Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

‘Credit Card Offers’ updated for October 2012

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UPDATE – OCTOBER 2022:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.

Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card from American Express. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus. You can apply here.

The ‘Credit Card Offers’ page at the top of the site has been updated for October to reflect changes over the past month. (Click here to see it if you are an e-mail or RSS reader.)

Here are the changes over the past month:

British Airways American Express – the sign-up bonus on the basic card dropped to 1,000 Avios or 6,000 Avios on the Premium Plus card. These offers are both, frankly, shockingly poor compared to earlier this year. Hold off applying, there are far better card offers currently available.

Flybe Mastercard – the deal has improved, with the offer of ‘two free flights’ coming back. You get the usual one free flight for signing up, plus a second free flight for spending £500. Note, though, that taxes etc must still be paid. With Flybe, these often represent 80%+ of the price of buying a cash ticket. (Their website admits that, during a sale period, the taxes on a ‘free’ ticket may be MORE than the equivalent reward seat!)

Lloyds TSB Duo Avios cards – no change, but the current (weak) offer expires on 18th October so we will see what comes after

Virgin Atlantic American Express and Visa cards – there is a very good promotion on at the moment, described as the best they have ever done. See this post for details.

Priority Club Rewards Visa – the cards now come with Priority Club Gold (free card) or Priority Club Platinum (£99 card) status, although this is not mentioned on the website yet. See this post for more details.

Tesco Clubcard MasterCard – the ‘refer a friend’ bonus of 1,000 Clubcard points has rolled over into 2013

American Express Platinum charge card – the bonus for a direct application is back (50,000 points). See my other post today for news on who qualifies for the bonus.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold charge card – the bonus, after a dip to 10,000 points, is back at 20,000.

Finally, it is worth noting that the BMI Diamond Club cards continue to be available and will be, it seems, for a few months yet.

The 20,000 Avios bonus for getting the FREE bmi Diamond Club credit card remains the best deal currently available in UK loyalty cards. If you have one, get one for your partner. If they have one, get one for your parents and use the Family Account facility to move the miles to yourself. MBNA gives out cards to even very low earners, so do not miss out.

My top picks

If I had to list my preferred choice this month, I would say:

The bmi Diamond Club cards. You get 20,000 Avios. It will disappear soon, has no fee, has a low £250 target to trigger the bonus and is available to people on very modest incomes or pensions. You cannot ask for more.

American Express Prefered Rewards Gold. No fee for the first year and 2o,000 Membership Rewards points (see here for what 20,000 MR points can get you – 20,000 Avios points for a start!).

Hilton HHonors Platinum Visa. A free night in any Hilton Group property for spending £750. That could be worth £250 if spent wisely at a Conrad or Waldorf-Astoria branded property.

Virgin Atlantic Black – if you already collect Virgin miles, the 20,000 bonus miles under the current promotion are worth having, despite the £140 card fee. They would also convert into 40,000 Hilton Hhonors points.

American Express Platinum – if you meet the £40,000 household income requirement and have no other Amex-issued cards, including NO BA Amex then this is outstanding (but see my other post today for news on the qualification criteria). 50,000 Membership Rewards points (see here for what that gets you), and you can cancel for a pro-rata refund of your £450 as soon as you’ve hit the £3,000 spend target.

Don’t forget that you can see my detailed series of ‘Credit Card Reviews’ posts by clicking on ‘Credit Card Reviews’ under the ‘Categories’ menu on the right.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – October 2022 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.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 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 & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable 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 long list of travel benefits 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

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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 and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (7)

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

  • Raffles says:

    I know quite a few people who have got the BMI joining bonus twice, despite what the site says. If you have the old Mastercard, there is certainly nothing to lose by applying for the free Amex / Visa combo – and a possible 20,000 Avios to gain.

  • Raffles says:

    I also like the House of Fraser Mastercard. 1 per cent of spend back in HOF vouchers, plus 3 per cent of HOF spend and 6 per cent back on HOF cosmetics spend. Obviously helps if you visit a HOF on a regular basis, of course!

  • Mark says:

    How about generating extra credit card spend with no or little extra cost? Obviously channelling all everyday expenditure through mile/cash back earning cards is a given, but any ideas for making extra spend along the lines of the old PayPal top-up card route?

    Obviously buying supermarket vouchers is one choice, but unless these can be sold on, all you’re doing is taking from your future spend. With so many credit card spend targets to achieve at the moment, any novel suggestions would be great!

    • Raffles says:

      I have never heard of a bonus being taken away due to refunds. Amex bonuses post immediately when you hit the spend, so a purchase and quick refund (before your statement gets processed) will be fine.

      It is a bit trickier when the bonus comes a few weeks after hitting the target – you end up paying your card bill, waiting to refund the item and then being hugely in credit ( although you can work this through over the months).

      I did a £9000 refund onto my Lloyds Avios card last month (having already settled the £9k card bill) and it will take 3 months to spend through my credit balance. Luckily I had the £9k to play with.

  • Raffles says:

    If you’ve cancelled the old MC then you should very much be OK. I know people who STILL have the old MC who got another bonus for applying for the new cards!

  • timezonehopper says:

    Interesting comments re. getting the BMI bonuses for a 2nd time. I applied for these cards (one for me and one for my wife) in May and ditched them in July. Is it too soon to re-apply? Are there any hard and fast rules on this?

    Incidentally Raffles, I applied for the PC Black Visa via the link that you posted (your wife’s targetted link) and have already had the £99 annual fee refunded. Many thanks!

    • Raffles says:

      Not sure about reapplying for the same cards. My earlier comment was about people who had the old BMI MasterCard getting a bonus for applying for the Amex and Visa combo. Not much to lose at this point in BMI’s life, though!

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

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