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Virgin Atlantic is removing the sign-up bonus from its free Virgin Reward credit card on Tuesday

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Virgin Atlantic is removing the sign-up bonus from its free credit card on Tuesday.

This is your last chance (at least for now) to earn 5,000 miles on the ‘no annual fee’ Virgin Money-issued Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Reward credit card.

The paid card will retain its 15,000 mile bonus.

You can apply here.  You must apply by midnight on Monday to be sure of getting the bonus.

Why is Virgin Atlantic removing its sign-up bonus?

It’s not clear.  However, Virgin Money – issuer of the credit cards – is making a raft of changes across its entire credit card range.  I am guessing that Virgin Money is trying to put off new customers whilst it attempts to handle requests for payment deferrals etc from its existing base.

If you want to apply for the cards and earn the bonus, you need to do it now.  Remember that there is NO spend target to earn the bonus.

What are the sign-up bonuses?

The bonuses are:

you will earn 5,000 miles (zero miles from Tuesday) on the FREE Virgin Atlantic Reward credit card 

you will earn 15,000 miles if you take out the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card which has a £160 fee

There is no spend target to hit.  You receive the bonus after your first purchase.

If you apply today, you have two choices – 5,000 Flying Club miles for free on the ‘no fee’ card plus 0.75 miles per £1 going forward, or 15,000 Flying Club miles for £160 on the paid card plus an exceptionally high 1.5 miles per £1 going forward.  It is up to you.

Your decision may be impacted by how good you think the chances are of Virgin Atlantic emerging in one piece from coronavirus.  The situation is currently looking better, with Sir Richard Branson raising $400 million from his Virgin Galactic holdings to prop up his other ventures and talks progressing with new third party investors.  The free card is clearly the no-risk option whilst going for the 15,000 miles sign-up bonus involves paying £160 upfront.  It is very likely that you would receive a pro-rata fee refund if the airline went into receivership, however, as the FCA would take a dim view otherwise.

Virgin Flying Club Reward credit card extra bonus

Here are the details:

The free card:

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 earn 5,000 miles for the first purchase made on the card in the first 90 days.

5,000 Virgin Flying Club miles are worth around £50 if redeemed for long-haul premium flights.  This bonus is removed on Tuesday.

Virgin Atlantic Reward credit card

The paid card:

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 earn 15,000 miles with the first purchase made on the card in the first 90 days.

You are receiving 15,000 Virgin Flying Club miles which are worth around £150 if redeemed for long-haul premium flights.  This bonus is NOT going away.

Virgin Reward Plus credit card extra bonus

The Reward+ card remains the better deal in my view.  Whilst the free card has the more attractive bonus (5,000 miles for free vs 15,000 miles for £160), once you have the Reward+ 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 outlining your income and lack of non-mortgage debts.  They will reconsider and you will normally end up being successful.

Conclusion

It is worth having a look at the bonus on the free card before it is removed.  You get 5,000 Virgin Flying Club miles for making just one purchase on the card, even a coffee, which is a good return.

If you were thinking about getting the paid card at some point, there is no rush.  The bonus on the paid card is not going away

You can apply for either of the new Virgin Atlantic credit cards via this link.  You need to apply by Monday evening to get the bonus on the free card.

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.

Comments (64)

  • Noggins says:

    My £15k refund from Virgin Holidays never came in the 45 days that Virgin Money (VA CC Reward+) told me to wait for. Meantime the on-line charge back process that they pointed to was changed to a need to write a letter and send documentation. Actually the £15k spend was spread across two cards – Virgin and AMEX. An AMEX simple on-line claim was made for their ‘half’ and the money arrived into the account in just a few days. A response from Virgin is awaited….. In any event AMEX emerge as the reliable and trusted provider.

    • Charlieface says:

      Section 75 doesn’t require you to wait. Chargeback often does as it depends on the bank’s T&Cs

      • Noggins says:

        Oh – thanks. Didn’t realise the difference in the terminology….

  • Gary_Dexter says:

    Can these cards really still be recommended with the uncertainty of VA?

  • Vit says:

    Tempted to make use of my existing ~4500 miles by applying for the free card to get the 5k miles then spend just enough to get 10k miles and transfer all of the miles out to Hilton. Assuming I am accepted for the card, is this sensible & doable? or just too much hassles to go through? Note I am/was not a VA frequent flyer. Cheers for any tips / advice.

    • RussellH says:

      That is exactly what I did at the end of last year, except that I only had 2 miles in my VFC a/c. Obviously a few miles from using the card, a few others from lunches at a Chef+Brewer on the way south (Amex registered with the shopping portal), the rest from e-Rewards.
      Thanks to Morrisons, though, I still have 1030 miles left.
      🙁

    • Lumma says:

      Is it worth the search on your credit report for £50ish worth of hotel points, especially if you have problems transferring them out?

      • Vit says:

        That’s what I am not too sure about is the credit search. I am holding AMEX, MBNA Horizon and IHG white cards. Not sure if one additional card gonna do any harm.

  • Harold R says:

    Are virgin extending the 2 for 1 vouchers like BA did?

    • Sandgrounder says:

      Six months last time I looked, it is on the website somewhere.

  • Qwertyknowsbest says:

    Beware Virgin card upgrade offer. As I posted here a while ago, VM,s management of this was a complete mess for me. Bottom line, they accepted my complaint, paid compensation and I agreed with them to forget the upgrade. Two weeks later they upgraded my card and applied the card fee. Second complaint now lodged.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Your talking about “Boost” where you upgrade through the link sent to you for spending 10k or more on the free card?
      If so, as per my earlier comment they are a mess I agree at the moment. I think I will have to complain if compo is received.

  • Sam says:

    How long do I need to keep the card for before I can close it? May want to close the card after a few months actually.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      You can close both cards whenever you want. The Rewards Plus card with the annual fee you will not receive any pro rata refund if you cancel during mid term.

    • Rob says:

      Whenever you want – no fee refund though if you’re on the paid card.

      • Sam says:

        Thank you both. Just wondering if they deduct your flying club miles whenever there’s any refund incurred from previous purchase?

  • ChrisDB says:

    Is anybody aware whether I could use a Virgin Atlantic Companion ticket on a package holiday booking with Virgin Holidays?