Virgin Airlines Flying Club is a program that offers excellent values when you know how to use it right. Not only does it have an extensive airline network between the U.S. and Great Britain, but also a handful of partner airlines that you can fly on to any part of the world: Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Delta, Hawaiian, Jet, Malaysia, Singapore, South African, Virgin America and Virgin Australia.
Virgin Atlantic Credit Card
Virgin Atlantic has its own co-branded credit card issued by Bank of America, which is a mix of good and not so good news. The good news is that the earning scheme of this card is excellent – much better than a typical earning scheme offered by most U.S. airline cards. You can earn three miles per dollar spent on direct Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5 miles on everything else.
The card also has an almost unbeatable sign-up bonus, but the spending requirement is not easy to meet. You get 20,000 miles after the first purchase, 5,000 miles for adding an authorized user, 50,000 miles after spending $12,000 within six months, and 5,000 miles on your anniversary each year. So you could get 90,000 miles total, but only 25,000 miles are easy.
Having said that, 90,000 Virgin Atlantic miles can take you a really long way, like a round-trip flight between the U.S. and London in Delta business class with no fuel surcharges.
While the Virgin Atlantic credit card is a great way to boost your mileage, it’s not the only one. Virgin Atlantic is a transfer member of the Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou programs. That allows you to collect hundreds of thousands of Flying Club miles without flying.
Best American Express Membership Rewards Credit and Charge Cards for Virgin Atlantic
The best American Express credit cards that allow you to transfer points into the Flying Club program are:
- American Express Platinum (Personal, Mercedes Benz, Business).
- Gold Card from American Express.
- American Express Premier Gold Rewards.
- American Express Business Gold Rewards.
The sign-up bonuses for Platinum cards vary wildly depending on the ongoing welcome offer, from 40,000 to 100,000 Membership Points, as do their respective spending requirements. Keep in mind that you can only receive one sign-up bonus in a lifetime from American Express for the same card, so it stands to reason to wait until AMEX comes up with a really good offer.
Note that the Platinum cards carry a $450 to $475 annual fee, while the Gold cards have fees of $160 to $195. The benefits, however, are usually worth the fee, especially if you get a sizable sign-up bonus.
Transferring your points to Virgin Atlantic is easy and can be done on the Membership Rewards website or on the phone. The transfer is usually instantaneous. This means you can confirm your flight availability with a Virgin agent, then complete the transfer and book your award while the agent is still on the phone.
Best Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards for Virgin Atlantic
Since Virgin Atlantic is also a transfer partner airline of the Ultimate Rewards program, you can get Flying Club miles with Chase cards, too. These are the two best cards to collect Ultimate Rewards points:
Chase Sapphire Preferred is a credit card with a 55,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 in three months and adding an authorized user.
Chase Ink Plus is a business charge card with a 60,000-point bonus after spending $5,000 in three months.
Both cards carry a $95 annual fee, although Chase Sapphire Preferred waives the fee for the first year.
The Chase policy states that you can get a new sign-up bonus as long as you don’t carry the card and haven’t received the same bonus in the last two years. However, Chase also has an unofficial policy of denying new applications if the customer has received five or more new credit cards from any issuer in the last 24 months. If that’s the case, you will probably be denied regardless of your credit score and other indicators.
The transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards to your Virgin Atlantic account is usually instantaneous.
Best Citi ThankYou Credit Card for Virgin Atlantic
Citi ThankYou Prestige is the only ThankYou card that currently offers a sign-up bonus. You will get 40,000 points after spending $4,000 in three months. While it carries a $450 annual fee, the card comes with a lot of other benefits that make the fee worth paying. Note, however, that a transfer to Virgin Atlantic is not instantaneous and can take from 12 hours to up to five days.
According to the Citi policy you can have the bonus if you haven’t had the same card opened or closed in the past 24 months.