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

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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?
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Comments

  1. Would have gone for it but only getting Upper if your GØLD is really poor. No point at all using a 2-4-1 in economy. Will carry on going First with BA.

    • +1 totally agree, the whole point of the 2-4-1is to fly F, Virgin have missed a trick here

      I pay and am happy to pay for PE, but the whole point of miles is to use for F

  2. Matthew says:

    Will already having a credit card with virgin money affect you getting this product do we know. Or would you just ask them to switch the card and still get the sign up bonus?

    • Not clear.

      • I’ve got an existing VM credit card and my application went through ok.

        I closed the other second card I had about three months in anticipation of this one being launched (assuming more than two cards with VM would be a no).

  3. Yorkieflyer says:

    I wonder whether the PE upgrade voucher can be used for 2 pax one way as now with the MBNA variant. Excellent for ex HKG????

  4. Typo? The write up doesn’t mention if upgrade voucher is return under Red / non-members. It clearly says return in Silver and Gold sections.
    Do Reds get a return upgrade voucher?

  5. Was looking forward to this one. Such a bummer. I think this is a very underwhelming card.
    Free card bonus seems to be OK. then its all downhill.

    paid card bonus is not good considering redemption value of flying club and limited partner and network options. They should have given at least 20k. If I remember correctly, the black card was 22k or something at one stage.

    The biggest trick they have missed, as many have pointed out, is with the 241 – only for gold is silly given their network and high bar to achieve something that doesn’t have much benefits in the first place given partner benefits etc are as good as non existent. They are missing an opportunity here to move traffic from BA to themselves. I suppose being loyal to them is what they want.

    I understand Rob says the new cards are mostly loss making. That makes things even worse, as this is such an average card offer for a paid card. Goes to show where the miles and points CC industry is headed in the UK.

    Finally, what about card churning? is it possible here? But I guess with no pro rata refund, doesn’t make sense. Or will they give a refund?

    I feel the HSBC premier CC at £195 is a much better deal as you get more flexibility with those points (20k miles + insurance etc). I understand its not accessible to everyone, but I feel its a good competitor for a non amex miles card in the UK.

    • imbruce says:

      HSBC Premier also has lounge key lounge access included in the fee
      which is operated by Priorty Pass

  6. 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…

  7. 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 😉

  8. 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.

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. 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!!

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

  15. 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

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