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Good deal: Virgin credit card bonus now 10,000 (White) and 25,000 (Black) miles

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Virgin Atlantic has boosted the sign-up bonus on its credit cards again.  This is probably in response to the current increased bonuses on the British Airways American Express cards.

Here is a quick overview of the Virgin credit cards.  If some of the text sounds familiar, it is because I have cut and pasted some of it from the last Virgin promotion!

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.

Unlike the British Airways American Express cards, MBNA is happy for you to have BOTH of the Virgin cards. Whilst I would not recommend this, I know that some HFP readers in the past have applied for both at the same time and received both. This does put you under some pressure to hit the spending targets on both cards at the same time.

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 usual bonus is just 3,000 miles and it never goes above 10,000 miles so this is as good as it gets.

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 here. The application page is here.

The representative APR of the card is 22.9% variable.

Virgin credit card bonus

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. The standard offer on this card is 18,500 miles so the additional bonus is 6,500.

You will receive 18,500 miles with your first purchase and a further 6,500 miles when you spend £3,000 in the first 90 days.

We have seen this bonus as high as 32,000 miles in the past.  That was before the new EU interchange fee caps came in, however, and I would be surprised to see that deal coming back in a hurry.

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 here. The application page is here.

The representative APR of the card is 57.4% variable including the fee, assuming a £1200 credit limit.  The annual fee is £140.

And vouchers too ….

There are also two long-term incentives available with the Virgin cards although only Amex spend counts towards them.

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 a less useful incentive – a voucher at £15,000 (White) or £7,500 (Black) for a free companion seat – excluding heavy taxes – when you buy a semi-flexible or flexible ticket in any class.  These have recently become slightly easier to use (because you can qualify with a cheaper type of cash ticket) but are only likely to make sense in Premium Economy.

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 28th June and 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 15,000 miles on the Black card, since you could get 10,000 miles for £nothing by getting the White card instead.

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 at 1:1 (1:1.25 for larger transfers)

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 6,000 Virgin miles for taking out a Virgin Money ISA

Receive 3,000 Virgin miles with your first order from Virgin Wines

The ‘1 mile per £1’ rate on the Black Visa also allows you to run up miles very quickly

It is also worth remembering that you can transfer Virgin Flying Club miles into Hilton HHonors points (at 2:3) and IHG Rewards Club points (at 1:1). Getting one of these cards may be a way of giving your Hilton or IHG account a boost.  With IHG, the transferred points even count for status.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

First review: the new 1903 Lounge at Manchester Airport Terminal 3
Bits: Amex Gold / Plat £15 Amazon discount still works, what happened to BA's LCY-JFK A318?

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  1. Ba-flyer says:

    I also got the more generous offer by applying in the Clublounge. Also, there was no spend target – the points were on my first statement after only £200 spent.

  2. Noggins says:

    I have just booked 2 premium economy redemption seats to Miami for next March. My second upgrade voucher will be earned and, hopefully, delivered in September (anniversary). Has anyone any experience of undoing their booking and renewing it using the upgrade vouchers…?

  3. Wally1976 says:

    I got that too :-(. A shame as it was a good fall-back in between churns and also to increase my average credit duration.

  4. Crafty says:

    OT: First time with the Priority Pass via Amex Platinum. Flying from Liverpool on Friday. Anything I need to do to activate the card (nothing in the paperwork that I can see) or to improve my chances of actually getting into the lounge (Friday evening presumably busy)?

    • No, card will be active.

      I think only No 1 takes reservations (and charges £5 for the privilege) so nothing you can do. They will be keen for your money (paid by PP) though so they won’t refuse you unless they really are at the limit.

      • Klaus-Peter Dudas says:

        Does anyone know how much lounges get paid by PP (and by the likes of BA for third-party lounges)? If I am in a lounge that gives me access through BA and PP, which would the lounges prefer me to use, i.e. which gets them more money?

        • Good question. If you buy a cheap PP then you pay £15 per lounge visit. Obviously PP makes a lot of money on the initial card (you are paying £69 for a piece of plastic!) so I reckon they are not making much, if any, profit on the £15 lounge entry fee. I reckon it must be in the £10-£15 range – any less and the lounge wouldn’t make any money after the food and drink costs.

  5. Gulz says:

    Since the change to the t&c to use the companion voucher last year, I think this is now a useful benefit, especially is booking in PE or UC. Economy tickets are too cheap to be adding any benefit: 2 x cheapest economy tickets is always going to be cheaper than 1 x semi-flexible economy + 1 x companion voucher taxes. 2 x cheapest UC/PE may not be cheaper than 1 x semi-flexible UC/PE + 1 x companion voucher taxes.
    This is especially true if you consider PE, even if you throw in 2 x redemption tickets. This is what I found earlier this year. 2 x PE redemption < 1 x semi-flexible PE + 1 x companion voucher < 2 x cheapest PE cash. But given that there was only 1 PE redemption ticket available on the dates I wanted to fly, the companion voucher came in very handy. And considering that I earned some miles by paying for the ticket, the difference between redemption and companion voucher wasn't much.

    • Alex W says:

      UC not so much, you have to buy a J fare to use the companion voucher. J fares are like 7 grand each or something!

  6. Tony M says:

    As far as I remember the upgrade vouchers only hit your account at the end of the year.
    With the black card, when is it worth cancelling to ensure you receive the upgrade vouchers but don’t pay the new £140 fee?

    • Lev441 says:

      In my case, they hit my account a couple of days before the renewal fee. However as mentioned in the past, if the fee is charged first and then you see the vouchers afterwards, as long as the card hasn’t been used MBNA have given a refund.

      I wonder what Virgin will do when the MBNA can no longer offer the Amex card (and 2 points per £ spent). Surely they’ll need something competitive with the BAPP!

  7. How much do you think that 1 virgin miles worth?

    • Alan says:

      It has a floor of 0.06p. This is the amount of discount you will get off Virgin fares for using them. Presumably, if you get a redemption fare then they are worth more.

    • You should be able to get 0.75p to 1p for an Upper Class redemption, based on the cost of a cash ticket in a sale.

      However …. the snag with Virgin is that you need quite a lot of miles for a decent redemption unless you take a discount on a cash ticket. About the cheapest good redemption you could get would be a one-way in Upper Class to the US East Coast or Dubai. If you only have, say, 20000 miles then you can’t do anything useful with them and they are worth nothing (you could get a one way economy ticket but the taxes would make it worth very little in terms of cash savings). In that scenario moving to Hilton or IHG is a way of realising some value.

      You can also redeem small amounts for hotel rooms via their portal or redeem 12,500 Virgin miles for a £50 Virgin Group gift voucher.

      • PalCsaky says:

        There is one sweet spot HKG-LHR economy off peak for 12500 miles; peak for 22500 miles with minimal taxes (~32GBP) as HKG gov. does not allow fuel surcharges.

  8. sarah gregory says:

    With regards to the white virgin card, how and when do you get notified of the upgrade voucher from economy to premium economy?

    • roberto says:

      It appears in your flying club statement just after the anniversary of your renewal date. You dont get an email.

  9. It will definitely work, the card company cannot differentiate what you buy.

  10. AndyF says:

    fantastic Rob thanks, I need to purchase a few John Lewis gift cards. I imagine they will have them in-stock.

    • They are interchangeable with Waitrose cards so definitely in stock. Usually on the tobacco counter, not normal tills.

      • Genghis says:

        Recently when I handed a cashier at the Little Waitrose opposite Cannon Street a JL branded GC to pay she said, “Ooo, we don’t take JL GCs. They’re a different company”. “Try it”. Transaction went through.

  11. Gavin says:

    Damn, the Mrs only applied for hers on Saturday :/

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