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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)

  • pazza2000 says:

    Certainly tempting, although I’ll hold out for a higher Etihad or ‘repeat’ AA offer from MBNA.

    Off topic, I was looking at my equifax credit report last night and I noticed that although it’s been ‘settled’, my previous AA card still seems to be on going (Green mark against every month up until now despite being closed 4 months ago), called MBNA who confirm it has been fully closed. Confusing!

  • Maximum Power says:

    Hello – Would I get this card – even although I have IHG, Tesco and Amex Gold cards?

    • Charlie says:

      Probably no better time than the present!

    • Rob says:

      Depends entirely on your income and existing credit limits. None of these cards are MBNA issued so they may be keen to have you as a customer. Even my pensioner Mum got a card from MBNA.

  • Charlie says:

    I already have 2 MBNA cards, the Virgin Black Amex, and the AAdvantage, with a total credit limit of £20K.

    I applied for the Virgin White Amex, for the free 10K miles (need to achieve £1K spend), and much to my surprise my application was accepted.

    However, the credit limit on my existing cards were lowered some what, so that and after adding the Virgin White Amex, the total credit limit was still £20K. Clever.

    Personally I only aim to spend Virgin miles for UC travel. I would rather fly out UC, and return in Economy, than fly PE both ways!

  • Charlie says:

    Interesting timing regarding this launch, as 1st of April is the start of the corporate financial year.

    I always knew promotions are introduced in the run up to the end of the financial year to meet targets, but always considered the new financial year to generally have a lack of promotions.

  • Maximum Power says:

    if you already have an american express card, does that you mean you effectivley have two american express cards? albeit one is just your charge card and the other american express with is credit card, are american express alright with this?

    • Rob says:

      The Virgin cards are NOT Amex cards, to the extent that Amex does not issue them – MBNA does. It is MBNA’s money you are using.

      For Amex-issued Amex cards (Gold, Platinum, BA, Nectar, SPG etc) the limits are 2 charge cards (ie Gold and Platinum) plus 2 credit cards (ie BA and SPG) at the same time. They are happy, subject to credit, for you to hold 4 cards at once. Some people have even got away with 5.

  • s8yad says:

    Currenlty I do not collect VS miles, but combined with the regular Tesco 30% and Amex 20% conversion bonuses, this may the better route for someone considering a redemption flight to the USA.

    Raffles, would it be better to go for the above route for 3 x J redemptions to the US or apply for the BA Amex premium and get the 2-4-1. I suppose the key is that I have Tesco CC vouchers that I could convert in future VS promotions.

    • Rob says:

      Depends on lots of things … how availability is (BA to the US has been tight recently, not sure about Virgin), how easily you can spend £10,000 on the BAPP Amex, how many Avios you already have etc.

      For 3 people, it would make little difference whether you did 3 with Avios using a 2-4-1 and Tesco points converted without a bonus, or used Virgin miles without a 2-4-1 but using Tesco points with a 30% bonus and Amex points with a 20% bonus.

      Also depends, of course, on where in the US you want to go and who flies there.

    • CV says:

      BA redemption availability has been very limited lately, there is decent (ish) availability to NYC, Tokyo, Seoul and China! Other than that small list it looks a real challenge to find anything long haul.

      I have a 2-4-1 voucher I would like to use but really want to max out its value in First. Virgin availability can be better although their website makes it harder to search for.

      OT – but just a reminder that with the new financial year a new council tax bill requires paying, so a good opportunity to start scratching those 3V cards again if your council allows them.

      • Boi says:

        Is there a better way to check for VS availability other than using paid websites? Their website doesn’t do multiple dates searches

        • Amy says:

          I picked up a tip; pick a low demand time in a month (term-time is a good bet) and then more often that not you will be given the calendar for that particular month, and you can then go forward, or back as you need to.
          I hope that makes sense.

          • Trevor says:

            I found the opposite – if there is availability cos it’s a low demand time, then you’ll be given the date required, but if busy time with low availability and none on the date chosen, then the calendar will be shown.

    • Trevor says:

      It might have been a good time if both transfer bonuses hadn’t expired. And since they have both been and gone very recently, probably little chance of a repeat of either in the near future.

      • Amy says:

        I wouldn’t agree with that, the bonus has been making a regular appearance for almost every quarter!

  • oyster says:

    Will this get me access to the Virgin money lounge as talked about on here a few days ago?

    • Maximus says:

      The cards are advertised on the Virgin Money website so I assume they would, although they are issued by MBNA.

  • Mucky says:

    I know that the 3V Visa card has stopped working for financial transactions but I have just seen that Tesco sell a Visa Gift Card (different to 3V) for £50 but there is a £3.95 per £50. However, you do receive 150 CC points per £50 card purchased. Can this card be used to pay council tax etc and whilst also helping to hit AMEX limits?

    £1000 bill would be 20 cards and £79 fee on top but 3000CC points converted at standard rate 7200 avios. Add in paying with the BA AMEX for another 1600 avios totals 8800 avios for £79.

    • CV says:

      Yes you receive the bonus points as normal (i always check my receipt as i expect this to stop one day!).

      The fee Visa card is accepted in a lot more places than 3V cards – you can pay it direct into an NS&I account just the same as you used to be able to do with 3V (but please test this is still the case!). But depending on your council you may be able to use 3V cards for your council tax bill – there are mixed reports on success of this as it varies between councils and their payment provider.

      You could also use 3V towards utility bills, works ok with edf and British Gas.

      Also if you have a car, Tesco fuel save will get you 20p per litre once you hits £500 spend. Also, after you use the 20p saving, you can start accruing it again, even in same month.

    • Kipto says:

      Or use the gold Amex charge card and get 9200 avios

    • Waribai says:

      3V worked with my local council but bizzarely the visa prepaid card didn’t! Even though it says “debit” on it!