Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

NEW PROMO: Get 25,000 sign-up miles with the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card!

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

Virgin Atlantic has brought back a special sign-up offer for its credit cards.  However, this time it is ONLY for the Virgin Money-issued Reward+ credit card.

For a limited period, from 13th January:

you will get an extra 10,000 Flying Club miles (25,000 miles in total) if you take out the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card, which has a £160 fee

there is no extra sign-up bonus on the FREE Virgin Atlantic Reward credit card which remains at 5,000 miles

This offer runs until 28th February. You can apply here.

If you had been thinking of applying for a Virgin Atlantic credit card, you have two choices: the standard 5,000 Flying Club miles for free on the ‘no fee’ card, or 25,000 Flying Club miles for £160 on the paid card, plus an exceptionally high earning rate for the next 12 months.  It is up to you.

According to a conference speech I sat through last October, over 175,000 people had taken out a Virgin Atlantic Mastercard in the past 18 months, and over 5 billion miles had been issued!

Virgin Flying Club Reward credit card extra bonus

Here are the details of the two cards:

The free card (no additional bonus):

The free Virgin Atlantic Reward credit card is a Mastercard which earns 0.75 miles per £1 spent.  The representative APR is 22.9% variable.

New sign-ups to the Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card will be able to earn up to 5,000 miles for the first purchase made on the card in the first 90 days.

This means that you are earning 5,000 Virgin Flying Club miles – which are worth around £50 if redeemed for long-haul premium flights – for free.

Virgin Atlantic Reward credit card

The paid card (which does have the higher bonus):

The £160 Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card is a Mastercard which earns 1.5 miles per £1 spent.  The representative APR is 63.9% variable including the £160 fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit The interest rate on purchases is 22.9% variable.

If you take out the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card you will be able to earn up to 25,000 miles:

  • 15,000 miles for the first purchase made on the card in the first 90 days
  • Plus another 10,000 miles when you apply on or before 28th February and you spend £3,000 on the card within 90 days of opening the account

With this deal, you are receiving 25,000 Virgin Flying Club miles, which are worth around £250 if redeemed for long-haul premium flights.

Virgin Reward Plus credit card extra bonus

The Reward+ card remains the better deal in my view.

Purely in terms of the sign-up bonus, you are better off with the Reward+ card.  You are comparing:

5,000 miles for free on the Reward card, vs

25,000 miles for £160 on the Reward+ card

….. which means you’re getting an additional 20,000 miles for your £160.  This, in itself, is a good deal.

However, more importantly, with the paid card you are earning the superior 1.5 miles per £1 whenever you shop.  You also trigger the upgrade and companion vouchers more quickly.

In terms of eligibility, the application form asks you to confirm:

“I am not an existing Virgin Atlantic Credit Card customer and I have not closed another credit card issued by Virgin Money in the last 6 months.”

This implies that you CAN apply again if you previously closed one of the Virgin Atlantic cards over six months ago, but that you cannot apply for a 2nd card if you already have one.

How do the upgrade and companion vouchers work?

Each year you can earn a special extra reward.  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.

Unlike the British Airways American Express cards, the rewards vary depending on your tier in the Virgin Flying Club scheme.  If you have elite status, you get a better 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

A return 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.

Some tips on applying

Do NOT use the ‘pre-approval checker’ on the Virgin Money website.  It is a joke.  It is designed for Virgin Money’s mass-market cards and is likely to reject you for being too wealthy and so unlikely to pay interest.  Apply directly.

If your full application is rejected, this can often be overturned if you appeal in writing.  Write to Virgin Money at Jubilee House, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 4PL with a couple of paragraphs expressing your dismay, referencing your Virgin Atlantic status and/or that you had the old MBNA credit cards, and outlining your income and lack of non-mortgage debts.  They will reconsider and you will normally end up being successful.

Conclusion

This is a generous sign-up bonus, especially for the Reward+ card.  I genuinely don’t know how Virgin Money / Virgin Atlantic can afford such a bonus in the world of 0.3% interchange fees, and you should take advantage before they realise.

With a 25,000 miles sign-up bonus, the £160 Reward+ card is currently a far better overall package than the free card because of the high earning rate and the long-term spending bonus triggered at just £10,000.

There’s clearly nothing wrong with getting the free Reward card and picking up the standard 5,000 miles, of course.  I would think twice before you do so, however, unless you genuinely don’t think that you can manage the £3,000 spend in 90 days required to trigger the second part of the bonus.

You can apply for either of the new Virgin Atlantic credit cards via this link.  The offer is valid for applications made between 13th January and 28th February 2020.

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.)

Comments (137)

  • TripRep says:

    IMHO Best value use of this card for Red members

    £20k spend gets you 55000 miles (inc bonus)

    An off peak Premium return to Miami can be had for < £440 + 25000 miles each.

    So that's £1040 in total (with 5k miles leftover) for a couple if you include the cost of applying for the card.

    Most PE rtns are £800+ each.

  • Vit says:

    Rob et al, quick question please. Assuming I managed to spend £3000 and trigger the 10,000 mile bonus. Can I cancel the card and pay just pro-rata fees? and still can use those miles to redeem on flight etc?

    Cheers,
    Vit

    • Shoestring says:

      The miles are in your Virgin Atlantic a/c so are safe

      You may get but probably *won’t* get a pro rata refund – ie it has happened but rarely

  • Ray says:

    Hi Rob I have the standard Virgin card with no fee, does this mean that I would not get the 25000 miles bonus on the paid card if I applied as I already have a card ?
    regards

    Ray

  • Daniel says:

    Hi,

    I’m hoping someone knows the answer to this.

    Once you have earned the credit card reward (or either a 2-4-1 voucher or upgrade to Premium when you book Economy), does this have to be used by the card holder ?

    ie, can a card holder who earns the reward redeem it for another family member – ie, book a ticket for them (with the upgrade to Premium), or can it only be used for the card holder travelling ?

    Thanks in advance

    • Daniel says:

      Just wondered if anyone knew the answer to this?

      Thanks in advance

      • Rhys says:

        I believe the upgrade can be used for anyone, whilst the 2-4-1 must have cardholder travelling, but don’t quote me on that!

  • PaulC says:

    Can you pool points with Virgin like you can with BA? TIA

    • Rhys says:

      No, but you can book reward flights with miles from two different accounts if you call them up 🙂

  • Jason Bartley says:

    Does anyone know if I cancel my virgin rewards + card. If I reapplied again let’s say 6months or 12months time whether I’d be able to get the sign up bonus again