‘Credit Cards Update’ updated for October

The ‘Credit Cards Update’ page at the top of the blog has been updated for October to reflect changes over the past month. (Click here to see it if you are an e-mail or RSS reader.)

Here are the changes over the past month:

British Airways American Express – the sign-up bonus on the basic card dropped to 1,000 Avios or 6,000 Avios on the Premium Plus card. These offers are both, frankly, shockingly poor compared to earlier this year. Hold off applying, there are far better card offers currently available.

Flybe Mastercard – the deal has improved, with the offer of ‘two free flights’ coming back. You get the usual one free flight for signing up, plus a second free flight for spending £500. Note, though, that taxes etc must still be paid. With Flybe, these often represent 80%+ of the price of buying a cash ticket. (Their website admits that, during a sale period, the taxes on a ‘free’ ticket may be MORE than the equivalent reward seat!)

Lloyds TSB Duo Avios cards – no change, but the current (weak) offer expires on 18th October so we will see what comes after

Virgin Atlantic American Express and Visa cards – there is a very good promotion on at the moment, described as the best they have ever done. See this post for details.

Priority Club Rewards Visa – the cards now come with Priority Club Gold (free card) or Priority Club Platinum (£99 card) status, although this is not mentioned on the website yet. See this post for more details.

Tesco Clubcard MasterCard – the ‘refer a friend’ bonus of 1,000 Clubcard points has rolled over into 2013

American Express Platinum charge card – the bonus for a direct application is back (50,000 points). See my other post today for news on who qualifies for the bonus.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold charge card – the bonus, after a dip to 10,000 points, is back at 20,000.

Finally, it is worth noting that the BMI Diamond Club cards continue to be available and will be, it seems, for a few months yet.

The 20,000 Avios bonus for getting the FREE bmi Diamond Club credit card remains the best deal currently available in UK loyalty cards. If you have one, get one for your partner. If they have one, get one for your parents and use the Family Account facility to move the miles to yourself. MBNA gives out cards to even very low earners, so do not miss out.

Amex Platinum

My top picks:

If I had to list my preferred choice this month, I would say:

The bmi Diamond Club cards. You get 20,000 Avios. It will disappear soon, has no fee, has a low £250 target to trigger the bonus and is available to people on very modest incomes or pensions. You cannot ask for more.

American Express Prefered Rewards Gold. No fee for the first year and 2o,000 Membership Rewards points (see here for what 20,000 MR points can get you – 20,000 Avios points for a start!).

Hilton HHonors Platinum Visa. A free night in any Hilton Group property for spending £750. That could be worth £250 if spent wisely at a Conrad or Waldorf-Astoria branded property.

Virgin Atlantic Black – if you already collect Virgin miles, the 20,000 bonus miles under the current promotion are worth having, despite the £140 card fee. They would also convert into 40,000 Hilton Hhonors points.

American Express Platinum – if you meet the £40,000 household income requirement and have no other Amex-issued cards, including NO BA Amex then this is outstanding (but see my other post today for news on the qualification criteria). 50,000 Membership Rewards points (see here for what that gets you), and you can cancel for a pro-rata refund of your £450 as soon as you’ve hit the £3,000 spend target.

Don’t forget that you can see my detailed series of ‘Credit Card Reviews’ posts by clicking on ‘Credit Card Reviews’ under the ‘Categories’ menu on the right.

BAA WorldPoints to become Heathrow-only from January
How I got £370 of value from my Starwood Amex sign-up bonus!
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Comments

  1. Some feedback regarding the BMI cards:

    Raffles has mentioned

    “that the BMI Diamond Club cards continue to be available and will be, it seems, for a few months yet.”

    I think you’ll find you have 26 days to take advantage of this! From the BMI homepage:

    “From 28 October 2012 http://www.flybmi.com will no longer be available.”

    And if you do want to jump onboard while you still can, a new site will be launched specifically for Diamond Club so you can still earn credit card points (that’s all, not for flights etc) for transfer to BAEC, but will you qualify?

    “If you have received a welcome bonus for any bmi credit card previously you will not receive a second welcome bonus miles award.”

    Sadly it specifies no time limit, so that’s me and my partner knocked off the invite list :(

    Finally, they also offer a BMI Plus card, but at £85/yr fee for 4,000 points it’s not worth it.

    My money’s on the American Express Prefered Rewards Gold for 22,000 points, or better yet the American Express Platinum with 52,000 points. I should qualify for either, though taking the latter’s card fee into account and assuming 3 months to hit the £3,000 spend, you’re effective paying £112.50 (£450/4) for the extra 30,000 points at a rate of 0.375p/point – pretty good value. Transferred to Avios and worth around £220, that’s nearly a 100% ROI! :)

    • I know quite a few people who have got the BMI joining bonus twice, despite what the site says. If you have the old Mastercard, there is certainly nothing to lose by applying for the free Amex / Visa combo – and a possible 20,000 Avios to gain.

    • If you’ve cancelled the old MC then you should very much be OK. I know people who STILL have the old MC who got another bonus for applying for the new cards!

  2. I also like the House of Fraser Mastercard. 1 per cent of spend back in HOF vouchers, plus 3 per cent of HOF spend and 6 per cent back on HOF cosmetics spend. Obviously helps if you visit a HOF on a regular basis, of course!

  3. How about generating extra credit card spend with no or little extra cost? Obviously channelling all everyday expenditure through mile/cash back earning cards is a given, but any ideas for making extra spend along the lines of the old PayPal top-up card route?

    Obviously buying supermarket vouchers is one choice, but unless these can be sold on, all you’re doing is taking from your future spend. With so many credit card spend targets to achieve at the moment, any novel suggestions would be great!

    • I have never heard of a bonus being taken away due to refunds. Amex bonuses post immediately when you hit the spend, so a purchase and quick refund (before your statement gets processed) will be fine.

      It is a bit trickier when the bonus comes a few weeks after hitting the target – you end up paying your card bill, waiting to refund the item and then being hugely in credit ( although you can work this through over the months).

      I did a £9000 refund onto my Lloyds Avios card last month (having already settled the £9k card bill) and it will take 3 months to spend through my credit balance. Luckily I had the £9k to play with.

  4. timezonehopper says:

    Interesting comments re. getting the BMI bonuses for a 2nd time. I applied for these cards (one for me and one for my wife) in May and ditched them in July. Is it too soon to re-apply? Are there any hard and fast rules on this?

    Incidentally Raffles, I applied for the PC Black Visa via the link that you posted (your wife’s targetted link) and have already had the £99 annual fee refunded. Many thanks!

    • Not sure about reapplying for the same cards. My earlier comment was about people who had the old BMI MasterCard getting a bonus for applying for the Amex and Visa combo. Not much to lose at this point in BMI’s life, though!