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

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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.)

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Comments

  1. 175,000 people have the card and they’ve issued over 5 billion miles. So that’s 28571 miles on average per account. If that includes signup bonuses… doesn’t that seem like actually not very many? I guess it depends on the split between the free and paid versions of the card.

    • Frenske says:

      I would assume most people would go for the free version and additionally quite a few would use an AmEx as primary card and only choose Virgin when AmEx does not work.

      • Besides that, people also have to understand that the readership of this blog is very specific and many people with a credit card don’t use it on day to day shopping.
        I have a friend who just go the free Amex BA (unfortunetaly using other person’s referral!) and is planning to stop using it when she completes the spending for the sign up bonus. I asked why on Earth would she do that as she could keep accruing avios going forward, and the reply was something like “are you crazy, why would I need to use a credit card for all my shopping?”. I’m sure that is not an isolated case (and I’ve seen plenty of people at the tills with a debit card in hand and a points earning credit card on their wallets).

        • Apparently 20% take the premium card in total, but from our readership it is 40%.

        • It is weird. People react to the prospect of having a credit card as though they would be completely unable to resist going on a mad unaffordable spending binge, yet they seem perfectly capable of staying within their overdraft limits and not taking out payday loans. Still, more points and redemptions for the rest of us I guess!

          • The Urbanite says:

            I guess people have 3 ways of seeing credit cards;

            1.) Free money that they don’t have to pay back – and learn the consequences of that the hard way
            2.) To spread the costs of purchases over a manageable time period
            3.) To rip for rewards, free money to put to work etc without paying any interest, or paying a fee that pales into insignificance compared to the benefits. Typically requiring good personal finance management skills and being naturally inclined towards seeking value.

            I’ve found there’s little point in telling people about schemes to extract value if they aren’t the type to deal hunt/shop around!

          • The way the conversation usually goes for me is:

            Me: I’ve just redeemed round the world flights using the points I earn on my credit card.
            Them: Wow I’m so jealous, I wish I could do that!
            Me: You can, just use a credit card instead of debit card.
            Them: Seems like a lot of work… Followed by a blank expression when I explain it’s no more work than using the debit card.

          • The Urbanite says:

            Sounds familiar!

  2. I find the upgrade/companion vouchers of zero use as a Red VS member so I value them at 0. The ongoing earnings rate is however decent.

    We know that new applicants are capped monthly at earning the equivalent of their credit limit in points and that some existing cardholders have notified the same will happen to them, but do we know if it applies to everyone now or not? I’ve anyway spent my CC limit this month so wondering if worth pushing more through before my statement in two weeks’ time or not!

    • Can you pay off the balance mid-month by bank transfer?

      • They don’t actually seem to accept normal bank transfers (or at least I can’t work out how to do that) but you can pay by debit card whenever you want.
        They cap the amount that you can pay to your current balance, so you can’t pay off pending transactions, only ones that have cleared.

        • In the app if you go into payments > make a one off payment and at the bottom see ‘looking to make a faster payment’ you get setup transfers from your bank account.

        • I do a bank transfers as well as debit card payments. It’s straightforward to do.

    • PE Upgrade voucher certainly has value as a Red member if you are flexible on route and dates, can easily save you 20000 miles on a PE rtn.

      It was positions you nicely for a bargain Airport upgrade to Upper.

      • *also

      • I tend to just do a straight UC redemption so don’t really find them of much use. If I wanted PE then seems better value to book cash given the fees involved even with the voucher? (at least that was the case last time I ran the numbers)

        • Alan tend to agree on the straight UC redemption.

          But here’s a PE rtn cost comparison

          Good value PE cash fare rtn to Miami

          £911 earns 8872 miles

          Or… using PE upgrade voucher

          £463 & burn only 25k miles

          Personally if you are not fussed about guaranteed UC I think that the latter is far better value.

          A single voucher can be split between 2 people for a single leg….

          So one tip is to go PE using upgrade voucher outbound for daytime flight and full redemption for UC rtn leg when you really want to sleep?

          • Yep agree that’s not bad, when I looked before the PE return was closer to £650 (Boston, may have been a sale at the time) so didn’t work quite as well given less availability.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Didn’t know you could pay cash to upgrade from PE on points to UC at the airport. Any idea how much on average one way upgrade?

        • Offically you cant.

          However I’ve done this a handful of times on quiet routes/season from the US.

          $50×25k miles o/w

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      You can upgrade from E to PE using the free cards upgrade voucher, this is worth min 20k points.

    • I got my card in November and am not subject to these limits.

  3. Has anyone cancelled mid-statement, do you lose any pending miles or do they still credit? It’s only 150 or so but it I might be able to tick something off my todo list!

  4. Peter Taysum says:

    OT

    I’ve just booked the Chedi Andermatt in Switzerland for ski-ing. I’m based MCL and BA Gold, so would prefer to fly with One World.

    I think options are Milan (LIN cheapest) Zurich as Lugano I can’t see anything. Does anyone have advice for best option? I think I’ll go CE with car for “holiday” deal and extra Avios and might do a night (or more) elsewhere (as got three for two at the Chedi midweek).

    I presume with Avios can drive through France/Germany/Switzerlan?

    Thanks for any insider knowledge! 😊

    • Peter Taysum says:

      I presume with AVIS I can drive anywhere (not Avios sorry!)

      • If you are based in Alaska (MCL, Mt McKinley) I’m not sure why you’d be going to the Alps!
        I take it you mean NCL?
        No experience of cross border hire from Avis but a regular renter from Hertz Geneva. If you are travelling on Swiss motorways you will need a vignette (cost CHF 40) but Swiss hire cars already have these. You should let the hire co know when you pick it up that you will take it cross-border – offices near borders would expect a proportion of cross-border rentals anyway.

        Anti-car smuggling rules introduced in 2016 (an EU directive) was supposed to make cross border from outside EU (eg Switzerland) into EU more difficult but never had any issues myself.

    • Lady London says:

      You could consider train in CH.

  5. OT – does anyone use Jack’s flight club or one of these services for cheap flight emails, are they worth it?

    • Jack’s Flight Club does a free email, mostly economy though. I have yet to book one of their itineraries though…it’s a nice idea but very geared towards impulse holidays!

    • Shoestring says:

      I got Jack’s free emails in the past & they threw in some premium stuff as well – yes, if you can use the bargain flights, it more than pays for itself

      ie yes, Jack’s does seem to source some cheap stuff/ mistake fares (that often get honoured)

      probably best for somebody who can be very flexible in their holiday plans

      • The business class stuff is very thin, even on the paid plan. Probably 5% of the emails they send. Amusingly you can opt-out of receiving Business Class deals but not Economy!

      • I signed up for Jack’s club and received response that they don’t support Heathrow yet, which is bit weird.

  6. Can you pool VS miles in family account in the same way that you can with Avios?

    • No, but I believe you can book redemptions using more than one account by phoning up

    • Officially, you can use points from another’s account but they will need to pay for a complete leg of the journey – we have done this a couple of times. Unofficially, if you get the right CS person they will pool the required points for you at time of booking. If you get the wrong CS person then they won’t do this.

    • Rachael says:

      I took points from my husbands account and used to book my son a flight with no problems. Now we don’t care who has the points as we “steal from one account to fund the other “

  7. Secret Squirrel says:

    I know an article covered this recently but good for everyone yo remember the rules if you plan to MS these cards.

    The miles you can earn each month are capped based on your credit limit. For example, if your credit limit is £5,000, you’ll earn miles on the first £5,000 of card purchases in a month. If you spend more than that, then you won’t earn miles on any additional spending.

    • Interesting, I haven’t had this restriction apply to me yet

      • stevenhp1987 says:

        It’s new for this month.

        Already hit my cap and removed the card from my wallet earlier in the month!

      • Yep all seems a bit unclear – only some people have received notification re this so far although from the website it clearly applies to new customers.

  8. I recently cancelled my rewards+ card in November. Probs too soon to reapply. Any ideas on how long you need to be out before they will honour the sign on bonus again?

    • Think this is pretty clear:

      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.”

      • Thanks Sean

        Interestingly I had both cards simultaneously and was still awarded both sign on bonuses (under the guise this was possible anyway) but will adhere to 6 months.

        • Peter K says:

          IIRC initially they allowed you to have both cards then they tightened the rules.

  9. Unsavage gerbil says:

    O/T

    I have a J flight on Singapore from Mumbai via Singapore and NRT to LAX in May, not having flown on Singapore before, anyone have an idea of best place to credit?

    The Gerbil

    • We credit our Singapore airlines flights to Virgin Atlantic. Our return flight to Auckland from Oslo 2 years ago also got us Silver on Virgin.

    • If you have Amex plat , can do the Shangri-La jade to KrisFlyer Gold Elite = Star Alliance Gold if you credit 3 segments to sq within 3-4 months of registering for the offer.
      Need to be sq flights not codeshares.
      Called Infinite Journeys – rob did an article last year.

  10. Does anyone know whether the “Plusgrade” system – where you bid for an upgrade – would work for tickets that you’ve bought using your Virgin voucher.
    I was told when I booked that there was no way to upgrade the free economy seat that I had received, but then I got an email about this Plusgrade and thought it might be worth a punt. If Plusgrade let the bid through, do you think Virgin would still stop it?

    • I’d attempt an airport upgrade instead, the bud for upgrades tend to be ridiculous cost, eg PE–》 UC £750 cash, certainly not worth it in my view.

      • Thanks, I’ve not paid a lot for these flights so I’ll have a think about whether the upgrade is worth it.

  11. Ayearinmx says:

    Slightly OT… if I pay off my BAPP AMEX with a Capital one on tap, does it count towards my £5000 spend, and do I get Avios for it as well?

    I’m a little new to all this credit card stuff

    • Jonathan says:

      You wont be able to use the card directly with Amex unless you use Curve in the middle, then yes the spend would count.

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