‘Credit Cards Update’, updated

I have updated the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page at the top of the blog for May.

We have had a couple of great months in terms of new offers being launched.

In March, we got the new promotion on the Lloyds TSB Duo Avios cards and the return of a bonus on the American Express Platinum charge card. During April we got (click to see the relevant posts):

35,000 American Airlines miles with their MBNA American Express and Visa cards the best offer that I have EVER seen for a free loyalty credit card

a link for an additional 10,000 Hilton HHonors points with the free Hilton Visa

and I showed you how to get an additional 5,000 Avios when applying for the Lloyds TSB Duo Avios cards!

The only bit of bad news is that the 6,500 (or 15,000 miles, if you used my link) deal on the Lufthansa Miles & More card has ended. This is now back to a boring 1,500 miles.

I churned our personal portfolio during the month:

I applied for the American Airlines card, and was (surprisingly) accepted with a £10,000 limit, despite having a £20,000 limit on my bmi card. I have already spent the required £5,000 settling a tax bill, so I will be able to report on how quickly the miles post.

I finally chopped up our Lloyds TSB Duo Avios cards. I had only kept these because I was waiting for a refund from BA on an old BMI redemption. Whilst BA had promised to make the refund by bank transfer, I wanted to be 100% sure. Unfortunately, the £50 fee on the Lloyds card came around before the refund turned up, but you can’t win them all.

I got an American Express International Dollar Card. I will write about this more at a later date.

What are the best loyalty credit cards currently available?

Here is my advice on the best cards currently available if you are thinking of ‘churning’ the contents of your wallet:

1. 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 02,000 MR points can get you – 20,000 Avios points for a start!).  Apply here.

2. American Airlines American Express and Visa

Until 31st May, this card is offering 35,000 American Airlines miles when you spend £5,000 within 180 days. This is the best sign-up deal I have ever seen on any free credit card. You can learn more about the deal here, here and here. The miles can be redeemed on British Airways flights, but cannot be merged with your Avios points.

3. Lloyds TSB Premier Duo and Duo Avios cards

This is good deal and is much improved on the previous promotion. The free (‘Duo’) cards give you 15,000 Avios points for signing-up. The £50 fee ‘Premier Duo’ cards give you 20,000 Avios. You need to spend £500 per month for the first three months on the American Express card to receive the bonus, which may require careful tracking of your spending. You can learn more about the Lloyds TSB Duo Avios promotion here.

4. American Express Platinum

The card now offers 30,000 Membership Rewards points, worth 30,000 Avios amongst other things.

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, Carlson Gold, Accor Platinum, Cathay Pacific Gold (= BA Silver) for the rest of the year even after you cancel!  Apply here.

5. Hilton HHonors Platinum Visa

You receive 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. If you use this link before 10th June you will receive an extra 10,000 Hilton points.

6. 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.

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

A new Amex / Foursquare deal launched for May - spend £50, get £25 back
Win a whole BA plane to take you and 49 friends to Edinburgh!
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  1. arul says:

    Hi Raffel,There is a typo in American Airlines American Express and Visa. Card details The target spend should be met in 180 days instead of 80 mentioned in the blog.

  2. Hey Raffles, I recently got the AA cards but haven’t signed up for AAdvantage before. Do they automatically enrol you and inform you of your membership number or do I need to call MBNA and sort it manually?

    • They will open an account for you if they can’t find one. However, it is easier for you if you open one now, as you know the number and password then! AA will find it automatically when your first lot of miles go across.

  3. Its worth doing in order to trigger the bonus points, clearly.

    After that … well, it depends how else you would pay (are they local Malta cards?). You are effectively paying 3% FX fee to Amex, so 1.5p per Membership Rewards point. Not a great deal – I consider myself lucky if I can redeem them for 1p of value – but of course it depends how you value Avios, Hilton points etc.

  4. MaltapointsTom says:

    That’s useful confirmation, thanks Raffles. Yes I otherwise use local cards (with their shocking “rewards” – with the Air Malta KMiles option disappearing, you will soon get a €45 flight voucher for every €20k you put through the card …) so I’ll probably just use this to rack up the bonus and then shift to using it only on GBP online purchases or spending when I’m back in the UK.

  5. Richard says:

    The American Express Platinum card offer states a standard sign up bonus of 30,000 MR points after £2,000 spend in the first 2 months. Also, the referral bonus states you receive 35,000 MR points after a £2,000 spend in the first 2 months. Am I correct in assuming if I was to sign up using a referral (by the site), after a £2,000 spend I would receive 65,000 MR points? And would these be transferable to avios/BA EC?
    Thanks for this very useful site!

    • jonny says:

      no, you would get the higher 35,000 points for the referral.

      yes the points can be turned into avios, at the rate of 1:1 I believe

    • No, you would only get 35k. The 35k replaces the 30k.

      And, yes, they transfer 1:1 into Avios, so you get 35,000 if referred for Platinum.

  6. Gary says:

    American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

    I have looked at the terms and condition of the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card. Don’t think I will be eligible to receive £0 membership fee since I already have an BA Amex card. 🙁

    Am I correct ?

    • Paul says:

      “The first year fee waiver is only available to new American Express Charge Cardmembers.”
      Your BA card is a credit card, so you should be ok.
      Charge cards are Green Card (“The American Express Card”), Gold Card and Platinum Card.

  7. Alan says:

    Look forward to hearing more about the Amex IDC in due course.

    I’m planning to close my United a/c soon for a potential re-application next year.

  8. I’m not eligible for the first year free membership on the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold since I have the Amex Plat. charge card. However, my OH is eligible since she holds only a supplementary Amex Plat. and no other charge cards. Is this right?

  9. Sir Stamford says:

    MBNA has listed the enhanced benefits for their various BMI cards, now rebranded to Diamond Club cards.


    A lot of these are already previously discussed on Headforpoints e.g. increased destination miles (convertible to Avios).

    However, I noticed two additional benefits which I am not previously aware. Firstly, double miles for BA flights purchases which could earn you up to 5 Avios per £1 spend. Secondly, there is mention of a 10% discount on BA flight purchases.

    To make a booking with the discount, you must sign- in to your Diamond Club account online at diamondclub.org and click on the unique link provided, linking through to ba.com.
    Qualifying Flights is defined as being a one-way or return point-to-point flight from the UK operated by British Airways in any cabin. If anyone has tried this, please share your experience.

    Sir Stamford