90,000 Mile Signup Bonus for Virgin Atlantic MasterCard is Back

Last August an offer came out promising up to 90,000 miles for the Virgin Atlantic co-brand credit card. It returned at the beginning of October. Links come and go for the offer.

Now, these are Virgin Atlantic miles which aren’t the most valuable. And the offer requires a whole bunch of spend. So it’s not the greatest card offer out there. In fact, I view the card as 75,000 miles for $12,000 spend and wouldn’t take it all the way to capture the full 90,000 offer on the table.

But it’s from an issuer without too many co-brand cards (my only recent Bank of America card is an Alaska Visa), and it’s potentially a lot of miles.

The good news is after the most recent link I had died a couple of months ago the offer is back.

This card used to come as an American Express (one of those oddball American Express cards not issued by American Express). Now it’s a MasterCard.

Perhaps the best thing about the card is that there’s an explicit offer for expats who lack a US credit history.

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.

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

Now, if you’re going to do $12,000 in spend, you might as well spend $3000 more for an extra 7500 but that does require keeping the card through its anniversary.

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.

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. (Better off in most cases using Delta miles for the same awards on Virgin flights.)

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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Comments

  1. Before I invest in Virgin points, Would you know if I can book ANA flights that are operated by their subsidiary air Japan? United allows it but Lifemiles doesn’t. And my family is based out of TPE. ANA uses air Japan to operate that route.

  2. Any guesses as to how much a DEN to SFO award trip would be on Virgin America?

    SFO to SEA is 15k R/T, while SFO to DFW is 20k. Could the cutoff point between 15k and 20k be over/under 1000 nmi (DEN-SFO comes up as 967 nmi) ? 5 R/T for 75k signup/spend or 6 R/T for 90k isn’t bad at all.

  3. I got the 7500 anniversary points this year and then immediately canceled before the annual fee hit my statement.

  4. At one time couldn’t you transfer these pretty lucratively to some other program, I can’t recall for certain but I think it was Hilton.

  5. @GetToThePoints – Yes. Virgin Atlantic points used to be transferable to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio, but that’s since changed to I think a 1:1.5 ratio, which is much less enticing

  6. Gary have you successfully booked ANA flights or are aware of anyone who has using VA miles assuming the availability shows on the ANA or United sites? Or is it not worth the hassle? Would hate to transfer then strike out due to procedural issues on the Virgin side.

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