Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

‘Credit Card Offers’ updated for February 2013

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UPDATE – JANUARY 2023:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.

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.

I have updated the ‘Credit Cards Offers’ page for February. As with January, it was one of the quicker jobs I’ve done on this page because there have been no major changes since the January list came out!

The only major amendment was removing the SPG Amex 20,000 point bonus, which was due to end yesterday. The bonus should drop back down to 10,000 points this morning.

(This may still change. Some SPG members have had targetted emails extending the deadline for the 20,000 points to February 14th. It is not clear if this applies to everyone – the offer has gone from the SPG website homepage.)

The Flybe card has also got worse – not that I recommended it in the first place! – with the free flight (but with taxes that represent the bulk of the cost of a paid flight!) replaced by two lounge passes.

Annoyingly, the current deal on the Lloyds Avios card – which requires you to book hotel nights via Avios in order to redeem your ‘free’ Avios – still has two months to run before something (hopefully) better turns up.

Given the lack of new deals, let me repeat my advice on the best cards currently available if you are thinking of ‘churning’ the contents of your wallet:

British Airways BA American Express Amex credit cards

1. British Airways American Express cards

Again, there is an excellent offer at the moment which I believe will end VERY soon. 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.

2. American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

This is currently an outstanding deal, which is showing no signs of going away. No fee for the first year and 20,000 Membership Rewards points (see here for what 20,000 MR points can get you – 20,000 Avios points for a start!)

3. American Express Platinum card

If you don’t have the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold card, or an Amex Green card, then this offer remains very impressive.

I wrote more about it here. Yes, there is a £450 annual fee but this is refunded pro-rata when you cancel. More importantly, the sign-up bonus is huge – 50,000 Membership Rewards points (= 50,000 Avios).

4. Hilton HHonors Platinum Visa

If you’re looking for a Visa or Mastercard, this card remains a great deal purely for the sign-up deal. You get 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.  Priority Club Black Visa

If you are used to having Platinum status for your Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn Express, Indigo, InterContinental etc stays, you will probably have noticed by now that you are very unlikely to requalify in 2013.  The incredibly harsh new regime – which means only base points and not bonuses count for status – will see 80%+ of Platinum cardholders drop away, I imagine.

The Priority Club Black Visa comes with Platinum status as a free (and not publicised) perk.   There is an annual fee of £99 but if you do enough stays at Priority Club hotels then it is a decent deal.  I also found a new link which gives you 40,000 points for signing up (worth 8,000 Avios or other airline miles, or 80% of an InterContinental free night) which more than covers your first year fee.

Full details, including links to the application forms, are on the ‘Credit Card Offers’ page.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – January 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:

SPECIAL OFFER: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.

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 30,000 points bonus, worth 30,000 Avios, until 4th February 2023 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 (25)

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

  • Colin says:

    Hi,

    Have never had a BA card.

    Should I apply for the basic one first, then the paid one later and get two bonuses?

    Would I need to cancel the basic one and wait six months before applying for the paid one?

    I have Amex Plat and SPG, plus the old BMI Mastercard.

    Wife only has Amex SPG and BMI MC.

    Thanks Raffles.

    • Raffles says:

      To get the bonus for an upgrade, you would need to cancel, wait 6 months and reapply. You would lose the benefit of your spend to date towards the 241 voucher. It is probably better to go for the Premium Plus card straight off.

      If you are not using the SPG card anymore, you might want to cancel that first or at least reduce your credit limit (can be done on the website) if its high, to maximise your chance of acceptance.

      • Colin says:

        Hi Raffles,
        Thanks for that. We put about 60k a year through the cards, but usually fly from Scotland to Europe – hate LHR with a passion – to start long-haul so not so worried about 241 (especially with Malaysia on board)
        So was just wondering about snapping up a couple of 10k bonuses before Premium Plus.
        Sounds like it might be risky, since the current PP sign-up may end and we would lose out on the 50% extra PP points for six months.

        • Raffles says:

          True. The current 25k is very close to the highest bonus ever, which was 30k.

          • Alan says:

            Nope, the highest was 40k in July 2012 – I know as I applied and received it 😛

            Just tried to churn Hilton, but find it incredibly difficult to get it approved – they seem to have some weird criteria! (Amex/MBNA always approve without an issue)

          • Raffles says:

            That 40k was targetted though, wasn’t it? 30k was the highest general offer I remember. But I’m getting old and my memory fades!

        • pauldb says:

          Get your wife the free card, then have her refer you immediately. She gets 9k + 9k and you get the 25k. Only risk is the 25k offer disappears before she gets her card through. Just make sure you can achieve the spend requirements concurrently.

          While you’re at it, looks like she needs a referral for AMex plat (25k + 52k for £450).

  • onlysuites says:

    Raffles a friend of mine got the Amex gold. Spent the 2k and got the points. Now he is thinking about refunding the major purchase which was £1500 for a TV. Will they take the points away?

    • Raffles says:

      Probably not, but I have heard one report of it happening. To be safe, transfer the points out of MR first.

  • soran says:

    If I have the Amex Platinum Creditcard and a BA Amex can I still apply for and get the bonus for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

    Also, if my brother has a AMEX Platinum Charge card can he apply for and get the bonus for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

    • Raffles says:

      “If I have the Amex Platinum Creditcard and a BA Amex can I still apply for and get the bonus for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold” – yes, as neither of those are charge cards and the rules only block people who have charge cards or Membership Rewards accounts, which are the same thing in effect

      “Also, if my brother has a AMEX Platinum Charge card can he apply for and get the bonus for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold” – no, if you have a charge card – or have had one in the last 6 months – you cannot get the MR bonus on the Gold card

      • testblog1980 says:

        On the first point then it is confusing. I have the Platinum credit card that does have a membership rewards account and earn membership rewards points so would that exclude me?

        • Raffles says:

          The MR-issuing version of the Platinum credit card (which is no longer available to new applicants) is a different kettle of fish. Unfortunately, I do think you are blocked.

          Amex changed the wording on its website https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/content/platinum-card/?filter=membership a couple of weeks ago. It now says “I understand I will not be eligible for any Welcome Bonus award if I hold or have held any Membership Rewards enrolled American Express Card in the past six months.”. It used to say “no American Express charge cards”.

          I would cancel the Platinum card, make sure the MR account is also closed, and then make a diary note to apply again for Platinum or Gold in 6+ months time.

  • Raffles says:

    Very interesting!

    • Alan says:

      Mine didn’t track either – that was a few months ago, I submitted a claim and it has now been paid 🙂 On the upside it meant I held on to the card and was able to take advantage of some offers! Yes, you need to wait for your bill to be generated before the points post across to SPG.

      • Flashware says:

        That’s awesome Alan, thanks very much! I’ll have to wait for the card to arrive as it asks for the card number when doing the cash-back claim form. Thanks for confirmation on the points, too!

  • LJ says:

    Being single, I don’t think I can spend more than £6000 on an Amex each year. I think keeping a fee-charging Amex long-term would become very expensive. I could keep the normal BA card, then apply for and cancel the Plat every year, whenever I have £2000 to spend. Is this feasible indefinitely, or will they start rejecting after a while? Would be a regular 25K referral points for you if they maintain the bonuses…

    • Raffles says:

      I think, in your scenario, your best bet is definitely to focus on churning cards. You don’t need to go mad – if you just got 2 new cards a year, cancelling others as you go, you could carry on for ever and would get a decent miles intake each year. As you said, you can time the applications so the cards appear at a time when you might be booking a holiday or running up some other bill.

  • daniel says:

    hi,
    does the uk platinum card have the $200 airline statement credit? (or the relevant currency)

    • Flashware says:

      Not that I’ve seen, think it’s just a US thing.

      • Alan says:

        Indeed not – no free forex fees or various other benefits too! We do however get lots of free supp cards that they have to pay for and our Priority Pass is the full one, not the Select version that they get.

  • Simon says:

    The 9000 Avios on the free card offer ends on 3rd March 2013 according to an advert I saw for it.

    Found an old statement the other day and I got a whole 1000 Avios when I took the card out 🙁 I only had to make one purchase to get the bonus at least!

  • Raffles says:

    Yes, you are fine for both. The only cards which block you from the bonus are the Gold and Green Amex charge cards (either currently held, or held in the last 6 months).

    Some text on the Amex websites is contradictory, but you can trust me that what I wrote above is correct!

    • Andrew says:

      For both getting the card from a referral and just signing up? On both cards? Amazing.

      This website is so good! I have become addicted to collecting miles within the past month – who knew it was this easy!

      I also tweeted this question to you, so you can ignore that!

      Thanks

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