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Just the other day I wrote a post about how I think Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles should be getting more useful in the near future…..so you’d think I’d be excited to hear that there’s a new 90,000 mile sign up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Mastercard. But I’m not. In fact I think the offer is so poor that the main reason I’m writing this post is to try to show people why most really shouldn’t be signing up.
First things first: if you’re someone who can manufacture spend in a big way then this blog post isn’t for you 🙂
Right, moving on……so why do I dislike this offer so much?
Firstly it’s a sneaky offer because, if you go to the Bank of America Virgin Atlantic card home page, this is the offer you actually see:
To get the 90,000 point offer you have to use one of the affiliate links you’ll find floating around the web.
I don’t like that. Why does this have to be a “Where’s Waldo” exercise?!
Secondly, if you read the full details of how you earn the 90,000 miles you’ll see that it’s really not all that simple.
- 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 purchases within 6 months of your account open date
- Earn up to 15,000 additional bonus miles each anniversary after qualifying purchases
- Earn up to 5,000 Flying Club bonus miles when you add 2 additional authorized users to your card
So that’s an easy 25,000 miles….but then things get a lot tougher.
50,000 of the 90,000 miles (55% of the whole offer) require you to spend $12,000 within the first 6 months of opening the card….and that’s a lot of spending.
Sure, you get 6 months instead of the more normal 3 to hit the spending target…..but that’s still a lot of money.
To hit that target most people would have to put most (probably all) of their credit card spending on this one card and that’s just a bad proposition.
This card earns:
- 3 miles/$ spent with Virgin Atlantic
- 1.5 miles/$ spent everywhere else
This means that, unless you’re lucky enough to have some big spending on Virgin Atlantic coming up, you’ll be using this card mostly on things like:
- Dining out
- Non-Virgin Atlantic travel
- Phone/TV/Internet bills
An all of those are categories in which other credit cards would earn you a lot more points.
The Citi ThankYou Premier card is a far better choice for most of those categories
Some simple math shows how bad a deal this is:
I value Virgin Atlantic miles at around 1.0 cents each (and that’s probably generous) so, for all non-Virgin Atlantic spend this card earns essentially 1.5 cents/$.
If we assume that Amex, Chase and Citi currencies are all worth around 1.5 cents each (not a generous valuation at all) you could earn at least 4.5 cents/$ for spending in most of those categories using better credit cards – that’s 3 times the earnings that you’d be getting from the Virgin Atlantic credit card.
And for what? To earn miles in a currency that is (a) nowhere nearly as useful as most other mainstream currencies and (b) that will see you incur high surcharges on most awards you book.
And all of that is just for 50,000 more points.
To get the final 15,000 points you have to hold on to the card for a second year and therefore incur a second annual fee of $9o.
Just how many hoops does Bank of America want their card holders to jump?!
I may think that Virgin Atlantic miles are about to be come more useful…..but that’s in comparison to what they’re like today and not in comparison to transferable currencies like Membership Rewards, ThankYou points or Ultimate Rewards.
Those currencies are far more useful and valuable than Virgin Flying Club miles so forgoing those just to earn this signup bonus is simply not worth it.
Put simply: The signup bonus for this card is really 25,000 miles – the rest isn’t worth going for.