In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. Thanks for your support!
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.
Bank of America is back with their best publicly available sign-up bonus on their co-branded Virgin Atlantic 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® Card, Ink 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.
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 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)