I’ve had the Bank of America-issued Virgin Atlantic MasterCard several times over the years. The card is back with a signup bonus of up to 90,000 miles.
- 20,000 miles after first purchase
- 50,000 miles after $12,000 spend within 6 months
- 7500 miles if you spend $15,000 in the first year
- 7500 more if you spend $25,000 in the first year
- 5000 miles for adding 2 authorized users on the account
Copyright: boarding1now / 123RF Stock Photo
The card earns triple miles on Virgin Atlantic spend and 1.5 points per dollar on all other spend.
Every $2500 spent on this $90 annual fee card earns 25 elite tier points, up to 50 tier points per month, though I don’t much value Virgin Atlantic status at all.
To be clear, Virgin Atlantic miles aren’t worth as much as other miles. That was true even before they knifed the program in the back in October.
However they do have strategic uses and I believe the single best one is ANA first class roundtrip from the Central U.S. and East Coast for just 120,000 miles per person. (San Francisco and Los Angeles is just 110,000 miles roundtrip, while business class runs 90,000 or 95,000 miles depending on the city.)
- While Virgin Atlantic does hit you with fuel surcharges when redeeming miles where paid tickets would incur fuel surcharges, Japan awards don’t.
- Awards are round trip only. And travel beyond Japan would be a separate round trip award.
- You cannot book these awards online.
- Virgin Atlantic awards have a $50 per passenger change fee, and a cancel/redeposit fee of $50 as well. That’s low by US program standards, but there are no changes at all within 24 hours of departure (you can cancel for $50 but you won’t get your miles back, just the taxes paid).
- You can put an award on hold for 24 hours.
American Express, Chase, Citibank, and Starwood points all transfer to Virgin Atlantic. Amex, Chase, and Citi genreally transfer instantly.
I believe that the ANA first class awards with Virgin Atlantic miles are too good to last over time, since the best deals — those orders of magnitude better than what most programs deliver — always go away eventually.
(HT: Nick Reyes)