Best Virgin Atlantic Mastercard Sign-Up Bonus Back

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Update: This offer for Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard® is expired, but there’s currently an opportunity to earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 within first 90 days of having the card. Learn more about the special offer here.

Link: Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® credit card from Bank of America

Bank of America is back with their best publicly available sign-up bonus on their co-branded Virgin Atlantic Card.

Virgin-Atlantic-Credit-Card

Virgin Atlantic Mastercard sign-up bonus details

The sign-up bonus is marketed as offering up to 65,000 miles, as follows:

  • 20,000 Flying Club bonus miles after your first retail purchase
  • 25,000 additional Flying Club bonus miles after you spend at least $2,500 in qualifying purchases
  • Earn up to 15,000 additional bonus miles upon anniversary
  • Earn up to 5,000 Flying Club bonus miles when you add additional authorized users to your card
  • Earn 3 miles per $1 spent directly on Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all other purchases

Practically speaking you’re earning 45,000 miles after spending $2,500, and then an extra 5,000 miles after adding two authorized users, for a total of 50,000 miles. Then if you keep the card for an entire year, you get an extra 15,000 miles upon account anniversary if you spend at least $25,000 on the card.

There’s a $90 annual fee on the card which isn’t waived the first year, so you’ll pay $90 for the 50,000 miles, and an additional $90 if you want the extra 15,000 miles on the account anniversary.

Hilton HHonors transfers aren’t as valuable anymore

The Virgin Atlantic Card used to offer one of the best sign-up bonuses for generating Hilton HHonors points. Virgin Atlantic miles used to be transferable to HHonors points at a 1:2 ratio. Then Hilton HHonors drastically devalued their points, making that a less compelling option, and then on top of that Virgin Atlantic devalued the transfer ratio from 1:2 to 1:1.5.

A 50,000 mile sign-up bonus will get you 75,000 HHonors points, which I suppose isn’t horrible, but in some cases isn’t even enough for a free night at a top property.

Nowadays if the goal is to get free Hilton nights at an aspirational Hilton property as a sign-up bonus I think the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card is a better choice, as it offers two free weekend nights at almost any Hilton property worldwide, which can be a value of up to 190,000 points.

This card used to be an American Express

It’s worth noting that this card used to be an American Express and is now a Mastercard. This means that if you had the card back when it was an American Express (like I did), you should be eligible for the bonus again now that it’s a Mastercard.

Virgin Atlantic is transfer partners with Membership Rewards & Ultimate Rewards

If you do decide to redeem through the Flying Club program, it is worth noting that they also partner with American Express Membership and Chase Ultimate Rewards.

So you can combine these with points earned through Ultimate Rewards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardInk Plus® Business Credit Card, and Ink Bold® Business Charge Card. You can also earn Membership Rewards points through the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express or American Express EveryDay Preferred Credit Card and they can be transferred to a single Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account.

I like flying Virgin Atlantic

As much as I hate paying fuel surcharges, I really do like Virgin Atlantic as an airline, and Flying Club miles are useful for Upper Class travel on them. For example, between New York and London they charge 40,000 miles plus ~$420 in taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges.

Virgin-Atlantic-Award

Cheap? Nope. But they do have probably my favorite business class lounges in the world in New York and London, and a pretty solid onboard product as well.

Virgin-Atlantic-Clubhouse-JFK
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York JFK

It is worth noting that Delta SkyMiles can be redeemed for travel on Virgin Atlantic without fuel surcharges. The only catch is that you can only make roundtrip redemptions and that they don’t have access to all of Virgin Atlantic’s award space.

Virgin-Atlantic-Upper-Class
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class A330

Virgin Atlantic Mastercard bottom line

It’s not the first card I’d sign up for, but if you’ve signed up for most others, this one is certainly worth considering, in my opinion.

(Tip of the hat to Gary)

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Comments

  1. I see a chip. Any idea if this is Chip-and-PIN or is it just boring old Chip-and-Signature? Any foreign transaction fees? Since it’s BoA, I assume they screw you on fees wherever possible.

  2. @ RakSiam — Unfortunately I believe it’s chip + signature, and there’s a 1% foreign exchange fee (which is more reasonable than what other issuers charge, but still not a compelling offering).

  3. 15k anniversary bonus miles require spending 25k. More or less the same offer that they usually have.

  4. any good ideas of redeeming for flights beyond London? on longer itineraries it’s somewhat easier to justify the surcharges…
    thanks Ben.

  5. Make sure you take screenshot when signing up, they are notorious of denying the offer until you show them.

  6. Where else can i use flying club other than virgin atlantic or hilton where these 50K would still carry some value? Virgin American?

  7. Arguably the best use of VS miles isn’t flying or transferring to Hilton. But you need a ton of miles…

  8. Is this card churnable? [Is that a word?].

    I have the card and have gotten the bonus, would like to cancel it and then get it again sometime in the future.

  9. Do you know the expiration period for these miles? And can they be extended by not flying or keeping the card?

  10. Unfortunately, using DL skymiles for VS flights you still get charged fuel surcharges. If you compare the price difference between a business class ticket on DL vs. VS from LHR to JFK, there is a price difference between the 2 carriers since DL doesn’t impose fuel surcharges. The DL price charged for the award almost exactly matches what VS would charge including the fuel surcharge.

  11. @ Marc — I should have clarified that Delta only imposes fuel surcharges on Virgin Atlantic when originating in Europe. If you originate in the US, that’s not the case.

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