BIG! 90,000 Mile Bonus Offer for New Virgin Atlantic MasterCard!

PointsCentric uncovered a 90,000 mile signup bonus for the Virgin Atlantic co-brand 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 90,000 miles but I wouldn’t think about it that way. There are several pieces to the bonus, and you should probably take less than the full miles. And you should know that Virgin Atlantic miles are among the least valuable.

The offer is:

  • 20,000 Flying Club bonus miles after first purchase
  • 50,000 additional Flying Club bonus miles after spending $12,000 in within 6 months
  • Earn up to 15,000 additional bonus miles upon anniversary — 7500 if you spend $15,000 in the year on the card, and 15,000 if you spend $25,000 in the year on the card.
  • Earn up to 5,000 Flying Club bonus miles when you add additional authorized users to your card

Sign up. Put $12,000 on the card. And you get 70,000 miles. Add an authorized user and it’s 75,000 miles.

But if you’re going to do $12,000 in spend, might as well spend $3000 more for an extra 7500 miles.

Then you’re earning 82,500 miles with the card. I wouldn’t put the full $25,000 on this card.

There are some unique benefits of MasterCard and this card is being issued as a World Elite MasterCard. Those have much better travel benefits than simple World MasterCards do.

One of those benefits is free status with Avis, National, and Sixt car rental programs.

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 the ratio nhas been devalued to 1-to-1.5. And Hilton devalued. 75,000 Hilton HHonors points doesn’t especially appeal to me, but some folks will find that useful.

Still, Virgin miles are fairly easy to acquire. Points transfer into Virgin from both American Express Membership Rewards and from Chase Ultimate Rewards.

I’m not a fan of Virgin Atlantic miles, although I have a ton. This offer is strong enough that it has tempted me many times. But I’ve never redeeemed the points. That’s why I put together a list of the great ways to redeem Virgin Atlantic’s miles.

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.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] Remember, Virgin Atlantic levies fuel surcharges on their own flights, though economy redemption from USA to London (not back) is somewhat reasonable in that respect. You can get an amazing value on Virgin America flights, but they have to be roundtrip. View From The Wing blog has a good post on this offer with  links to additional articles. […]

Comments

  1. Does boa allow you to bump up to this bonus if you just got their “50,000” bonus mile card? Or how long before (if ever) before they will issue you a second Virgin credit card?

  2. I believe you forgot to include the minimum spend in total miles earned i.e., spend $15,000, add authorized user and get 105,000 miles (1.5 miles per dollar spent).

  3. Lots of miles — but not a lot of good uses for most people (including me). With a lower spend for the bonus I’d probably do it anyway, but with the higher spend is seems better to apply for something more useful.

  4. Gary,

    I think you must be working for aol or huff post. Your ‘teases’ are better than the others. 😉 FYI, a long time ago, I stopped clicking on those teases, as I found them annoying.

  5. Gary-Again a wealth of information. For me the AU to New Zealand in Business for 30K works well provided they have availability. Since I have no problems with the spend this is a decent card for me for certain uses as you outlined. BOA happens to be pretty generous with me and I have found customer service there an any issue to be quite good.

  6. “Add an authorized user and it’s 75,000 miles”, meaning an additional 5000 miles.

    Actually, add an authorized user, and it’s 2,500 extra miles. 5000 requires adding TWO authorized users.

    “The offer is:” neglected to mention the $90 annual fee, which is NOT waived the first year.

    Major required spend, and a big upfront fee, for not very useful miles. I’ve had a bunch of these cards in the past, but I’m not bothering any more, now that the HHonors transfer rate has been devalued by both Virgin and HHonors.

  7. I received a targeted email for 65,000 miles after a $2000 spend within 3 mths…I think thats the general offer that is out there…The only way for a lot of us to take advantage of this one is to MS like crazy.

  8. Any thoughts on how long this promo is expected to last? I have some spending requirement to meet on other CCs and don’t want to have one more headache to deal with. And I am super new to manufactured spending — not done yet.

  9. This has been bugging me since I started reading your blog, so I’m just going to get it off my chest. I don’t understand your constant refrain that Virgin miles are worthless. They are very valuable to those of us who like flying on Virgin! I get the impression you have never flown Virgin’s Upperclass, and you really should try it before you write anything further on the subject.

    Upperclass is the best product flying across the Atlantic (and yes, I’ve flown across in both Business and First, on BA, AA and others). The flat beds are fantastic, the service is outstanding, the food and wine are very good (though you won’t get Krug or Dom) and Virgin’s London club is the best in the business (SO much better than BA’s!). Virgin’s totally private security line at Heathrow is a huge benefit.

    Best of all, I seldom have trouble redeeming Virgin miles for Upperclass. Yes, there is the tax, but I’m still getting a great product for less than the usual price of Economy seats.

  10. Mary, you make a good point. Quantitatively it should be easily possible to come up with a number on this. Plus you get 1.5 points on every dollar spent. A first class ticket is worth at least $3,000 (more if you try to buy it). In which case, this offer is worth $3,000 less the taxes one pays.

  11. @Mary yes, Virgin has a good business class. But as much as I dislike Delta miles, those are net net better for Virgin redemptions (no fuel surcharges). Virgin’s partner redemptions are pretty bad overall. And there’s not much connectivity that makes sense beyond London.

    They’re strategically useful which is why I post about the opportunity! And why I accumulate the miles myself. I just want to be sure not to lead anyone astray into thinking they’re as all-around useful as miles from some of the better programs.

  12. @Mary

    “Upperclass is the best product flying across the Atlantic”

    I don’t think you’ve ever flown F on Singapore or Lufthansa…

  13. I can’t speak to other products vis-a-vis VS Upper Class, but I can say from experience that Upper Class is a great product, ESPECIALLY ex-LHR where you can spend some time in the Clubhouse. I would gladly pay 50k miles + $450 in fees to fly LAX-LHR or vice versa in Upper Class using VS miles. This is a very tempting offer for me, if only award availability was better on this route more than a few days out.

  14. @Lantean Yes, I have flown Singapore in Suites, but I don’t believe that product is available for trans-Atlantic flights to Europe, is it? No, haven’t flown LH First yet. In any case there is a huge difference in pricing between those “F+” products and Upperclass, so I wouldn’t expect them to be truly comparable.

    Let’s put it this way: I much, much prefer Virgin Upperclass over BA or AA or DL or UA in J or F across the pond. Obviously others feel as I do, since Virgin gets a premium price compared with other Business products on the same routes.

  15. @Gary My very first experience with Virgin Upper Class was using DL miles. Then DL stopped offering Virgin redemptions for quite a while and I stopped flying DL because, well, Skypesos. So it hasn’t been on my radar in years. Good to know that’s an option with no surcharges. Does DL have access to all the same award seats as if I were redeeming with VS?

    Re: onward from London, this has never seemed a big deal to me. I usually use BA miles to connect to wherever else I want to go in Europe. Or a low-cost carrier if it’s a short flight.

  16. @Mary

    yes, you can fly SQ suites from FRA-JFK 😉

    I agree the Virgin Upperclass is fantastic and way better than any J product out there… but it’s not F.

  17. @Lantean Ah, that’s why I didn’t know about Suites to Europe. I prefer to fly out of LAX or SFO and I don’t find FRA very convenient to the places I visit frequently. (Which is why I also haven’t tried LH in F yet.)

    I agree that Upper Class is not F. It’s more like J+. Yet I still prefer it to BA’s F to and from London, particularly because of Virgin’s private security line and great lounge. BA’s lounges are lousy by comparison. Getting to the BA lounge in A is inefficient, a long walk and confusing; walk one direction, go down a level, double back in opposite direction, go up 2 levels. And the food is not good.

  18. Gary or anyone, do you have to close your existing VS card to churn? If so, how long to wait b4 reapply? Thx

  19. I see Gary has answered my 2nd question already. Now just need to know if canceling existing card is required.

  20. 45,000 miles for US domestic business class round trip on delta, if I correctly read http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/us/en/flying-club/flying-club-partners/airlines/delta-air-lines.html .

    If my mileage calculations are correct, it looks 95,000 miles buys an ANA business class round trip for Beijing to San Jose, California via Tokyo, with a Layover of less than 24 hours allowed.

    What am I missing? Is Delta domestic business class that terrible or unavailable? Are the fuel surcharge really high on these routes? On the face of it, various Delta and ANA business class redemptions look like good deals to me, given that the card earns 1.5 miles/$.

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