Five Avios credit card sign-up bonuses you can get which will arrive by April 28th

The last day to book Avios redemption tickets before the massive devaluation kicks in is April 28th.  Whilst that is still 11 weeks away, you may already be too late if you need to top up your account before you can book.

The next Tesco conversion date, for example, will not be until late April or early May.  There is no guarantee that you will have your vouchers by April 25th which is probably the last realistic day to convert.

You PROBABLY still have time to pick up a large amount of Avios points from a credit card or charge card sign-up bonusThe key issue is whether you can hit the target spend in time.

Here are five options:

BA Amex - NEW

British Airways American Express card  (no fee)

Here is my full review – please read it before applying.  The bonus is 9,000 Avios points if you apply before February 11th or 3,000 points afterwards.

The bonus points will show on your Amex statement about 3 days after you pass £1,000 of spending.  However, they will NOT go over to your British Airways Executive Club account until six days before your next statement date.  At worst, this could mean a three week delay from when they show as available online.

You would therefore need to hit the target spend within, lets say, six weeks of getting the card to ensure that the Avios points are transferred over with your second statement.  Your third statement would be too late.

The representative APR is 15.9% variable.

BA Premium Plus Amex

British Airways American Express Premium Plus card (£150 fee)

Here is my full review – please read it before applying.  The bonus is 25,000 Avios points if you apply before February 11th or 18,000 points afterwards.

The bonus points will show on your Amex statement about 3 days after you pass £3,000 of spending.  However, they will NOT go over to your British Airways Executive Club account until six days before your next statement date.  At worst, this could mean a three week delay from when they show as available online.

You would therefore need to hit the target spend within, lets say, six weeks of getting the card to ensure that the Avios points are transferred over with your second statement.  Your third statement would be too late.

The representative APR is 56.4% variable including the annual fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

Amex Gold 350

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold charge card (no fee for first year)

Here is my full review – please read it before applying.  The bonus is 20,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which, when transferred to BA, becomes 20,000 Avios.

The bonus points will show on your Amex statement about 3 days after you pass £2,000 of spending.  As soon as they are showing you can transfer them.  This gives you a little more flexibility than the British Airways cards – as long as you pass the spending target by, say, April 15th you should have the Avios in your BA account by April 28th.

Amex Platinum

American Express Platinum charge card (£450 fee)

Here is my full review – please read it before applying.  The bonus is 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which, when transferred to BA, becomes 30,000 Avios.

The bonus points will show on your Amex statement about 3 days after you pass £2,000 of spending.  As soon as they are showing you can transfer them.  This gives you a little more flexibility than the British Airways cards – as long as you pass the spending target by, say, April 15th you should have the Avios in your BA account by April 28th.

SPG Amex

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card (£75 fee)

Here is my full review – please read it before applying.  The bonus is 10,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points which, when transferred to BA, becomes 10,000 Avios.

The bonus points will show on your Amex statement about 3 days after you pass £1,000 of spending.  However, they will NOT go over to your Starwood Preferred Guest account until six days before your next statement date.  At worst, this could mean a three week delay from when they show as available online.  Once in your Starwood account, you need to do another transfer to get them across to British Airways Executive Club which could take another week.

You would therefore need to hit the target spend within, lets say, six weeks of getting the card to ensure that the Avios points are transferred over with your second statement.  Your third statement would be too late.  For safety, because you cannot be sure how quickly Starwood will move the points to BA, you really want to hit the £1,000 target with your first statement.

The representative APR is 36.2% variable including the annual fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

Lloyds Avios Rewards 2

Lloyds Avios Rewards cards (£24 fee)

Here is my full review – please read it before applying.  There is NO sign-up bonus.  However, if you are referred by a friend then you will receive 4,500 Avios points when your application is accepted.  Email me at raffles [at] headforpoints.co.uk if you need a referral.

The 4,500 bonus points arrive very quickly so you should have no problem receiving them in time to book.  Remember that this card earns points in avios.com, not British Airways Executive Club, so you will need to have an avios.com account number available when you apply.

The representative APR is 23.7% variable including the annual fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

Other cards

There are some other credit cards available which offer a sign-up bonus which converts into Avios points.  These include the IHG Rewards Club Visa, IHG Rewards Club Premium Visa and the Marriott Rewards MasterCard.

Unfortunately, the operators of these cards are not as efficient as American Express and there is no guarantee – in fact, I would bet against it – that the points will arrive in time.  Even if the credit card company sent them to IHG or Marriott, transfers out of those two schemes into airlines can be slow.

There is also a bonus of 1,000 Clubcard points available if you are referred by a friend for the Tesco MasterCard.  (This can also be backdated – if you have taken out the card in the last two months, email me at raffles [at] headforpoints.co.uk and I will send you the form.)  However, the next batch of Tesco vouchers are unlikely to arrive before April 28th.

Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

(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.)

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Comments

  1. Hi Rob

    With the British Airways Premium being card the most valuable avios redemption there is, could we have a seperate entry explaining how to get the most out of it, taking into consideration the changes taking place on the 28th April?

    Theres been snippets of information here and there during your advice points 1 to 9.

    I think an “Avios changes number 10” for those planning to book their 2 for 1 vouchers (or for those like myself, frantically trying to earn another voucher), before the 28th April would benefit us all.

    Thanks

    • Ronster, I think Rob has done the 241 so much over the past few days. The main message is it’s great value, if you can earn one before the change date, and to get booking the furthest away, highest class you can ASAP. Cos after the change date, we really all will have to check the peak/ off peak charts to see where we can afford to go. There would be so many variations for him to pick from, at the end of the day, it’s personal location choice. He’s suggested card bonus or converting Tesco vouchers already earned, or converting MRs already stacked. Great if he could do it, but it would be a lot of info to wade through. Understand your point though, but at least we have nearly 3 months notice to get cracking on it.

      • Depending upon how Avios rich you are is it not better to use the 241 after 28/4 when the savings are greater?

        Obviously if there is somewhere you want to go then book away. But if you have a suitably long 241 expiry and the ability to earn Avios for two redemptions I would be inclined to hold on to the 241.

        It has been mentioned elsewhere, but there are 200,000 Avios available through Amex Plat for a couple of hundred quid if you are quick. These may not be ready for 28/4 but they will be able to help towards that second redemption.

        • Percy Pig says:

          200,000 avios for a couple of hundred quid? Where has that been mentioned?

          • See discussion directly below this one pertaining to the Platinum Card and 10,000 Avios per supplemental.

            2 Cards: 60k
            1 Referral: 18k
            10 Supplementals: 100k
            Spend: ~10k

          • Percy Pig says:

            Thanks John – worth keeping in mind!

          • I just checked my account and I was rewarded with 15k MR points for my Tesco Car Insurance. I had no idea there was a bonus for this. It is nice to have a positive surprise for a change!

            That puts my MR well through 200k from two Platinum’s.

          • Oh how I wish their was an edit function. Further digging reveals the 15k to be the upgrade from Gold Bonus triggered by the Tesco Spend. Ho-hum.

        • “Depending upon how Avios rich you are is it not better to use the 241 after 28/4 when the savings are greater?”

          Using it now would be better, unless you would prefer to “save” more avios while spending more.
          Take a Zone 6 return in F. Currently is 300k avios for two passengers and will be going to 400k avios for two passengers. Would you prefer to use a 241 spending 150k avios and “saving” 150k avios, or use it after 28/4 spending 200k avios and “saving” 200k avios.

          • My point being if you can afford/plan two redemptions prior to the voucher expiry then you are better off spending Avios now and holding on to the voucher for a post 28/4 redemption. Using your example showing two bookings pre and post 28/4:

            Zone 6 F 300k + Zone 6 F 200k with 2-4-1 = 500k
            Zone 6 F 150k with 241 + Zone 6 F 400k = 550k

            You are 50k Avios better using your voucher to discount the higher amount on your second trip.

      • Thanks Polly. At the end of the day, anything you book by April 28 will be a better deal than you will get on April 29, and where you go on a 241 is a very personal choice.

        • Rob, your site is currently running ads for tourbar.com, featuring multiple babes.

          The About section describes it as “a safe international dating site with verified users.”

          Can you review this please? In detail, with photos.

          • Ads are based on your internet history…..

          • Andrew S says:

            Lololololololololol :)

          • I would like to point out that I am the john (lower case) not the John (upper case) with the varied internet history!

          • Often yes, but I’m using a brand new iPad without a Google account link, so imagine it’s an attempt to attract a particular demographic by the advertiser.

            Seems to be a disproportionate number of Russian women wanting to act as tour guides, based on a very brief click through. Wonder if it’s a sustainable business model for whoever’s come up with the idea?

          • This happened once before. What happens is that someone slips these ads into the Google system under the ‘travel’ category and Google does not notice for a while.

    • Hi,

      Need some advice got 95000 Avios points, 123,000 Virgin miles in my account and 105,000 in wife account.

      We like to travel to L.A. next year 4 of us during school holidays with all the changes which is better? Or this 2 41 offer
      Also i found out this month Costco accept Amex credit cards only which is excellent news for me so i got an American express gold card now i am spending £5k a month minimum currently before i was paying cash no double points at Costco for some reason

      All advice welcome

      • You have enough Virgin miles for 4 x one-way tickets in Upper Class to California, so that is covered.

        You have enough Avios, almost, for 4 economy tickets one-way (100,000). If you got a BA Premium Plus (25,000 bonus) and triggered the 2-4-1 voucher, you would be close to enough for 4 x one-way tickets back in Club World under the CURRENT pricing, which would require 150,000 points for 4 people (as one person is free).

        As a 241 can only be used FROM the UK, you’d need to use Virgin to come back.

        In summary:
        Get a BA Premium Plus Amex (25,000 bonus) and spend £10,000 (15,000 Avios earned). Takes you to 135,000. Book 4 people Club World on BA FROM London with the 241 voucher – needs 150,000 but you could do ‘Avios and money’ to bring it down to 135,000. Book 4 people on Virgin Upper Class back using 100k from your account and 100k from your wife.

  2. Platinum card, don’t forget to apply for additional cards on your account for an extra 10k avios per person approved. Useful extra avios, if you are thinking of applying for the platinum card. See previous plat card articles.

    • I’m still waiting on the supp card Avios coming through, I applied several weeks ago but didn’t get anything

      • Metatone says:

        Mine didn’t come through until a couple of weeks after the card was activated.

    • Same here, I have 5 supplementary cards sitting in a drawer and waiting for the MR points to hit my account. Called AmEx and that said it can take up to 90 days and if they have not transferred in that time, to call back. I got the supplementary cards early January so I am relaxed that I will get them credited in time.

      • My bonus points for supplementary cards took 6 weeks, almost to the day, I didn’t need to activate my supplementary cards either; however since I already had a supplementary card holder i applied for the full five additional and cancelled one after a month! plus SWMBO applied and got he Amex Plat and 5 bonus cards too! Just to note the platinum card normally comes through in 3 or 4 days.

    • I didn’t mention this again because there is no guarantee the points will arrive in time and did not want to over promise.

  3. It’s a shame the UK market isn’t as liberal with points as the American market is. There you can get 50k miles just for signing up, regardless of what you spend, in a lot of cases.

  4. Hi I’m new to earning credit cards…..can you get the bonus points by doing a balance transfer into them? Thanks for the advice

  5. I know the article above is for people trying to load up their accounts and spend before the changes hit, but re: the pending changes / devaluation, I guess it’s feasible the bonus Avios for these cards could rise post-April (which is useful for those that don’t need the points at the moment)

    It seems clear from the reaction to the changes that they will need to do something to get increased take-up of the cards and to cover cancellations / ditching of the avios scheme?

    Do we think the above seem likely?

    • Something may happen. 1 per £1 on the free BA Amex looks uncompetitive if you drop your floor value to, say, 0.66p per Avios.

      • Cancelled mine last night and the girl asked why and told them because of the changes in rewards with BA! Nothing else said after that!

  6. How often does the SPG card offer a 20,000 pt bonus?
    There has been one in the past which meant you could exchange them for 25,000 avios.

    • That offer is dead and gone and it was us that killed it!

      Actually, that is unfair. If the card wasn’t so unbelievably terrible (I mean, you spend £25000 and all you get is a free night in a Category 1-4 hotel which means the best you can get in the UK is the ‘£50 at weekends’ Sheraton Skyline at Heathrow!) then people would have kept it instead of cancelling it.

  7. Oh! Matron! says:

    If anyone can find how you refer a friend on the Lloyds card, you can have a virtual beer on me. Nothing on Avios (If you google, the link that comes up is dead), nothing on BA, and I rang Lloyds and they had no clue either

  8. Re the Lloyds Reward cards:
    You get a combination of Avios and Lloyds Bank inefficiencies.
    After the invitation has been requested can take up to two weeks to reach the invitee. You get a decision immediately and the cards arrive quickly.
    There is no requirement to spend and the Avios also arrive soon, probably into a new Avios account (which can be useful for e_Rewards and Rewards for Thoughts (c1400 Avios for half an hour).
    You get two cards but my wife only got one PIN letter so assumed that they had the same PIN. Wrong – you can get the PIN for the other (Amex for us and my sister) through the automatic system.
    There is no 2.99% charge on spending abroad but there is a 3% charge on cash advances.
    There is a £24 annual charge.

    • I have just discovered that this card also participates in the Lloyds bank ‘Everyday Offers’. e.g. get 10% cash back at Morrisons (max £10 but better than nothing).

  9. here’s something interesting I noticed… So I had the BAPP card. I’ve done the £10k to get my 241 voucher which has been credited to m BAEXC account. I have now downgraded to the freebie card, and in my Amex online account it is now saying “You have spent “£10,XXX, spend another £9,XXX to reach £20,000 and earn your companion voucher”

    I wonder if this will actually work?!?!

  10. Hi Rob and everyone else. I will soon have a bill of £6120 to pay for sisters university accommodation. The accommodation office is accepting payment by VISA and MASTERCARD with a 2% fee. Is it worth paying the £123.20 fee and if so which is the ‘best’ credit card to apply and get the bill on?

    • No, in terms of what you would get back purely in points. No card pays back over 2% of value.

      It would ONLY work if it also helped trigger a voucher of extra bonus. For example, the Lloyds Avios Rewards upgrade voucher (£7k spend), the free night on the IHG Rewards Club Premium Visa for spending £10,000 or the Hilton HHonors Gold card for spending £10,000 on their credit card.

      I just paid a tax bill – admittedly with a smaller 1.4% fee – on my new Hilton HHonors card. £10,000 of tax is a £140 fee but I get £60 of Hilton points back. That means I paid £80 for a Hilton HHonors Gold card which I am happy to do, given the free breakfast and free internet it brings me.

      • Hi Polly

        Thanks for your reply

        My query has less to do with redeaming the 2 for 1, and more to do with the small print of the voucher period and how it would work with booking in advance (before the 28 April). Together with cancelation and rebooking conditions. This would be to take advantage of a 12 month window and booking it before the new conditions come in.

        Rob I will email you with more details.

        Thanks

  11. Sorry – what is MR points? Thanks

  12. Slightly OT – but not by much, I have accrued 60,000 SPG points with AmEx SPG with family members and referrals but have a major problem that I hope I can get some advice on from the immensely knowledgeable folk here at HfP :-)

    My daughter got the SPG card 6 months ago, we did a £1,000 spend and got the 10,000SPG points + the 1,000 points for the spend, the 11,000 points transferred to her SPG account no problem. In December she did four referrals and got 5,000 SPG points per referral, 20,000 points in total. Due to timing, 10,000 SPG points left her AmEx account on January 8th and have disappeared into the ether, failing to turn up in her SPG account. The other 10,000 SPG points are due to transfer out of AmEx on the 8th of this month but I fear they may vanish too. There has been no changes to any account details and this has been confirmed by AmEx.

    I have been speaking with AmEx in Brighton about the missing 10,000 SPG points, they can see the points went out and they did not bounce back and they cannot now seem to offer me a resolution other than escalating the query, which I am told could take 8 weeks and would be too late for our intended use of these points which is 2 nights at the Universal City Sheraton. I gave them my daughters SPG account number so that they could speak with SPG but they have not followed through on this.

    I am worried that the next 10,000 SPG points will follow the last 10,000 SPG points and vanish. I have suggested to AmEx that they cancel down the 10,000 SPG points in my daughters account, and put 20,000 in my SPG AmEx account: 10,000 to replace the 10,000 that have gone AWOL and the other 10,000 as a “transfer” from my daughter’s card to mine. (SPG allow free transfers between people at the same address in any case so that all seemed a sensible resolution to us!) However AmEx has declined this proposal.

    I have now told AmEx that if we don’t get the points by the end of this week, we will book the hotel in my daughters SPG AmEx card and then dispute the charge with AmEx. Is this a reasonable step to take? Can anyone offer any constructive suggestions for a resolution to this debacle? beyond this, what sort of compensation should I seek from SPG? I have been on the phone to them for probably 2 hours or more in the last week to 10 days and not forgetting the angst involved.

    Comments and suggestions are welcome please.

    • I bet you had no spending on the card? That is the issue.

      I am in a similar boat – I did two SPG referrals in January, forgot to use the card and now the points are floating around. The problem occurs when there is no monthly spend. The points are automatically debited from your account but, without any spend, no transfer is triggered.

      Try putting a charge on the card and seeing if they go across next time. That is what I will be doing.

    • Michelle says:

      Hi

      I had a similar situation last year when I took out the SPG card with the bonus in nov 2013, hit the £2000 spend by early Jan but my amex points continually did not go across to my SPG account (which I set up per raffles advice and put the SPG acc number on my SPG amex application form).

      It’s probably not what you want to hear but it took me to August 2014 to get them across! SPG and amex kept fobbing me off to the other department and would tell me points could only transfer on one date per month and then when I checked and they had not gone across they would tell me I had to play a wait and see game for it to work the next month with whatever tweaking they claimed to have done.

      I escalated the query and only nearer the 8 week expiry did I get amex mangers getting back to me. In the end they gave me 10,000 points and £25 credit as compensation. I’m relatively new to this so I don’t know if this was a good deal but I accepted!

      What was suggested to me was opening a new SPG account and giving them a fresh SPG number (which may be less applicable as my points were stuck and not lost) and putting spend on the card like already said seems a old idea.

      Good luck!

  13. I just got an email from KLM /Air France and couldn’t stop laughing at the way they attack BA’s last move… It reads:

    At Flying Blue, we do not make you pay to reach our hubs in Paris or Amsterdam when you use your Miles to connect to Europe or the world.

    Whether you commence your journey from one of our local UK airports or directly at our hubs, the price you pay in Miles is the same!

  14. Hi Ian

    I got this as well.It is indeed a bit of a dig and swipe at BA even if they don’t name names?!

    However there are some funadmentals that they do not bring up. I am a regular Air France and KLM flyer by the way.

    1) Their earning per economy ticket is very poor.(Though admitingly I do not know how they will compare with BA’s after 28 April)
    2)The tax to pay on a return economy ticket makes flying a budget direct carrier to your various european destination, far more economical. However during the winter months, if your flying from a non London base,you will probably find schedules reduced and then you will probably have to fly into a hub to connect.

    So whether you would use them to get to your final destination is questionable, if there are well priced and available budget carriers on your route.

    3)Looking at long haul business they don’t fair any better….Tokyo is 200,000 miles around 750 euros plus in charges.

    Remember that BA have said that they will not charge for connecting flights when travelling outside of Europe. Also obviously there is greater scope to collect avoid if your based in the Uk..Tesco etc.

    When you put that into context, in reality there is little advantage at all with Air France/KLM’s statement.Yes you use less miles getting around Europe but non more getting around outside of Europe and for UK residents there is less scope to collect points with them on a daily basis.

  15. Totally OT (tried on FT to no avail)
    If booking Reward Saver Flights from a BA household account.
    Do all members have to have had activity during the previous 12 months to qualify or can one member with activity book Reward Saver Flights using pooled avios from his and from the other members.
    Thanks.

  16. Michelle says:

    Hi

    Does anyone know if there is a limit to the number of transfers you can do from your SPG account to an airline.

    I have 47, 000 MR in my PRG card and 33,000 in my SPG account.

    Could I therefore shift my MRs to SPG and then do 4 x 20,000 transfers to another airline to make 100,000 points? Assuming it is 1:1 MR to SPG which I think I remember seeing.

    If so, is there any time lag I have to put into place between each transfer or maximum transfers per airline. I’m thinking of adding to my virgin account or starting with delta sky miles in light of recent events.

    Thank you for any help

    • Think you should be ok, I have done 3x 20k miles last year from SPG to Baec, but you need to check the amount you would then get transferring to whichever airline you chose. Maybe do one transfer every day. But double triple check before doing anything, as they all have different transfer values. I was shocked at the poor AAdvantage transfer values from various programs.

      • Michelle says:

        Will do, thanks!

        • Actually Michelle, the chap at SPG was so helpful another time he actually did two separate transfers for me one after the other… Which saved me calling up again. I did what you intend, I moved my PRG mr s to SPG the. To baec, works fine!

  17. I have discovered another benefit of Lloyds Reward Avios cards.
    Lloyds have started a copy of the Amex cash back scheme for debit and credit cards and this card participates (possibly other Lloyds credit cards too).
    5% back at Waitrose has just finished and 10% back at Morrisons (max £10) runs until first few days of March. I bought £100 of gift cards yesterday.

    • Their website seemes to suggest that these offers are for Debit and Creidt card cutomers. but have never see this offer on my credit card account.
      Are you also a Lloyds current account customer? I wonder if this offer is only available for Lloyds credit card holder who also has a current account with them.
      Thanks.