I have updated the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page at the top of the blog for June.
Sadly, the American Airlines 35,000 miles sign-up bonus finished on May 31st. However, we have had another good month in terms of new offers being launched.
The big news in May was the return of the 20,000 points sign-up bonus for the Starwood Preferred Guest Amex card. This is worth 25,000 Avios, 25,000 miles in 28 other airline schemes or some free hotel nights.
There are no restrictions on who can apply for the SPG Amex, apart from a £30,000 household income rule. It doesn’t matter what other American Express cards you hold.
Another promotion due to finish soon is the additional 10,000 Hilton HHonors points with the free Hilton Visa. This offer expires on 10th June.
I also covered the launch of Etihad’s first UK credit card. You will receive 5,000 bonus Etihad Guest miles for signing up. The card also includes bonus miles when flying First Class or Business Class on Etihad, as well as a fast track scheme to Silver status in Etihad Guest.
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:
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!).
Until 29th July, the sign-up bonus on this card is doubled to 20,000 Starwood points when you spend £1,000. These are worth 25,000 Avios or miles in 29 other airline programmes, as well hotel nights. You can learn more about this deal here.
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.
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!
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 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 on all of these cards, including links to the application forms, are on the ‘Credit Cards Update’ page.