Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

LAST DAY: Get 30,000 Virgin Points sign-up bonus with the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card

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

For the first time in 18 months, Virgin Atlantic has launched an impressive special offer for its Virgin Money-issued Reward and Reward+ credit cards.

Thursdasy 14th is your last full day to sign up.

If you had been waiting for a good time to apply, this is it.  The reopening of the US for travel from November for most people means that Virgin Points are worth having. It is also your first chance to get a higher bonus since the annual spend voucher was improved last August.

Get 30,000 Virgin Points sign-up bonus with the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card

Until mid morning on Friday:

This offer runs until mid-morning on 15th October. For safety, apply by Thursday 14th October.  You can apply here.

It is worth noting that Virgin Money will give you a new bonus if you previously cancelled your card at least six months ago. However, if you currently have one of the cards, you will not receive a bonus if you apply for the card you do not hold.

If you currently have a Virgin Money card which is NOT a Virgin Atlantic card, you DO qualify for the sign-up bonus.

No foreign exchange fees in Europe

If you are looking for a good reason to apply – apart from the bonus – this is it. Whilst you will struggle to find any mention of this on the card website, the Virgin Atlantic cards are the only travel rewards credit cards which offer a partial respite on FX fees when travelling.

You pay no FX fees on spending in Euro, Swedish Kronor or Romanian Lei. This saves you 3% on your purchases and you earn Virgin Points on top. The 3% fee applies to transactions in all other currencies.

Here is the exact wording from the summary credit agreement:

“Non-Sterling Transaction Fee (for foreign currency transactions): 2.99% of transaction. We will not charge this if the transaction is in Euros, Swedish Kronor or Romanian Lei and it takes place in the UK or European Economic Area (EEA)”

What are the key features of the Virgin Atlantic credit cards?

Here are the details:

Get 30,000 Virgin Points sign-up bonus with the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card

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 receive a bonus of 2,000 Virgin Points.

You must spend £500 within 90 days of opening your account to receive the bonus.

Get 30,000 Virgin Points sign-up bonus with the 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 be able to earn up to 30,000 Virgin Points:

  • 15,000 Virgin Points for the first purchase made on the card in the first 90 days
  • Plus another 15,000 Virgin Points when you apply on or before 15th October and £3,000 is spent on the card within 90 days of opening the account

With this deal, you are receiving – when you factor in the annual fee – 30,000 Virgin Points, which are worth around £300 if redeemed for long-haul premium flights, for £160.

You will also benefit from earning a very generous 1.5 miles per £1 spent going forwards.

Which card is best for you?

The Reward+ card remains the better deal in my view.  The bonus is more generous (2,000 points on the free card vs 30,000 miles for £160 on the paid card).

More importantly, once you have the Reward+ card, you are earning the superior 1.5 points per £1 whenever you shop.  You also trigger the upgrade and companion vouchers more quickly.

Big spenders should note that your monthly points earning is capped by your credit limit. What this means, in plain English, is that if your limit is £10,000, the maximum number of points you can earn per month is 7,500 on the free card and 15,000 on the paid card. If you spend £10,000 every 10 days and then pay off your balance mid-cycle, you will not earn miles on your spending above £10,000. This is unlikely to be an issue for 99% of people.

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 little more flexibility.

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. Annoyingly, vouchers do not show anywhere online.

The only sign that your voucher is available for us is a one-line entry in your Flying Club account statement along the lines of ‘Reward voucher – 0 miles’.

You can choose one of the following options:

  • A 2-4-1 voucher, valid for two years, for a Virgin Flying Club points redemption OR a Virgin Atlantic cash ticket, in Upper Class, Premium or Economy
  • A return upgrade – on either a cash or points ticket – from Premium to Upper Class, or from Economy Delight/Classic to Premium.  You can either upgrade 1 x return flight if travelling alone or 2 x one-way legs of two return flights if travelling with someone else.
  • A Virgin Clubhouse lounge pass (requires a same-day Virgin Atlantic, Delta, KLM or Air France flight)

There is small print:

  • If you are a Red (no status) member, you need to pay 50% of the points for your 2nd ticket if you redeem your 2-4-1 voucher in Upper Class.  This means that, for Upper Class redemptions for Red members, it is effectively a ‘2 for 1.5’ voucher. For Economy or Premium redemptions, it is a genuine ‘2 for 1’.
  • If you are a Gold member, you would receive two Clubhouse lounge passes instead on one if you chose that option
  • Taxes and charges need to be paid on the ‘free’ ticket as part of your 2-4-1 booking
  • Vouchers are valid for two years and you must fly the outbound leg of your trip before the expiry date

Reward seat availability is required to use the voucher.  This means:

  • You can only upgrade a flight if there is a reward seat in the higher class (irrespective of whether you are upgrading a cash or a points ticket)
  • You can only apply a 2-4-1 voucher to a cash booking if there is a reward seat available for the 2nd ‘free’ seat

The voucher benefits are substantially better now than they were before changes in August 2020.  You can now upgrade to Upper Class, you can now use the upgrade voucher on either cash or points tickets, and Red (base level) members can now redeem the 2-4-1 voucher in Upper Class.

If you usually travel on your own, the upgrade voucher is likely to suit you best. This can also be used by a couple to upgrade one leg per person on a return cash or reward flight.

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 (if any) and outlining your income and lack of non-mortgage debts.  They will reconsider and you will normally end up being successful.

Conclusion

This is an excellent sign-up bonus.  If you haven’t taken out one of the new Virgin Atlantic credit cards yet, I doubt you will see a better deal than this. 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.

The £160 Reward+ card is the better overall package because of the high earning rate and the bonus triggered at just £10,000.

You can, of course, simply get the free card and pick up 2,000 Virgin Points for very little effort, but earning 30,000 points for £160 on the paid card is more rewarding.

Even if you usually use another Visa or Mastercard for day to day spending, you may want to pick up the free card to use in the Eurozone. The ability to earn a few miles and avoid foreign exchange fees is attractive.

You can apply for either of the new Virgin Atlantic credit cards via this link.

The offer will end mid-morning on 15th October, so for safety I would apply by close of play on Thursday 14th October.

Comments (69)

  • Jonathan says:

    Has anyone had the bonus on the premium card after applying while holding the free card at all ?

    I know Rob has mentioned above that you won’t get it, but I don’t think Virgin Money’s systems are strong and robust to be able to notice things like this, in the past I’ve managed to cancel the free card I held at the time, apply for the premium one and get accepted straight away (and bag the standard sign up bonus) all within 7 days, which is a little odd since they specifically state that in order for your application to be considered, you can’t have held either one of their credit cards in the last 6 months

  • CarpalTravel says:

    It’ll be interesting to hear but even if a few people did report positively there is (a) no guarantee it actually happened and even if it did there is (b) no guarantee it’d happen again.

    Depends on how much of a gambler you are. It is £160 to find out if it works and absolutely zero right to appeal if it doesn’t.

  • Phil says:

    IF the card hasn’t arrived after a week or two I wonder if they will give you your card details over the phone and use Apple/Google pay on your phone so as to have more time to get the spend for the points bonus. I just applied so fingers crossed that the card comes quickly.

    • Jonathan says:

      If only Virgin Money credit cards worked with Google Pay!

      • Paul says:

        Really? Wishing I hadn’t applied now as I left Tesco years ago for that reason. The Virgin Money current account works with Google Pay but not this. *Sigh*

        • Jonathan says:

          Yep! Virgin Money current accounts work with Google Pay but non of their credit cards do they only work with Apple Pay.

        • john browell says:

          Curve card is your answer. Rob will gladly share his referral link with you, so I won’t provide mine and risk upsetting him. Link the Virgin card to Curve, and use Curve via Google Pay.

          • Phil says:

            My card arrived today! I applied last Tuesday so it took a week. Gonna spend spend spend now!

  • Sammyj says:

    Been waiting 2 weeks for our 2 cards.

    Any reason why I can’t buy £3,000 of Amazon gift cards and then transfer the balance to a different 0% card to pay off over the year? Transferring the balance out won’t cancel bonus will it?

    • Mattb says:

      No but depends if there is a fee on the BT which will offset the value of points.

    • Jonathan says:

      If you use credit cards for borrowing money over any period of time longer than 30 days, nearly all the cards that talked about on HfP aren’t for you

      • SammyJ says:

        Not at all, I owe zero on credit cards, other than what I run up each month in Amex and pay in full each month. Just don’t want to leave myself short by buying stuff I don’t need, so if it comes to it, rather than miss the bonus (x 2 cards), I’d buy vouchers, transfer the balance straight away, and pay that off over a few months as I buy stuff, rather than paying the cash to Amazon (or other retailer) every month. Seems logical to me, just another different way to play the system.

  • Harrier25 says:

    I have spoken to Virgin Money this afternoon and have been told that the only way you will not receive the bonus Flyer points is if you have held a Virgin Atlantic credit card in the last 6 months. If you have held any other Virgin Money credit card in the last 6 months then you will still receive the bonus points.

    • Rob says:

      Good luck getting away with that when the website tells you in no uncertain terms during the application process that any VM card disqualifies you.

      • Harrier25 says:

        I’m not trying to get away with anything, Rob, which is why I called them. They have assured me that I will receive the 30,000 points. It was May when I cancelled my basic Virgin Money credit card. The lady whom I spoke to also went to double check with management.

        • Rob says:

          Actually, I’m wrong. I apologise.

          I’ve been back to the source and the wording says ‘not cancelled a VA card’. I may be going senile or this may have changed at some point since the wording was introduced, but the rule today is clearly just VA cards. Sorry.

          • Harrier25 says:

            Sorry Rob, I hadn’t read your message prior to posting my reply. At least I know I’m safe now anyway. It worries me when you say one thing and the provider tells me something else, because I have more trust in you than any customer services adviser, and rightly so normally. 😉

        • Harrier25 says:

          Rob, I’ve just read the application statement when you click on the apply now button and it clearly states there ‘I am not an existing Virgin Atlantic Credit Card customer and have not closed another Virgin Atlantic Credit Card in the last 6 months’. It mentions nothing about any VM card disqualifies you. I have also just done a dummy application and nothing there says that any VM card disqualifies you either.

  • Paul says:

    I am still waiting for my Reward+ card (they’re definitely slow compared to how quickly Amex dispatch cards).

    I assume you can downgrade or cancel after year one and you can retain the points you have earned for future use if need be?

  • Abhishek Kumar says:

    Does anyone know if the Virgin vouchers can be gifted to a family member. Or does the person who earned the voucher needs to be on the ticket. Thanks

  • Tim Gilpin says:

    These articles are extremely helpful but the one issue that for me is not emphasised enough is the fact that this is a MasterCard which is universally accepted as opposed the Amex which is not. On my spending I think that could be worth 30,000 points per year . The premium card is also £90.00 cheaper per annum than Amex. Not sure I have seen a comparison between Amex and Virgin but I am seriously considering switching to Virgin .

    • Rob says:

      The reason is that, for most HfP readers, the BA Amex is sacrosanct. They will have this regardless and put £10k on it to trigger a 241 voucher.

      The question is more about where you put non-Amex spend.

      • CarpalTravel says:

        Absolutely this… ^^^

      • TimM says:

        Given that Virgin Atlantic have direct long haul flights from Manchester, the VA card, with zero Eurozone purchase fees and more flexible 2-4-1 voucher options, looks far more appealing than the BA Amex for putting £10k through. I have mine.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.