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Virgin Money doubles reward credit card bonus points: How does it stack up?

Written by: Matthew Browning
Shoppers looking to be rewarded for everyday spending can bag 30,000 Virgin points when taking out its credit card – double the usual offer and enough to get you a trip to New York.

Virgin Money has revamped its offering, with the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card giving shoppers the chance to bag 30,000 points for successful applicants until 2 October.

It’s geared towards Virgin Red and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members, with the points the equivalent to a trip to New York. But before you get carried away, you need to factor in the £160 annual fee and be aware of the 69.7% APR representative (variable).

The bonus points are also split between an initial 15,000 which are applied when you make your first purchase (no minimum spend). Meanwhile, the other 15,000 bonus points come when you spend £3,000 or more within the first 90 days.

Shoppers earn 1.5 Virgin Points for every £1 spent on everyday card purchases, while they can earn three points for every £1 spent with Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Holidays.

The table below details what the average monthly card spend could get you:

On top of the points, there are no FX fees when spending in Euro, Swedish Kronor or Romanian Lei.

This means card holders save 3% on purchases while earning Virgin Points on top. However, the 3% fee applies to transactions in all other currencies.

How good is this credit card offering?

This is “an excellent sign-up bonus”, according to Rob Burgess of frequent flyer website HeadforPoints.

He said: “We never see a better deal than this. With this deal, you are receiving 30,000 Virgin Points, which should be worth around £300 if redeemed for long-haul premium flights, easily offsetting the £160 annual fee for the first year.

“More importantly, once you have the Reward+ card, you are earning the superior 1.5 points per £1 whenever you shop. You also trigger the upgrade and companion vouchers more quickly when you spend £10,000.”

Another boon of the card is that even if you already have another Virgin Money credit card, you are still eligible to get this one with the boosted bonus points.

How does it compare to other reward credit cards?

Burgess said there are only two credit cards which offer similar levels of return for every £1 spent. These are the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard and the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card.

Both of these cards earn 1.5 Avios per £1 spent, and have fees of £240 and £250 respectively.  Both come with a valuable annual voucher for spending £10,000 – an Avios flight upgrade voucher from Barclaycard and a 2-4-1 Avios redemption voucher from American Express.

“The smart thing to do is separate out your thinking about the credit cards you want to have long-term and those you want to get purely for one year for the bonus. Irrespective of whether you want to keep the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card long-term, you can think about it like this – would I pay £160 (the first year card fee) for 30,000 Virgin Points?  If you believe you can redeem these for premium cabin flights on Virgin Atlantic or its partners, the answer is yes.

“Once you’ve paid the fee, you might as well keep using the card for the first year to earn 1.5 Virgin Points per £1 and potentially trigger the annual voucher for spending £10,000. At the end of the year you can reconsider whether the card is a long-term keeper, but for now you should look at it purely in terms of the value you get in the first year,” Burgess said.

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