They used to offer the card 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.
The offer is:
- 20,000 Flying Club bonus miles after first purchase
- 50,000 additional Flying Club bonus miles after spending $12,000 in within 6 months
- Earn up to 15,000 additional bonus miles upon anniversary — 7500 if you spend $15,000 in the year on the card, and 15,000 if you spend $25,000 in the year on the card.
- Earn up to 5,000 Flying Club bonus miles when you add additional authorized users to your card
Sign up. Put $12,000 on the card. And you get 70,000 miles. Add an authorized user and it’s 75,000 miles.
But if you’re going to do $12,000 in spend, might as well spend $3000 more for an extra 7500 miles.
Then you’re earning 82,500 miles with the card. I wouldn’t put the full $25,000 on this card.
One of those benefits is free status with Avis, National, and Sixt car rental programs.
One of the popular uses for Virgin miles in the past was converting to Hilton at one-to-two, 50,000 Virgin miles would yield 100,000 Hilton points. But the ratio nhas been devalued to 1-to-1.5. And Hilton devalued. 75,000 Hilton HHonors points doesn’t especially appeal to me, but some folks will find that useful.
Still, 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.
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.