APPLY TODAY: The new Virgin Atlantic credit cards are here! What are the benefits?

Links on Head for Points pay us an affiliate commission. A list of our partners is here.

Virgin Atlantic has launched its two new Mastercard credit cards today!

You can see full details of the new Virgin Atlantic credit cards, and apply, by clicking here (free card) and here (paid card).  The main marketing website is here.

Here is the key message I want to get across.  If you have one or both of the MBNA Virgin Atlantic credit cards, which are now closed to new applicants:

You CAN apply for the new Virgin Atlantic cards as well, which are issued by Virgin Money

You CAN get the sign-up bonus on the new cards

You CAN, until MBNA pulls the current cards, earn miles on both credit cards at the same time if you choose

Basically, having the MBNA Virgin Atlantic cards makes no difference to how you will be treated when you apply for the new Virgin Money Virgin Atlantic credit cards.

This is a two-part article.  This part is basically ‘the facts’.  The second part, also published today, is a ‘compare and contrast’ piece.

Here are the key features:

You can choose between a free Virgin Atlantic Mastercard and a paid Mastercard, with a 5,000 mile and 15,000 mile sign-up bonus respectively

The earning rates are EXCELLENT.  0.75 miles per £1 on the free card and 1.5 miles per £1 on the fee card.

The new Virgin credit cards have a 2-4-1 voucher which works like the BA Amex voucher.  But … and this is a big ‘but’ … you need to be Flying Club Gold to use it in Upper Class.  You need to be Flying Club Silver to use it in Premium (Virgin’s new name for Premium Economy).  A base level ‘Red’ member can only use it in Economy. 

Solo travellers can choose, instead, to upgrade a return Economy redemption flight to Premium Economy.  This is available to everyone regardless of status.  As the upgrade voucher is valid for two years, a couple could also benefit if they earned two vouchers in consecutive years or each had their own credit card.

All Virgin Atlantic cardholders get free access to Virgin Money lounges around the UK

Let’s look at the two cards in detail.

Virgin Atlantic Reward credit card

The FREE card – Virgin Atlantic Reward credit card

I am legally obliged to tell you that the representative APR is 22.9% variable.

As you can see from the picture above, the free Virgin Atlantic Reward credit card is pretty cool, as credit cards go.  There is NO information on the front!  No card number, no personal name.  What you see above is what you get.  The card is also coloured red on the edge which makes it stand out when you look into your wallet or card holder.

This is what you get (full details are on the Virgin Money website here)

  • No annual fee
  • 5,000 miles with your first purchase (within 90 days of card opening)
  • 0.75 Virgin Flying Club miles per £1 spent
  • Double miles on online or call centre bookings with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays
  • Unlimited free access to Virgin Money lounges across the UK
  • 0% interest for six months on balance transfers (3% fee)
  • Spend £20,000 in a card year and select a 241 voucher, upgrade voucher or another reward – more on those below

You can apply for the FREE Virgin Atlantic Reward credit card here.

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card

The fee card – Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card

This card has a representative APR of 63.9% based on a notional £1200 credit limit and the annual fee.  The representative APR on purchases is 22.9%.

This card is even cooler to look at, in my view, than the free card.  Again, your name and your card number are printed on the back, giving an impressive looking piece of plastic.  The card is also coloured red on the edges.

This is what you get (full details are on the Virgin Money website here):

  • £160 annual fee
  • 15,000 miles with your first purchase (within 90 days of card opening)
  • 1.5 Virgin Flying Club miles per £1 spent
  • Double miles on online or call centre bookings with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays
  • Unlimited free access to Virgin Money lounges across the UK
  • Free global wi-fi access via Boingo
  • 0% interest for six months on balance transfers (3% fee)
  • Spend £10,000 in a card year and select a 241 voucher, upgrade voucher or another reward – more on those below

You can apply for the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card here.

Virgin Atlantic credit card

These are your rewards for hitting the spending target each year:

Your reward is triggered IMMEDIATELY upon hitting the spending target.  The target is £20,000 in a card year for the free Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit card and £10,000 in a card year for the £160 Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card.  You do NOT need to wait until the end of your membership year before you receive your reward.

This is what you can pick from:

All Flying Club members:

A 2-4-1 voucher, valid for two years, for a Virgin Flying Club redemption in Economy, or

An upgrade to Premium when you book an Economy reward flight (requires reward availability in Premium)

Flying Club members with Silver status can choose from:

A 2-4-1 voucher, valid for two years, for a Virgin Flying Club redemption in Premium or Economy, or

A Virgin Clubhouse lounge pass for Heathrow or Gatwick (requires a same-day Virgin Atlantic flight), or

A return upgrade to Premium when you book an Economy reward flight (requires reward availability in Premium)

Flying Club members with Gold status can choose from:

A 2-4-1 voucher, valid for two years, for a Virgin Flying Club redemption in Upper Class, Premium or Economy

TWO Virgin Clubhouse lounge passes for Heathrow or Gatwick (require same-day Virgin Atlantic flights)

A return upgrade to Premium when you book an Economy reward flight (requires reward availability in Premium)

Taxes and charges are due on ‘free’ 241 seats in the same way as the British Airways American Express 241 vouchers.  Vouchers are valid for two years and you must fly the outbound leg of your trip before the expiry date.

In Part 2 …..

What I have written above are the ‘hard facts’ about the new Virgin Atlantic credit cards.  In Part 2 – click here – I will give my personal view of the pros and cons of the cards.

EDIT:  After I published this article, I wrote a separate Q&A piece to answer some questions raised by readers.  You can find that here.

You can learn more about both cards, and apply, on the Virgin Money website here.

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.

Bits: 2400 Avios with £50 of toys, Etihad dropping Edinburgh?, massive Nectar shake up
Part 2: Are the new Virgin Atlantic credit cards right for you?
Click here to join our email list and receive all of the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

Amazon ad
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.


  1. Interesting restrictions on using 241 voucher, maybe we will see BA adopt a similar condition in the future. Imagine how many more TP runs would be completed…

    • Tilly says:

      I hope not. Can get BAEC bronze but no way any higher as a leisure traveller. BA 241 works out great for me at the moment.

      • Lumma says:

        One decently timed Asian holiday every two years means you can keep BA silver quite easily with Qatar business fares in a sale (briefly dropping back to bronze while attaining the tier points and 4 segments)

        • Got to bronze with the Qatar sale but not Silver…did I miss a trick?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          560 from most Qatar flights.

          You then need 4 BA/Iberia sectors and 40 more TP.

    • vlcnc says:

      Very disappointing restriction – sadly Virgin are still no use to me as I do most of my travel for leisure…

  2. I LOVE the opportunity of a benefit for solo travellers too, that choice is a fantastic addition and definitely a one-over on BA.
    The ‘red edge’ on cards doesn’t make them stand out… my two Nationwide cards have had this for years. Rob is clearly behind the curve here 😉

  3. OT: I just realised that I had overpaid my Amex Plat before cancelling last year. I have finally had the £7 overpayment transferred to my BAPP Amex – but does this mean that my Plat account was officially closed last year or last week? I assume the former, since I’ve not paid any fee since cancelling but I don’t want screwed out of a new sign up bonus.

    • Genghis says:

      Last year

      • Woohoo. Cheers, G.

      • Frenske says:

        Are you absolutely sure about that Ghenis? I had to contact AmEx numerous time to get my bonus and got replied: we are looking into it, until the last time then they said I applied within the 6 months of closing the account. I too had an outstanding positive balance which was paid a couple of months after I asked them to close. I told them that and eventually they gave the bonus.

        • Genghis says:

          Yes. It’s happened to me numerous times where there’s been a negative balance on the account from a subsequent refund. There’s a difference between you owing Amex money (your case it seems) and them owing you money.

  4. any news on whether this card can be referred?! 🙂

  5. Do you now think this is a better card for long term (non Amex) spend than the IHG Premium Visa?
    I heard IHG will be removing many high end Intercontinental redemptions for the free night certificate.

    • That is US only. You get a free night there just for having the card so it is a different dynamic.

      As you will struggle to earn a VA flight just from the card or an IHG stay just from the card it really depends what else you are earming.

  6. Alan Platts says:

    I have the MBNA Virgin black cards and was thinking about cancelling anyway so good timing. However as their fee is non refundable, I am hoping if I leave it to MBNA to pull the cards then they will have to make a refund of the fee pro rata for remainder of the year I cant use the cards?

  7. OT- I would appreciate any recommendation on Heathrow hotel parking for an upcoming 16 night trip flying out of T2 LHR. The dilemma is do I pay the long stay car park, get a taxi or get an overnight stay at an airport hotel that offers parking? I have to be at LHR for about 9am on a Monday morning and non rush hour travelling time is 45 minutes to an hour.Total for parking is about £100, Uber a little more, I’m not sure about hotels. My concern is the time of day getting to LHR could present all sorts of delays and for piece of mind I am considering staying the night before and leaving the car at the Hotel if possible.

    • I gave up trying to drive to LHR any terminal on the day of flying. I now opt for Sofitel T5 the night before irrespective of which terminal im using. They do a good stay and park rate. The car remains in the underground car park under the hotel exactly where you parked it and you keep your car keys. The hotel is superb! You connect free of charge from T5 to the other terminals via the Heathrow Express. Alternatively, Get a train and tube to Paddington and then the Heathrow Express to T5 and stroll to the Sofitel for a superb meal, great spa and a comfy bed. This way you even save on parking!
      Sadly we have on several occasions even gone down to stay at the Sofitel 2 nights prior to flying as we love it so much!!

  8. JohnT says:

    Worth mentioning the Virgin Red App – as credit cards should increase the registered partners – so access to more prize draws. However at present best benefit (ie BOGOF in Café Nero) has been suspended and replaced by cheap deals at Papa Johns and Bella Italia?

    • Jack W says:

      Free WiFi on Virgin Trains is a useful perk via the Virgin Red app too.

  9. ROBMC says:

    2.99% FX fee – hhhmmm
    No sign of an iOS app on the App Store to manage the card?
    No sign of Apple Pay? Have I missed this Rob?

  10. Mark Priest says:

    I can understand why virgin have limited the 2-4-1 if they’d opened it up to all and sundry they’d have been screwed. They don’t have the seats to offer it to the masses.

    Does anyone know if the upgrade voucher runs by the same rules as it presently does. i.e you can get multiple vouchers per year?

    • Lev441 says:

      Looks like it’s just one voucher per year as opposed to two with the MBNA cards

  11. Billy says:

    Well… With a perfect credit score, with an Amex Platinum and the current MBNA cards in my wallet, my application was declined.

    A shame. I’m already moving my travel to BA as VS after sales is a shambles, but would have liked to have had the option as I really enjoy the Clubhouse and VS flight experience.

    • Thomas Howard says:

      If you think Virgin after sales is bad, I can’t wait to see what you think of BA. They barely speak English and do not give a F

      • Billy says:

        I’m BA Gold and have not had a bad experience. Lounges are no clubhouse but hey, not worth the stress I get with every interaction with VS. Pre flight is poor on VS too.

      • I’ve had really decent sales with both BA & Avios. Must have gotten lucky.

  12. Jack W says:

    From the Ts&Cs for Reward+

    > Your card entitles you to free global Wi-Fi access. You will need to register here to create an account directly with Boingo. Boingo provides you access to over one million hotspots worldwide as well as inflight access (selected aircraft and airlines only).

    The Amex Platinum Boingo plan doesn’t currently include WiFi in-flight – is that last sentence marketing speak about Boingo (assuming so) or does it indicate in-flight wifi as part of the plan?

    If anyone who’s registered for the Reward+ could find out, I’d be v interested to know given Virgin do have in-flight wifi.

    • polarization says:

      Virgin inflight Wifi is provided by Gogo. It is different from Boingo. I don’t think you can use it on VS.

    • paulm says:

      Saw it mentioned on twitter earlier that you will be able to use on board VS as boingo are one of the partner options, even though WiFi is from gogo…

  13. Metty says:

    Well for the first time ever, I’ve been refused for the fee paying VS credit card. Not even the usual MBNA ‘let us get back to you’ response.

    Phoned them and they said that it must be something on my credit score. So checked that. It’s perfect. Phoned back and they want me to send in my tax return, bank account details and credit score report. How odd!

    • I am sure its their system that is getting overwhelmed with multiple applications. I never apply for new cards on day one. always let the dust settle first. + you will usually get a higher bonus in a few months once they have consolidated things (of course, not guaranteed).

  14. Woobl says:

    What happens if you have balances through balance transfer offers on the MBNA card and they shut the card down? Does this get transferred to another MBNA product?

  15. Andrew says:

    Has there been a stealth devaluation/price hike on BA Avios redemptions? Both online and telephone booking, since last night – trying to book London to Hong Kong return, WT-WT or WT-F.

    Booking LHR-HKG off peak economy (November) came up as 49.5k Avios return
    But pricing chart for HK zone 7 shows 19.5k one way which would be 39k return?

    I called the booking line: Same number quoted 49.5k. I checked outbound Econ and return First, expecting 121.5k return, her computer quoted 132k… The telephone rep was just as confused as myself, she was not notified of a redemption change, neither was her manager… But the numbers don’t match up either?

    This is the case even making ‘test’ redemptions on the website. What gives? Unless my eyes have gone funny looking at the chart…

    • roberto says:

      Is one of your flights Peak?

      • Andrew says:

        Both are off-peak (November!)… On a further look, it seems that one of the econ legs has been charged at peak despite being in November – perhaps another I.T. issue?

        Unfortunately the reps in the office have to ‘go whats on the computer’ – so I’ll hope that the F availability is still there tomorrow if/when it gets fixed!

        • Kathy says:

          Is one of the legs actually giving you a partner airline?

        • Andrew says:

          Re Kathy

          No, both BA… Unless it’s a strange codeshare, which I am sure it is not after checking. Will be calling back again today.

          the 10.5k avios differential is too much of a coincidence not to be a peak/non-peak mixup on their part! I’ll call back today to see if the issue’s been fixed.

  16. Well, I was waiting for this card for some time, and now my application has been declined even though I have an ‘excellent’ credit score, 2 credit cards (Amex and Lloyds) and Amex Gold charge card (which I pay off in full most of the time, spending +/- £2000-2500 a month) …
    I noticed that some people commented they were declined too, does anyone have any idea why?

    • the_real_a says:

      If you have consider yourself a good risk, its generally 1) too much potential (but not used) available credit Vs your income or 2) carrying a large balance to the statement (even if paying off a balance in full on the due date) your credit score will take the hit until the following statement date (when it will be reported as cleared)

      • I don’t think my credit limit is too high/low vs income … I normally pay off any balance within week or two, so it doesn’t impact my credit score.

        • Genghis says:

          What does your overall credit utilisation (balances vs available credit) look like? There’s a good analogy on MSE of applying for credit being like a beauty parade: they like different things.

        • Today: around 8% of my credit limit on my Amex, and around 20% of my Lloyds Credit Card. I usually pay off in full every month

  17. Jsmie says:

    How disappointing!!
    I was so hopeful for the new cards to launch but the fact that you can only earn one Premium upgrade voucher per card per year is abysmal and for me isn’t worth the £160 fee! Why couldn’t they have made it one at £10k spend and another at £20k spend?! – that’s £5k more than the previous black card, but I would have sucked it up and accepted it, but to have to pay £320 in fees and then spend £20k to get two premium upgrades absolutely stinks! (Compared to the £140 fee and £15k spend on the black MBNA card)
    I certainly won’t be rushing to get the new card. If anything it’s made the decision much easier to switch to BA.

  18. catherine shadbolt says:

    Just like to say, I have a perfect 993 credit score and the computer said NO !

    • Genghis says:

      Given there seems to be quite a few rejections, are there any common denominators?

      Obviously credit institutions can decide who they want as customers and a good Experian credit score doesn’t tell the full story.

      Recent credit applications? Too much overall credit? Too much / too little existing credit utilisation?

      Anyone care to share their situation a little?

      • I was rejected too … 982 on Experian. Haven’t applied for any new credit card since September, overall credit limit isn’t very high at all. I tend to spend around 2k monthly on my cards, paying in full most of the time. High household income as well

        • Also fun fact: a friend of mine, with a lower personal and household income, 3 credit cards (last applied in January), Experian score ~840 and using 45% of her credit got accepted

        • Genghis says:

          Perhaps they actually want to make some interest income

        • You don’t make interest income on frequent flyer cards, the customer base is too wealthy. But, I agree, this could be the reason. I have spoken to VA about this today and they are monitoring it. I have been invited to submit details of rejected readers who are fully solvent and have already had one decision overturned.

        • Well, they might do, but this way, they will just turn away many of their customers. If they cannot give me a reasonable answer why my application was declined, I’m very unlikely to use anything to do with them – e.g spend 3.5k on holiday with them again this year

        • Genghis says:

          @Rob I thought you have mentioned before about Amex mentioning quite a significant number of people running balances on BAPP (at least over short term)?

        • The only specifics I have ever had on this were that ‘not many people run a balance, but those that do – often accidentally by missing a payment – do it on large balances’. Common sense says that it will be far lower than normal, although at 22.9% APR ….

  19. Scottydoggiom says:

    Think ill hold out for the new Barclay card for my non Amex spends , hopefully that will be released soon

  20. Any idea if the annual fee is refunded if cancelled during the year? If so is it pro-rata?

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment.