HFP ‘Credit Cards’ page updated for February – what are the best deals this month?

It’s time for our monthly round up of what is coming and what is going in the world of UK airline and hotel credit card sign-up deals.

Our updated directory of all 23 UK travel credit cards can be found by clicking the ‘Credit Cards’ tab at the top of the site or – for email, Flipboard, Apple News or mobile readers – by clicking here.  This article is a summary of the recent changes, and will hopefully be a useful starting point for new readers.

What’s changed this month?

This week is ‘all change’ with the British Airways and Virgin Atlantic cards.

In theory, the special offers on the two British Airways cards are available until midnight tonight (8th February) but may well be pulled early.

The free British Airways card is offering 9,000 Avios instead of the usual 3,000 Avios (representative APR 22.9% variable)

The British Airways Premium Plus card is offering 25,000 Avios instead of the usual 18,000 Avios (representative APR 76.0% variable)

The two Virgin Atlantic cards have increased their bonuses.  This is an interesting tactical move, knowing that the BA offer was going to be reduced.  More details on those below.

The special offer of 1,000 Clubcard points (2,400 Avios) for getting the free Tesco Clubcard MasterCard was withdrawn during January.

Credit cards

What are the best travel credit card sign-up deals this month?

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are my top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus. The Virgin offer is a special deal whilst the Amex and Hilton cards are consistently strong offers.

These deals are listed in no particular order and their position on the list is not a sign of how good or bad the offer is.

Virgin Atlantic White Amex and Visa

Until 3rd April, you will receive 10,000 miles with the free Virgin Atlantic White cards.  3,000 of these come after your first purchase within 90 days, the remainder after spending £1,000 within 90 days.  My full review of the Virgin White package is here.  The standard offer is just 3,000 miles.

Virgin Atlantic Black Amex and Visa

The Black cards also have an improved bonus.  Until 3rd April, you will receive 25,000 miles with the £140 Virgin Atlantic Black cards.  You receive 18,500 miles with your first purchase within 90 days and the remainder after spending £3,000 within 90 days.  My full review of the Virgin Black cards is here.  The standard offer is 18,500 miles.

Amex Platinum

American Express Platinum

The sign-up bonus on this card is 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points.  You need to spend £2,000 in 90 days to trigger the bonus.

Your points can be transferred into various airline and hotel programmes.  You could get 30,000 Avios, 30,000 Virgin miles, 60,000 Hilton points, 90,000 Carlson points, 2,000 Eurostar Frequent Traveller points etc etc.

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, Hilton Gold, Melia Gold and Shangri-La Jade – 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 Amex Platinum card is here – this also includes details of the additional refer a friend bonus. Amex’s own home page is here.

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!).  You need to spend £2,000 in 90 days to trigger the bonus.

If you are new to this hobby, I would make this your first American Express card.  One benefit of earning American Express points is that you only need to transfer them to an airline or hotel scheme when you are ready to redeem – there is no risk of being caught out by devaluations!

My full review of Amex Gold is here. The Amex home page to apply is here.

Amex Gold

Hilton Honors 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 UK Hilton credit card is here. The home page for applications 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. The representative APR is 18.9% variable.

Note that Barclays is now only allowing you to earn the free night once, even if you reapply for the card in the future.  Use your voucher wisely!  Remember too that it is only valid for six months.

Hilton Visa

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.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ 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.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

My review of the Sala Velazquez Iberia VIP Lounge, Madrid Airport
Bits: Amex Gold / Plat £15 Amazon discount extended, new £50 Hilton / Amex discount
About Head for Points

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Comments

  1. Does Amex (2+2) or (3+1) max card limit apply to secondary card holders?
    Or is it only for a primary card holders?

  2. How do they check that you are indeed running a small business or a sole trader?

    • Was just pondering the same question…..

      • You could surely claim your a sole trader just starting up, it seams you may need a business account, which you can get for free….

      • In the eligibility section for the business card it says:

        “The business has a current UK bank or building society account”.

    • For limited companies I would expect it to be more difficult before you have filed your first years trading accounts. For sole trader applications you may be asked to confirm income with accounts as well. Even if you are approved at any point they can start a review of your account and suspend spending until you provide documentation to backup your income.

  3. Does the Business Platinum give elite status in the same hotels?

    It would appear the business card has Starwood Preferred Guest® Gold, Club CarlsonSM Gold Elite and Hertz #1 Club. While the personal Platinum has Hilton HHonors™ and Starwood Preferred® Guest. Can anyone confirm you do not get Hilton Gold with the business card?

  4. What are the odds of the BA PP card increasing it’s sign-up bonus again? Anyone got any inkings?

  5. i have a BA premier amex card with my wife as a supplementary card holder. can she apply in her own name and get bonus or do i have to remove her for 6 months? sam

  6. Wally1976 says:

    Just came across this card when looking through MSE’s credit card info:

    https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/content/arcc-rewards/?AFFID=MONSPMRK&CRTV=Affiliates_MSE_ARCC_Rewards_CreditClub_2016&sourcecode=X60403GB01&cpid=100240264

    Is this the gold CREDIT card that’s been around a while or something else? Don’t seem to be able to see it on the main list of Amex cards. Might be a useful addition to people’s churning strategy?

    • Yes, it’s the Gold Credit card. Not really suitable for most as part of a churning strategy since “All introductory offers are subject to change, can be withdrawn at any time and are not available if you currently hold or have held any other Membership Rewards enrolled American Express Cards in the past six months”. I.e. most of us will either have the most rewarding Amex Gold or Plat charge cards.

      • i would take that 6 month thing with a pinch of salt tbh…

        I often churn the plat, spg, and bapp in less than the supposed 6 month period (sometimes I reopen the month after closing!) and have never not had a welcome bonus

        • Hi Jamie have you ever had to give them a call to get the bonus though? I have applied for the BAPP about 5.5 months out and I am not even getting the progress bar at the side for the spend x more to get the avios

          • somehow I have slipped through the net then, soz

            to give u an eg, this was my latest churn (trusty spreadsheet)

            21 sept signed up for new platinum
            spent2k, got 35k mr points, transferred out to avios, closed account 30 oct, got about 410 pounds refund

            16 dec opened new platinum
            spent 2k, got 35k mr points, transfer out to avios, closed account 25 jan, got similar refund

            so not sure 6 month rule also always applies

            have done similar on spg and bapp last year

          • ankomonkey says:

            We’ve found someone in Jamie who churns more than Genghis! Good work!

          • Very good work indeed. I’m happy to stick to my six monthly cycle per T&Cs to not push it too much in terms of Amex goodwill and credit score damage

          • the real harry1 says:

            Amex got you in their sights

    • Yes see here

      http://www.headforpoints.com/2016/10/10/american-express-gold-credit-card-benefits/

      Good way of keeping MR points alive if wanting to cancel Gold/Plat account but as Genghis said the restrictions on earning the sign-up bonus mean it is effectively part of the same Green/Gold/Plat family.

  7. The small print seems to say that the free night in the Hilton can only be taken at the weekend, not during the week. Is that your understanding of this Rob?

    • Correct.

      • That said, I attempted to redeem at a Conrad during the week a few months ago as voucher expiring, had failed to use and date fast approaching.

        I rang the US call centre and weekday redemption processed without quibble along with, strangely, being informed that voucher had six months yet to run (i.e. implying a 12 rather than the 6 month expiry on voucher). I proceeded with redemption rather than risk this second snippet proving illusory).

        • ComeFlyWithMe123 says:

          I received the opposite response – Sorry Sir, You are trying to redeem for a Thursday Night but the voucher is only valid for Fri, Sat, Sun Night.

        • A few months ago there was a period where vouchers were mistakenly given 12 months’ validity.

  8. As a heads up, Qatar are loading some companion fares this morning. Bookable until 14th Feb.

    • some stonking deals out of helsinki as usual…cheers for the heads up jcb

      rob will u be doing your usual article?

      cheers

  9. OT:

    The 3,000 Avios for a £150 Heathrow Rewards spend … just been informed that ANY Travelex purchase does not qualify. Spoke with both HR Rewards (based in Lviv in Ukraine!) and an Escalations manager.

    Complaint lodged as the terms are VERY misleading.

    If anyone has been credited the 3,000 on a currency spend, please post the details.

    • the real harry1 says:

      yeah well the people who email them don’t exactly help the project….bit obvious

  10. Do upgrades from gold to plantinum provide a set bonus? I can’t locate a specific anywhere or is it agent specific? Thanks

  11. Not trying to be a pedant, but might be worth clarifying for anyone very new, when you say: “What are the best travel credit card sign-up deals this month?” – we are talking about credit cards to earn travel rewards, not credit cards to use when travelling. That being a very different question!

  12. Aren’t we due an SPG Amex bonus increase at some point soon?

  13. I threw caution into the wind and applied for my third new credit card in a little under 5 months (risky I know) – the Virgin Atlantic white card. I don’t collect VS miles (indeed I had to sign up to be a VS flying club member today) but an extra 15000 Hilton points will be very useful indeed. Was accepted immediately with a £2000 limit. My council tax is due next month – so hitting the £1000 spend to trigger the bonus won’t be an issue. Thankyou.

    • Bear in mind that most councils charge for paying CT online, it seems, but you can generally use Paypoint at a Co-Op who will process the payment on the Amex (for more points anyway)

      3 credit cards in five months is nae bother

      • My council charges a flat 3 quid for an online payment – admittedly visa/mastercard only – I’m fine with this – it’s a no mess/no fuss option (even if it results in a slightly lower point haul)

  14. Would post office take Amex for CT payment?
    My council would take Payzone not Paypoint.

  15. Sorry OT. Can someone please remind me when Avios should hit my account with the Lloyds credit card. I had my first statement at the weekend. Cheers.

    • It should be very swift, a day or two. Do avios.com and lloyds have the same email address for you? Were you referred and if so has the bonus hit?

      • There is a known issue with points transferring from Lloyds to Avios – some people have waited months – we are at 2.5 mths so far but have now been told they are working on the fix and backlog and we should get them by 12 weeks. Suggest you phone them to register the problem then keep ringing at each statement till you get them.

      • Hmm, yes the “wife” referred me and I purposely used a different email address since I previously held the Premier card. Maybe this was an error! No bonus or any Avios received from Lloyds yet.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Sometimes when they don’t match your email they go to a new account. Worth contacting Avios.com live chat to see if they can locate the other account

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hi guys,

    I normally don’t need to say anything because I’m new and you guys are awesome teachers so I can’t add anything to the wisdom here. I can say I’m well on my way to card churning thanks to this site.

    Now, I have a question I can’t find answer to. So I know Tesco Mastercard withdrew their 1000 cc point bonus thing but I applied before it was withdrawn and have yet to use the card. If I use the Mastercard will I get cc points or not? And also is the offer of getting 50 bonus cc points for using the new payment method still standing?

    Thanks to all who answer.

    • Wally1976 says:

      If you applied while the 1000 point offer was still on and keep to the terms of it then you should get the points (chase them if you don’t).

      On your last question, I presume you mean the Payqwik offer? I dismissed it as didn’t work with my phone so don’t know but the article on here should give you the info you need.

  17. Looking to re-apply for AAdvantage MBNA card (I held it since 35k points offer back in 2013)
    Current sign up bonus is only 5000 AA miles.
    Any chance this will be upped over next 3/6 months?

  18. Hi,
    Can someone please clarify if I can get bonus points on Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Card or not. My situation is:
    I have cancelled Amex Pref rewards gold charge card, but still have basic Gold credit card. I have got BA Premium plus card and have got its bonus avios and planning to downgrade it to no fee BA Amex card (and get back fee on prorata basis). I am waiting for 6 months to over since I cancelled Pref rewards gold charge card and reapply. Will having basic gold amex card prevent me from being eligible for bonus points which comes with Gold Pref rewards charge card.

    regards
    Raj

  19. Sorry, I know this is a frequent question but I can’t see the answer in the comments threads I’ve skimmed through. How quickly after going through £10k on the Hilton card does the confirmation of gold status come through for that year? thanks.