Virgin Atlantic Mastercard 90K Bonus Ending Soon

Since August 2018, the Virgin Atlantic Mastercard has been offering one of its best offers, which I wrote about a while back.

It’s worth noting that if you’re interested in this offer, it’s set to expire on January 30, 2019, so you have just a few weeks left to take advantage of this offer.

The Virgin Atlantic Mastercard isn’t the most lucrative credit card out there, but this is still an excellent offer. While Flying Club miles aren’t especially valuable for travel on Virgin Atlantic (especially after the 2017 devaluation), there are some excellent partner redemption opportunities.

This has the potential to be a good welcome bonus, especially if you already have a lot of the other lucrative cards out there, and if you spend a lot in categories that don’t other qualify for bonuses. The card is marketed as offering up to 90,000 miles, as follows:

  • 20,000 Flying Club bonus miles after your first retail purchase
  • 50,000 additional Flying Club bonus miles after you spend at least $12,000 in qualifying purchases within six months
  • Earn up to 15,000 additional bonus miles upon anniversary — 7,500 bonus miles if you spend a total of $15,000, and an additional 7,500 bonus miles if you spend a total of $25,000
  • Earn up to 5,000 Flying Club bonus miles when you add additional authorized users to your card
  • Earn 3 miles per $1 spent directly on Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all other purchases

There is a $90 annual fee, which isn’t waived the first year.

As you can see the card basically offers 70,000 Flying Club bonus miles after you spend $12,000, and if you add two authorized users you get an additional 5,000 miles, for a total of 75,000 bonus miles.

The card ordinarily offers 1.5 miles per dollar spent, so you’d earn a total of 93,000 miles after spending $12,000 and adding two authorized users. That’s the equivalent of almost eight miles per dollar spent.

Perhaps more accurately, to look at it marginally beyond the initial sign-up bonus, you’re earning over four miles per dollar spent (since you get 50,000 bonus miles for spending $12,000). That isn’t half bad, especially for non-bonused spend.

However, when you’re looking to redeem your miles, not only are there hefty carrier imposed surcharges for travel on Virgin Atlantic, but they also now have much higher redemption rates than they used to. Here’s the peak and off-peak pricing for travel on Virgin Atlantic:

Roundtrip to/from London andEconomyPremium EconomyUpper Class
US - Northeast: Boston, Newark, New York JFK, Washington DCStandard: 20,000
Peak: 40,000

Fuel Surcharges of $645.10 to $774.12
Standard: 35,000
Peak: 55,000

Fuel Surcharges of $750.00 to $900.00
Standard: 95,000
Peak: 115,000

Fuel Surcharges of $1120 to $1344
US - Midwest: Atlanta and DetroitStandard: 25,000
Peak: 45,000

Fuel Surcharges of $645.10 to $774.12
Standard: 45,000
Peak: 65,000

Fuel Surcharges of $750.00 to $900.00
Standard: 95,000
Peak: 115,000

Fuel Surcharges of $1120 to $1344
US - South: Miami and OrlandoStandard: 25,000
Peak: 45,000

Fuel Surcharges of $645.10 to $774.12
Standard: 45,000
Peak: 65,000

Fuel Surcharges of $750.00 to $900.00
Standard: 95,000
Peak: 115,000

Fuel Surcharges of $1120 to $1344
US - West: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, SeattleStandard: 30,000
Peak: 50,000

Fuel Surcharges of $603.00 to $723.60
Standard: 55,000
Peak: 75,000

Fuel Surcharges of $707.90 to $849.80
Standard: 135,000
Peak: 155,000

Fuel Surcharges of $1153.93 to $1384.68


Virgin Atlantic 747 Upper Class

That’s a big increase, though in some cases it can still represent a good deal. I do love Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, including their Clubhouses in New York and London.


Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow

The single best use of Virgin Atlantic miles is for travel in ANA first & business class. Here’s their current pricing for travel on ANA:

Virgin Atlantic could change these redemption rates at any time, though, given what a good deal it is. 120,000 miles for a roundtrip first class ticket between the US and Japan with minimal fuel surcharges is tough to beat.


ANA first class

There are lots of other great uses of Flying Club miles, it just sometimes takes some creativity.

Alternative cards to consider

If you’re willing to get a business card and can put big spend on a card, I’d seriously consider the offers on two of Capital One’s cards.

The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business has a $95 annual fee that’s waived for the first year, and offers a tiered welcome bonus of up to 200,000 miles, as follows:

  • Earn 50,000 Spark miles when you spend $5,000 within the first three months
  • Earn an additional 150,000 Spark miles when you spend $50,000 within the first six months

Meanwhile the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business has a $95 annual fee that’s waived the first year, and offers a tiered welcome bonus of up to $2,000, as follows:

  • Earn $500 when you spend $5,000 within the first three months
  • Earn an additional $1,500 when you spend $50,000 within the first six months

Those are some huge bonuses, and you can read more about them here.

On top of that, if you want to get another Bank of America card with a much lower spend requirement, the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card has a $75 annual fee and offers 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 within 90 days, plus a buy one ticket, get one for just taxes and fees ($0 fare plus taxes and fees from just $22).

Bottom line

I’d only sign up for the Virgin Atlantic Mastercard if you already have most of the other great cards out there, and if you spend a lot in non-bonused categories. If that’s the case, this could be a great value, especially if you’re taking advantage of one of Virgin Atlantic’s excellent partner airline redemptions.

(Tip of the hat to Doctor Of Credit)

Comments

  1. So you need to spend $25000 to get the full bonus?? yikes.
    And on top of that you have to pay those insane fuel charges to redeem to London?

    $700 fuel charge to London? That’s enough for 2 round trip coach tickets!!

  2. I would only use virgin Atlantic miles for flying on partner airlines. 40000 miles +$45 taxes for a round trip economy ticket from HNL to NRT flying Delta is hard to beat. It’s even lower than paying Delta using sky miles.

  3. It’s amazing how the fuel surcharge is more expensive than simply buying airfare off a travel aggregator. I can routinely find tickets LAX-LHR for ~$500, while redeeming points for what should be a “free” ticket costs >$600. Ridiculous.

  4. 12k spend is pretty high for me, but a good transfer partner is Hilton. 90k Virgin Miles is 135K Hilton Points. (that is if you can take advantage for a First Class ticket somewhere.)
    “Flying Club members are able to exchange miles at the following rate: 2 Flying Club miles for 3 Hilton Honors points.”

  5. You can pair this with Plastiq to pay mortgage/rent since it’s a Mastercard. That could get you to the $12K quicker (but with the 2-2.5% fee). There’s also up to 600 Flying Club Tier Points possible per year, so a silver elite membership is obtainable (that does get you some benefits on DL). You could also then status match to another program theoretically…

  6. Is there a business card equivalent that is also available with the same or similar bonus? Wann stay under 5/24 on the personal side?

  7. “You can pair this with Plastiq to pay mortgage/rent since it’s a Mastercard. That could get you to the $12K quicker (but with the 2-2.5% fee). ”

    Plastiq often runs promotions for a lower (or no) fee if you schedule at least six payments in advance. Six mortgage payments plus student loan payments would eat up most of that $12,000 required spend over six months 🙂

  8. Virgin Atlantic’s charges are fairly reasonable flying to London at least in Premium. Just be sure to use another airline flying away.

    As an example, low season upper class one way West Coast USA to London 27,500 + 224.20.

    Johannesburg to London 22.5K + $248 Premium or 57.5K + 306 upper class.

    HKG to London = 57.5K miles + and 44.67 Upper Class . 22.5K and 42.12 for Premium.

  9. Great bonus for travel on Delta One. Really tired of these tiered bonuses though. I’m really starting to think that this is the future of large sign up bonuses to prevent churning. Just look at the new Capital One Spark card….

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