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. JamesB says:

    Rob, veering a little OT but do you think there might be any mileage in your trying to establish a dialogue with AF/KLM and credit card providers with a view to their launching a FB credit card? I know the economics are against anything of much value but I think the forthcoming changes to FB along with the VA tie-up look very promising as an alternative to BA/OW, especially for those of us in the regions. With BA also moving closer to a more revenue-based scheme then Fb just becomes even more attractive. The major dowbside is the lack of opportunities to earn FB miles in the UK excepting MR and SP/Marriott so a credit card could be useful.

    • Clive says:

      But… since the plan is we’ll be able to spend Flying Club miles with AF/KLM, what would be the advantage?

      • JamesB says:

        We don’t yet know what earn and burn rates ard, or am I missing something, is Virgin joining FB?

        • AF / KLM is buying 20% of Virgin Atlantic and becoming a Flying Club partner, so you can earn and redeem FC miles with them. And vice versa, if you have Flying Blue miles.

  2. I have the V black card and have reached the spend to get the PE upgrade vouchers but my anniversary is Sept. If the card goes are they still going to honour the vouchers?

    • I’d assume that if they didn’t they’d have to offer some kind of compensation in much the same vein as when Barclays stopped the IHG card and had to do pro-rata refunds on card fees and also compensation towards the free night rewards people were spending towards.

  3. My application has been referred for the paid card, we shall wait and see!

    I hope BA do not go down the route of restricting 2-4-1 redemption in this way. I’ve been holding off triggering on the BAPP but with this and the mysterious first availability issues over the last week I’m starting to get a bit fidgety!

  4. JamesB says:

    OT apologies if I missed this elsewhere: 500 avios or 1500 IHG points for an IHG stay, limit of 1000 registrations but was ok a few minutes ago.
    https://www.ihg.com/rewardsclub/gb/en/offers/promoreg/?offerCode=71481&cm_sp=vanity-6c-gb-en-partnership-BA2018Step3

  5. Toby Walsh says:

    OT: Sunday Times

    Cancelled the Sunday Times subscription at month 11 but kept receiving the issues afterwards!

    Received an interesting email today saying o owe them a further £30.00 for another years subscription and a £15.00 catch up payment for the last six months.

    I have refused to pay £45.00 unless they chuck some Avios my way… any body else in the same boat?

    • Toby Walsh says:

      This is for the travel magazine that came with 4,500 Avios by the way!

    • Clive says:

      Would you have to pay anything if you can show that you cancelled? Isn’t this their mistake?

    • Genghis says:

      Did you contact them to cancel the sub or did you just cancel the DD?

      • JamesB says:

        OT @Ghengis: are you still getting nectar offers on Virgin? I’ve had none for over two months.

        • Genghis says:

          Booked something on VTEC a few weeks ago and had an offer. Just checked Nectar app now and nothing

        • JamesB says:

          Thanks, good you had one though. I was wondering if they had pulled them given the franchise issue.

      • Toby Walsh says:

        I did contact them, dug out the mobile bill which shows me phoning them and spending a while on the phone too. I’ll give them another buzz tomorrow.

        I recall seeing a comment on here about someone still recieving issues after it was cancelled.

        Lets see what tomorrow brings 🙂

        • AndyW says:

          Got the same email, I called th to cancel a good while back. I will be calling tomorrow and telling them they are not having any money.

        • I cancelled my DD but didn’t contact them – still receiving the monthly magazines – no email from them yet.

        • Callum says:

          I cancelled my direct debit and didn’t tell them. They then created a new direct debit without my permission and took another £30.

    • Same email.

    • TigerTanaka says:

      I’m in the same boat. I replied by email saying I have cancelled the subscription already – the DD was cancelled months ago.

      Remember we can all have “administrative problems”.

  6. Lemeng says:

    I’ve also just had my application declined – I have BA Amex, the current MBNA Virgin Atlantic cards, Halifax Clarity, Partnership Card and a perfect credit score (999 to be precise). I’m self-employed, which may be a negative, but there’s nothing to say that self-employed applicants need not bother. I rang and they said they’ll look into it. Odd – and off-putting.

  7. Edward Clifton-Brown says:

    Do Virgin offer a status match in order to lure BAEC members across?

  8. Andy Morgan says:

    Had my application declined this morning for the Reward+

  9. Andy Morgan says:

    Just checked my credit report to see a late payment notice from AmEx. The bill has been paid but how do I get this removed from my report?

  10. Pointless really. I’ll never get status so no point in paying taxes & fees for 2 economy tickets

  11. John ABZ says:

    New Virgin Reward+ Mastercard card -v- current Virgin MBNA Black Amex/VISA. Based upon my last 2 months spend on the MBNA cards, I would lose 30% (2000 miles) of miles earned compared with the new card with higher fee. I would have been happy to retain MBNA card long term with annual fee as earning 2x on Amex. The new card is less attractive for me and means I’ll have to change my strategy assuming MBNA is withdrawn, which means I won’t be happy to retain the new card long term and may need to look at More churning on others eg Amex gold/plat. New card isn’t bad but deffo less attractive than old one. But that said would rather have less miles to spend on decent airlines (Virgin, Delta, and soon KLM/AF), than more miles on a crap airline like BA. I honestly would prefer to fly Virgin PE than BA Club World based upon event experiences.

  12. The majority of my spend on the MBNA card is on Amex earning 1 mile per £1, I rarely use the visa card. Therefore at 0.75 miles per pound I think I might earn fewer miles on the new cards….

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