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. 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.

  2. 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…

  3. 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).

  4. 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?

  5. Andrew says:

    OT:
    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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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 ….

  9. Scottydoggiom says:

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

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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

  15. 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”.

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