MBNA is closing your Virgin Atlantic credit card – should you apply for the new version?

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If you have the MBNA-issued Virgin Atlantic White or Black credit cards, you should have received a letter yesterday telling you what I predicted was going to happen – that the cards are closing sooner rather than later.

The letter is vague, saying only that ‘you will receive more information from us by 15th June’.  MBNA has to give you 60 days notice of changes to the card so, even though the letter was undated (it just said ‘May 2018’) I would guess that the MBNA / Virgin Atlantic cards will close on or around 30th June.

What will happen to my cards?

MBNA will not close your account.  Based on what happened when the BMI Diamond Club cards were closed, you will be transitioned to an own-brand MBNA credit card.

It is likely that the card you are offered will depend on what MBNA thinks of you.  Some ex-BMI cardholders were offered a cashback card.  I was offered a ‘no rewards’ card which I obviously cancelled immediately.

Will I get a refund of the fee if I have Black card?

Almost certainly.  MBNA gave me a pro-rata fee when they closed by BMI Diamond Club card.

Should I apply for the new Virgin Atlantic credit cards now?

Yes.  You can apply for new cards even though you currently have the MBNA card.  You WILL receive the sign-up bonus.

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.

You might want to keep using the American Express card linked to your existing White or Black MBNA card until the bitter end, because of the high earning rate.

On the other hand, you might want to start earning towards the 2-4-1 or upgrade voucher on the new Virgin Money cards as soon as possible.  It is also not smart to keep using the Visa element of the existing White and Black cards because the new Mastercard is more generous.

What are the two new Virgin Money Virgin Atlantic credit cards like?

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 – you get this bonus even if you have have the MBNA cards

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 credit card holders 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, apart from the addition of the chip.  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 add one supplementary card during the application and up to two more later on.

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 add one supplementary card during the application and up to two more later on.

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.

Interestingly, the 241 voucher flight does NOT have to originate in the UK which will benefit some expat readers.

Last month I wrote a Q&A piece to answer some questions raised by readers about the cards, which may answer any questions you have.  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.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Slightly OT: Is there a good guide for attaining status with VX? It would be quite handy to know with the class available for using the voucher.

  2. Simon Br says:

    Also OT, does anyone know how to keep Gold HHonors status once obtained using the HHonors Visa Barclaycard? They say you keep it throughout the year after achieving the triggering spend, so what is required to keep it beyond that year?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Another spend trigger? Stay the required number of nights/stays or the easiest route of all sign up for Amex platinum for a few months and get SPG/Marriott gold too 🙂

    • Andrew M says:

      £10k of spend through the card each calendar year will keep it. Alternative route – with no spend requirement, but large annual fee, refundable pro rata – is to take out Amex Platinum for a short period to get the various hotel statuses (Inc Hilton Gold) and then downgrade / cancel. All hotel statuses then retained for at least 12 months (up to 24 I think!).

      • Simon Br says:

        Thanks for your replies.

        • Anna says:

          Hi Simon, when I got HH gold status about 2 months ago with my Platinum card they were offering two years of status, don’t know if this is still the case but worth enquiring.

        • Alan says:

          Still the case. Mine (upgraded to platinum 2 days ago) is valid to March 2020

        • john says:

          I don’t think it’s two years of status. You get ‘this’ year and all of next year (in Hilton’s calendar). So if you apply in February, you’d get ‘February’ and all of next year.

    • I’ve just tweeted customer services the last two times I dropped to silver and done a Gold challenge (5 stays in 90 days).

    • John says:

      There are Flyertalk reports that the card erroneously gives “lifetime” Gold

  3. KBuffett says:

    OT – does anyone know how long it takes to transfer points from AMEX MR to SPG? I requested the transfer on 7th and need them I am planning to check into a Marriott in 14th Getting worried!

    • Anna says:

      Probably been delayed by the Bank Holiday weekend.

    • Stu N says:

      Usually 24 hours, 48 max. If your accounts were not already linked – by saving down details or from a previous transfer – it may take longer.

    • Matt says:

      Don’t wait for the email confirmation from Amex as the transfer will happen before then but you don’t get notified until around a day later.

      Also I think the SPG call centre will reserve a hotel room for you while the points transfer is going through if you’re worried about waiting.

    • Genghis says:

      I always set up the transfer links in advance. My experience has always been transfer in the AM, they appear in SPG around 4pm or so the next day.

  4. Close to my 10k spend to get my upgrade voucher on my virgin MBNA card. Will they issue it if I hit it before end of June?

    • Almost certainly.

      • Neil says:

        I noticed a few months back that MBNA issued an upgrade voucher after I spent £5000 almost as soon as I hit a target. Normally they wouldn’t have issued these until my anniversary but it appears that knowing they were about to cancel the card then issued them as soon as the target was hit….

        • Alan says:

          Interesting – didn’t happen to me and I hit the target just in the past couple of months.

    • Gumshoe says:

      The letter from MBNA explicitly states that for now, it’s business as usual and all benefits continue as before.

      So yes, you should be absolutely fine.

    • Memesweeper says:

      I got my spend target for all of the vouchers within 3 months of getting the card. I’m still waiting for the vouchers and to be honest I don’t want them sooner! Might get a couple of months pro-rated refund which would be nice.

      • Memesweeper says:

        “The card” above means the MBNA Virgin Black — should have made that clear!

    • Laura windsor says:

      Do you mind me asking if you have he white or black card?
      We got 2 upgrades last year but can’t remember what we need to spend to get them each year.
      Thank you.

  5. Laura windsor says:

    We have a black MBNA Virgin reward card.
    Can anyone tell me what it was I needed to spend to get my upgrade voucher?
    We got 2 last year but for the life of me can’t think what we had to spend:-)
    Thank you.

    • Alan says:

      1 voucher per £5k spend on the Amex, max 2 vouchers.

      • Laura windsor says:

        Thank you.
        Hopefully if the card ends before our year is up (November) we will get our free upgrades and a refund on our years fee.

  6. Mark says:

    Rob, do you think the “sign-up miles” will increase for those who wait before making the move to the new Virgin card? Virgin should be able to see who has not moved from MBNA.

    • Alan says:

      I think there is a danger that the bonus may decrease. If people are using a VS card, they are probably using it for a reason. If you still want to collect VS miles on non-amex spend then you are only left with one choice. That could cause Virgin to drop the incentive to sign up as you woudl sign up anyway.

      Not saying that will happen, just that it is a possibility

    • No. Virgin told me that the money is not there, at 0.3% interchange, to fund anything higher.

    • Andrew says:

      You never know. Virgin fans will jump on the card immediately so why offer a massively generous bonus at launch. Others may require more of an incentive down the line to sign up (assuming the economics support it).

      • The economics don’t support it. I find it hard to believe they support it at the moment, but VM wants to grow in cards and VA sees it as part of the broader brand building activity (ie people will fly with them if they know they can top up their account with a credit card).

  7. Noggins says:

    I don’t think MBNA have done much to impress over this long expected move. We have had notice from more than one source where our MBNA Virgin cards are held on file for regular payments that the card ‘is about to expire’ – when the expiry date on the card is a year or two away. So they have been telling merchants way before getting round to their card holding customer.
    Furthermore we had trouble with the new Virgin cards with my wife’s card refusing to work correctly despite a couple of ‘it will work now’ reassurances. A complaint did at least produce some better customer service – and a £25 credit as a ‘sorry’.

    • Alan says:

      One thing I do like with MBNA though is the ability to transfer credit limit between cards. I recently shut two VS White cards and transferred the limits over to my AA Visa before doing so.

    • Peter K says:

      The new virgin cards are from Virgin Money, not MBNA…

    • Callum says:

      Is there such a mechanism for the issuing bank to tell payment processors the the card is going to expire soon?

      Aside from not seeing any reason why they would want to do it anyway, I’ve never heard of that.

    • Mr Dee says:

      No way would merchants be told such stories as to when a card will be discontinued.

  8. S879 says:

    OT: Can anyone confirm that the platinum upgrade link is still working for people who want to upgrade from the old Gold Amex? I know the link has been posted but has anyone successfully got them since the change to the Gold card? Thanks.

    • I reached my gold-platinum upgrade target yesterday after upgrading 2 week’s ago. I’ll keep you posted when/if I get the 20000 bonus.

    • Alan says:

      I used the link and, as you go through the process, it still says that you will receive 20,000 points for reaching the spend target. I took a screen shot just in case.

      I haven’t received my new card yet so haven’t really started to attack the £1000 spend so can’t comment as to whether the points actually post. Hopefully LB will have some positive news soon.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        I thought once approved the spend started to count immediately. The card itself is just a piece of branded plastic. You dont have to wait for it to arrive because the account has been upgraded and your old gold card linked to the new plat. Someone else can probably confirm.

        • MattyS says:

          My spend started to count towards the target as soon as the card was shown as having changed to Platinum on the app (didn’t check until day after successful application though but it might change immediately) even though the card hadn’t arrived. Bonus arrived next working day after hitting spend.

        • Genghis says:

          Correct. What’s important is what it shows on your account page.

      • Alan says:

        Cards turned up today so the spending can start regardless!

    • Genghis says:

      Used link early last week. Spent £1+ Fri, points including 20k posted today.

    • ANDREW WAKEFIELD says:

      Be careful. If you have received any kind of sign up bonus in the last year you won’t get the bonus again.
      I had Gold Amex Charge Card and received spending bonus, I then upgraded to Platinum AMEX Charge Card and achieved spending to get bonus but AMEX wouldn’t give it.
      Platinum Charge in US is actually made of stainless steel, and has far better benefits.

      • Genghis says:

        Misinformation?

      • If you used the upgrade link then you would get the upgrade bonus. You wouldn’t get a bonus for a fresh Platinum application, correct.

  9. Alan says:

    Are Virgin still randomly rejecting applicants like they were when the card first launched?

    • Happened to me. Good credit, MBNA Black, and Virgin Gold status. Very annoying as can’t see one reason for them rejecting

      • They have chilled out. If you write to appeal you will be accepted, with a very high probability. I think VA is putting pressure on them.

        • Peter K says:

          Or VS even 🙂
          I know in context we understand what you mean and I know you know it’s VS but others in the comments have also used VA when asking for advice and it gets confusing with Virgin America/Atlantic/Australia (the real VA) all being called VA.

        • Alan says:

          Interesting. I was pre-approved after going through check on the page but then not automatically approved, they’ve said wait 5 days – will see what happens.

        • All approved after a week, with a credit limit many k higher than required!

      • Metty says:

        I’m still rejected despite appealing. No idea why either! Can’t see anything weird on credit file so applied for a Tesco c/c and was approved with a £25k limit.

        Pain in the neck as was enjoying cycling all spend through the MBNA card (£18k limit).

    • No. System is much improved. HFP readers were the guinea pigs unfortunately.

      • Alan says:

        Thanks Rob. Hopefully it will go smoothly.

      • Catalan says:

        When the new Virgin Money card was publicised on HfP I tried the ‘acceptance checker’ and got declined despite holding the MBNA Virgin Black card and excellent credit score.
        How do I move forward with this?

        • Just apply. The checker was broken in the first week anyway as it had not been changed to reflect the VA customer base. I also know from many reader emails that it is a joke and whatever result it gives bears no relation to what a real application will produce, in both directions.

        • lumma says:

          So it might be worth applying anyway then Rob? I’ve always failed the Virgin Money checker on their site despite, getting high chances of approval on some of the price comparison websites (90%+)

          I’ve just got the Gold Amex credit card so may hold back on another application for the minute tho 🙂

          • Yes, ignore the checker (and certainly ignore anything the checker told you in the first week after the cards launched). Even if you are rejected, they will usually change their mind for anyone who writes in to appeal, especially if they have the MBNA card.

  10. simon says:

    So there is a distinct possibility that when BA close their AMEX BAPP card, they will also give 2 months notice meaning you have a limited period to qualify for the 2-4-1, if not already obtained? Just about to reapply after 6 months away, but not worth it if i effectively have a 3 month window to qualify for the 2-4-1, i my understanding is correct?

    • Wouldn’t worry about the Amex card disappearing short term.

      • simon says:

        Cheers Rob – still torn between going full tilt on Virgin or returning to BA. The variables of closing the BAPP and the new Virgin alliance kicking in soon are not helping!

  11. Gin and Tonic Please says:

    I’m not yet convinced by the new Virgin cards, purely because of the restrictions on the 2-4-1. For now, I think I’ll continue with my Black card, and then swap to my Lloyds duo (assuming that too hasn’t folded), by which time I’ll be in a new earning year for an upgrade voucher. These are indeed interesting times for loyalty cards…

    • New Card says:

      Me too – I suspect a lot of us would sign up immediately if not for the restrictions on the 2-4-1 voucher.

      • Peter K says:

        Definitely. My wife refuses to fly economy long haul as it makes her feel ill and it seems like an uphill climb to get enough miles for an upper class (or even premium) redemption without a 2-4-1 to sweeten the deal.

  12. OT – today I could apply either gold card or platinum card again after 6 months waiting, should I apply Gold credit card then try to upgrade to platinum use same link or apply for platinum straight away? The risk is the route from Gold credit card to platinum won’t work at all and losing 20000 MR,
    any suggestion? Thanks

    • Very unlikely you can upgrade a credit to a charge.

    • Alan says:

      I think that the chances of upgrading from a gold credit card to a platinum charge card is pretty slim. They are, after all, different products now.

      Could be wrong fo course.

    • Thanks Rob, Alan. Looks like i will have to apply for platinum card, may not be a bad idea considering there are a few referrals awaits

  13. flyforfun says:

    Big question I have is what card is next for the chop!! I’ve got the MBNA AAdvantage Card and the BAPP Card and wonder at their life expectancy!

    • I am nervous about my Lufty card because it protects my miles from expiry. I could be in trouble if a 3 year clock suddenly started ticking.

      • flyforfun says:

        The same for my AAdvantage account. Half a million miles sitting there and I’ve not great need to use them on anything. Primarily burning BA miles with the 241.

        If the AA card goes, I think the only way you could earn miles in the UK would be to credit a OW flight – unless someone knows of another non flight way?

        • AndyGWP says:

          Buy something from their shopping portal??
          https://www.aadvantageeshopping.com/

          (ie. buy something from Groupon where you get 3 points per $ – you can just buy something cheap and the vouchers are printable so delivered straight away… even better, if you have friends visiting the states you can even see if they want something buying)

    • Alan says:

      Am wondering that too re AA card – although less benefit in year 2 from the annual fee perspective. Need to decide whether worth paying the cash again – although if then cancelled half-way through the year and received a fee refund it would have been worthwhile. Also have a large credit limit on it which is very handy.

  14. Alan says:

    OT as no bits today..

    How long does it take to get gold status on yoru SPG account after applying via AMEX platinum?
    My Hilton Gold came through within a few hours but the SPG one hasn’t updated yet.

    Thanks

    • I got it linked within 3 days but took 3 weeks for my GF

    • ricardo says:

      OT but related question to that above: I already have accounts with both Avis and Hertz, but when I link through from the Platinum Benefits page it takes you to pages with each that contemplate new account openings rather than upgrades to existing accounts. I guess I could just create new accounts, but I already have bookings under my existing accounts for which I would like to try and get the status recognised in hope of an upgrade… Has anyone had success in getting the Platinum benefits applied to existing accounts and if so how? Thanks in advance

  15. new reader says:

    OT sorry: do reward nights count towards ihg accelerate stay 9 nights targets?

  16. Rob MC says:

    I wonder how many people haven’t taken the card due to the 2-4-1 issue with tier status. I am definitely one. Which is a shame as I like virgin a lot and will always fly them over BA but will continue to use my amex MR points without taking their card.

    • Genghis says:

      What about using the upgrade vouchers for two in W to the US and pay full J prices coming back? 1.5 virgin / £ on the VM card vs 1 on say an Amex Gold / Plat (not incl any Gold annual bonus etc)

      • lev441 says:

        This is the thing that’s holding me back from applying. I was hoping the MBNA cards would last a little longer than they have done as well!

  17. Jenny Collins says:

    Hi
    I am currently in USA so haven’t recd the letters . But I contacted MBNA yesterday as I had already hit my spend target to see if I could get my Premium Economy upgrades early as I wanted to make a booking and was told I would have to wait until the end of the year. No mention of anything happening early because scheme was closing down. I have MBNA Black cards currently. So went ahead and made my booking ith Virgin without the free upgrades now sounds like I should have waited a few days.

  18. Shaz says:

    Rob – this means that the annual reward of the two premium economy upgrades will also no longer be given if your one year anniversary is after June?

    • lev441 says:

      If you’ve already spent the £10k and your anniversary is after that, I’d assume that you would get the vouchers either then or upon the normal anniversary date as per t’s & C’s. I don’t see how they can get out of issuing the voucher if you’ve spent the required amount and paid the card fee.

  19. Marc says:

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for the update! I was eyeing the MBNA as a visa replacement to use when my Amex wasn’t accepted.

    I am now looking to get ahold of the free VA card. Wondering: would VA be likely to do a commercial offer for the card to encourage switching? I. E should I get it now or might waiting increase my gain?

    Thanks for the help!

  20. Nigel Williams says:

    Interesting chat with Virgin Money ? Virgin Atlantic card department.

    Will need to confirm with the applications department, but apparently you can do BA “241” trick with the new Reward card too (spend on the free card, transfer to the Rewards+ card when near 10K and therefore trigger the voucher)

    • Genghis says:

      Is there a benefit to this? I thought the £160 on the Rewards+ is a sunk cost?

      • Exactly, so no point. And that’s not what VA told me – the two cards are meant to be separate (like the IHG cards) so if you apply for 2nd one you’d end up with both.

      • Nigel Williams says:

        Handy in the odd situation where you end up spending more on the free then you planned, then you can at last switch and pay the £160 for the 2-4-1 and higher earning rate.

  21. Matt B says:

    Got my 5000 points for a 50p spend! Thats not bad! 😀

  22. I’ve hit the MBNA virgin black spend target and should get 2x upgrade vouchers in September. Will I be eligible for a pro-rata refund of the card fees if I still get my upgrade vouchers?

    • Yes, don’t see why not.

    • Laura windsor says:

      I twittered MBNA the same question about getting my reward flights if the card in void before my anniversary year is up in November.
      No response yet.

      • Michelle says:

        Hi, did you get a response from MBNA regarding this, I’m in the same position, thanks.

  23. Jimbob says:

    O/T the 6 month churning rule for Amex, does the clock start from the time I phoned up to cancel the card, or 3 weeks later when the direct debit clears the balance?

  24. ANDREW WAKEFIELD says:

    Don’t forget MBNA is now owned by the Lloyds Banking Group so the whole portfolio will be under review.

  25. sunguy says:

    O/T as no bits today….

    I need to position in JER for the start of a set of flights, however the flight from JER is into LGW and my next flight is from LHR.

    How “dangerous” would it be to take the same outbound flight (on a different ticket) as the aircraft Im flying out on as my international trip.

    E.g. taking the BA2768 – arr JER 08.15 (with no baggage of course) and then have to checkin for the international sets of flights which has the first flight as BA2769 – dep 09.10

    • Easy in Jersey. Flyertalk has a lot of discussion on airports where you can do this if you take a look. You need to be hand baggage only and to have your boarding pass already issued.

      • sunguy says:

        Thanks Rob….

        So, as long as I can actually checkin online for the international route starting in JER, I will be fine…..how easy is it if online checkin doesnt like me and I have to checkin at JER?

        Will want to check bags in when I get to LHR – I dont suspect that will be an issue ….?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        you might be able to check in at LGW though, as Rob says check flyertalk’s BA forum

  26. Mr Dee says:

    Sad times, this was a good use for Amex spend at places where Amex paid half points

  27. O/T

    Does anyone here use Amex Travel Insurance? Looking for decent insurance which isn’t too expensive and provides good cover – any recommendations?

    On the Amex Travel Insurance, does anyone know how to actually get a quote / fee for the product? The website only offers the option to “Retrieve a quote” and asks for a proposal number…not quite sure how to get around this.

    Thanks

    KR

    • MSE has a lot of research on this, they go for Liverpool Victoria on a mix of cover, price and willingness to pay up.

    • palcsaky says:

      Amex UK no longer sell travel insurance

      • Stuart says:

        I just got sent a renewal offer from Amex Travel Insurance?

      • sunguy says:

        You could always try and phone them and ask if they have a policy to sell you or whether they use any brokers, etc…

        0800 028 7573

  28. Leon says:

    I have both White and black cards and used a 0% balance transfer on the white after I got the black. I assume my rate will continue onto the new card?

  29. Graham says:

    Do you know if the upgrade from economy to PE limited to one per year? I currently get two upgrades annually with the black card.

  30. OT – dose anyone see this?
    https://members.marriott.com/faq/#how-will-my-stays-with-rewards-and-spg-be-counted-toward-my-elite-status-starting-in-august

    I ALREADY LINKED MY SPG AND REWARDS ACCOUNTS. WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY MATCHED ELITE STATUS IN AUGUST?
    The current status matching opportunity is tier for tier (e.g. Gold gets Gold, Platinum gets Platinum), even though the qualification requirements and benefits between SPG and Rewards are quite different. Given this, the following Elite status mapping will occur in August (unless a member has also qualified by nights for higher status):

    SPG Members:
    SPG Gold (10 stays/25 nights) is status matched to Rewards Gold (50 nights) and in August will be Gold Elite (25 nights)
    SPG Platinum (25 stays/50 nights) is status matched to Rewards Platinum (75 nights) and in August will be Platinum Elite (50 nights)

    • Dose that mean even AMEX platinum holder only gets Gold Elite? That’s not what Marriott European guy told us. Rob, any chance to verify this?

      • You have quoted selectively. Below that it says:

        “Rewards Gold (50 nights) is status matched to SPG Gold (10 stays/25 nights) and in August will be Platinum Elite (50 nights)”

        So, as long as you matched to Marriott Gold, you’d get Platinum Elite (assuming they let you keep the highest you’re entitled to, which is the current plan).

        • New Card says:

          OMAAT are reporting the opposite, but it’s not entirely clear to me what “update” they are basing that on.

          https://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2018/05/09/marriott-lifetime-status-update/

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Yes but that talks about an earned Marriot Gold status which is currently matching to SPG Gold and how that changes.

          The quotes above are about earned SPG status and how they will be treated – AMEX gives you an SPG status, they have never advertised it or ‘sold’ it as a Marriot Gold status.

          I think it will be an interesting August with this.

    • Marriott is now making clear that from August status will be based on the night requirements for the new program. The linked status will be withdrawn and status will be based on the nights stayed in 2018.

      SPG Gold matched to MR Gold will not be getting Platinum in the new program from August.

      “I already linked my SPG and Rewards accounts. What will happen to my matched elite status in August?

      The current status matching opportunity is tier for tier (e.g. Gold gets Gold, Platinum gets Platinum), even though the qualification requirements and benefits between SPG and Rewards are quite different. Given this, the following Elite status mapping will occur in August (unless a member has also qualified by nights for higher status):

      SPG Members

      · SPG Gold (10 stays/25 nights) is status matched to Rewards Gold Elite (50 nights) and in August will be Gold Elite (25 nights)

      · SPG Platinum (25 stays/50 nights) is status matched to Rewards Platinum Elite (75 nights) and in August will be Platinum Elite (50 nights)

      Rewards Members

      · Rewards Gold Elite (50 nights) is status matched to SPG Gold (10 stays/25 nights) and in August will be Platinum Elite (50 nights)

      · Rewards Platinum Elite (75 nights) is status matched to SPG Platinum (25 stays/50 nights) and in August will be Platinum Premier Elite (75 nights)”

      William (Starwood Lurker) on Flyertalk has also answered the flowing in regard to AMEX;

      “Does this mean that SPG Gold who is given the elite status from Amex Plat or an airline program with 0 or less than 5 qualifying nights will get matched to… nothing (ie basic)?…

      I’m told “No” –if you have the card and get Gold today…you will be mapped to the NEW Gold tier. So, if you have the AMEX Plat/Centurion card that gives you Gold today…you’ll still get Gold status – just with the newly-defined post August 2018 benefits. “

      • New Card says:

        All very disappointing – although the 50 night requirement to hit by August to get Platinum is based on combined SPG/MR stays as I understand it which might be achievable.

  31. Nick says:

    Hi all. Apologies, another question on Gold amex stuff.

    I have a gold charge card. I applied for the gold credit card that accompanies it, which gives 5k MR for £500 spend. I’ve now achieved that spend but it can take a month for the points to post. My next move is to upgrade the charge card to a platinum card. But if I do that now before the 5k MR points post for the gold credit card, then is there a chance I could somehow lose the 5k MR? My account online tells me that for points purposes the gold credit card is linked to the gold charge card: does upgrading the gold charge card to a platinum card affect this link somehow? We go away in a week’s time so I do want to get that plat card asap. Any advice welcome. Thanks!

    • Nick says:

      Oh, and a follow-up question: what about the referrals I have made? I’ve made 2, and both are about a month from completing the spending requirement. Could I lose out on the 9k MR referral bonus if I upgrade to Plat before the spending threshold is met? Thanks!

      • lev441 says:

        I’d wait for both the referrals and the credit card bonus before you upgrade if you want to be sure to get the points. If not, then apply – the last gold charge card i upgraded to platinum took around 4 days to arrive a few months back so if you’re going away soon, you better get your skates on..

      • Louie says:

        Re referrals, you should have had your points already. The referral bonus is based on the applicant getting the card, not achieving the sign-up bonus spend. Usually you get the points before the applicant gets the card, so I’d chase this up now if I were you.

        Re the gold companion card bonus, if it doesn’t post at the same time as the points for the transaction then you are probably going to have to fight for the points, especially if you weren’t invited to apply (i.e. just used the link regularly posted in the comments on here). I’m in the same position; achieved the spend yesterday and waiting to see what happens next….

        • Louie says:

          Well the points for the transaction which took me over £500 have been posted without the bonus, so it looks like I’m in the same boat as you. Could be a call to Amex in the next few days.

  32. C F Frost says:

    Back in July of last year there was word on HfP of a possible hotels.com credit card that might emerge. Have any signs of life been seen or sniffed?

    • No, all very quiet. Not heard a peep. The UK office was definitely advertising for someone to help develop such a card.

  33. Graham Walsh says:

    My Virgin Black card year is 26th May so I’ll get my g/f to put through her furniture order on the card to bag the 2nd PE upgrade voucher just in time. You can easily calculate your spend by looking at your past statements online as they split out Amex and Visa spend.

    Was good while it lasted, 2 per year. Have used two years running and will get to use this third one I’m sure.

  34. Relaxo says:

    Warning – Just tried aplyng for the free card and got rejected. First rejection in 4+ years. So whatever glitch they have is still not fixed.

    • If you write in you are 90%+ (it seems) likely to have that decision reversed.

    • I wrote in about a week ago. Similar situation, no logical reason I’d be rejected. Was told I would get a response back within 10 working days of receipt, which would be by end of next week. Will keep you posted on whether this seems to be resolved or not.

  35. Michelle says:

    My VA Black Amex card year is 4th July (They deducted the card fee of £140 on 4/7/17). I have currently spent £21K on amex spends. Will I still qualify for the PE upgrade vouchers ? Thanks for any advice on this.

  36. Alasdair says:

    My card fee for the black card is due out early next month.
    When they downgrade, will they refund the fee on a pro rata basis?
    Or am I better pulling the plug before they charge the fee?

  37. Carlos says:

    The new earning rate is NOT EXCELLENT. I currently earn 1 mile per £1 which will drop to 0.75 mile per £1 when I apply for the new VA card.

    • Fenny says:

      I agree. I earn 2 points per £1 with the current paid card.

      What I do need to do is remember where I registered my card for the additional Flying Club miles on all my Waitrose shopping. And also check my statement to see what recurring payments I will need to change. I just noticed my Netflix subscription in the recent transactions.

  38. Tom Lee-Fox says:

    I’ve got the Black Credit Card and have already passed the £7.5k threshold for the first PE upgrade.

    Presumably if I want the 2nd upgrade I will need to have passed the £10k spend threshold by the rumoured closing date of the end of June?

    I’m currently on about £8.5k so shouldn’t be too much of an issue, just be handy to know sooner rather than later.

  39. SandyDrew says:

    There are some shocking reviews of Virgin Money on Trustpilot. Have applied, but it’s ‘under review’ – feeling it may be waste of a
    Credit search !?

    • How can you have a bad review of a credit card?! The miles are posting quickly, I’m not entirely sure what else could be a problem as long as they accept you with a good credit rating.

      • SandyDrew says:

        Have a wee look Rob, the reviews are about the company practices, not the card. Some mischievous activities when setting up DDs.

        And some comments like myself where no decisions, despite having excellent credit rating.

  40. Terry says:

    For upgrade to Premium or 241 voucher, does the card holder have to travel?

  41. Jimmy says:

    I currently have the MBNA white card and would like to get the Virgin Money black card. However it is funny that using the eligibility calculator, I got reject right away and the result from MSE calculator is the same.

    I suspect if this is a bug on Virgin Money side as I got a good credit score and history and cannot really see any reason I would be rejected. (Got other Master and AE cards and they are always paid in full) But upon reading the comments on this page, it seems that there are others in the same shoes as well and I do not want to ruin my credit score because of a failed application.

    Is it worth applying anyway and appeal their rejection? Or will Virgin reach out before MBNA die out on the 30th June?

    • Apply anyway. If rejected write in and say you were an MBNA cardholder. This normally gets them to change their mind.

      • Jimmy says:

        Thanks Rob, applied and as expected, rejection right away, sent them an email and letter now and will report back with result 🙂

        • Glad you heard back from them and got accepted. I’m in the same situation you were in. I’m hoping to get the new one before the MBNA ones are cancelled. Could I have the email address you sent your email to please?

      • Appealed 2 wks ago, so far nothing. Great to be stuck in limbo

        • Jimmy says:

          Haha, guess there will be many more who are in the same shoes, keep me posted if you hear anything back from them 🙂

        • Jimmy, dont hold your breath, just got a whopping £1k limit. Not worth my time at that level. This new Virgin Money arrangement is a joke

        • Jimmy says:

          I think there is something wrong on their end which they simply reject everyone. Need to fine tune it I guess. But I just got an email from them saying they are happy to give me the same credit amount as per my MBNA card, guess I cannot complain much given I needed something to earn mileage with Virgin.

        • Jimmy, totally agree that there must be a problem on their end. My credit is excellent and no reason I should be denied. I did a soft check search and was told I have a 90-95% probability of acceptance on all cards except Virgin, which I’m told I’m not eligible for. It’s literally the only company that says that.

          Anyways, I applied and was rejected. Sent the letter of reconsideration in and was given a messily £1k credit limit, which I can’t even book an upper class virgin flight on.

          When I found out I called them up and told them that the limit was unusable for my purposes. I filed a complaint and told the, that if I got any less than a £5k limit then I wanted my application cancelled. Heard back a week later that my limit is now £5k.

          A horrible experience but with a little persistence got it to an ok place

  42. Carcuscrae says:

    I already have a card with Virgin Money. Do you know if it’s possible to switch my existing card to the VA one without having to do a new application?

    Thanks

    • Jimmy says:

      I was wondering the same, like shouldn’t Virgin send us a letter saying if we want to switch?

      But I guess if “switching” you will not be eligible for the new customer bonus mileage and that is the only reason I applied. But guess I am stuck again as they turned me down despite my near perfect credit score.

      • If you write in they are very likely to accept you esp if you say you had the MBNA card.

  43. Add me to the list of existing Virgin MBNA card-holders who have been rejected by Virgin Money. Currently waiting for the email so that I can appeal.

    They are using Experian for their credit scoring, and my Experian rating is 999, the highest possible. Yet, even the link on the Experian website to show the chances of acceptance with various credit cards states that I have 0% chance of being accepted by Virgin with this text “Not eligible – 0% of people with a similar credit profile to you were accepted for this product.”

    I suspect this is a programming error by Virgin Money and everyone with exactly a 999 top rating is wrongly being rejected.

    • They instructed me to write a letter in, not an email. Dont think you need to wait for the email:

      Virgin Atlantic Credit Cards
      PO Box 10609
      Wigston, LE18 9HA

      I wrote in weeks ago, and Virgin Money says that they received it on 3 May. Still no response. They said that they try to get back within 10 working days, but could take a month. So get ready to test your patience

      • Did you already get a reply?

      • Having been told that I was rejected because of my credit history, the rejection email finally arrived and now stated it was because I already had a Virgin Atlantic credit card with Virgin Money, which is not the case.

        It then transpires that it is due to having a Virgin Trains credit card with Virgin Money. This is a credit card they told me over a year ago they were cancelling through lack of use, but it seems they forgot to actually do it. It has now been cancelled.

        They refuse to let me re-apply for a Virgin Atlantic card. I have to appeal the previous application and they insist it must be done by snail mail. I was perfectly happy with my MBNA Virgin cards. I could do without all this hassle. I suspect I am then going to have another battle to get the 5000 points on first spend, because of the Virgin Trains card.

        • Genghis says:

          Doesn’t sound equitable at all. It shows though that regular review of credit reports is required

      • Jimmy says:

        Yup, got a line of credit that matches my MBNA Virgin card, now just need to wait for the card to arrive 🙂

  44. Also rejected from the indicative prescreening, despite strong score. Wonder if it is because Clydesdale are taking Virgin over they are scaling back from new accounts?

    • The prescreen is pointless. Lots of readers passed it but were rejected, lots were rejected, applied anyway and got accepted. The only fairly certain way to be accepted is to apply direct and, if rejected, write to Virgin Money to appeal. Most people find it is overturned at that point especially if they mention that they have the MBNA cards.

      • Jimmy says:

        Can confirm Rob statement, I appealed and got accepted… a week later. Worth trying I guess 🙂

  45. Stephanie says:

    Hi I read this website all the time as a relative newbie regular business traveller (approx 3 days on the road in Europe per week/ approx 5 long haul (US/Asia) trips per year) since a new job in the last 18 months, thank you Rob for all these really useful articles.

    Anyway this might seem like a really stupid question, the new cards all look very fancy (I have had the white Virgin Atlantic Amex/Visa for personal use for years) but how does one make any online purchase with a credit card that has no number or any details….?

    Is the information stored somewhere else like a pin number one has to memorise? Not sure I really want to memorise that (although I do know my current Virgin Amex off by heart but only because I’ve had it so long).

    It is a shame they are closing the current cards. I liked having 2 cards for the same account because I could use the account almost globally (as Amex is not accepted everywhere) and now I am stuck with no options to dual cards, except the Lloyds Avios (I am a Lloyds customer). Avios seems a bit pointless though as I do not think any of the rewards would be particularly useful to me.

    Many thanks.
    Kind regards

    Stephanie.

  46. A great article, very informative, well written and very thorough.

  47. Becky Kelly says:

    Thanks for this- really helpful. I have now signed up to a new Virgin Reward card and look forward to getting my bonus miles on first purchase! Im in the process of closing the MBNA one down 🙂

  48. Could you ask MBNA for compensation due to them closing the card early?

    Did something simular with Barclays IHG card.

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