Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

‘Credit Cards Update’ updated for December

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UPDATE – NOVEMBER 2020:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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 Card Offers’ menu above.  Thank you.

The ‘Credit Cards Update’ page at the top of blog has been updated for December.  (Click here to see it if you are an email or RSS reader.)

There has been quite a lot of promotional activity recently, and the overall quality of deals is the highest for a while.

Here are the changes that occured in November, some of which were posted about at the time:

British Airways American Express – at some point, without anyone noticing, the minimum spend on the basic card crept up from £500 to £1,000.  Still manageable, though.  The 9,000 Avios bonus is still running.  There is no fee on this card.

Starwood Preferred Guest Amex – the bonus remains doubled at 20,000 points, although this will end soon (not sure when).  This is a great deal – £75 annual fee to receive 20,000 SPG points.  These are worth 25,000 Avios or 25,000 miles in a lot of other airline programmes. (Or redeem them for a hotel stay – I got £370 of value for mine!)

Miles & More Visa and Amex – the 10,000 extra miles for getting the Lufthansa cards is still on but ends December 15th.  Given that the usual bonus is just 1500 miles, getting 11,500 is pretty good.  There is no fee on the cards either.  However, small sums of M&M miles are not much use – European redemptions have huge taxes – so don’t bother unless you already have a stash of miles you want to grow.

Flybe MasterCard – the offer has changed back from two free flights to one free flight and two lounge passes

United Airlines Amex – the improved 15,000 miles sign-up bonus ended on 30th November, and they have gone back to a bonus of zero!

The improved 25,000 Avios points bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus Amex is still running as well.

See today’s other post for news of a 40,000 point link for the Priority Club Black Visa.

My top choices for December

As I write on the ‘Credit Cards Update’ page, these are my picks of the best current deals:

1.  Starwood Preferred Guest American Express.  The 20,000 point bonus (usually 10,000) gets you 25,000 airline miles in over 30 programmes, including Avios.  There is a £75 fee but you get a pro-rata fee refund when you cancel.

2.  British Airways American Express cards.  9,000 Avios for the free card and 25,000 Avios for the paid card is about as good as it gets.  And the 2-4-1 voucher for use on Avios redemptions that comes with this card is the most valuable perk in the UK loyalty card sector, as I discuss here.  If you have been thinking about the BA Amex, now is as good a time as any to jump in.  Apply here and here.

3. American Express Preferred Rewards Gold.  This is currently an outstanding deal.  No fee for the first year and 20,000 Membership Rewards point (see here for what 20,000 MR points can get you – 20,000 Avios points for a start!)  Apply here.

4. 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.

5. 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 fantastic. 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.  Apply here.

As usual, the ‘Credit Cards Update’ page won’t change now until January, so keep an eye on the main blog for news of new promotions.

Comments (11)

  • Mr Bridge says:

    BAPP Amex: I have only had my card for 1 month, and had a large travel spend, so got my £10K min, and got my voucher.
    i also got my 25k avios, and much to my surprise was also awarded an further 12k avios( my statement said avios bonus totalling 30K). No idea waht or why, but the bonus is there.

  • Chris says:


    Need your input please. I need to spend around £1000 to get my BA 241 voucher, which I will spend easily by Christmas.
    My question is which new card should I apply for to transfer my credit card spend onto? The sole motivation is to accumulate as many avios as possible before I start working on the next BA 241 voucher in July 2013.



    • MR BRIDGE says:

      so far as iam aware, you dont get points on balance transfers with any card. i would look for an interest free deal.

    • gagravarr says:

      Just to check we understand you – you’re looking for a card to use between Christmas and July, which earns more Avios per pound spent than the BA Amex?

      Raffles covered two suitable cards in the post, one is the SPG Amex (25,000 avios for 20,000 SPG points), or the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold (there was a post on that a little while ago – some things get 2mr/£, and there are sometimes MR -> Avios transfer bonuses)

    • raikje says:

      The 20k SPG bonus is on for a while yet – I recently got an email from SPG advertising it, with the footnote “You must apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card by 1 February 2013 to be eligible for the offer.”

    • Nigel says:

      Any idea if there Is a limit to how many Amex cards one can hold?
      I have the BAPP and the SPG, both opened recently. I was going to open the Miles & More one to get the bigger bonus. It has to be done by15th Dec so that would make 3 Amex in about as many months.

      I’ve just paid the SPG first statement with the BAPP one not generated yet.
      I wil also reduce the credit limit on the SPG by about £4k so there is some wiggle room on the max credit I have with Amex.
      Any thoughts?

      • Raffles says:

        It is not an Amex issue. The Miles and More card is issued by MBNA, not Amex, so the main issue is whether you have other MBNA cards, eg the BMI or American Airlines ones. However, they will also consider your total credit limit across other cards plus they will see that you have got 2 other cards recently and take a view on that.

        No point taking down your SPG limit just for this as I doubt it will hit your credit file by Dec 15th.

        I would apply anyway, MBNA are fairly generous overall.

        • Nigel says:

          Cheers for the info. Glad it’s MBNA-though I’ve plans to get their AAdvantage card next month. I’ve had their cards in the past with no problem.

  • Wheelhouse says:

    Hi Raffles,

    Have you used the gift2go gift cards that you mentioned before? It seems like a good deal especially if you buy in denominations of £349 – works out at about 1.70% if my maths is right.

    Thinking of using one to get my spend up. Been looking around and my water company don’t charge for paying by credit card. They don’t except Amex though.


    • Raffles says:

      No, I’ve never used them and so cannot recommend them personally. Caveat emptor!

      You could also buy a Visa branded gift card in Tesco. £3.95 fee on a £50 purchase, but the Foursquare deal will get you £10 off any £50 transaction. Not that £53.95 makes a big dint in your spending requirement …