Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Do you know you can apply for BOTH the Virgin White and Virgin Black credit cards?

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If you have ever had a British Airways American Express card, you will know that it is NOT possible to have both the free BA Amex and the paid BA Premium Plus version.  You need to choose.

Virgin Atlantic also offers two different credit cards – the free White cards and the £140 annual fee Black cards.

You may assume that the same rules applied as with the British Airways card – ie that you had to choose between White or Black.  However, this is not the case.

Virgin White

MBNA is perfectly happy, subject to credit etc, to let you have both the Virgin White and Virgin Black credit cards.

The current sign-up offers on the cards are:

The free White card offers 3,000 Flying Club miles

The £140 Black card offers 18,500 Flying Club miles

We have seen better deals on these cards in the past but those days may be numbered given the EU caps on interchange fees which will slash credit card profitability.

I know people who managed to apply for both cards at once although this is pushing your luck.  If you already have one of the Virgin cards, however, you should think about whether you should get the other one.

If you currently have Virgin Black, you have nothing to lose – and 3,000 miles to gain – by taking out Virgin White.  You can always cancel it as soon as the free miles have hit.

If you currently have Virgin White, applying for Virgin Black means you are effectively paying £140 for 18,500 miles, which is a decent deal.  Once you have triggered the sign-up bonus you need to decide whether to keep spending on Black – with the higher earnings rate – or go back to White if you are close to hitting the upgrade voucher.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – October 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

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

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (13)

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

  • Liz says:

    Has anyone been successful in asking for the 2nd year fee to be waived? Or would they just downgrade you to the White card? Also can you apply for another MBNA card eg the AAdvantage card while holding the Virgin card.

    • Jamie says:

      I’d love to know this too as I’m planning to ask for the second year fee to be waived when my card renewal comes up in June; or if I could have the introductory bonus miles again, otherwise I’ll cancel and my other half will get the card.

  • The Urbanite says:

    I have both – but I only use the white one for Amex promos I hit with every card, like Shop Small and really goods ones like Argos £25 off £50 spend.

  • Tom C says:

    I applied for both at once last year. MBNA phoned me to confirm I didn’t do it by mistake and why I wanted them. I told the truth and said I wanted the sign-up bonuses and they proceeded with the application. I got the bonus and cancelled them both a few weeks later.

  • Sal says:

    Could anyone confirm know how long it takes from the point of getting the card and doing the first purchase to points hitting your virgin flying club account?

    • JamesLHR says:

      Good question. I’ve opened the account, had my first months bill and paid in full and my Flying Club balance hadn’t updated yet with the extra miles. It’s isn’t as seamless as the BA Amex!

  • Mark says:

    Do the vouchers show up anywhere like the BA 2-4-1

    • Stuart says:

      I can see my Virgin vouchers in my recent transactions on the Virgin Atlantic website.
      It’s not as clear as the BA 241 voucher though.

  • russ says:

    Does the same apply for the MBNA Emirates card? I currently have the free one can i apply for the better one and still get the sign up bonus? thanks

  • Tilly71 says:

    Do you earn clubcard points when buying foreign currency from tesco using a Tesco MC credit card as payment?

    • Genghis says:

      Not sure but is it not counted as a cash advance if use Tesco MC?

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

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