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Virgin Black launches highest ever sign-up bonus – 30,000 miles!

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On Monday, the current promotional deal for the Virgin Flying Club credit cards ended.  This offered 10,000 miles for getting the free card and 25,000 miles for getting the £140 Black card.

To be honest, I was 95% certain that the cards would revert to their usual (poor) sign-up offer.  After all, it is quite rare that Virgin ever runs a bonus – there wasn’t a single special deal in the whole of 2013.

I was therefore pretty surprised – and pleased – yesterday to see that the offers have been extended and improved.  The Virgin Black credit card now offers a whopping 30,000 Flying Club miles as a sign-up bonus.

Virgin Atlantic Black Credit Card

The card comes with an annual fee of £140, with a sign-up bonus of 30,000 Virgin Flying Club miles.  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 11,500 miles when you spend £3,000 in the first 90 days.  (Note that the target spend has increased from £2,000 to £3,000 for this promotion.)

The earnings rate for the Black card is also 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.

The representative APR is 17.9% variable.

Virgin Atlantic White Credit Card

The sign-up bonus for the Virgin White card remains at the previous level of 10,000 Flying Club miles.  This is still the highest I have ever seen, and triple the usual bonus of 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 representative APR is 52.1% variable, including the fee, based on a £1200 credit limit.

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.

What can you do with 30,000 Virgin miles?

Quite a lot, as it turns out.  Remember that, once you have hit the £3,000 spend target, you will have between 33,000 and 36,000 miles depending on which card you put the £3,000 through.

London to Dubai in Upper Class, one way = 40,000 miles

London to New York in Upper Class, one way = 40,000 miles

London to New York in Economy, return = 35,000 miles

London to Tokyo in Economy, return = 45,000 miles

London to Cape Town in Economy, one way = 25,000 miles

London to Boston in Premium Economy, return = 55,000 miles

London to Manchester / Edinburgh / Aberdeen on Little Red in Economy, return = 7,500 miles

Taxes and charges will be added on top.  For economy flights, expect to pay £100 less than on BA, and for other classes expect to pay roughly the same.

Terms & Conditions

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

The application deadline is 30th June, you have 90 days from application to achieve the £1,000 / £3,000 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 20,000 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.

According to a comment from a reader this week, MBNA will let you have BOTH the White and the Black cards, and you will receive the bonus on both.  (I would not necessarily recommend applying for both at the same time, though.)

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 10,000 Starwood points from the current SPG Amex sign-up bonus would get you 10,000 additional Virgin miles.  (Read my review here)

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

(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.)


HFP Virgin Atlantic Rewards credit card

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (January 2021)

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, one has a bonus of 15,000 Points):

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

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

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 (109)

  • Guesswho2000 says:

    Also appears that the AA card is offering an extra 10k now too, so 15k sign up bonus in total. Nowhere near last years 35k though!

    • darrenf says:

      gutted I missed out on the AA offer last year – not sure whether to get the 15k or wait to see if a better one comes around again…

    • Rob says:

      Good spot Ross, I hadn’t seen that. That is tomorrows post sorted then!

  • Lux says:

    This is a good offer. From memory, one can still earn the signup bonus for the Black card even if you’ve previously applied for the White card? But MBNA generally don’t allow churning?

  • Dan says:

    That’s annoying I just signed up near the deadline at midnight on 31/3 for 25k miles and the extra 5k would help me achieve two tickets to HK at 50k each.

    Better to cancel within cooling off period and apply again?

    • Amy says:

      To buy 5,000 miles is £90, so the old deal seems better to me…

    • Rob says:

      No, because they might treat you as a repeat applicant and not give you the bonus ….

    • CV says:

      You could consider the 5000 miles for taking out the Virgin ISA, look back for Raffles article.

  • Clive J says:

    I recently got an e-mail saying I would earn double miles for using the white VA cards during April, 2 per £ for the Amex and 1 for the Visa. Indications are that it was targeted, maybe as I rarely use the card now.

  • Harry Smeeden says:

    I have an American Airlines MBNA card. Can I still apply for the Virgin card and get the miles bonus?

    • Idrive says:

      Yes you can Harry!
      By the way..amazing! I applied a dew days before deadline…not too sure cancelling on the cool off and apply again i do not want to risk..at the end of the day 5000points with Tesco CC are just there to be picked up… Not a big loss

    • Rob says:

      Yes. They might cut the credit limit on your AA card if it is too high though.

  • Rohan says:

    This looks quite tempting now. Are there any referral bonuses ? If so raffles could u post me a link so I could credit them to u .
    Also , is there anything similar to a household account as is with Avios ?

    • Dan says:

      Nope. I checked the same with VA 2 days ago. Otherwise I would have also opened up family accounts like Avios. You can buy tickets for other people though with one account. I’ve done this with AA.

    • Rob says:

      No household accounts with Virgin unfortunately.

    • Singing Dwarf says:

      If Raffles can’t benefit from a referral bonus, a certain comparison site is providing soft toy versions of a particular savannah animal.

      If you don’t have children/relatives/friends who would appreciate one, they are currently achieving £30-£50 (yes, you read that right!) on a certain auction website.

      Crazy”

  • oyster says:

    Any tips and tactics for generating threshold spend more quickly, particularly with work travel for me so rare? With £2k on SPG Amex, £2k on Amex Plat, £10k on BA Amex and now maybe another £3k on Virgin black, and that’s only since January!

    • Idrive says:

      Maybe you are a little overexposed?? Not such a good deal applying now for the SPG now! I understand those are all new cards right? Well first of all spend on Visa on the VA Black and leave Amex eligible expenses on the others. If you want to cx Plat spend on that first. Plan and keep BA for the long run,you need to spend £10k by next year (including Xmas).
      Remember that if you cx the Plat you need to park your MRs elsewhere (VA/BA)…then…good luck!
      And fix your priorities studying the redemption tables/routes and what you want and what you can spend!

    • Alan says:

      Paying your council tax with the VISA card would give you a decent chunk of spend…

    • ankomonkey says:

      I recently took out Amex PRG with the intention of crediting the sign-up bonus to VS miles while the 20% MR bonus was running. To do this I needed to achieve £2k spend in about 2 weeks. I bought supermarket own gift cards. Obviously not as quickly, but I will spend that £2k on groceries anyway.

      • John says:

        I wish more airlines would sell gift cards… £2000 of groceries would last my wife and I 2 years

        • guesswho2000 says:

          Said supermarket gift cards can also be used on fuel…£2k of which would last me about 5 months!

    • Simon says:

      For the SPG, Plat and BA Amex you could always buy travellers cheques from the American Express Currency Exchange https://headforpoints.com/2013/02/04/american-express-currency-exchange-free-delivery-avios/

      • Rob says:

        This will NOT work with Virgin, though, because it is not an Amex-issued Amex, its an MBNA-issued Amex.

      • idrive says:

        and not with new cards!

        • Simon says:

          Sorry for any misunderstanding, thought I made it clear this wouldn’t work for the Virgin card by excluding it from the list of cards Oyster listed in my reply.

          What do you mean it doesn’t work for new cards Idrive? I got new Gold and SPG cards last year and it was worked ok in the first month of having the cards for me. Has something changed since last year?

          • Idrive says:

            Hi Simon than i must be mistaken then, i had this memory from a CS call but possibly as i was talking about several things this applies to something else (changing limits maybe?)

  • Hingeless says:

    I once used the companion voucher with a paid for ‘s’ booking (semi flex Premium economy) to Mauritius. It worked out to be a great price for two PE tickets.

    It didn’t show online I had to call to find availability.