‘Credit Cards Update’ updated for February

I have updated the ‘Credit Cards Update’ page for February. As with January, it was one of the quicker jobs I’ve done on this page because there have been no major changes since the January list came out!

The only major amendment was removing the SPG Amex 20,000 point bonus, which was due to end yesterday. The bonus should drop back down to 10,000 points this morning.

(This may still change. Some SPG members have had targetted emails extending the deadline for the 20,000 points to February 14th. It is not clear if this applies to everyone – the offer has gone from the SPG website homepage.)

The Flybe card has also got worse – not that I recommended it in the first place! – with the free flight (but with taxes that represent the bulk of the cost of a paid flight!) replaced by two lounge passes.

Annoyingly, the current deal on the Lloyds Avios card – which requires you to book hotel nights via Avios in order to redeem your ‘free’ Avios – still has two months to run before something (hopefully) better turns up.

Given the lack of new deals, let me repeat my advice on the best cards currently available if you are thinking of ‘churning’ the contents of your wallet:

1. British Airways American Express cards

Again, there is an excellent offer at the moment which I believe will end VERY soon. 9,000 Avios for the free card and 25,000 Avios for the paid card is about as good as it gets. And the 2-4-1 voucher for use on Avios redemptions that comes with this card is the most valuable perk in the UK loyalty card sector, as I discuss here. If you have been thinking about the BA Amex, now is as good a time as any to jump in.

BA Amex

2. American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

This is currently an outstanding deal, which is showing no signs of going away. No fee for the first year and 20,000 Membership Rewards points (see here for what 20,000 MR points can get you – 20,000 Avios points for a start!)

Amex Gold

3. American Express Platinum card

If you don’t have the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold card, or an Amex Green card, then this offer remains very impressive.

I wrote more about it here. Yes, there is a £450 annual fee but this is refunded pro-rata when you cancel. More importantly, the sign-up bonus is huge – 50,000 Membership Rewards points (= 50,000 Avios).

Amex Platinum

4. Hilton HHonors Platinum Visa

If you’re looking for a Visa or Mastercard, this card remains a great deal purely for the sign-up deal. You get 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.

Hilton credit card

5.  Priority Club Black Visa

If you are used to having Platinum status for your Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn Express, Indigo, InterContinental etc stays, you will probably have noticed by now that you are very unlikely to requalify in 2013.  The incredibly harsh new regime – which means only base points and not bonuses count for status – will see 80%+ of Platinum cardholders drop away, I imagine.

The Priority Club Black Visa comes with Platinum status as a free (and not publicised) perk.   There is an annual fee of £99 but if you do enough stays at Priority Club hotels then it is a decent deal.  I also found a new link which gives you 40,000 points for signing up (worth 8,000 Avios or other airline miles, or 80% of an InterContinental free night) which more than covers your first year fee.

Full details, including links to the application forms, are on the ‘Credit Cards Update’ page.

Triple Avios on 3+ day Hertz rentals
Free Platinum status with Global Hotel Alliance
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Comments

  1. Hi,

    Have never had a BA card.

    Should I apply for the basic one first, then the paid one later and get two bonuses?

    Would I need to cancel the basic one and wait six months before applying for the paid one?

    I have Amex Plat and SPG, plus the old BMI Mastercard.

    Wife only has Amex SPG and BMI MC.

    Thanks Raffles.

    • To get the bonus for an upgrade, you would need to cancel, wait 6 months and reapply. You would lose the benefit of your spend to date towards the 241 voucher. It is probably better to go for the Premium Plus card straight off.

      If you are not using the SPG card anymore, you might want to cancel that first or at least reduce your credit limit (can be done on the website) if its high, to maximise your chance of acceptance.

      • Hi Raffles,
        Thanks for that. We put about 60k a year through the cards, but usually fly from Scotland to Europe – hate LHR with a passion – to start long-haul so not so worried about 241 (especially with Malaysia on board)
        So was just wondering about snapping up a couple of 10k bonuses before Premium Plus.
        Sounds like it might be risky, since the current PP sign-up may end and we would lose out on the 50% extra PP points for six months.

        • True. The current 25k is very close to the highest bonus ever, which was 30k.

          • Nope, the highest was 40k in July 2012 – I know as I applied and received it 😛

            Just tried to churn Hilton, but find it incredibly difficult to get it approved – they seem to have some weird criteria! (Amex/MBNA always approve without an issue)

          • That 40k was targetted though, wasn’t it? 30k was the highest general offer I remember. But I’m getting old and my memory fades!

        • Get your wife the free card, then have her refer you immediately. She gets 9k + 9k and you get the 25k. Only risk is the 25k offer disappears before she gets her card through. Just make sure you can achieve the spend requirements concurrently.

          While you’re at it, looks like she needs a referral for AMex plat (25k + 52k for £450).

  2. onlysuites says:

    Raffles a friend of mine got the Amex gold. Spent the 2k and got the points. Now he is thinking about refunding the major purchase which was £1500 for a TV. Will they take the points away?

  3. If I have the Amex Platinum Creditcard and a BA Amex can I still apply for and get the bonus for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

    Also, if my brother has a AMEX Platinum Charge card can he apply for and get the bonus for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

    • “If I have the Amex Platinum Creditcard and a BA Amex can I still apply for and get the bonus for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold” – yes, as neither of those are charge cards and the rules only block people who have charge cards or Membership Rewards accounts, which are the same thing in effect

      “Also, if my brother has a AMEX Platinum Charge card can he apply for and get the bonus for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold” – no, if you have a charge card – or have had one in the last 6 months – you cannot get the MR bonus on the Gold card

      • On the first point then it is confusing. I have the Platinum credit card that does have a membership rewards account and earn membership rewards points so would that exclude me?

        • The MR-issuing version of the Platinum credit card (which is no longer available to new applicants) is a different kettle of fish. Unfortunately, I do think you are blocked.

          Amex changed the wording on its website https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/content/platinum-card/?filter=membership a couple of weeks ago. It now says “I understand I will not be eligible for any Welcome Bonus award if I hold or have held any Membership Rewards enrolled American Express Card in the past six months.”. It used to say “no American Express charge cards”.

          I would cancel the Platinum card, make sure the MR account is also closed, and then make a diary note to apply again for Platinum or Gold in 6+ months time.

  4. Very interesting!

    • Mine didn’t track either – that was a few months ago, I submitted a claim and it has now been paid :-) On the upside it meant I held on to the card and was able to take advantage of some offers! Yes, you need to wait for your bill to be generated before the points post across to SPG.

      • Flashware says:

        That’s awesome Alan, thanks very much! I’ll have to wait for the card to arrive as it asks for the card number when doing the cash-back claim form. Thanks for confirmation on the points, too!

  5. Being single, I don’t think I can spend more than £6000 on an Amex each year. I think keeping a fee-charging Amex long-term would become very expensive. I could keep the normal BA card, then apply for and cancel the Plat every year, whenever I have £2000 to spend. Is this feasible indefinitely, or will they start rejecting after a while? Would be a regular 25K referral points for you if they maintain the bonuses…

    • I think, in your scenario, your best bet is definitely to focus on churning cards. You don’t need to go mad – if you just got 2 new cards a year, cancelling others as you go, you could carry on for ever and would get a decent miles intake each year. As you said, you can time the applications so the cards appear at a time when you might be booking a holiday or running up some other bill.

  6. hi,
    does the uk platinum card have the $200 airline statement credit? (or the relevant currency)

    • Flashware says:

      Not that I’ve seen, think it’s just a US thing.

      • Indeed not – no free forex fees or various other benefits too! We do however get lots of free supp cards that they have to pay for and our Priority Pass is the full one, not the Select version that they get.

  7. The 9000 Avios on the free card offer ends on 3rd March 2013 according to an advert I saw for it.

    Found an old statement the other day and I got a whole 1000 Avios when I took the card out :( I only had to make one purchase to get the bonus at least!

  8. Yes, you are fine for both. The only cards which block you from the bonus are the Gold and Green Amex charge cards (either currently held, or held in the last 6 months).

    Some text on the Amex websites is contradictory, but you can trust me that what I wrote above is correct!

    • For both getting the card from a referral and just signing up? On both cards? Amazing.

      This website is so good! I have become addicted to collecting miles within the past month – who knew it was this easy!

      I also tweeted this question to you, so you can ignore that!

      Thanks