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

It is 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?

Not much – but the good news is that none of the decent deals have gone away.

Virgin Flying Club is still offering the increased bonus on its two Virgin Atlantic cards.  You will get 10,000 miles on the free card and 25,000 miles on the £140 Black card.  Virgin is even happy for you to apply for both cards!  More details on this below.  The offer runs until 28th June.

British Airways is still running an improved sign-up bonus on its two British Airways American Express cards.  No closing date has been given for this deal.

There is a slight tweak this time.  The Premium Plus card is back to 25,000 Avios for signing up.  The free BA Amex, however, is only up to 5,000 Avios from the usual 3,000 Avios – this is usually increased to 9,000 Avios.

I would guess that Amex is trying to encourage more people to take the Premium Plus card by widening the gap in the sign-up bonus.  Frankly, you shouldn’t get the free BA Amex if you are planning to earn the 2-4-1 Avios flight voucher – this article explains why.

The two Emirates deals continue.  Details are below.  These are both good deals in terms of the number of bonus miles you receive, but unless you are already collecting Emirates miles, or have a lot of Amex Membership Rewards points you could transfer, you are unlikely to get enough purely via card spend for a good redemption.

best travel 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, Emirates, and British Airways offers are special deals whilst the Amex 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.

British Airways American Express

For an unspecified period, the bonus on this free card increased from 3,000 Avios to 5,000 Avios.  My full review of the card is here.  You can apply here.  Representative APR 22.9% variable.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

For an unspecified period, the bonus is increased from 18,000 Avios to 25,000 Avios.  Note that the annual fee increased last year from £150 to £195.  I wrote a full review of the British Airways Premium Plus card here.  You can apply here.  Representative APR 76.0% variable including £195 fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

Virgin Atlantic White Amex and Visa

Until 28th June, 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.

You can apply here.  Representative APR 22.9% variable.

Virgin Atlantic Black Amex and Visa

The Black cards also have an improved bonus.  Until 28th June, 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.

You can apply here.  Representative APR 57.4% variable including fee based on a £1200 credit limit.

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 (which you can instantly match to Marriott 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

Emirates Skywards Elite Amex and Visa

The premium version of the Emirates credit card is currently offering 25,000 Emirates Skywards miles as a sign-up bonus.  The deal runs until 30th June.  The usual offer is 15,000 Skywards miles.

The annual fee is £140 and this is non-refundable if you cancel.  You can get both this and the free card (see next entry) as MBNA treats them as separate products.  My review of all the card benefits is here.  At 2 miles per £1 on the American Express card, it is a very interesting card if you have very high levels of credit card spend.  Representative APR 60.5% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

Emirates Skywards Amex and Visa

The free version of the Emirates credit card is currently offering 12,000 Emirates Skywards miles as a sign-up bonus.  The deal runs until 30th June and is a major improvement on the usual 5,000 miles.  My full review of the card is here.  Representative APR 22.9% variable.

Whilst it has no sign-up bonus, the Tesco Clubcard MasterCard remains the best free Visa or MasterCard for earning Avios for 95% of people (the HSBC Premier cards are better but this has very strict criteria for signing up).  You receive 0.3 Avios per £1 if you convert your Clubcard vouchers into Avios.  There is also the potential to use the points for Virgin miles or a totally different Clubcard Boost deal.

0.3 Avios per £1 is still not great unless you assume that there will be occasional conversion bonuses – and the nasty ’rounding down per transaction to nearest £8′ rule means that you will get less than 0.3 Avios is reality.  They are a good bet if you want a long interest free or balance transfer period however.  There are various versions of the Tesco card but the best are:

Low rate card (representative APR 5.9% variable) or

28 months interest free period on all purchases (representative APR 18.9% variable) or

0% interest on balance transfers for 40 months (representative APR 18.9% variable)

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.

Bits: £1000 SWISS fare to Rio / Beijing / Bangkok, Good To Go discount, Norwegian family accounts
.... and here's the Aer Lingus peak and off peak Avios calendar for 2018
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Comments

  1. Mark LLL says:

    Would an experienced forum member please advise:

    Applied for Amex gold rewards charge card, Rob kindly supplied a referrers code.
    Used the code at sign-up and additional 2,000 MR bonus showed during application i.e. 22,000 MR (Achievable with spend conditions)

    However, on card activation only the standard 20,000 MR welcome offer is showing as available (if I spend GBP 2,000 in 90 days).
    Is this usual, or should I be seeing 22,000 instead of 20,000.
    I hope Rob got his referrer’s bonus, I’m thinking it was my HFP ‘subs’ for the year 🙂

    • This is usual. Amex’s IT is not good enough to update that message for referred people. You’ll get the 22k.

    • Totally normal 🙂

      • Mark LLL says:

        Thank you Rob and Alan, it is reassuring to know this is usual 🙂

        Leo, I’m sorry to hear you did not get the bonus.

        • Thanks for clarifying the situation for others! I just chalked it up to experience.

  2. Anyone know if the gold to play upgrade offer has come back yet?

  3. Hi Rob,

    Slightly off topic. I have just received my free night certificate using the Hilton Honors card and they’re telling me i can’t use it at the Conrad NYC as it’s only for standard nights not suites. Did you ever have this issue or have you heard of this before?

    Cheers,
    Chris

    • That’s nonsense. You can only use it for a ‘standard room redemption’ and not a ‘premium room redemption’ – if all standard rate redemptions (90k) have gone and you are only seeing higher premium rooms then they are correct.

      If you can see a 90k redemption then it is bookable.

      The fact that the hotel is ‘all suite’ has nothing to do with it.