentioned in my end of year review that 2013 had not seen a single promotion from Virgin for its cards!

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.

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 sign-up bonus for this card has NEVER been as high as 10,000 miles as far as I know.  The usual bonus is a paltry 3,000 miles.

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 hereThe application page is here.

Virgin Atlantic 747

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.  Again, I believe that this is the highest bonus that has ever been offered – the usual bonus is a paltry 6,000 miles.

You will receive 18,500 miles immediately and a further 6,500 miles when you spend £2,000 in the first 90 days.

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 hereThe application page is here.

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 what I consider a worthless incentive – a voucher at £15,000 (White) or £7,500 (Black) for a free companion seat (excluding heavy taxes) when you buy a full fare ticket in any class.  Who buys full fare tickets, except corporates?

More information on these can be found in the reviews which I link to above.

Terms & Conditions

The key facts you need to remember before you apply are:

The application deadline is 31st March, you have 90 days from application to achieve the £1,000 / £2,000 target

MBNA does NOT offer a pro-rata refund when you cancel your card.  Your £140 fee for the Black card is a sunk cost.  You are therefore (effectively) paying £140 for the additional 15,000 miles on the Black card, since you could get 10,000 miles for £nothing by getting the White card instead.

You cannot combine this offer with the ‘refer a friend’ bonus I normally offer, which would have got you an additional 3,000 miles.  However, this is still a far better deal than the usual bonus, even without the additional 3,000.

How can you earn more miles?

It is very easy to earn further Virgin Flying Club miles to top up your account.   The options are numerous:

Transfers from Tesco Clubcard (at a higher rate than BA, £2.50 = 625 Flying Club miles)

Transfers from American Express Membership Rewards (1:1) – transfers from Amex to Virgin are instantaneous as well, once your accounts are linked, unlike transfers to BA

Transfers from Heathrow Rewards (1:1)

Transfers from most hotel programmes, including Starwood Preferred Guest.  The 20,000 Starwood points from the current SPG Amex sign-up bonus would get you 25,000 additional Virgin miles.

There are also some hotels which credit to Virgin even though they do not credit to Avios.

Car rentals – Virgin offers a generous 1,000 miles per Hertz rental for example

Receive 5,000 Virgin miles for taking out a Virgin Money ISA

The ‘1 mile per £1’ rate on the Black Visa also allows you to run up miles very quickly

Tomorrow, I will run through some possible Virgin Atlantic redemption options, in particular those which make the scheme stand out from British Airways Executive Club.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (February 2024)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Money is offering double points on spending until 14th April (£5,000 cap) to new customers when you apply for the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard. Click here to learn more.

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 40,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 40,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  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.)

Comments (81)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Ian says:

    Sorry for the slightly different question, but the Starwood comments are closed…Do you have to transfer the points to BAEC from the Starwood account before cancelling the card or are they safe?


    • Rob says:

      No, they are totally safe in Starwood.

      It actually makes sense to leave them there, because every 8-9 months or so BA runs a promotion for a 25% bonus on transfers of hotel points. If you wait for that to come round again, your 20,000 SPG would become 31,250 BA instead of 25,000.

  • James67 says:

    Are the qualifying spend requirments the same as directly via mbna?

  • Alan says:

    Thanks again for this, Raffles – instant approval and a scarily generous credit limit!

  • Toddy says:

    Just applied and got rejected! How rude!

    No idea why – my credit score is good. I have 1 other MBNA card but I’ve not used that in a couple of years. Will be cancelled now! ;o)

    • John says:

      MBNA has strict acceptance criteria – they are they only UK card company which automatically rejects students regardless of your income. I got Amex Plat and many other credit cards while a student, putting me “miles” ahead of my colleagues when I started working!

    • sandgrounder says:

      I applied for the BMI card whilst holding a Celtic FC card I hadn’t used for a couple of years. MBNA closed the existing account and opened the new one automatically and told me about it afterwards. I’m surprised they didn’t do the same with you. Policies change though I suppose

  • Mark R says:

    I’ve currently got a BA Amex and have just closed a non point earning visa. Presume there is no issue with applying for the Virgin cards.

    • Rob says:

      Has no impact, apart from the general impact of whether they think you have too many cards! But you should be fine.

  • SoloFlyer says:

    Bit off topic again here. But the Hilton promo you had earlier on your blog (the up to 6,000 VS Miles). Do I simply select Points and Miles as my preference and enter my flying club number? Seems unreal that I get Hilton Points and VS Miles.

    Also my account is showing my preference as : Points and Variable Miles. Is that correct?


    P.S. great offer from MBNA. Might try and apply for it in a few months.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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