Virgin Money has boosted its sign-up bonus for new credit card customers – offering up to an extra 10,000 miles on top of its existing bonuses.
Those applying for its Virgin Atlantic Rewards card now earn up to 10,000 Flying Club rewards miles while its premium Rewards+ card card offers an even more generous 25,000 free miles.
That’s is enough get you return flights to Hong Kong, New York or the Caribbean and back.
Branson’s big ideas: Virgin Atlantic rewards cards can prove lucrative
The offer is for new customers opening a credit card before 14 December 2018.
If you already have one of the cards you can still qualify as a ‘new customer’ as long as you are applying for the other of the two cards on offer and you signed up more than six months ago.
One of the advantages is the Virgin Atlantic accounts come with a Mastercard, more widely accepted than its biggest rival – the BA American Express cards.
As well as Virgin Atlantic flights you can use points on Eurostar, Delta and Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Jet Airways, Air China, ANA, Scandinavian Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.
Read this before you sign up
If you won’t pay it off each month there is no point reading any further as these cards will have high interest rates attached. Instead skip to our guide to interest-free credit cards instead.
Any rewards will quickly be eaten up by interest on your balance if you don’t clear it each month.
What you get
The free Virgin Atlantic Rewards offers 5,000 Flying Club Miles after your first purchase within three months.
If you spend £1,000 within that time, it will hand over an extra 5,000 miles.
In addition after a £20,000 spend you get a free companion ticket or Premium upgrade.
You get 0.75 points per £1 spend on the card, or 1.25 per £1 spent on Virgin holidays or Virgin Atlantic flights.
The card comes with an APR of 22.9 per cent so make sure to clear the balance each month to avoid interest.
Spending example: A £1,000 monthly spend would earn you 9,000 miles per year, or 19,000 in the first year including the bonus. That’s just shy of the 20,000 needed to get a return to New York.
The Virgin Atlantic Rewards+ card offers higher earning potential, but it comes with an annual fee of £160.
You get 15,000 miles for your first spend within 90 days plus an extra 10,000 with a £1,500 outlay.
After a £10,000 spend you get a companion ticket or seat upgrade to Premium class.
Everyday spending gets you 1.5 miles per £1, spends on holidays and flights with the brand earns a higher three miles per pound.
Again interest is set at 22.9 per cent on top of the monthly fee. Spending example: A £1,000 monthly spend earns 18,000 miles per year, or 43,000 in the first year – enough for a premium seat return to the Caribbean with a companion ticket.
Possible destinations: 20,000 Flying Club points can be swapped for return tickets to New York or the Carribean
Any better deals?
The first thing to consider is of course any airline rewards scheme is only worth considering if you can fly from a nearby airport using your points, and to destinations you want.
And again, you need to ensure you are going to be diligent about managing your repayments if you are considering one.
British Airways is the main rival to Virgin Atlantic. For BA Executive Club, its Iberia, American Airlines and OneWorld partners airlines including Finnair and Qantas.
The American Express British Airways Premium Plus comes with a £195 annual fee and a far larger 76 APR per cent interest – that gets you 25,000 bonus Avios if you spend £3,000 in three months a free companion voucher after a £10,000 annual spend and 1.5 Avios per £1 spent.
In the first year, a £1,000 monthly spend on the card earns 40,000 points – enough to get you a return from London to Bermuda with a companion ticket.
The American Express British Airways credit card has no annual fee and interest at 22.9 APR per cent.
You get 5,000 Avios when you spend £1,000 in the first three months, 1 Avios per £1 spent and the free companion voucher after £20,000 annual card spend.
In the first year a £1,000 monthly spend on the card earns you 17,000 Avios. That could get you to Portugal or Spain and back, but you wouldn’t have spend enough to earn the companion voucher.
If you don’t want to tie yourself to one scheme, try the American Express Membership Rewards scheme.
It offers points that can be swapped like-for-like with several airlines including Virgin, BA, Etihad and Emirates.
There are again two options, the premium Preferred Rewards Gold with a £140 annual fee ( waived for the first year) and 22.9 per cent interest on spending.
You earn 20,000 Membership Rewards if you spend £2,000 within three months, 10,000 extra points after a £15,000 spend, one point for each £1 of spending.
The fee-free alternative, Rewards Card, offers 10,000 Membership Rewards if you spend £1,000 within three months, plus one point per £1 spent. It comes with an APR of 22.9 per cent.
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