Virgin Black credit card bonus now permanently tripled – and other top deals

For the last few months, until mid July, Virgin Flying Club was running some very aggressive sign-up deals on its two credit cards.

Most impressive was the deal on the Virgin Black credit card.  This offered 25,000 to 30,000 Virgin miles, depending on when you applied, in return for a £140 annual fee.

The earning rate on this card is also very good.  It comes as a dual pack of an American Express and a Visa.  The Amex earns an impressive 2 Virgin miles per £1, whilst the Visa comes with an equally impressive (for a non-Amex card) rate of 1 mile per £1.

The representative APR on the card is 52.1% variable based on a £1200 credit limit and including the annual fee.

My full review of the Virgin Black card can be found here.

Virgin Black

A permanent increase in the sign-up bonus

Before the current run of promotional offers, the sign-up bonus on the Virgin Black card was poor.  At just 6,000 Virgin Flying Club miles, it did not look good alongside the British Airways Premium Plus American Express with its 18,000 Avios standard sign-up bonus.

Virgin now appears to have realised this.  When the last promotion ended, the bonus on the Virgin Black card dropped down to 18,500 miles, not the previous 6,000.

18,500 Virgin miles now appears to be a permanent offer.  The additional 500 miles over and above the 18,000 Avios offered on the BA Premium Plus card is presumably not a coincidence!

Full details of the Virgin Black card can be found on the Virgin Atlantic website here.  Do NOT apply through this link, though, as you will earn an additional 3,000 miles (taking the total to 6,000 on the White card and 21,000 on the Black card) if I refer you.  Send me an email at raffles [at] and I will trigger a ‘refer a friend’ link for you.

What are the other best deals at the moment?

There are NO special deals currently available on ANY of the 26 UK loyalty credit cards that I cover on the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page!  This is probably the calm before the storm and I would expect a raft of deals to launch in September and October.  I am also hopeful that the two IHG Rewards Club cards will relaunch in the next few weeks.

If you are looking to apply for a new card today, here are my top three recommendations.  These three cards all have ‘stable’ sign-up offers and I would NOT expect them to get better in the Autumn so there is no reason not to apply now.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

This is currently an outstanding deal which is showing no signs of going away. You pay no fee for the first year and earn 20,000 Membership Rewards points (see here for what 20,000 MR points can get you – 20,000 Avios points for a start!).

My full review of the card is here. The Amex home page is here.

American Express Platinum

The card offers 30,000 Membership Rewards points, worth 30,000 Avios amongst other things.

You receive a pro-rata refund on the £450 fee when you cancel the card and you will retain most of the benefits – Starwood Gold, Carlson Gold, Accor Platinum – for the rest of the year even after you cancel!  The Amex Platinum benefits package is extensive, though, and once you’ve got it you might find the numbers add up for you.

My full review of the card is here. Amex’s own home page is here.

Hilton HHonors Platinum Visa

You receive a free night in any Hilton Group property for spending £750 on this card. That could be worth £250 if spent wisely at a Conrad or Waldorf-Astoria branded property. My full review of the card is here.

This remains my favourite promotion for someone new to this hobby. The card is free, you only need to spend a modest amount to trigger the bonus, and you can enjoy a free night in a luxury hotel afterwards (if you pick a decent one!). It will whet your appetite for what miles and points can bring you.

Representative APR 18.9% variable.

Bonus on small business cards

Head for Points focusses primarily on personal cards. However, if you are a sole trader or run a very small business, you may also want to check out the American Express Platinum Business Card and the American Express Gold Business Card. There is currently a 20,000 points (= 20,000 Avios) bonus on the Gold Business card and a 40,000 points (40,000 Avios) bonus on the Platinum Business card.

In my experience people still receive the sign-up bonus on the small business cards even if they already have a personal Gold or Platinum card. This is technically not what the rules say, however, and you should bear this in mind.

(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.)

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  1. Scott Nelson says:

    Can anybody point me to a page which explains what a Virgin mile is worth? What does 30,000 miles get you?

    My thinking is that it’s probably not worth splitting my spending across Virgin and Avios: I’m better off focusing on collecting Avios and getting the most value by using reward flight savers and first/ business on my annual BA 2-4-1.

    p.s. I did my first 2-4-1 redemption a few weeks ago. First Class return to New York, after taking taxes out of the equation the value worked out to be 5.4p per Avios point!

    Thanks again Raffles, couldn’t have done it without you.

  2. Search

  3. Virgin Black
    Not sure if it was me but both mine and Mrs B Virgin FF account number were not added to the Black card account despite filling the form out properly.
    All was sorted with a call post first statement but worth checking after initial oopening if you need the 18,500 miles quickly as the “missing” miles posted after the second statement.

    • Janeyferr says:

      On the white card, I also provided my FF number during application and found it wasn’t applied by the first statement. Used online chat and was assured it was then applied to my account. Second statement came and it still was not. Used online chat again and have been again assured it has now been added, but I won’t hold my breath.

    • Same with mine, took extra 2 months…

  4. Any idea if the Gold Credit Card is still available for new applications from Gold charge card holders?

  5. andystock says:

    Hilton Honnors is a visa (useful for outlets that dont accept amex). Dont forget you get 2500 bonus Hilton card for 4 Hilton stays within the first year.

  6. What’s the odds ofVirgin joing Star?

    • Raffles says:

      Zero, since Delta (Skyteam) bought 49 per cent! It is likely they will join Skyteam in the medium term, I think, but given the – ahem – varie quality of the airlines there it will not be a life changer. When Korean Airlines is seen as the best option in your alliance for award availability and quality then you have issues ….!

  7. I’m considering the Virgin black card because we have almost maxed our Avios earning ones this year.
    Am I wrong in thinking that Virgin companion ticket compares very badly to the BAPP 241?
    It seems that you have to buy a full fare upper class ticket AND pay the tax on the companion ticket.

  8. Thywillbedone says:

    I’m liking the new disclaimer!!

  9. I’m not sure I get the Virgin Miles awards. Can someone elaborate? e.g. the dates I want (usually around school holidays) are never available. If I want to upgrade, I have to buy a flexible ticket which is usually three times the price of a non-flexible one. If I want to buy a flight outright, I have to pay all the taxes so on long haul – not a huge saving. Am I missing something? Do I have to be a single-person / couple who can travel at non-peak times to benefit?

    • Availability around school holidays is bound to be low, whichever airline you travel on. The point about Virgin is that there is GENERALLY better availability than with BA, there are lower taxes to be paid and some might say the product is better.

      It’s also a good idea to be flexible with redemption airlines to a degree, in order to increase one’s chances of getting seats on the dates one needs.

  10. How long does it take to hear from Amex when you send in a letter to cancel a card. I sent one that should have got to them by Monday this week and I’ve heard nothing since.

    I’ve just sent them a message online about it but wondered if I should ring to chase? :-/

    • If you ring they should cancel straight away.
      I emailed to downgrade BAPP to BA Blue last week and got the replacement cards yesterday, the subscription refund is also showing.
      So the process is usually quite quick.

    • squills says:

      Yes, much easier just to ring them.

  11. I cancelled my Gold Card earlier this month, it was great in the first year but I found I wasn’t earning enough bonus points to justify the £125 fee in the 2nd year.

    When I got the card my 4 digit CSV code on the front was 1234, I guess if the number is random that can happen, I referred 2 people for the card though as well (both have now cancelled) they also ended up with CSV codes of 1234. I suggested to AMEX they might want to review their random number generator code!

    • The 3 digit version on my (now cancelled) MBNA emirates visa was 999… Appropriate given my line of work 🙂

    • My Gold card and my wife’s supplementary card are both 1234, but I recently referred my wife for her own gold card and myself to a supplementary, and the numbers are different.

  12. barnaby100 says:

    I had the same with the Virgin white. Opened 1 each after I saw on here that you could have both. Entered numbers on application. No miles after 2 months. Assured by mbna that it was my fault and I hadn’t entered the fc numbers when applying (I had) Sorted now but they wont credit until next statement- so 3 months in total

  13. SoloFlyer says:

    Do you know if I cancel my White Virgin Atlantic Card and then apply for the Black card would I get the sign up bonus for the Black Card or would I be considered an existing customer? Thanks

    • You can have both cards at the same time AND get the bonus on both. I did a post on this earlier in the year. No need to cancel White first unless you want to.

      This is unlike BA where you cannot have both the free and paid BA Amex cards together.

  14. What's the Point says:

    OT – but credit card related. Anyone know how long it take Avios to appear in your Avios account as a result of spending through a Lloyds Avios credit card?

    • On my account they seem to post at the end of each billing period.

    • I found the same as Nick, when I took out the card though instead of depositing the Avios in my existing account they opened a new one.

      • What's the Point says:

        Yeah, I’ve got a feeling they are going to open a new Avios account for me as well! Why they don’t actually ask for your Avios account details when you apply for the card is beyond me.

        • RIccati says:

          I was told that Avios-side of the system automatically looks for a name match among already-opened Avios accounts. Lloyds have no access to how Avios account is linked to a credit card.

          If you ring Avios they will link your multiple accounts so that they look like the same, ie, only one account number shows up online.

        • They didn’t open a new account for me. I don’t know how it works, but it does

    • Lloyds opened a new Avios account in my name (I was not informed) hence my miles were placed in there and did not appear in my account. I rang Avios who immediately amalgamated the accounts, closed the new one and the transfer was instantaneous.

  15. andy stock says:

    Amex Gold, I gave amex a call to cancel my gold card and they offered 3 months double points from any date I selected to stop me canceling the card.

  16. Can I get the benefits of Amex deals such as Foursquare, summer spend £25 x2 to get £25 credit, etc wig a virgin-black amex card?

  17. As well as not being available to new applicants, the Amazon Mastercard is now being withdrawn for existing card holders and from October they are being switched to the non-reward earning MBNA Mastercard.

    • Thanks Simon, will remove the references on the site

      • Hope that doesn’t take too long, sometimes I go back to look at old articles on HFP to check something and quite often on the credit card ones there is a comment at the top that you’ve edited them to reflect the current sign-up bonus, it must take ages to keep them all up to date!

        • It takes a full working day at the start of each month to update what I loosely call the ‘reference’ articles, plus the Favourite Posts and Credit Card Updates page, plus the end of month accounts etc.