A massacre! Is there any other way to describe what has happened to the sign-up bonus on the American Express Platinum card, which has plunged overnight from 52,000 Membership Rewards points (=52,000 Avios) to NOTHING!
When I ran my post last week suggesting that you should jump in before the advertised bonus cut on March 3rd, I wasn’t expecting anything as bad as this. Perhaps a drop from 52,000 to 42,000 points. But not 52,000 points to zero!
The bonuses on the British Airways American Express cards have also been reduced as well. However, these are still acceptable and have been worse (and, of course, have been better!).
I have updated the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page for March to reflect these changes. I left this a couple of days later than usual, because of the changes to the Amex Platinum and BA Amex bonuses which were due yesterday.
Here are all the changes to the list:
The bonus on the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express dropped from 20,000 points back to its usual 10,000 points on February 15th.
Tesco has extended the referral bonus on its credit cards until 30th June. If you refer a new cardholder, both the referrer and the person being referred will receive 1,000 Clubcard points (2,400 Avios or 2,500 Flying Club miles).
The bonus on the American Express Platinum charge card was reduced from 50,000 points (52,000 if referred) to nothing (2,000 if referred)
The bonus on the free British Airways American Express card was reduced from 9,000 Avios (10,000 if referred) to 3,000 Avios (4,000 if referred)
The bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus card was reduced from 25,000 Avios (26,000 if referred) to 18,000 Avios (19,000 if referred)
The bonus on the Flybe card has improved from two lounge passes to one free flight and one lounge pass
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 another month to run before something (hopefully) better turns up.
What are the best deals currently available?
Given the downgrades to the various bonuses above, there are only three cards that I currently recommend as offering ‘best in class’ bonuses. Other cards do other acceptable bonuses, but you are likely to find that a better deal comes along if you are willing to wait a few months.
1. 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 22,000 Membership Rewards points if you are referred (see here for what 22,000 Membership Rewards points can get you – 22,000 Avios points for a start!) The bonus if you are not referred is lower, at 20,000 points.
If you apply via quidco.com you will receive £10 cashback and 20,000 points (20,000 Avios). However, you are better off forgetting the cashback and letting someone refer you, because of the higher 22,000 points (22,000 Avios) bonus.
I am happy (and grateful) to refer any Head for Points reader who wants this card – the bonus I receive helps to offset the costs of running the blog. E-mail me at raffles [at] headforpoints.co.uk
2. 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.
3. 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. Last month 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.