Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

ENDS SOON: Is 30,000 bonus points from Virgin’s credit card a reason to collect Virgin Points?

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SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.

Keep up to date with the latest UK credit card bonuses by signing up for our free daily or weekly newsletters.

For another 96 hours, until some point on Tuesday 13th June, you can get a special sign-up bonus of 30,000 Virgin Points with the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card.

As well as reminding you about the card bonus, I thought it was worth looking more broadly at whether there is an opportunity, even for someone without a Virgin Flying Club account at the moment, to build up a pile of points from scratch quickly?  And should you?

Is 30,000 bonus points from Virgin's credit card a reason to collect Virgin Points?

It is not up to me to tell you if this is a good idea FOR YOU or not.  However, this article sets out a few reasons why you might want to consider it.

As a reminder:

  • The £160 Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card has a sign-up bonus of 30,000 Virgin Points until some point on Tuesday, earns 1.5 points per £1 and comes with a 2-4-1 or upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 per year.  The usual bonus is 15,000 points.
  • There is no special offer on the free Virgin Atlantic credit card, which has no bonus at all
  • The cards are issued by Virgin Money so it is very unlikely that you will be conflicted due to having any other cards from the same bank
  • The 2-4-1 and upgrade vouchers are valid on CASH tickets as well as reward tickets
  • The cards have no foreign exchange fees when used in the Eurozone

Our full article on the 30,000 points bonus looks at the benefits of the two cards in detail.  I recommend you read our main Virgin Atlantic credit card article here.

Click for an article which will help you decide which of the two Virgin Atlantic credit cards is best for you.

You can apply for the cards here.

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard:

The representative APR is 26.9% variable.

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard:

The representative APR is 69.7% variable, including the annual fee.  The representative APR on purchases is 26.9% variable.

30,000 points Virgin Atlantic Rewards Plus Credit Card

Why is it worth thinking about building up a Virgin Flying Club balance?

Reason 1:  Diversification

British Airways can fly you to pretty much anywhere that Virgin Atlantic can. However, that doesn’t mean they can get you Avios seats when you want them.  Having a balance in another programme gives you more chance of getting seats on the dates you want them.

Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic allow one-way redemptions, so with a Virgin Points balance you could mix and match a trip as availability allows.

Since Virgin Atlantic joined SkyTeam earlier in 2023, it has opened up redemption opportunities across a range of airlines:

  • Aerolíneas Argentinas
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Europa
  • Air France
  • China Airlines
  • Czech Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Xiamen Air 

China Eastern and ITA will be added later this year. Our full article on how to spend Virgin Points on SkyTeam partners is here.

Reason 2:  Availability

Virgin Atlantic now has GUARANTEED availability for Virgin Points on every flight.

You will find two Upper Class, two Premium and eight Economy seats opened up as soon as booking commences. Further seats will be added later depending on how full the flight is looking.

This matches what British Airways offers, except in Business Class (BA offers four Club World seats, Virgin Atlantic offers two Upper Class).

It is clearly better to have access to pots of BOTH Avios and Virgin Points than to have just one pot on hand if you want to fly to a particular destination.

There is an online tool – – which can instantly show you Virgin Atlantic reward availability for a full year in a split second.  You can compare it easily with British Airways availability.

Is 30,000 bonus points from Virgin's credit card a reason to collect Virgin Points?

Reason 3:  The Virgin Atlantic credit cards also have the option of an upgrade voucher

If you don’t want to take the 2-4-1 voucher from the Virgin Atlantic credit cards, you can get a voucher to upgrade a flight instead.

This is a very useful benefit for the solo traveller. It can also be used by a couple, upgrading one leg each of two return flights.

The voucher can be used to upgrade either cash or reward tickets. However, you need reward availability to be showing in the higher class before you can do it.

I just booked an Upper Class flight to New York for myself, with the upgrade voucher reducing the cost from 95,000 Virgin Points to just 35,000 Virgin Points (+ taxes) – a considerable saving.

Extra taxes would be due, unfortunately, especially when upgrading from Economy to Premium as you will face the higher rate of Air Passenger Duty.

The spending criteria for earning the 2-4-1 voucher or the Premium Economy upgrade voucher is:

  • £10,000 in a card year on the £160 Reward+ Mastercard (sign-up bonus 30,000 points)
  • £20,000 in a card year on the free Reward Mastercard (no bonus)

Reason 4:  If Virgin Points don’t work out, you can transfer to Hilton Honors or IHG One Rewards

Rare among airline schemes, Virgin Flying Club lets you transfer points out into Hilton Honors (1:1.5) or IHG One Rewards (the Holiday Inn etc scheme) at 1:1.

If you found yourself struggling to use your Virgin Points, you could move them across.  It isn’t amazing value but it gets you out of a hole.

Remember that neither Hilton or IHG have UK credit cards open to new applicants. With Hilton, for places that take American Express, you would be better off earning Hilton Honors points via the (free in Year 1) American Express Preferred Rewards Gold which earns 2 Hilton points per £1 spent. There is no other route of earning IHG points with a UK credit card.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Heathrow bar

Reason 5:  The Heathrow Clubhouse

The Virgin Atlantic lounge at Heathrow, for Upper Class passengers, is widely regarded as one of the best airport lounges in the world. Eat a proper meal in the restaurant, chill out in the audio or TV rooms or do one of many other (admittedly ‘boys toys’) activities.  It is well worth trying once in your life. The jacuzzi may be long gone but it is still a fun place to hang out.

Here is my review of the Clubhouse at Heathrow from the reopening party in July 2021.

Reason 6:  It is easy to collect additional points

It is now almost as as easy to collect Virgin Points as it is Avios. As well as the credit card points (and, erm, actually flying on Virgin Atlantic or a SkyTeam partner), you can earn from:

  • Tesco Clubcard (with occasional transfer bonuses of 10%-20%) which is no longer an Avios partner
  • Heathrow Rewards
  • Hertz (1,000 Virgin Points per rental)

….. as well as all the major hotel schemes.  As I wrote here, some major hotel chains do not give Avios but do offer Virgin Points.


So, there are a few things to think about here.

Virgin Atlantic is a hugely different proposition to how it was a couple of years ago. There are now 12 GUARANTEED Virgin Points seats on every flight, and you also have the entire SkyTeam airline alliance to redeem on too.

The credit card voucher offers perks you won’t get from a BA Amex card:

  • the ability to upgrade a flight, as well as redeem for a 2-4-1 ticket
  • the ability to upgrade or get a 2-4-1 seat on a CASH flight ticket

If you live near Manchester, you also have the benefit of being able to use your points and credit card vouchers for a direct flight from the north to certain destinations. Las Vegas from Manchester is returning for 2024.

The main Virgin Atlantic credit card website is here.  Remember to apply by Tuesday (don’t leave it too late – Virgin Money tends to pull its offers in the late afternoon) to get the 30,000 points bonus on the Reward+ credit 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. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (September 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 bonus points (SPECIAL OFFER TO 2ND OCTOBER) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (27)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Lee says:

    Virgin money also currently offering 20% cash back on Laithwaites too (on my card anyway for 4 more days) in case the recent BA Wineflyer Avios offers weren’t suitable/ enough

  • Chancer says:

    Data point. Granted summer 2018, limit increased from 15k to 20k a year later, then closed summer 2020 due to draconian travel restrictions

    I followed the pointers and HFP referral link in other thread, thinking at best they might take me back with a low limit, because I’ve made 4 other card applications in 6 weeks (1 rejected), but I wanted the bonus and card back.

    They approved me straight away with my original 15k limit. I think HFP referral and past relationship mattered.

  • David says:

    I’m I right in thinking having a diff Virgin Money credit card rules me out?

    • Rob says:

      No, rules have changed. You can now apply as long as you’ve not had a VA card (NOT a VM card) in 6 months.

      • Samuel Waters says:

        I spoke to customer service and they told me i would qualify for the plus cards points even though i already have a VA free card. Do you have reason to believe this isnt true? i have already signed up and paid now so hoping i haven’t been mislead.

        • Rob says:

          It says on the application website: “I am not an existing Virgin Atlantic Credit Card customer and I have not closed another Virgin Atlantic credit card in the last 6 months.”

          However, in theory you will be rejected (if you’re accepted in error, you get the bonus) so you won’t lose any money.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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