Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

New credit card sign-up bonuses for September 2012

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UPDATE – FEBRUARY 2023:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.  We produce a monthly directory of the top UK travel credit card offers – please click HERE or use the ‘Credit Cards’ menu above.  Thank you.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

The ‘Credit Card Offers‘ page at the top of the site has been updated to reflect the latest changes in sign-up bonuses.

This is what has changed during August, none of it for the better! :

American Express Platinum – the sign-up bonus has been cut from 50,000 Membership Rewards points (worth 50,000 Avios, Virgin miles etc) to nothing!

Flybe Mastercard – the recent offer of 2 free flights has been replaced with 1 free flight and 2 lounge passes

Frankly, the current crop of sign-up bonuses is poor.  If we look at what is currently available versus the best deal I have seen in the last 12 months:

  • American Airlines Amex and Visa – 5,000 miles vs 10,000 miles
  • Amex Gold (direct application) – 10,000 points vs 20,000 points
  • Amex Platinum (direct application) – nothing vs 50,000 MR points
  • British Airways Amex – 3,000 Avios vs 9,000 Avios
  • British Airways Premium Plus Amex – 18,000 Avios vs 40,000 Avios
  • Flybe Mastercard – 1 free flight vs 2 free flights
  • Lufthansa Miles & More Amex and Visa – 1,500 miles vs 11,500 miles
  • Starwood Amex – 10,000 points vs 20,000 points
  • United Airlines Amex – nothing vs 15,000 miles

It is not clear if this marks a general trend of the card companies cutting back on bonuses.  What I would say is that I would think carefully before applying for any of the cards listed above, because you might regret it if their previous best offer is repeated.

My choices

If you are looking for a new card, the no-brainer choice remains the BMI Amex and Visa combo.  20,000 Diamond Club miles (= 20,000 Avios when you transfer them), only £250 minimum spend, no household income threshold and no fee!  It really can’t get any better.  However, this card can’t survive much longer as BA continues to integrate BMI so jump in whilst you can.

The Hilton card, with its free night voucher for spending £750, is also worth a look.  That free night could be worth well over £200 if you redeem it somewhere suitably expensive.

The Amex Gold deal is also worth a look as it is still fee-free for the first year.  You get 10,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up.  You do not qualify if you have held a Platinum, Gold or Green Amex card during the last 6 months, but any other Amex card is OK.

The current (relatively poor) offers for the BA Amex cards are due to finish on 12th September, so let’s see if anything exciting replaces those.

In our household, the only ‘action’ during the month was to get the Priority Club Black Visa card for my wife.  However, she was targetted with a generous offer (40,000 points and no fee for the first year) which has now closed.  The best publicly available deal for this card (30,000 points and £99 fee) is OK but there are better deals available.

Further details on all of these cards, plus links to the application websites, can be found on the ‘‘Credit Card Offers‘ page.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – February 2023 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback (3% for 3 months if you apply by 31st March) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (4)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • pazza2000 says:

    The American Airmiles Visa/Amex sign up was actually upto a whopping 20,000 miles earlier this year. I remember kicking myself for biting at 10,000 miles.

    The Hilton Visa and the Amex Gold would be my current top picks from your well covered list.

  • Nick Burch says:

    The hilton card also offers 2,500 bonus HHonors points on your first 4 stays, if you’re staying in Hiltons quite a bit it’s a nice bonus. At the very least, you should get the 2500 points for the free night you stay!

    Sadly, they don’t offer any retention deals when you ring up to cancel (having got your free night and your 4 x 2500 bonus points), they just wave you goodbye. It’ll be interesting to discover how long you have to wait for until you can sign up for a new bonus again, their website doesn’t seem to mention it

  • JJ says:

    Received a letter from PriorityClub with a link for a 40k signup bonus, valid until 30th October, not as good as the offer before as you don’t get the £99 fee waived for the first year.

    The link is pretty generic so I’d assume anyone applying through it will receive the 40k. It can be found at priorityclub.com/aug

    • Raffles says:

      I’ve got this as well – I am planning a post on it in a couple of days. Lack of fee waiver is not great, though.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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