Big Virgin Atlantic Card Sign-Up Bonus Returns

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. This is a bonus we’ve seen a few times before — I last wrote about it in July 2016.

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 Flying Club miles to be all that valuable — they’re even less valuable after the devaluation that occurred late last year.

Still, this has the potential to be a good sign-up bonus, especially if you already 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

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’s the equivalent of almost eight miles per dollar spent. Perhaps more accurately, to look at it marginally beyond the initial sign-up bonus, you’re earning over four miles per dollar spent (since you get 50,000 bonus miles for spending $12,000). That isn’t half bad, especially for non-bonused spend.

Not only are there hefty carrier imposed surcharges for travel on Virgin Atlantic, but they also now have much higher redemption rates than they used to. Here’s the peak and off-peak pricing for travel on Virgin Atlantic:

Roundtrip to/from London andEconomyPremium EconomyUpper Class
US - Northeast: Boston, Newark, New York JFK, Washington DCStandard: 20,000
Peak: 40,000

Fuel Surcharges of $645.10 to $774.12
Standard: 35,000
Peak: 55,000

Fuel Surcharges of $750.00 to $900.00
Standard: 95,000
Peak: 115,000

Fuel Surcharges of $1120 to $1344
US - Midwest: Atlant and DetroitStandard: 25,000
Peak: 45,000

Fuel Surcharges of $645.10 to $774.12
Standard: 45,000
Peak: 65,000

Fuel Surcharges of $750.00 to $900.00
Standard: 95,000
Peak: 115,000

Fuel Surcharges of $1120 to $1344
US - South: Miami and OrlandoStandard: 25,000
Peak: 45,000

Fuel Surcharges of $645.10 to $774.12
Standard: 45,000
Peak: 65,000

Fuel Surcharges of $750.00 to $900.00
Standard: 95,000
Peak: 115,000

Fuel Surcharges of $1120 to $1344
US - West: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, SeattleStandard: 30,000
Peak: 50,000

Fuel Surcharges of $603.00 to $723.60
Standard: 55,000
Peak: 75,000

Fuel Surcharges of $707.90 to $849.80
Standard: 135,000
Peak: 155,000

Fuel Surcharges of $1153.93 to $1384.68


Virgin Atlantic 747 Upper Class

That’s a big increase, though in some cases it can still represent a good deal. I do love Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, including their Clubhouses in New York and London.


Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow

The single best use of Virgin Atlantic miles is for travel in ANA first & business class. Here’s their current pricing for travel on ANA:

Distance Of Return JourneyEconomy ClassBusiness ClassFirst Class
0-600 miles15,00030,00040,000
601-1,600 miles18,00035,00050,000
1,601-2,000 miles21,00040,00055,000
2,001-4,000 miles23,00045,00060,000
4,001-7,000 miles40,00065,00080,000
7,001-9,000 miles45,00070,00090,000
9,001-11,000 miles60,00090,000110,000
11,001-14,000 miles65,00095,000120,000
14,001-18,000 miles70,000110,000140,000
18,001-20,000 miles80,000120,000160,000
20,001-22,000 miles90,000130,000180,000

Virgin Atlantic could change these redemption rates at any time, though, given what a good deal it is. 120,000 miles for a roundtrip first class ticket between the US and Japan with minimal fuel surcharges is tough to beat.


ANA first class

Bottom line

I’d only sign up for the Virgin Atlantic Mastercard if you already have most of the other great cards out there, and if you spend a lot in non-bonused categories. If that’s the case, this could be a great value, even if Flying Club miles aren’t that valuable on a per mile basis.

(Tip of the hat to Frequent Miler)

Comments

  1. I checked flights and prices with Virgin Atlantic. One way SFO – LHR is 15K + $148.60
    Not amazing not that bad as in that table ^^^

  2. @ PM
    Yes that is not bad but try to lookup Londond back to SFO and you will see some huge Fuel Surcharges

  3. @MarkSF,

    Thanks! I checked it now and the prices are ~ 15K + $270.
    RT SFO – LHR is ~30K + $420, expensive but less than in the table ^^^.

  4. Lukcy, could you please stop taunting us old school AV Geeks with that pic of Upper Class configuration in the nose of a B-747 😉

  5. @Lucky – I’ve looked but can’t see from their T&C’s anything about time bars for previous applicants to get this card again i.e. like Chase’s 24 month rule? Any insight?

  6. @ Khatl — Great question. The terms aren’t clear, and I’m not totally up to date on Bank of America application rules. Hopefully someone else can chime in with some insight.

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