Bank of America has brought back a strong signup bonus on their co-branded Virgin Atlantic credit card.
They used to offer the card as an American Express (one of those oddball American Express cards not issued by American Express). Now it’s a MasterCard.
It’s advertised as a signup bonus of up to 65,000 miles but I wouldn’t think about it that way.
Reach rewards faster with up to 65,000 Flying Club bonus miles in the first year with the Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard® credit card from Bank of America.
The offer is:
- 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 — 7500 after $15,000 spend and 7500 after $25,000 in spend.
- Earn up to 5,000 Flying Club bonus miles when you add additional authorized users to your card (2500 per cardholder up to 2)
So adding two authorized users and spending $2500 on the card gets you 50,000 points. There’s a $90 annual fee, and it applies even in the first year. Definitely worth it, in my view, for 50,000 points.
There are some nique benefits of MasterCard and this card is being issued as a World Elite MasterCard, and is about the least expensive card with that designation. World Elite cards have a much better travel benefits program that simple World MasterCards do.
One of the popular uses for Virgin miles in the past was converting to Hilton at one-to-two, 50,000 Virgin miles would yield 100,000 Hilton points. But since the March 28th Hilton devaluation that doesn’t appeal nearly as much. A 100,000 point HHonors balance to me is now just two nights at the Embassy Suites Portland instead of the Conrad Koh Samui.
Still, Virgin miles are fairly easy to acquire to top off an account — I earn 1000 Virgin miles per one-day Avis car rental. And points transfer into Virgin from both American Express Membership Rewards and from Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Of course where paid travel would entail a fuel surcharge, Virgin adds that to the cost of an award ticket.
They’ve reduced fuel surcharges on economy awards but those aren’t the awards I’m looking for.
What’s more, departures in a premium cabin originating in the U.K. entail a substantial tax — on top of the surcharges. So Virgin award tickets often aren’t cheap.
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