A credit card offering 4.5 Avios per £1 … but not in the UK!

It is generally accepted that residents of the USA have by far the best range of credit card sign-up bonuses to choose from.  It is difficult to disagree with that, especially when you compare US to UK packages for the same card.  However, I have generally thought that the UK is the second-best country to live in for loyalty credit cards.

I may need to change my view, though.  Reader Luke, who lives in Dubai, sent me details of the Citi PremierMiles Elite credit card.  And it is a stonking package!

Citi UAE card

Whilst the card has an annual fee of £300 (£150 in Year 1) and has no sign-up bonus, you can’t help but be impressed by the benefits:

3 airline miles per US$1 spent internationally (so 4.5 miles per £1, roughly) and 2 per $1 (3 per £1) in the UAE.  You can take miles in seven airline schemes, including British Airways, plus three hotel schemes.  Transfer to Hilton and you get 1:2, so 9 Hilton points per £1 for non-UAE spend!

Free Priority Pass for airport lounge access

‘Buy 1 Get 1 free’ deals for 100 restaurants and attractions

Elite status with Fairmont, Swissotel, Raffles and Best Western hotel chains

Sixt and Budget car rental deals

1-year use of the fast e-Gate at Dubai International Airport for free

Black level membership of Harrods Rewards (an odd one, but something I could really use!)

I have seen other big-number sign-up deals for UAE credit cards being advertised in Dubai, so I imagine it is a competitive environment for the expat credit card sector.  What is interesting about this card is the lack of sign-up bonus offset by the very high earning, which presumably eliminates ‘churn’.

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  1. Hmmm it’s a toss-up between the UK and Canada though… 😛

  2. Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    Although note the 2.99% international spend fee that presumably subsidises the extra miles. Agree the domestic rate is great though.

  3. i wonder what austrailia is like for credit cards? i may be moving next year and i want to keep up with my BA avois

    • Sir Stamford says:

      Australian credit cards aren’t my strong points and I am sure some of the readers here may know a lot more. So, apologies in advance if I didn’t provide all the information.

      The main issue you have is BA doesn’t actively promote BAEC in Australia – see blurb below from BA’s Australian website. They actually encourage you to register with QF or CX instead!

      “British Airways does not operate an Executive Club programme in the South West Pacific. If you would like to enrol in a frequent flyer programme, our oneworld® alliance partners Qantas and Cathay Pacific have outstanding programmes. Members of both programmes can collect and spend Points when travelling on British Airways flights.”

      Therefore, direct Avios earning potential is limited.

      Have a look at this link to see what’s out there: http://www.creditcardfinder.com.au/australian-reward-credit-cards

      On the face of it, the AMEX deals seems pretty acceptable but note their local Membership Rewards programme only allows transfer to the following airlines FFP: Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer, Etihad Guest, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Air New Zealand Airpoints, THAI Royal Orchid Plus, Malaysia Airlines Enrich and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. BAEC is not included.

      Perhaps you could explore the possibility of keeping some of your UK issued cards or alternatively think about collecting Qantas miles as there will be a lot more opportunities.

      Happy for anyone else to chip in.

      Sir Stamford

  4. Theres a similar product in India – Citbank PremierMiles Visa. 5000RS annual fee but you get 5000 points reward or you can have 5000 points deducted instead of paying the fee. If you use their own version of the travel portal (similar to Amex Trave) to book flights / hotels, you get 10PM per 100Rs spent. Approximately 10 PM for every £1.10 spent!!! Normal earnings for everyday spend are 4PM per 100Rs. Points can used similarly like Amex MR or can be transferred to partners. Points transfer to various Asian airlines (CX, TG, SQ, AI + BA & Delta at a rate of 1:1. Its Issued on the Visa platform. I have started to move towards flexible points options (SPG/Amex MR) but everything seems to be issued as an Amex. I would dearly love a similar Visa/Mastercard (citibank PM or Chase Ultimate Rewards) to be launched in the UK.

    • Sir Stamford says:

      The headline earnings are attractive but watch out for the small prints and limitations as always.

      Airline spends refer to purchases made at airline owned websites, at airline counters or via booking options offered on http://www.premiermiles.co.in. Identification of airlines is based on Merchant Category Codes allotted by VISA and MasterCard to the merchant where the purchase is made. Please note that bookings made through any travel agents, including but not limited to any private travel agents, corporate travel agents, online travel agencies or their website/IVR systems, shall be eligible for only 4 miles for every Rs.100 spent.

      10 miles for every Rs.100 spent on airlines would accrue on spends till Rs.5 lacs on airlines in a membership year. For spends beyond this, you would earn 4 miles per Rs.100 spent across all categories.

      Sir Stamford

      • onlysuites says:

        They are changing this, from now on-wards you can earn unlimited miles at 10per rs100 @ premiermiles website. I find the website to be basically like most OTA sites and the prices are comparable to booking through the airline direct. Last month I saved £20 by booking through premiermiles rather then BA. Maybe a exchange rate fluctuation?

        Great earning though and don’t forget if you utilize the BA transfer bonus (30% once a year) then you are essentially earning 5.2 miles per £1.10 spent. Beats my UK BA cards hands down.

        • onlysuites says:

          Citibank running a promotion this and next month which will give me a 50% bonus on miles. So instead of getting 5.2 miles to the £ I will be getting 7.8 miles to the £ spent. Add on a yearly 30% bonus to Avios transfer and that brings it to 10.14 Avios to the £.

          For Travel spends I will be earning just under 25 Avios to the £.

          Beat that :)

  5. On the subject of cards i notice that he SPG amex is still advertising the 20k sign up bonus. This was supposed to have ended at the end of july

    • Yes, its been extended by a few days – no idea how many. Will do a post on Tuesday if its still there!

      • I guess i wouldnt qualify if i cancelled my previous spg card on 28th march this yesr?

        • No, needs to be 6 months. But this promo will be back, I am certain – this is the 3rd / 4th time it has turned up since the card was launched.

  6. Canada is infinitely better for quantity and quality of cards on offer. Pretty much everything comes with a standard 15,000 minimum sign up, banks often offer MC and V so have much more range and also often offer airline cards and an in-house product with a conversion programme. There are at least ten Amex cards worth having at any one time. Also points accumulate at 1 or more per CAD which is considerably more generous than per GBP. Transfer bonuses especially to Avios are also common and generous (min 50%). I have cards in both countries and have a waiting list of “wants” in Canada, whereas UK you have exhausted everything after six months.