The Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard usually comes with sign-up bonuses of 20,000 miles after the first purchase and 25,000 miles after a spend of $2,500, with the ability to earn 5,000 miles with an authorized user and 15,000 miles every year you spend $25,000. They just launched one of the most lucrative offers I’ve seen, but they also ramped up the spend needed to get the miles:
- 20,000 Flying Club bonus miles after your first retail purchase
- 50,000 additional Flying Club bonus miles after you spend at least $12,000 in qualifying purchases within 6 months of your account open date
- 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
- Earn 3 miles per $1 spent directly on Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all other purchases
This limited time offer is valid now through September 7th.
The card has a $90 annual fee, which is not waived the first year. The base earning is pretty lucrative at 1.5 mile per dollar spent (vs. most airline cards that offer 1x) and 3x on Virgin Atlantic purchases (vs. most airline cards that offer 2x). Virgin Atlantic miles are not the most valuable airline miles, but they can be valuable, especially for upgrading and business class redemptions if you don’t mind shelling out for fuel surcharges. However, there are ways to use Flying Club miles without fuel surcharges, as we’ve written about in the past. In general I find that Virgin Atlantic has pretty good award availability, so even though you do get hit with fuel surcharges on awards, they can be a valuable currency to have on hand- it never hurts to diversify!
Here’s a look at the Virgin Atlantic award chart:
So for instance, if you were to redeem from New York (JFK) to London (LHR) using Virgin Atlantic miles, you’d be looking at the following amount of miles:
Economy: 35,000 miles (plus $500 in taxes, fees and fuel surcharges)
Premium Economy: 55,000 miles (plus $810 in taxes, fees and fuel surcharges)
Upper Class: 80,000 miles (plus $1,300 in taxes, fees and fuel surcharges)
However, don’t let the high fuel surcharges on Virgin Atlantic dissuade you, since Virgin Atlantic has 14 different airline partners where you can also use these miles on, including Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Cyprus Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Gulf Air, Jet Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, SAS, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Virgin America and Virgin Australia.
Although the $90 annual fee isn’t waived, these 50,000 miles after spending the $12,000 could still be worth it to you, especially if you know you have a lot of spending coming up and want to consolidate it on one card to score those extra 15,000 anniversary miles. Plus, since it’s a Bank of America card, if you’ve been hitting Chase or Amex hard for bonuses lately and need to wait a while before your next app-o-rama, this might be a good option to score a decent bonus in the meantime.
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