Earn up to £160 back on shopping at the supermarket and on petrol.
While most bank switching offers provide cash, Virgin Money is taking a different approach. Since launching in late 2019, the offers have included free wine, charity donations, Virgin Experience vouchers, boosted interest rates, Virgin Red points and now cashback.
Here’s what you need to know.
What you’ll get for switching
The switch offer from 18 August until 30 September 2022 offers the following.
- 25% back on supermarket and fuel shopping for 60 days (up to £160)
This is on top of ongoing extras provided with the Virgin Money M Plus current account (here’s my review). The key ones to know about are:
- 2.02% interest on up to £1,000 balance
- 1.71% interest on balances up to £25,000
- Fee free spending abroad
- Cashback offers
How to qualify for the cashback
To qualify for the Virgin Money switching incentive you need to :
- Apply online for a Virgin Money M Plus Current Account for the first time
- Not have an existing Virgin Money, B, Clydesdale or Yorkshire Bank account or closed one since 30 April 2022
- No already had a switching offer from Virgin Money since 1 November 2020
Then within 45 days you also need to:
- Download the register for the Virgin Money app
- Complete a full switch using the Current Account Switch Service
- Transfer or set up two Direct Debit
- Pay in £1,000 to the linked M Saver easy access savings account, and keep it there until you receive confirmation you’re getting the cashback
- Register for Virgin Money Cashback in the app
I’ve written more about how to switch bank accounts here.
How to earn the cashback
You’ll need to wait until you’ve got an email confirming the switch has been successful and you’ve qualified for the cashback. You’ll get this within 14 days of meeting the criteria. You’ll also be able to see a countdown timer in the app once it’s active showing you how long you have left.
From the date of the email, you’ve 60 days where you can get 25% back on supermarket and petrol spending. You should be able to earn it on most relevant transactions. Here’s where Virgin Money say it’ll work:
- UK Supermarkets include, but are not limited to, Asda, Iceland, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, ALDI, LIDL, Tesco, The Co-operative and Waitrose. As well as miscellaneous food stores, convenience stores, markets, specialty stores, and vending machines.
- Purchases at UK petrol stations and pay at pump.
I contacted Virgin Money to check if online supermarkets were included and they are. However ordering groceries via a third party – e.g. Deliveroo – won’t count.
How much can you earn?
The cashback is capped at £160, which means you could get less. To get the full amount you’ll need to spend £640 over those two months, roughly £75 to £80 a week.
So that should be achievable for most households, but it’s worth thinking about your spending habits to ensure you can get the max amount.
If you think you might spend less, you could always buy a gift card at one of the big supermarkets to use at the same supermarket (or elsewhere) as part of your grocery shop. Just be aware of the risks of gift cards.
When you get the money
It’ll take up to 35 days after the transaction for the money to be paid into your cashback account. You’ll need to move it into your current account yourself, and this could take three to five working days.
How to get an extra £35 on top
Sign up via Snoop for up to £35 in Amazon vouchers
There’s an extra offer running until 31 October 2022 which will earn you a £30 Amazon voucher if you sign up and switch via the budgeting app Snoop. And if you’re new to Snoop you can also get a £5 welcome Amazon voucher when you connect another current account.
All the details of the welcome offer here, while you’ll see info on the £30 offer within the app.
Switch offer summary
Up to £160 back via 25% cashback
|Switching bonus||25% cashback on supermarket and fuel spending for 60 days, up to £160|
|Bonus paid||You’ll get an email with the details to start earning cashback within 14 days of meeting the switching criteria, then you have 60 days to earn the money|
|Open to existing customers||No|
|Requirements||Open a new Virgin M Plus current account|
|Put £1,000 in the linked M Plus Saver account until you have received the offer code|
|Transfer or set up two Direct Debits which must remain active until you have received the switching offer code|
|Switch using the Current Account Switch Service and close your old account|
|Sign up for the Virgin Cashback in the app|
|Exclusions||Not had a Virgin Money, Clydesdale, Yorkshire Bank current account since 30 April 2022|
|Not previously had a “Bundle” or “Points” switching offer from Virgin Money|
|Offer ends||Midday 30 September 2022|
How it compares to other switching incentives
Offering cashback is different from the switching incentives we see from other banks. Most banks go with hard cash, usually around the £100 to £150 mark, though some are edging to £175/£180.
You can see the latest ones here, and including:
Is the Virgin Money M Plus account any good?
Since its launch the M Plus account has been one of the highest paying places to put your savings, so from that point of view it’s a good additional account to have.
The app is fine, though not one of my top picks, and I personally wouldn’t make it my main current account. Here’s my full review.
Virgin Money M Plus
|Benefits||Fee-free spending overseas|
|Discounts with other Virgin brands|
|Interest||2.02% AER (variable) on the first £1,000 saved|
|1.71% AER (variable) in linked M Plus Saver easy access account (up to £25,000)|
|Multiple accounts?||Only one solo account and one joint account|
Should you switch to Virgin Money?
If you can spend enough to get the full £160 then this is comparable with the offers from other banks right now, and represents the largest bonus from Virgin Money.
It’s also the most accessible as everyone shops at the supermarket, so you’ll be spending money on useful things.
Throw in the decent interest on your savings, it’s a great package.
So if you’ve not switched to Virgin Money before then I’d absolutely go for it this time.
- 20,000 Virgin Red points (13 April to 17 August 2022)
- 5% interest on savings
- Virgin Experience voucher
- 12 bottles of Virgin wine
Virgin tends to change switching offers three or four times a year. A regular offer was free wine, so I’m including this for reference in case it comes back.
The first offer which gave 15 bottles of wine worth £180 ended on the 14th February 2021 and was replaced with fewer bottles but an additional £50 charity donation. The section has been updated to reflect the latter offer, which ended in June 2021.
Virgin Money claims the 12 free bottles are worth £150. That’s an average of £12.50 per bottle. You have a choice of a red and white selection, or if you don’t drink or a non-alcoholic bundle on 15 bottles worth £75.
Here’s what you’ll get with the red and white selection:
- Silenus Limited Release Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon – Red – x1
- Les Arbousiers Reserve Sauvignon Blanc – White – x1
- Bendico Terre Siciliane Vermentino – White – x1
- Finca Manzanos Selection de la Familia Rioja Blanco – White – x2
- El Nubarron Cabernet – Red – x2
- Depasso Nero d’Avola Leggermente Appassito – Red – x1
- Finca Manzanos Selection de la Familia Rioja – Red – x1
- Torre Aguila Gran Reserva – Red – x1
- Brio Pinot Grigio – White – x2
The non-alcoholic option of 15 bottles is valued at £75.
I’ve had a look for the wines elsewhere for comparison, but they are only on the Virgin Wine website. So it’s hard to say if their selling price is a fair price. But you can compare them to other mixed cases they do sell.
The total value of this selection is closer to £140 when based on the single bottle price sold by Virgin Wines. But if you buy other mixed cases from Virgin Wine you’d get a discount of between 6% and 21%.
Though this bundle is exclusive to switchers, let’s assume you’d get 13% off if it was sold to other customers. Then it’d be around £120. So not as much as stated, but that’s still a decent “freebie”.
But of course, if you were buying 12 bottles of wine yourself, would you usually get them from Virgin? Possibly not.
You could easily get 12 decent bottles of wine from the supermarket or somewhere like Majestic at £9 each, totalling £108. And if you timed it for when these wines were on offer (let’s assume an average of 25%), you’d pay closer to £81 in total, or £6.75 a bottle.
So personally I’d value the free wine at around the £80 mark. Though it’s some £60 less than the promised value, it’s still comparable with the cash bonuses offered by other banks.
Virgin Red Points
One offer was 20,000 Virgin Red points. There’s a long list of things you can swap your points for on the Virgin Red site. Here are a few examples:
- Virgin Wine
- Virgin Experiences
- Virgin Atlantic
- EMI records
- Virgin Voyages
- AO Arena concerts
- Charity donations
- London Theatre Direct
This is certainly the most flexible Virgin Money switching offer so far. If you want wine, you can get wine. If you don’t, you can pick from a number of different things. And if you collect Virgin points to go towards flights, then this is a hefty boost.
But what’s the actual value of the points? This gives a rough guide to the value of the points based on the cost of buying some of the options elsewhere:
|Product||Points needed||Cost elsewhere||Value of 100 points||Value of 20,000 points|
|12 bottles of Virgin Wine||16,000||Around £110||67p||£137.50|
|Greggs sausage roll||200||£1||50p||£100|
|Mustang driving via Virgin Experience||6,000||£39||65p||£130|
|Money off Virgin Atlantic flights||3,000||£16.50||55p||£110|
If we use the examples above of ways to redeem your points, we can assume you’ll get between £100 and £140 of goods for your 20,000 points.
However, the question is – would you pay that much for them? The wine, for example, might be worth £110 according to Virgin, but you could easily buy a dozen bottles of equivalent wine at the supermarket when on offer for less than £80.
Likewise you might find other items such as an album or experience for less elsewhere, or use voucher codes to bring prices down.
Plus, there’s very little that comes in at 20,000 points so you might have to mix and match different options. That could mean you buy things you don’t really want or need with leftover points, or perhaps not be able to use them all.
So I think you should be more conservative in the value of the points at closer to £100. Still decent, but beatable elsewhere.