127,500 Miles from One Credit Card Signup and Meeting Minimum Spend

Key Link: Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard® from Bank of America

Two years ago an offer came out promising up to 90,000 miles for the Virgin Atlantic co-brand credit card. It returned a few months later.

Links come and go for the offer but I highlight it here, here, and here to name just a few.

Whenever they return I update my redirect link for the card so that links in older posts will still work. This is a $90 annual fee card, not waived the first year.

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 wouldn’t do the full spend on the card and instead view it as 75,000 bonus 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.

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 (2500 miles for each of 2 authorized users).

  • And you’ll have earned 18,000 miles for the spend at 1.5 miles per dollar. That nets you 93,000 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. That’s 105,000 miles including the incremental miles for your spend.

And if you do the full $25,000 in spend you’ll earn 127,500 miles by your cardmember 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, Citi ThankYou 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.)

Still, Virgin Atlantic has a good business class product between the US and UK, and good lounges as well.

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. Nonetheless they regularly offer good sales on economy redemptions and sometimes premium economy too.

(HT: MileValue)

For avoidance of doubt I do not receive referral credit of any kind for this card product.

Key Link: Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard® from Bank of America

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. Thanks, Gary. Agreed that this isn’t a great deal by any means. But isn’t there potential extra value in the Virgin miles converting into Alaska miles in the next year or two as part of the merger, assuming of course that the Alaska mileage program isn’t gutted along the way?

  2. I’ve done this deal twice already. I’ve never had to pay the second year fee to get the anniversary miles. They post to the account and BofA has always credited me the annual fee when I close. YMMV.

    I agree these miles are not the most useful, but I have used them for a Hilton transfer and Virgin America tickets. Considering how easy they are to earn, they aren’t too bad for the right person.

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