Up to 90,000 Bonus Miles on the Virgin Atlantic MasterCard

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The Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard® is offering up to 90,000 bonus miles but there are quite a few strings attached.

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The bottom line is that you earn 127,500 Virgin Atlantic miles after spending $25,000 in the first year on the card and paying $180 in annual fees. The offer breaks down like this:

25,000 Immediate Miles after First Purchase, Adding Authorized Users, and Paying Annual Fee

  • 20,000 Flying Club bonus miles after your first retail purchase
  • Earn 2,500 Flying Club miles for each authorized user you add to the card up to 5,000 Flying Club bonus miles
  • The card has a $90 annual fee that is NOT waived the first year.

This is 25,000 total miles just for opening the card, adding two authorized users, making one purchase, and paying the $90 annual fee.

Miles as Soon as You Spend $12,000 within 6 Months

  • 50,000 additional Flying Club bonus miles after you spend at least $12,000 in qualifying purchases within 6 months of your account open date

We’re up to 75,000 bonus miles. Plus the card earns 1.5 miles per dollar on all purchases, so you’d have 93,000 Virgin Atlantic miles after spending $12,000 on the card.

Miles Next Year

  • Earn 7,500 bonus miles upon anniversary if you spend $15,000 in a year on the card
  • Earn 15,000 bonus miles upon anniversary if you spend $25,000 in a year on the card
  • The card has a $90 annual fee that you’d have to pay again to get these anniversary miles.

The first anniversary bonus threshold is only $3,000 beyond the minimum spending requirement, so that seems like a no-brainer if you’ve gotten this far. You’d get 12,000 miles for that $3,000 in spending (4,500 for the normal spending and 7,500 bonus) or 4 miles per dollar.

The last 7,500 bonus miles would cost another $10,000 in spending, so the return isn’t nearly as good.

If you spent $25,000 on the card in the first year (and $12,000 was in the first six months, and you added two authorized users), your total haul would be 127,500 Virgin Atlantic miles.

  • 90,000 for the various bonuses
  • 37,500 for $25,000 * 1.5 miles per dollar on all spending

You would also have paid $180 in annual fees.

Three Reasons Why You Want Virgin Atlantic Miles

1. AMONG THE CHEAPEST ECONOMY AND PREMIUM ECONOMY AWARDS TO EUROPE (IN MILES)

The first reason to get Virgin Atlantic miles is that economy class awards to Europe require far fewer miles than competitors’ charge. From Boston, New York, Washington, and Chicago, you only need 17,500 Virgin Atlantic miles for a one way flight to London.

And taxes and fees on the one way from the United States to Europe are only $135!

Combine a one way from the eastern United States to Europe for 17,500 Virgin Atlantic miles plus $135 and return from a low tax country–like Spain or Switzerland–to the United States on a one way award with United or American miles for a very cheap European vacation.

I wrote more about searching Virgin Atlantic award space, the fuel surcharges you’ll see, and booking the space in Limited Time to Europe: 14k Points.

Or you can fly one way from parts of the United States to the United Kingdom in Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy for only 27,500 miles (22k ThankYou Points) and $231.

Premium Economy on Virgin Atlantic is more akin to United First Class on domestic flights than United Economy Plus. It’s not just a big seat; Premium Economy comes with all the amenities in this promotional video.

Virgin Atlantic has frequent 30% off sales on awards between the United States and Europe. One is happening now through September 22. It offers one way in economy to London for 12,250 miles and one way in Premium Economy for 19,250 miles. If you transfer speculatively during a 25% transfer bonus from ThankYou Points (like this one that ended last April) and another 30% off sale comes up in the future, you” pay only 10,000 ThankYou Points one way to London or 16,000 ThankYou Points one way in Premium Economy. That’s un-freakin-beatable!

Here are the sweet spots on the Virgin Atlantic award chart.

2. INCREDIBLE VALUE PARTNER AWARDS

Virgin Atlantic has several airline partners. Each has its own award chart, and the values can be good. Best of all, on many partners, Virgin Atlantic doesn’t collect any fuel surcharges!

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Award prices including unavoidable government taxes (none include fuel surcharges):

  • Atlanta to Buenos Aires roundtrip in Economy Class on Delta: 45,000 miles + $99
  • Los Angeles to Auckland roundtrip in Business Class on Air New Zealand: 125,000 miles + $69
  • London to New York roundtrip in Economy Class on Delta: 40,000 miles + $186

Here are the sweet spots on the partner award charts.

3. VIRGIN ATLANTIC UPPER CLASS

Virgin Atlantic’s Business Class–called Upper Class–is world class.

Virgin Atlantic offers its Flying Club members the best award availability, but the catch is the fuel surcharges (plus departing London taxes) of around $1,000 per roundtrip award in Upper Class.

While the out-of-pocket cost is a big drawback, the miles prices are very low. New York and Chicago to London are only 40k miles one way in Upper Class and Los Angeles and San Francisco to London in Upper Class are only 50k miles one way.


Roundtrip Miles Prices to UK with Flying Club Miles listed Economy, Premium Economy, Upper Class from left to right

Right now award space is excellent in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for two people who want to fly next summer. For instance, here is Atlanta to London’s calendar. Dates with a purple line underneath have two Upper Class award seats (which is every day in May except one).

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If you want to avoid fuel surcharges, Delta miles can be used to book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for 62.5k miles one way plus taxes and no fuel surcharges.

Should You Get the Virgin Atlantic Credit Card?

Probably not. I know the headline bonus miles number is humungous, but the miles are not as valuable as American, United, or Alaska miles, and the spending requirement is huge.

Only get the card if you have gotten other, better cards already, you can easily meet the big spending requirement on this card, and you can get good value from one of the few truly good uses of the card’s miles.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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40 COMMENTS

  1. How does the new partnership with Delta & Virgin Atlantaic flying in/out of Atlanta plays into this equation?

    Do we know the miles needed out of Atlanta yet?

  2. Hilton transfer is now 1.5 instead of 2?

    Seems like a decent way to get a lot of Hilton miles either way (though there are others of course)

  3. Scott- For the return journey, what are the low-cost countries / cities / airports in EU? It seems like almost every city I’m looking at has steep taxes / fees…

    Thanks!
    -RG

  4. Pretty Lame offer get a INK PLUS card and get 70,000 points in 30 days !!! Today maybe the last day of this offer .
    Ink+ (2)..Ink Bold (1)

    INKer for LIFE or Till a better offer comes along ..

  5. I want to book flights from Atlanta to London for next end of May or beg of June (return will be out of Ireland via United/partner). Currently there are seats available via Virgin Atlantic but with fees high of course. Delta doesn’t currently allow 1 ways, but will starting in 2015. They also have several other rule changes that will impact us.

    Should I wait and gamble getting a one way via Delta starting Jan 1st or do you think my options will be limited since that’s closer to the May/June timeframe?

    Thank you in advance!

  6. @Scott Grimmer
    interesting. what about mixing partners please? positioning flights?
    ex: CVG-JFK(DL)-FRA(SQ)-ARN(SAS)
    thanks

    • I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think you can mix partners like that since they publish a chart for each partner.

  7. @Scott Grimmer:

    Can i mix Virgin Atlantic and a partner. Virgin flies to only 2 cities in India and only one of them is bookable with miles. I was wondering if I could use VA partner Jet Airways to book within India?

  8. Called VA, the phone agent said it is bookable but need to call to book, cannot do online. They charge extra miles when mixing partner and VA (VA from NYC to DEL is 90K and they charge 30K more if you add Jet Airways domestic to it).

  9. Boston to London turns up with $156 in taxes. Do taxes typically vary depending on when you fly? Sorry I don’t know much about the taxes that they charge. My search was for next summer.

    • Those are not taxes. Those are $6 in taxes and $150 in fuel surcharges. Surcharges can be adjusted up or down (not usually by season) and also will depend on the value of the $ versus the pound since this a British airline.

  10. Scott….
    “Virgin Atlantic’s Business Class–called Upper Class–is one of the best in the world “.. Scott, Scott…Scott… Scott.. Oh please is that a joke. Have you flown any middle eastern carrier? Cathay Pacific? Eva Air? JAL New Business Sky Suite? ANA? Oman Air? heck even AA new business class?… Virgin Upper Class was a great product back in the 90’s when they launched it. Problem is it has not changed much.. Now a days the hard product ranks somewhere between Spirit Airways Big Front seat and US Airways envoy class (perhaps I’m being a bit mean with the Spirit comparison). I will say the JFK Clubhouse lounge is awesome as is the one at LHR, but thats about it my friend..

  11. Hey Scott, thanks for all the great info and good luck with the new book!

    I had a question about the Virgin Atlantic redemption for Hawaiian Airlines flights from JFK to HNL. I’ve flown that flight for 40k hawaiian rt (35k with card) and just checked and saw the same 40k rt per person come up in searching for awards (the first class price is less clear). Perhaps the agent was misinformed, or does Hawaiian charge more miles to partners like VA than they do for their own members?

  12. The ANA chart, which is *almost* impossible to find, is actually pretty good. There are a couple hundred dollars on the YQ, but RT to Tokyo in first is 120k. Pretty good in my book. Same thing costs 220k UA miles…

    • @Dan @Scott – those ANA prices sound good but how much of a pain is it to actually book with Virgin call center? Where did you find the link to the ANA chart? Also, its not clear on some of the other partners listed on teh Virgin site whether the mileage requirements are one-way or roundtrip.

  13. I only have so much spend I can put on a credit card during the year. To max out on this card I then tie up my spending on this card and it prevents me from getting the other cards with great benefits that pop up during the year. Keep in mind that I normally get a card for my wife and and myself, so again, getting this card would certainly tie up all my flexible spend.

  14. I need 4 oneways from Auckland, NZ to Honolulu, HI using Air New Zealand. Does this sound like a good option for this card?

  15. I already have this card, but they email me this offer. Can I get the sign up bonus by applying for a new card?

    • At least for the Bank of America Alaska Airlines cards, you can get as many as you want. Not sure if this is the same.

  16. Another point I haven’t seen mentioned in the blogs is the 1/2 price companion ticket at the 25K spend threshold.

    ” the primary cardholder will also qualify for an Economy companion reward ticket for half the standard miles of a reward economy seat”.

    That could easily add another 20K miles plus to the 7.5K you get, making the extra 10K giving you in this case 42.5K for the additional spend. (15K base, 7.5K bonus, 20K half price companion.)

    “To qualify for the companion reward, the initial ticket must be a Virgin Atlantic reward ticket purchased by redeeming the relevant Flying Club miles”. Looks to me it needs to be VA metal. My plans are flying partner, so this might not be worthwhile for me.

    “The Notification of the companion reward will be on your Flying Club statement four to six weeks after reaching the $25,000 spend threshold.”

  17. Hey Scott,
    Please convince me how Virgin Atlantic points would work well for people in Kansas City, KS to get to Europe .. I just couldn’t get it to work in my head.. Thank you

  18. Toying with getting the card to use miles for Delta Business Award from US –> Europe. Delta keeps increasing the cost for their own miles, but I believe Virg-Atl miles haven’t increased in cost to use for Delta. Plus, no surcharges (going from US –> Europe) plus Delta has improved “Saver” award availability as of late.

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