Credit card review: Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card UK

Dec 29, 2020

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Behind British Airways’ Executive Club and its Avios currency, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is probably the second-most popular airline loyalty programme in the U.K.

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While Virgin Atlantic doesn’t have the fleet or route map that British Airways has, it still has an impressive list of destinations, partners and you can also earn its currency, Virgin Points, directly through two different cobranded credit cards. One of those cards is the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card.

Related: The ultimate guide to flying Virgin Atlantic

Who is this card for?

This card is designed for those who fly Virgin Atlantic (or would like to) and want a high-earning card to earn Virgin Points to use on Virgin Atlantic or its partners.

This may also be a good option for those travellers who use a high-earning American Express card but also want a Mastercard for those retailers that do not accept American Express.

Related: How to plan your UK credit card portfolio

Sign-up bonus and annual fee

This card offers 15,000 Virgin Points when you make your first purchase on the card, and this purchase can be as inexpensive as a cup of coffee. There’s no minimum spend requirement beyond this. Based on TPG’s current valuation of Virgin Points these 15,000 points are worth approximately £210.

There is an annual fee of £160.

This card has a representative APR of 63.9% variable, and a purchase rate of 22.9% variable with an assumed credit limit of £1,200.

Virgin Atlantic's new premium-economy cabin. Photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic.Virgin Atlantic’s new premium-economy cabin. Photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic.

Earning

You will earn a generous 3 points for each £1 spent on the card with Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Holidays and 1.5 points per £1 spend on all other purchases.

For a non-American Express card, this is a fantastic earn rate, especially given Mastercard is accepted in more places than American Express.

As of 16 April 2020, the card no longer charges foreign transaction fees on some international purchases. Virgin Money did doing away with the pesky 2.99% foreign transaction fee it charges on some non-sterling purchases. The fee no longer applies to international purchases made within the European Economic Area (EEA). In other words, you won’t be charged the 2.99% fee if you are making a purchase in sterling, euro, Swedish kronor or Romanian lei. For international purchases made outside of the EEA, you’ll still be charged a 2.99% fee.

Redeeming

Read our complete guide to using Virgin Points here.

Perks

The best perk of this card if you are planning to spend some serious money is the ‘Virgin Atlantic Reward’ you will receive after spending only £10,000 on the card within each 12 months of your card anniversary date (i.e. the date you activated the card). This reward differs based on which level of status you hold in the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club programme:

If you hold Flying Club Red status (the lowest/entry-level tier) you can choose:

  • To upgrade a single economy redemption flight to premium economy; or
  • A second economy redemption seat for a travelling companion for no additional points on the same flight.

For Flying Club silver status members, you can choose between:

  • Upgrading a single economy redemption flight to premium economy; or
  • A second economy or premium redemption seat for a travelling companion for free on the same flight; or
  • A single Virgin Clubhouse pass for London Heathrow (LHR) or London Gatwick (LGW).

If you are a Flying Club Gold member, you can choose between:

  • Upgrading a single economy redemption flight to premium economy; or
  • A second redemption seat for a travelling companion in any class for no additional points on the same flight; or
  • Two Virgin Clubhouse pass for London Heathrow (LHR) or London Gatwick (LGW).

Note the upgrades must have award availability in the higher class to which you wish to upgrade, the travelling companion must still pay taxes and fees for their ‘free’ flight and the lounge passes require a same-day Virgin Atlantic ticket — and no guesting is allowed.

Other perks include 0% interest on balance transfers for the first six months, but do note there is a 3% fee for transferring this balance.

As a cardholder, you’ll have access to Virgin Money lounges. These are city lounges in which Virgin Money customers can relax, rather than airport lounges for travellers flying.

Delta One Suites, a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club redemption partner. Photo by Emily McNutt / The Points Guy

Which cards compete with this card?

This is a great card packed with earning benefits but does have a fairly high annual fee. If you would like to still collect Virgin Atlantic Virgin Points without an annual fee but are happy with no sign-up bonus and lower earning rate, you may wish to consider the Virgin Atlantic Rewards Credit Card instead.

However, if you have Virgin Atlantic elite status and will spend £10,000 or more on the card it could be a much better value proposition to have the Rewards+ card in order to obtain that valuable Virgin Atlantic Reward.

Bottom line

Flying Club doesn’t receive as much attention as Executive Club/Avios does, but it’s still a solid programme with plenty of redemption options.

This is a higher-end card with a fantastic earn rate, great sign-up bonus and annual fee to go with it. Plus, now that it no longer charges foreign transaction fees on some purchases, it could be a good option to use if you’re abroad. If you are a higher spender and especially if you have elite status in the Flying Club programme, you may wish to consider applying for this card here.

You can apply for this card here.

Featured image by Patrick Fallon / The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.