Bank of America has brought back a strong signup bonus on their co-branded Virgin Atlantic credit card.
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 65,000 miles but I wouldn’t think about it that way.
Reach rewards faster with up to 65,000 Flying Club bonus miles in the first year with the Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard® credit card from Bank of America.
The offer is:
- 20,000 Flying Club bonus miles after your first retail purchase
- 25,000 additional Flying Club bonus miles after you spend at least $2,500 in qualifying purchases
- Earn up to 15,000 additional bonus miles upon anniversary
- Earn up to 5,000 Flying Club bonus miles when you add additional authorized users to your card
So adding an authorized user and spending $2500 on the card gets you 50,000 points. There’s a $90 annual fee, and it applies even in the first year. Definitely worth it, in my view, for 50,000 points. And probably even worth keeping into the second year for the 15,000 point anniversary bonus. But you do have to wait a year for that bonus.
I’ve had the American Express, do not currently have any Bank of America cards, so will decide between this one and repopulating my wallet with an Alaska Airlines card again.
Last month I wrote about the need to have one each of the different flavors of cards, at least Visa, MasterCard, and American Express — and wrote about the unique benefits of MasterCard.
Interestingly this card is being issued as a World Elite MasterCard, and is about the least expensive card with that designation. World Elite cards have a much better travel benefits program that simple World MasterCards do.
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 since the March 28th Hilton devaluation that doesn’t appeal nearly as much. A 100,000 point HHonors balance to me is now just two nights at the Embassy Suites Portland instead of the Conrad Koh Samui.
Still, Virgin miles are fairly easy to acquire to top off an account — I earn 1000 Virgin miles per one-day Avis car rental. And points transfer into Virgin from both American Express Membership Rewards and from Chase Ultimate Rewards.
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.
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I applied for this card not too long ago and the points posted very quickly. Luckily enough, the annual fee didn’t post in the first week (like it did with the Hawaiian airlines cards).
So I completed the spend and got the points. I now have a week to pay off the $90 AF. So, I called BoA (been with them for 3 years) and asked the agent if I’d get a refund of the AF if I cancelled within a month of paying it (like Chase and Amex do)…surprisingly enough, the agent put me on hold, and came back to tell me that they were just going to give me a $90 statement credit.
So, I’d say if the fee doesn’t post for any of you right away, and you find yourself in a similar situation, do what I did. You may just get the AF waived the first year.
The fees fuel surchage seems to have gone up. A ow redemption from ORD LHR cost 17.5k plus $130.
Is award availability pretty good for upper class cabins given award tickets have high fuel surcharges compared to other airlines?
100k hhonors points isn’t what it used to be, but it still has value. It’s enough, for example, to knock the rate for 3 nights at the Conrad HKG down to a roughly $150/night co-pay using the cash + points option. So that’s about a $900 value. Or, there are plenty of 20,000 point/night redemptions in Europe, so that’s 5 of those right there.
Not bad if you’re running low on CC signup options and have a good opportunity to use the hhonors points strategically. I take what I can get!!!
The only real use for Virgin Atlantic points is the transfer to Hilton. Everything else is either expensive to use (Fuel Surcharges) or flights not available on partner airlines like Virgin America. So, don’t kid yourself.
Virgin Atlantic points are worth less than Delta Sky Pesos.
are VA miles possible to redeem for US-domestic flights (ex. on partner, USair? or delta one-ways?).
or maybe singapore? thanjs
@Mr. Cool – VS ended their relationship with US MONTHS ago when they signed up with DL.
Two points actually from the terms and conditions of the application:
1) You will need two authorized users to get the full 5,000 miles since each authorized user added earns you 2,500 miles.
2) Even though the application doesn’t explicitly say there is a spending requirement for the 15,000 anniversary miles, one still exists much like the American Express version.
“7,500 anniversary Flying Club miles will be posted to your Flying Club account when you spend a minimum of $15,000 in Net Purchases within the anniversary year with your card. An additional 7,500 anniversary Flying Club miles will be awarded when you spend $25,000 in net purchases within the anniversary year with your card.”
What is your opinion of the Virgin hotel properties and using points to stay at them? Are there any stars amongst them?
The new terms still say you have to spend $25,000 to recieve the additional 15,000 miles upon anniversary.
@Carol I’m not by any means expert enough to render an opinion other than to say Necker Island could be a cool experience…
@vidtraveler whats “ow” plz?
@Brian L. or anyone else that knows- can VS miles be used for DL domestic US flights without YQ? what about using VS miles of Dl one-ways plz?
BOS to LHR is 55,000 points PLUS $810 This is not worth it.
OW Means One Way
Anyone know if the annual fee counts towards the minimum spend? Thank you in advance….