Virgin Money made an interesting annoucement yesterday regarding a new partnership with Virgin Atlantic.
It was suitably vague, but clearly important enough to justify a press release and inclusion on their website here.
The only hard facts are:
The new partnership will offer customers “a range of benefits, including Flying Club miles and Virgin Group discounts”
“Collaboration on new financial products will begin in early 2018”
It “will offer customers a range of Virgin Atlantic benefits, as well as the advantages of being a Virgin Money customer including access to Virgin Money Lounges and a range of Virgin Group company discounts.”
What could happen here?
The first thing worth noting is that Virgin Money already has a close relationship with Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club.
We often write about the generous offers available for opening a stocks and shares ISA with Virgin Money – until 31st July, you’ll receive 8,000 Flying Club miles, as per this page.
They also did a trial of a money transfer offer which earned 3,000 miles – we wrote about it here – although this deal isn’t currently running.
Slightly oddly, you can also apply for the Virgin Atlantic credit cards via the Virgin Money website – even though the cards are issued by MBNA and not Virgin Money, and Virgin Money is basically persuading people not to apply for its own products!
So …. this is what I think will happen:
MBNA’s licence to issue American Express credit cards has ended, so the Virgin Flying Club credit cards will need to be relaunched anyway when the current contract expires. I am assuming that MBNA loses this contract which will be a blow, as it must be many times the size of their United, Lufthansa, Etihad or Emirates deals. I imagine Virgin Money will become the new issuer of a Visa-only or MasterCard-only Virgin Flying Club credit card.
A Flying Club angle – perhaps a reduced level of mileage earning – will be added to the Virgin Money 0% FX fees credit card (see here)
The Virgin Money ISA deals will continue
The Virgin Money International Money Transfer offer will return
The Virgin Money Prepaid Travel Money MasterCard will gain a mileage angle
Moneycorp will be dropped as Flying Club’s mileage earning foreign exchange partner and replaced by Virgin Money, who offer home delivery or pick-up at Virgin Money branches (expect to see a counter opening in the Heathrow and Gatwick lounges)
Here is a wilder guess: I reckon Virgin Atlantic status cardholders will be allowed to use Virgin Money lounges even if they don’t have a Virgin Money product
I stress that all of the above is speculation on my part. I would be surprised if there was anything done with current accounts or mortgages – these have never been successfully linked to loyalty schemes in the past due to low margins and/or a core focus on price rather than rewards.
Tell me more about Virgin Money lounges …..
These are surprisingly pleasant. As I have a Virgin Money ISA, I get access and you will occasionally find me working out of the one in Piccadilly. It is halfway between my house and the HFP office and makes a good base before or after a West End meeting.
This is quite a novel idea. They are, basically, like very pleasant airport lounges. They are more leisure focussed than the Regus business centre lounges I have discussed on here before – you don’t get a piano at Regus! Neither is Regus open at the weekend – the Virgin lounges are open seven days a week.
You can visit if you have any sort of account with Virgin Money, although you need to register in advance here. On your first visit, they will (on sight of photo ID and proof of your account) give you an access card. You can bring in guests without problems.
Note that these are NOT bank branches. You cannot undertake banking services even if you want to, and there is absolutely no attempt to sell you anything whilst you are there.
This is main relaxation area at Piccadilly. There is a piano (!) behind where I stood, plus some board games! Coffee, tea, soft drinks and biscuits are free and self serve. Click to enlarge:
This is the ‘library’ bit. In an impressive move, you can take an iPad from the shelf and use it for browsing whilst in the lounge. (There is also free wi-fi for your own devices.) There are 2 Macs as well as you can see, along with newspapers and magazines.
Here is the oddest bit. Here are a pair of fully functioning Virgin Upper Class seats! The clever bit is that the TV monitor has been replaced with an iPad, so you can turn the seat into a bed and surf away to your hearts content!
It is not a bad perk. If Virgin Money begins to issue the Virgin Atlantic credit cards then cardholders would get access anyway, but I wouldn’t be surprised if – as part of this new partnership – Virgin Atlantic Gold, and possibly Silver, status card holders are allowed in anyway from 2018. Let’s see.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (December 2020)
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):
You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.
(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.)