Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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.

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.

(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (81)

  • Jason says:

    Can you reapply for this card?

    • Rob says:

      Not sure. In general MBNA had caused people trouble on other cards in the past. Nothing to lose if you go for the free card though.

  • Brian says:

    Raffles, no doubt you’ll be including the current Hilton offer of up to 6,000 bonus Virgin points in your post tomorrow…

  • CliveJ says:

    There is another option for converting to Virgin FC miles, although it is perhaps more use for keeping the account active than topping up, unless you are a big gambler. If you play on the Virgin Casino or Virgin Games sites you earn V-Points based on how much you wager and which games you play (around £10 of play will get you a point). These can be converted to Virgin FC miles at a rate of 1:1 (1 point is worth 1p if converted to cash).

    I don’t use my Virgin credit card much these days so occasionally I will convert a few V-Points to re-set the clock. There is no minimum to convert, I’ve done it with a single point before.

  • Trevor says:

    I wouldn’t give up on the voucher so easily. Even at a higher price for the ticket, it would still prove cheaper to buy 1 ticket than 2, and the value you get wouldn’t prove too dissimilar to that obtained when redeeming points for a flight.

  • Ian says:

    Is the £1000 spend in 90 days in a single card or you can spend it in both and it accumulates the spending?

    • Ian says:

      I just found the answer. This is for the white card.

      “A further 7,000 bonus miles will be credited to your account when you apply by 31 March 2014 and spend £1000 on either card in the 90 days of your account opening and supply your Flying Club membership number. “

  • Phoenix says:

    This is similar to a couple of question above but I wanted to know if you had any magic knowledge Raffles before I called MBNA.

    If you currently have a white card, can you “upgrade” to the black and be eligable for the above bonuses?

    • Rob says:

      No idea, sorry!

      • Phoenix says:

        No problem – thought I’d ask before wasting my time! Love the blog by the way, have read it almost every day for a year or so now – easily the best of about 10 that I check regularly!

        • James67 says:

          Put uour question in writing via secure onl9ne message at your account then you will get answer in writing.

          • Gordon says:

            They told me they dont have a downgrade or upgrade mechanism. You are in effect applying for a new card which is why you qualify for the bonus. Thsts what they told me and i will be holding them to it 🙂

    • Gordon says:

      I just spoke with MBNA and was told they regard white and black as separate cards. I can apply for the white one whilst I have my current black one and they confirmed I am eligible for the sign up bonus. I intend to cancel the black as I am not using it much but for a short while I will have both and will have collected sign up bonuses on both.

      I’m not sure what would happen if as a new customer you applied for both black and white. Even if successful its probably not good for your credit record

      • Phoenix says:

        Gordon – thanks for this; really helpful. Now to do some back of the envelope maths on whether it is worth it…

      • John says:

        It really doesn’t affect your credit report unless you are looking to get a mortgage in the next 6 months, or you already have available credit worth 2x your annual income. I think it is more likely that you won’t get approved for 2 MBNA cards at the same time, though.

  • Simon says:

    I got accepted for the United card by MBNA last month and I’ve now got 3 MBNA cards so can’t imagine I’d get accepted for this card (MBNA reduced my limit on another card automatically when they accepted my United application). As Virgin are a clubcard partner earning Virgin miles without the card shouldn’t be too difficult for me.

    If anyone is thinking about topping up their account with the 5000 miles for the Virgin Money ISA, I did this a couple of months ago, although you have to keep the ISA for 6 months I was impressed the points posted within a couple of days of applying before any money had left my account.

    Also don’t forget the Virgin wine offer runs until the end of the month

    • Idrive says:

      Simon, you mean you have 3 accounts (ie. AA/United/VIrgin) with MBNA??

      • Simon says:

        Yes I’ve got 3 accounts with MBNA they are AA/United/Amazon though.

        Probably should cancel the Amazon so I stand more of a chance of being accepted for another airlines card like this one.

        • James67 says:

          Apply. If they say no just call and offer to split your available credit. Usually works

          • Simon says:

            I’ve got nothing to lose I guess, will wait until nearer the end of March so it’s been a few months since my United application and then might give it a go.

            Raffles mentioned MBNA are rumoured to be very keen to get the BA / Avios credit card contract when it comes up for renewal. It would be interesting if they do, AMEX would have a very limited card range then and a company they let have an AMEX license would have all almost the whole UK credit card market for airline cards.

          • Rob says:

            Barclaycard also has an Amex licence now, although they have yet to launch any Amex branded cards. This may (or may not) explain why the IHG card still remains branded as Priority Club – perhaps a relaunch as an IHG branded card with an Amex and Visa is coming?

          • Simon says:

            I remember you writing an article about Barclaycard getting a licence, hope that happens (provided existing card members can get the double pack), I’ve got the Hilton and Priority Club Visa cards at the moment, having an extra Amex is always useful for small shop etc and presumably they would have a better points earning rate.

        • Trevor says:

          That gives me hope as my wife and I each hold 2 accounts. 1 is the old earner everyoen wishes was still available, so won’t be cancelling that in a hurry. Might trim back on the AA card from last year though.

  • Richard says:

    Does anyone know if there is any restrictions on current holders of Amex cards? i.e. I have Gold, and also a newly acquired SPG Amex? Meaning that this Virgin (either black or white) card would be a third card held?