Virgin Money Travel Card Review - 2023
Virgin Money UK discontinued their prepaid travel card in 2020, and now has a couple of credit card options that are promoted for travel use - the Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card, and the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card.
This guide covers the Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card features, benefits and fees in detail - with a quick look at the differences compared to the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card, too. Plus we’ll touch on the Wise international prepaid card and the Revolut debit card as alternatives you might want to consider.
Virgin Money travel card: key features
Virgin Money UK directs customers looking for a travel card to the Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card and the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card. The Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card has no annual fee, while the Reward+ Card has an annual charge of 160 GBP, in return for higher reward point opportunities.
This guide focuses on the Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card, but you can learn more about the Reward+ Card over on the Virgin Money UK desktop site.
Here are a few Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card pros and cons to kick off:
✅ No foreign transaction fee for spending in EUR, RON and SEK (in the UK and EEA)
✅ No annual fee
✅ Earn 0.75 points for every pound spent, and 1.5 points per pound when spending with Virgin Atlantic
✅ Travel extras and benefits available
❌ 26.9% representative APR, subject to status
❌ Higher interest, plus a 5% fee if you make a cash withdrawal
❌You’ll need to repay in full every month to avoid fees
Travel credit cards let you spread the costs of travelling out over a few months, while earning rewards, cashback or points as you spend. However, in return you may find you have to pay interest on unpaid balances, cash advance fees, and penalties if you don’t make a minimum repayment every time.
Travel debit cards can be a cheaper way to hold, exchange and spend foreign currencies. With providers like Wise and Revolut you can hold dozens of currencies and spend with your debit card - with no interest to worry about. Just top up your account in pounds, and spend overseas with low fees and fair exchange rates.
Who is the Virgin Money travel card for?
The Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card has no annual fee, and you can earn 0.75 points on every pound spent, which can be redeemed against travel benefits. If you’d rather earn more points, and don’t mind paying an annual fee, there’s also the Rewards+ Card which can suit frequent travellers.
In general, travel credit cards are most economical for people who repay their bills monthly to avoid interest charges, who can also benefit from the rewards offered by the card as you spend.
What is the Virgin Money travel card?
The Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card Virgin Money Credit Card is a no annual fee credit card which allows you to earn points on spending that can then be redeemed against travel benefits such as upgrades on travel, lounge access when you fly, and free flights for friends.
Is the Virgin Money Card a multi-currency card?
The Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card is not a multi-currency card, it’s a credit card with benefits optimised for travel, including extra points on some travel spend, and rewards you can redeem against flights.
If that doesn’t suit you, you might prefer providers like Wise and Revolut which have multi-currency accounts with linked debit cards, to add money in pounds and spend internationally with low fees and the mid-market exchange rate. More on that. next.
Alternatives to Virgin Money travel card
Travel credit cards aren’t necessarily the cheapest way to spend overseas, because of interest costs and potential penalties, as well as any foreign transaction fees you face.
To help you decide if the Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card is right for you, let’s look at it alongside a couple of other popular alternatives:
|Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card||Wise debit card||Revolut debit card|
|Availability||Subject to credit check||Available to UK customers without credit check||Available to UK customers without credit check|
|Interest rate||26.9% variable representative||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|Card order fee||No fee||7 GBP||No fee|
|Monthly fees||No fee if bill repaid in full||No fee||0 GBP - 12.99 GBP|
|International Money Transfers||Not available||Fees from 0.41%, 70 + countries covered||Fees from 0.3% to 2%, 40+ countries covered|
|International ATM withdrawals||5% cash advance fee, plus higher interest charge which accumulates immediately (28.7% representative)||2 withdrawals to 200 GBP/month fee free, then 0.5 GBP + 1.75% after that||Some free withdrawals based on account plan, 2% after that|
|Currency Exchange||Mastercard rate + 2.99% foreign exchange fee, waived for EUR, RON and SEK payments in the UK and EEA||Mid-market rate||Mid-market rate to plan limit|
|Supported Currencies for holding and exchange||GBP||50+ currencies supported||25+ currencies supported|
|Business Accounts||Not applicable - other products may be available from Virgin Money for business customers||Available||Available|
There’s a pretty big choice of different types of travel money cards for UK residents - including credit cards and prepaid travel cards from providers like Wise or Revolut. Which suits you depends on how you like to manage your money. Credit cards can be handy to spread the costs of travel over a few months - but more expensive overall.
Wise accounts can hold and exchange 50+ currencies, and come with an optional linked Wise card to spend with the mid-market rate and low fees from 0.41%, in 170+ countries. You can apply, and manage your account, from your smartphone, and get extra perks like fast payments to 70+ countries, and local bank details for 9 currencies, to get paid easily from 30+ countries.
The Wise card is a debit card, not a credit card - so there are no interest costs and no late payment penalties, just top up in pounds, and you’re good to go.
Revolut accounts come with linked debit cards, and can hold 25+ currencies. You can either get a standard plan which has no monthly fees, or pay a monthly charge to access extra features and perks. Revolut currency exchange uses the mid-market exchange rate to plan limits, with fair usage fees after that. Out of hours fees may also apply if you switch currencies when the global markets are shut.
Virgin Money travel card fees & spending limits
Let’s look at the costs of using the Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card when you’re travelling:
|Service/fee/limit type||Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card fee|
|Annual fee||No fee|
|Interest rate||26.9% representative|
|Cash withdrawals||5% cash advance fee - ATM operator may also impose their own fee|
|Cash withdrawal interest||28.9% representative - applies immediately after a withdrawal is made|
|Foreign transaction fee|
No foreign transaction fee for spending in EUR, RON and SEK (in the UK and EEA)
2.99% fee for all other foreign currency spending
|Late payment fee||12 GBP|
|Spending limit||Based on credit score and eligibility|
Information correct at time of writing - 17th May 2023
When you spend overseas with the Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card your spending is converted back to pounds using the Mastercard exchange rate, to create your bill.
If you’re paying in EUR, RON and SEK in the UK and EEA, there’s no foreign transaction fee, so the exchange rate is made with the Mastercard rate with no additional charges. All other spending incurs a 2.99% foreign transaction fee, which is added to the rate used to convert your spending back to pounds.
How to get a Virgin Money travel card
To get a Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card you’ll need to complete an online eligibility and credit check.
Eligibility criteria include:
You must be a UK resident, over 18, with a UK bank or building society account
You must have good credit history and an income of at least 7,000 GBP a year
You can’t apply if you’ve recently closed a Virgin Money credit card, or if you have an active Virgin card already
To apply, simply head to the Virgin Money credit card desktop site, to complete the eligibility check and start your application.
What documents and information you’ll need
Virgin Money partners with identity verification service HooYu, to allow you to get verified and set up with your card from your phone. You’ll be guided through the verification process by on screen prompts, but you’ll usually need to upload a picture of your photo ID and a selfie. You’ll also be asked for your current address, and may need to provide proof of this to complete verification.
As the Virgin Money travel card is a credit card, a credit check may apply, and so you may also need to provide proof of income or outgoings.
How to use a Virgin Money travel card?
Use your Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card at home and abroad, just as you would with any other payment card. As the card is issued on the Mastercard network, all you need to do is look out for the Mastercard logo to check if the card is accepted.
How to withdraw cash with a Virgin Money travel card?
To withdraw cash with your Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card, just insert your card into any ATM on the Mastercard network, enter your PIN, and the amount you need to receive. Don’t forget, there’s a 5% cash advance fee, and the interest on the withdrawal amount starts to accrue immediately once you’ve made the withdrawal.
Is the card safe?
Yes. Virgin Money issues credit cards through Clydesdale Bank PLC, which is authorised and regulated in the UK by the FCA.
How to use the Virgin Money travel card overseas?
The Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card can be used anywhere you see the Mastercard symbol. If you’re in the UK or EEA, and spending EUR, RON or SEK, there’s no extra fee for foreign transactions. A 2.99% charge applies on all other spending overseas, though.
Conclusion: is the Virgin Money travel card worth it?
Virgin Money UK promotes the Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card, and the similar Reward+ Card as good options for international travellers. You can earn points on everyday spending, and extra points on travel - which can then be redeemed for free flights, upgrades and lounge access when you’re going on holiday. However, as with any credit card, you may run into interest costs, and with overseas spending outside the EEA you’ll pay a 2.99% foreign transaction fee too.
For a cheaper alternative, compare the Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card against a flexible multi-currency account that comes with a debit card - like the popular options from Wise and Revolut we explored earlier. Debit cards are often cheaper overall, and the option to hold and exchange currencies right in your account can also make managing your budget far easier - even when you’re working across currencies.
Virgin Money travel card review FAQ
The Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card is a credit card with no annual fee which offers travel rewards. Compare the benefits to a debit card designed for overseas spending, from alternative providers like Wise and Revolut, to see which suits you best.
The Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card can be used at home and abroad anywhere you see the Mastercard symbol. If you’re spending in the EEA you may find there’s no foreign transaction fee to pay - but elsewhere, overseas usage costs 2.99% in charges.
If the Virgin Money Credit Card isn’t right for you, there’s lots of choice out there. Compare a few travel credit cards from major UK banks against travel debit cards from a provider like Wise or Revolut to build a picture of the options available, including their features and fees.