Increased Sign-Up Bonus On The Virgin Atlantic MasterCard

The Virgin Atlantic MasterCard is back with one of the better sign-up bonuses I’ve seen on the card, for up to 90,000 bonus miles. It has been a while since we’ve seen this sign-up bonus — the last time I wrote about it was in late 2014.

Virgin-Atlantic-MasterCard

The Virgin Atlantic MasterCard isn’t the most lucrative credit card out there given that I don’t find it to be very rewarding for everyday spend, and I don’t find their Flying Club miles to be all that valuable — personally I value them at about a penny each, which is among the lowest I value any mileage currency.

Still, this has the potential to be a good sign-up bonus, especially if you have a lot of the other lucrative cards out there, and if you spend a lot in categories that don’t other qualify for bonuses.

The card is marketed as offering up to 90,000 miles, as follows:

  • 20,000 Flying Club bonus miles after your first retail purchase
  • 50,000 additional Flying Club bonus miles after you spend at least $12,000 in qualifying purchases within six months
  • Earn up to 15,000 additional bonus miles upon anniversary — 7,500 bonus miles if you spend a total of $15,000, and an additional 7,500 bonus miles if you spend a total of $25,000
  • 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

Virgin-Atlantic-Card

There is a $90 annual fee, which isn’t waived the first year.

As you can see the card basically offers 70,000 Flying Club bonus miles after you spend $12,000, and if you add two authorized users you get an additional 5,000 miles, for a total of 75,000 bonus miles.

The card ordinarily offers 1.5 miles per dollar spent, so you’d earn a total of 93,000 miles after spending $12,000 and adding two authorized users. That isn’t half bad, especially for non-bonused spend.

Unfortunately there are fuel surcharges for travel on Virgin Atlantic, though at least the redemption rates are reasonable, at 40,000-50,000 miles for a one-way Upper Class ticket between the US and UK.

Virgin-Atlantic-Upper-Class
Virgin Atlantic 747 Upper Class

I do love Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, including their Clubhouses in New York and London, so I am tempted by this.

Virgin-Atlantic-Clubhouse
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow

For those of you looking to redeem for economy, those redemptions can represent a pretty good deal as well, as carrier imposed surcharges for economy are limited by comparison. 17,500 miles plus ~$130 in taxes and carrier imposed surcharges  isn’t bad for a one-way between New York and London.

Virgin-Atlantic-Reward-Flight

Bottom line

I’d only sign up for this if you already have most of the other great cards out there, and if you spend a lot in non-bonused categories. Personally I’m tempted to apply for the Virgin Atlantic MasterCard, as I enjoy flying Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, and this is a fairly good way to “fund” that.

(Tip of the hat to MileValue)

Comments

  1. It used to be possible to use these miles to book a RT from LAX to Australia with Virgin Australia with no YQ for 94k miles in coach. Is that still the case?

  2. Hi Ben!

    Thanks so much for sharing this. Would this work out to be a good programme to book LAX-BNE/SYD on Virgin Australia’s new business class?

  3. This is nothing but a credit card pump…20k card but spend $12,000 to get 50k, ridiculous and you conveniently only show the lower YQ from US…sad. You would never get this card.

  4. I’m actually looking to top off an award from ORD-LHR in VS Upper Class. I’ll only have enough miles to fly Upper Class one way, so I was curious which leg I should redeem it for. @Lucky, do you think the VS Clubhouse at LHR is worth a red-eye economy to get to?

  5. It’s not easy, but I was able to get a RT LAX-AKL business ticket on Air New Zealand using 120,000 Virgin Atlantic miles. If you can find availability on United’s site, you then have to call Virgin and they have to put in a request with Air New Zealand. The good news is they almost always seem to answer the phone quickly and their agents are exceptionally nice and helpful.

  6. What is the sweet spot in this FF program? Also the upper class cabins are getting tired looking, is there any plans to refurbish the planes?

  7. Can you use these miles for travel on Virgin America?(realize it might not make sense)

  8. @ Tim — In theory you could do that, but a roundtrip will cost you 188,000 miles. I’d much rather book through Virgin America, personally, which charges 80,000 miles for the roundtrip.

  9. @ idahost — I’m curious what incentive you think I have to “pump” this card? And the carrier imposed surcharges are actually higher to the UK than from the UK…

  10. @ PassengerPoldberg — That’s a real toughie. Ultimately I think the redeye is more useful to upgrade, though at the same time the return is longer and you’d get access to the Clubhouse, premium check-in, etc. Six in one hand, half a dozen in the other…

  11. @ Tony — Not that many true sweet spots, unfortunately, hence my valuation of one cent per mile.

  12. TPG values VS @ 1.5 cents per mile. Surely they’re still good for booking Delta flights with a better award chard than Delta itself. It’s one sweet spot that gets virtually zero coverage from the travel blogs.

  13. Using VS miles to fly Delta, is it the case that it costs 40,000 points roundtrip if originating from London, but 60,000 if originating from NY?

  14. Not sure if this is actually a devaluation or if this is just Virgin Atlantic become more like their sister Delta and telling customers that awards cost what we tell you they cost, but sometime between September 8th 2015 (when the page was last archived) and October 2015 (when I first noticed this), Virgin Atlantic has gone from showing a full distance based chart for travel on ANA to now saying the following:

    Round trip redemptions on International flights from:

    15,000 miles in Economy
    30,000 miles in Business Class
    40,000 miles in First Class

    Destinations include: Japan, USA, Hawaii, Germany, France, China, India and Guam

    Please check with the agent at the time of making your reservation for the exact mileage required for your chosen journey.​

    Link to archived version of page with old chart – https://web.archive.org/web/2015090…lub-partners/airlines/all-nippon-airways.html

    This would be a disappointing development if actually a devaluation as I have been saving up for a round trip first class award IAD-NRT for 120,000 miles and a very reasonable fuel surcharge. Really was (maybe still is) a gem on the Virgin Atlantic award chart.

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