Virgin Atlantic sent out e-mail offers yesterday for their increased bonus offering on their Flying Club credit card. It is advertised as being up to 90,000 miles, so we will break it down to see what you can realistically expect and why you may want to apply for this card. Also, we will look at why the best offer might just be to transfer these Flying Club miles to Hilton.
Virgin Atlantic Credit Card Offer
Disclaimer: I do not receive a commission for this card.
This 90,000 mile offer is a little complicated when it comes to how it actually pays out the miles. In fact, you cannot even get all 90,000 miles until you have held the card for one full year! Here is the breakdown:
- 20,000 miles after your first purchase
- 50,000 miles after spending $12,000 in the first 6 months
- 5,000 miles when you add authorized users to your account
- 15,000 miles after your first cardmember anniversary if you have spent $25,000 (7,500 miles when you spend $15,000 and an additional 7,500 if you spend another $10,000)
The annual fee ($90) is not waived so that means you need to pay $180 to actually get that 15,000 miles, though it is really just an extra $90 since you would have already paid the fee for the first year.
Application Link – Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Credit Card from Bank of America
What To Do With Them – Airline Redemption
Now, while that is a lot of miles, Virgin Atlantic award redemptions have high fuel surcharges so flying Virgin Atlantic will not be something that most people will want to use the miles for. It is reported, however, that they do not charge fuel surcharges on Delta Airlines award redemptions (they are a redemption partner), so that could provide some value to those who do not already have a lot of Delta miles. One of the examples is US to UK is only 40,000 miles for roundtrip!
Note that you will need saver level award availability on Delta to use your Flying Club (Virgin Atlantic) miles. Here is the redemption chart for travel on Delta.
Another option is to use Flying Club miles to fly Virgin America flights. However, the cities that are served by Virgin America are limited. If you are in one of those cities, or will be traveling between those cities, you can get some good value. For instance, Los Angeles to San Francisco is only 10,000 miles roundtrip and New York to San Francisco (and others ) sits at the normal 25,000 miles roundtrip. Here is the award redemption chart for travel on Virgin America.
What To Do With Them – Hilton Hotel Redemptions
Believe it or not, but probably the best thing to do with these miles is to convert them over to the Hilton HHonors program. Earlier this year, they devalued that conversion rate, but with this large of a credit card bonus, you can still get some significant value out of it. The current transfer ratio is 2:3 (Virgin Atlantic to Hilton), so 1 to 1.5. The transfers must be made in 10,000 mile increments and you must call Virgin Atlantic (1 800 365 9500) to set it up. It can take up to 30 days, so work that into your planning.
Running the Numbers
With this bonus and the miles you would earn in the first year, you will be able to get 135,000 Hilton points (and have 3,000 Flying Club miles left). That is because the transfers are in 10,000 mile increments and you would have a total of 93,000 miles – 20,000 miles for opening the account + 50,000 miles for spending $12,000 + the 18,000 miles earned from spending (you earn 1.5 miles per dollar spent) + 5,000 for adding authorized users.
If you spend $25,000 before your first anniversary, you will receive the additional 15,000 miles. I would not put that much money on this card, but you will get half of that 15,000 if you spend $15,000 in a year. Since you have to spend $12,000 anyway, go ahead and put another $3,000 on it to earn the 7,500 miles. Not only will you have earned 82,500 miles from the bonuses, but you will have also earned 22,500 miles from the spending for a total of 105,000 miles. I would consider putting another $3,500 in order to reach the amount of 110,000 miles. That way, you can transfer all 110,000 miles out to Hilton for a total of 165,000 Hilton HHonor points. Yes, it will take some work, but this gives you a good opportunity to get a bunch of Hilton points by meeting the minimum spending with an extra $3.5K to round it up.
Value with Hilton
There are a ton of ways and cards to earn Hilton points, but this card actually presents the best way to earn the most Hilton miles with one card. With the highest category Hilton hotels requiring up to 95,000 points, this card will not get you two nights at a top tier Hilton (like the Citi Hilton Reserve will give you), but I would not use points for that tier anyway. The great value will be in the lower category hotels. A category 3, for example, would require 20,000 points per night. The points earned with this card could give you 8 nights at category 3 hotels!
My stay at the Hilton Papagayo Resort required 50,00 points per night. With this offer, you would have enough points for 3 nights at that resort, which would otherwise cost almost $1,000 – and includes all the food and drinks!
Apply or No?
If you do not have enough Hilton points and would like to splurge on a big redemption down the road, I would say this card should be a no-brainer. It gives you more points than any other Hilton branded card for sure.
Also, if you do not mind calling the award center to book partner flights, you may find value booking Virgin America or Delta flights. Just know that others have reported that it can quite tedious to do! Still, being able to get enough miles for two roundtrip tickets to the UK with Delta is not a bad proposition at all!