‘Credit Cards Update’ updated for October – summary of top deals

I have updated the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page at the top of the screen for October.

What’s new?

The latest special offer on the British Airways American Express cards ended in September.  However, the excellent deal on the two Virgin Atlantic cards runs until the end of the month – see below.

Emirates is also running a special promotion on the Skywards cards – see below – which should be of interest to anyone who already has a Skywards miles collection.  The Emirates award chart has few low value redemptions so there is little you can do if you only collect miles from their credit card, however.

Finally, Flybe has improved the sign-up bonus on its card.  Full details are in this post from last week.  I was not over-excited, your comments were even less enthusiastic ….

What’s back?

The IHG Rewards Club Visa card (the free one) is finally available again.  Oddly, the Premium version is not yet available again.  I wrote more about this in an article yesterday.  In summary, I recommend that you hold off from applying as a better sign-up deal may emerge and, in any event, many people will be better off with the (still not available) £99 Premium Visa.

What’s gone?

The Ryanair credit card appears to be totally dead, with all references to it now removed from their website.  I have removed it from our credit card directory and deleted references from some older articles.

What are the best deals at the moment?

If you are looking to apply for a new card today, here are my top recommendations based on the sign-up bonus. The Emirates and Virgin cards are special deals whilst Amex Gold, Amex Platinum and Hilton cards are consistently strong offers.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

This is currently an outstanding deal which is showing no signs of going away. You pay no fee for the first year and earn 20,000 Membership Rewards points (see here for what 20,000 MR points can get you – 20,000 Avios points for a start!).  If you are new to this hobby, I would make this your first American Express card.

My full review of the card is here. The Amex home page is here.

Amex Gold

Emirates Skywards (click on the box with at the top of the page to see the special offer)

The sign-up bonus on the free Emirates credit card is currently increased from 5,000 to 12,000 Skywards miles. Full details are in my review here.  Representative APR 17.9% variable.

If you are happy to pay a fee, the bonus on the Emirates Elite card has also been improved, from 10,000 to 25,000 Skywards miles.  If you are an existing Skywards collector – because  you need a lot of Emirates miles for a decent reward, more than you can get from a credit card alone – then this is something to consider seriously.

My full review of the Elite card is here.  Representative APR 55.1% variable including the annual fee, based on a £1200 credit limit.

Both offers run until November 30th.

Emirates Elite cards

American Express Platinum

The card offers 30,000 Membership Rewards points, worth 30,000 Avios amongst other things.

You receive a pro-rata refund on the £450 fee when you cancel the card and you will retain most of the benefits – Starwood Gold, Carlson Gold, Accor Platinum – for the rest of the year even after you cancel. The Amex Platinum benefits package is extensive, though, and once you’ve got it you might find the numbers add up for you. I have had one for 15 years.

My full review of the card is here. Amex’s own home page is here.

Amex Platinum

Hilton HHonors Platinum Visa

You receive a free night in any Hilton Group property for spending £750 on this card. That could be worth £250 if spent wisely at a Conrad or Waldorf-Astoria branded property. My full review of the card is here.

This remains my favourite promotion for someone new to this hobby. The card is free, you only need to spend a modest amount to trigger the bonus, and you can enjoy a free night in a luxury hotel afterwards (if you pick a decent one!). It will whet your appetite for what miles and points can bring you.

Representative APR 18.9% variable.

Hilton Visa

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club White and Black cards

Virgin Atlantic has started to match promotional activity on the British Airways credit cards. Last week they increased the bonus on the free White cards to 10,000 miles and on the £140 fee Black cards to 25,000 miles.

You can find full details on the Virgin credit cards bonus and links to the application forms in this article from last month.

The representative APR on the White card is 17.9% variable. The representative APR on the Black card is 52.0% variable including the annual fee.

Bonus on small business cards

Head for Points focusses primarily on personal cards. However, if you are a sole trader or run a very small business, you may also want to check out the American Express Platinum Business Card and the American Express Gold Business Card. There is currently a 20,000 points (= 20,000 Avios) bonus on the Gold Business card and a 40,000 points (40,000 Avios) bonus on the Platinum Business card.

In my experience people still receive the sign-up bonus on the small business cards even if they already have a personal Gold or Platinum card. This is technically not what the rules say, however, and you should bear this in mind.

(Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.)

Special '4 for 3 plus breakfast' Jumeirah Hotels deals with Harrods
Shangri-La blocking Golden Circle accounts from last years promo
About Head for Points

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Comments

  1. Can you cancel the Hilton Card before you use the free night certificate?

    • Yes, the cert is added to your HHonors account and isn’t reliant on the VISA card once issued.

  2. I clicked on the link for Hilton HHonors and it directs me to the Barclaycard homepage showing all cards but not HH card. Any advice?

  3. OT here, but does anyone know if air Berlin allows companion lounge access at their gold level, and would that be equivalent to BA silver? It’s not clear on their website . Rob, you might know as you use them a bit.Thanks

  4. When I go to the Emirates link, the free card shows only a 5,000 miles sign on bonus?

    “5,000 bonus Miles3 when you make a card purchase within 90 days of your account opening”

  5. It is no longer relevant, but the BAPP deal actually ran to 1 Oct for referals. For some reason, the referal link was still offering 26,000 for referred applications on 1 Oct.

    • A referred application usually means referred to an underwriter, and my application was referred – meaning that my start date is actually 5 October.

  6. I’ve come to the end of my free 1st year on the PRG card. I’ve got upto 60k MR points. Has there been an Avios conversion bonus this year? Looking back I see there was one last September-October. Even a 20% bonus would get an extra 12k Avios. I probably need to decide early this week so I don’t get charged the renewal fee – what are the chances of a bonus before the end of the year?

    • Renewal fee is refundable pro rata. Don’t forget 7500 point bonus for renewing if spent £15k.

      • I’m aware of the pro-rata refund, but I don’t want to keep holding out and find out I’ve paid about £50 waiting for a non-existing conversion bonus. Most of the points (47k) are from the sign-up bonus and referrals – We have probably spent around £15k ish but it’s been split among SPG, SPG, Virgin white and BAPP.

        • My point was that if you had spent 15k (as you said you had 60k MR I assumed that you had) it would have made sense to pay the fee, wait a month for the 7500 points to hit and then cancel for the pro-rata refund.

          I agree that paying £10 per month for an option to get a 20% bonus which may or may not come is not a great strategy. 60k MR would be 12k Avios bonus if it was 20% so only £100 or so of value anyway.

          • Thanks Raffles – I’ll cash out the MR points this week and cancel the card – I’m sure I can live without a further 12k points (and resign up for the card next year)

  7. jude Hirst says:

    I am in the same boat. I am going to refer OH to get the referral MR points and then cancel my PRG. I will need to empty my reward account before cancelling though won’t I?

    • Yes

      • Raffles, not sure if it’s just different rules for a different card, but when I cancelled my Platinum card, they told me I had 30 days from that date to use my remaining, unusued Membership Rewards points – so I did it the day after cancelling the card (there was only 200 or so left in there so moved them over to Nectar) :)

  8. needroos says:

    Any further rumours on whether AMEX Plat is going to partner with any airline to offer status?

    • Very unlikely in my view, unfortunately

      • Blenz101 says:

        Agreed.

        Speaking with friends at Amex they say that the CX deal caused significant problems for their existing UK partners (read BA). As there is no chance BA will be giving out free status on the back of a credit card in their home market it is safe to say that a new partnership is not being pursued.

        • Almost certainly true given that Amex never actually advertised CX Gold as a UK benefit! The only people talking about it were the Flyertalk BA board and myself.

  9. Hello all.

    Any sign on an SPG sign up bonus is on the way?

  10. Can you hold both a PRG and a platnium? Do you get a limited upgrade sign up bonus or can you get the full bonus if taking ok the Plat card?

    • Yes, you can hold them both. No, you won’t get a bonus – any bonus – for the 2nd card.

      You can get a bonus for upgrading Gold to Platinum, link on the ‘Avios Promos’ page on HFP.

  11. Do any hotel cards let you get to the top tier in the hotel group just through spending? about to hit some fairly big (non amex) expenses and it doesn’t look like I have many options… Failing that, best option for fairly big visa spends?

  12. Is there a way of identifying when an Amex card was officially cancelled?

    • Not without calling

      • or your last statement date perhaps? (if you keep hold of them!)

        • sorry, meant to say the date specified on your final statement… its just speculative suggestion though as I’ve never really paid much attention, but they do send you a final one even if you’re on zero balance, so assumed the date on it would tally up with the closure of the account :)

  13. I have recently joined gold amex and my husband is an additional card holder on my account. Can I refer him for his own gold amex so that I can get the referral bonus and he gets the sign up bonus? Or do we need to cancel his gold amex first? Also can both our MR points be transferred to the same avios account? Still very new to all this so any help would be appreciated. Thanks

    • You can definitely refer him for his own card without cancelling his supplimentary card.

      However I would recommend you wait at least until you have reached your spend target to refer him so that you onlyhave one spend target to hit at a time!

      Also, you might want to wait until towards the end of your first year so that you could cancel your card once his referral has gone through & been accepted (with you as a supp on his card), thus allowing you both to churn Gold cards efficiently but still have one active/available to use at all times.

      • Thanks for the very helpful info! I’ll leave the referral for now and do it nearer the time I cancel mine.

  14. I got an email from American Airlines for 15,000 bonus miles from the MBNA credit credit card. The bonus isn’t showing on the MBNA site at the moment but it does show for me if you apply via this link

    http://www.americanairlines.co.uk/i18n/specialOffers/exclusiveMbnaOffer.jsp

  15. What's The Point says:

    Question ref Hilton CC. If you spend the £10k and get Gold status, does that mean you only then need an additional 10 stays to get to Diamond?

    Or will you still have to get to 30 stays irrespective of how much you spend on the credit card?