Virgin Atlantic is a great international airline for European and Caribbean vacations. I flew on now-deceased “sister airline” Virgin America when I was a kid and I absolutely loved it! And as an adult, I want to fly on Virgin Atlantic at least once. One of the great things about Virgin Atlantic is their co-branded credit card from Bank of America (BOFA).
This card has a $90 annual fee (NOT waived the first year), which is slightly lower than most Tier III cards. It’s also a great option for those who want to fly over the Atlantic Ocean to reach their destination. Furthermore, it’s a great card for those who can benefit from earning Virgin Flying Club Miles.
The Virgin Atlantic Card is a nice earner, especially for a co-branded card. Even though it has a bonus category, the Virgin Atlantic Card is a better everyday card. That’s because it earns 3x Flying Club Miles on Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5x Miles on non-bonus spend. There is no limit for how many Miles you can earn under the 1.5x category.
Not many co-branded cards have a 1.5x multiplier for non-bonus spend. That alone gives the Virgin Atlantic Card a nice advantage over other airlines’ cards.
Sign-Up & Anniversary Bonuses
The Virgin Atlantic Card also comes with a sign-up bonus worth 30,000 Miles. It can be earned after spending $1,000 within the first three months. This is a nice bonus considering how easy it is to get.
Plus, the card comes with an Anniversary bonus worth 15,000 Miles. This is one of the best anniversary bonuses that comes from any co-branded card. However, you must spend $25,000 per year to get the points. Spending $25,000 is a “sweet spot” on this card for Virgin Atlantic enthusiasts. You will effectively earn over 2x Miles on all purchases if you hit this bonus.
You can also earn Virgin Elite Status just by having the Virgin Atlantic Card. The level of status depends on how much you spend on the card.
You earn 25 Tier Points for every $2,500 you spend on the card in net purchases. There is a maximum of 50 Tier Points per month and 600 per year. That means its not worth it to put more than $5,000 on your Virgin Atlantic Card per month.
Silver Status requires 400 Tier Points per year and Gold Status requires 1,000 Points per year.
This is the most straightforward way to redeem Virgin Flying Club Miles. But your mileage may vary because Virgin Atlantic has peak and standard (off-peak) pricing, which varies depending on where you want to fly to.
You can also transfer Virgin Flying Miles to one of the following transfer partners for flights:
- Air China (Star Alliance)
- Air New Zealand (Star Alliance)
- ANA (Star Alliance)
- Delta (SkyTeam)
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines (Star Alliance)
- South African Airways (Star Alliance)
- Virgin Australia
Having these eight partners increases the value of Virgin Flying Club Miles. It also increases the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) Points, Citi Thank You (TY) Points, and Amex Membership Rewards (MR) Points from their partnership.
Virgin Atlantic is not a member of the “Big Three” airline alliances (SkyTeam, Star Alliance, and OneWorld). But they have partners that are affiliated of two of them.
Overall, transferring Flying Club Miles to partners is one of the better ways to redeem them.
Cabin upgrades and companion seats are two other ways to redeem miles. But Virgin Atlantic levies huge taxes and fees on Virgin Atlantic-operated flights. Therefore, most points and miles collectors will want to use Virgin Atlantic miles for award flights on partner airlines.
The Virgin Atlantic Card sorely lacks in benefits if you plan to spend less than $25,000 per year on the card. Unfortunately, it does not come with checked bags or a statement credit like many competing cards. But the two benefit options can be huge for heavier spenders who love Virgin Atlantic.
Annual Upgrade or Companion Ticket
This benefit is one of the newer ones added to the Virgin Atlantic Card. You can select either an annual upgrade or a companion ticket if you spend at least $25,000 per year on the card.
The upgrade is valid for primary cardholders who want to upgrade from economy to premium economy class. It will not work for upgrading into Upper Class.
Alternatively, the companion ticket is a way for a friend or family member to fly for free. The class you can use it for depends on your Virgin status level:
- Red Tier members may redeem miles for a ticket in economy class
- Silver Tier members may redeem miles for a ticket in economy or premium economy
- Gold Tier members may redeem miles for a ticket in economy, premium economy, or Upper Class
Fortunately, you can justify the card’s $90 annual fee by selecting either benefit.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
The Virgin Atlantic Card does not have forex fees. You will save 3% on all purchases outside of the United States as a result. This benefit can be accessed regardless of how much you spend.
If the Virgin Atlantic Card is not right for you, check out these mid-tier alternatives:
American Express Green Card
The American Express Green Card is one of the most rewarding alternatives to the Virgin Atlantic Card. That’s because it earns 3x MR points on General Travel and Dining, including Virgin Atlantic flights. It also earns just one point per dollar for non-bonus spend.
Plus, the Green Card comes with a sign-up bonus worth 30,000 MR points. You must spend $2,000 within the first three months to earn the bonus. This bonus is not one of Amex’s largest. But it’s still a great start towards an international trip.
Furthermore, the Green Card has a $150 annual fee (NOT waived the first year). But it comes with some nice benefits to justify that fee. You will receive a $100 Lounge Buddy credit and a $100 CLEAR credit each year, as well as Trip Delay Insurance.
The Green Card is the better card for those who are not loyal to Virgin Atlantic, as well as domestic travelers.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is another fantastic alternative to the Virgin Atlantic Card. It earns 2x UR points on General Travel and Dining, including Virgin Atlantic flights. It also earns just one point per dollar for non-bonus spend.
Plus, the Sapphire Preferred comes with a sign-up bonus worth 60,000 UR points. You must spend $4,000 within the first three months to earn the bonus. This bonus is Chase’s largest among personal cards that earn UR points. It’s also better than that of its famous “bigger sibling”, the Sapphire Reserve.
The Sapphire Preferred has a comparable $95 annual fee (NOT waived the first year). And it comes with some of the best travel insurances in the industry. These include Primary Car Rental Insurance, Trip Delay Insurance, and Trip Cancellation Insurance. Most mid-tier cards do not come with such insurances. Plus, the Sapphire Preferred is a Visa card, giving it comparable international acceptance to the Virgin Atlantic Card.
The BOFA Virgin Atlantic Card is a fantastic option for international travelers who want to fly to Europe or the Caribbean. It’s also great for those who want to earn Virgin Flying Club Miles or have Virgin Atlantic Elite Status. The “sweet spot” for this card is spending $25,000 per year. This way, you will receive the option of a benefit and an anniversary bonus each year.
However, the Virgin Atlantic Card is not a great card for benefits if you plan to spend less than $25,000 per year on it. It’s earning structure gives you some incentive to put non-bonus spend on the card. This can be huge for Virgin fans.
Apply Today: Virgin Atlantic Card