Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

‘Credit Cards Update’ updated for August 2013

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

It has been a relatively quiet month. The negatives outweighed the positive – no new bonuses were launched during July, whilst the British Airways American Express cards dropped back to their ‘usual’ level of bonus. This is 3,000 Avios for the free card and 18,000 Avios for the £150 annual fee card.

Last call for the Miles & More bonus!

Until 31st August, the sign-up bonus for the Miles & More credit card is increased from 1,500 miles to 6,500 miles. Frankly, even 6,500 miles is far from great. However, the card does stop your Miles & More miles from expiring and it worth getting for that reason.

The home page for the M&M card is here and my review is here.


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

What are the best loyalty credit cards currently available?

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 20,000 MR points can get you – 20,000 Avios points for a start!)  My full review of the card is here. The Amex home page is here.

2. 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!

You can learn more about this offer in this post here. My full review of the card is here. Amex’s own home page is here.

3. 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. My full review of the card is here.

4. Lloyds TSB Premier Duo and Duo Avios cards

This is good deal and is much improved on the previous promotion.  However, Lloyds is being VERY nasty in arbitrarily deciding if you made the spending target or not, which is why I do not recommend it wholeheartedly.

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 and please read this post very carefully before applying and decide if you want to play Lloyds at their game.

5. IHG Rewards 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 IHG Rewards Club Black Visa comes with Platinum status as a free 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.

Comments (15)

  • The Lady says:

    What’s the deal with taking out these cards for a second time?

    I assume you don’t get the bonus if you’ve ever previously held the card?

    Or is there a “statute of limitations” type thing whereby after a couple of years of the original card being cancelled, you can reapply and receive the bonus?

    Does it make any difference if you apply at a new address/different email?

    • Sir Stamford says:

      For AMEX cards, as a general rule, you need to wait for 6 months before you can apply again to get the bonus. There are exceptions e.g. if you have previously had a BA Credit card, you don’t have to wait to apply for a Membership Rewards based card. For the other cards, check the small prints as they may be restrictions on receiving the advertised bonus if you have previously held a card with them.

      Applying with a new home address should make no difference since the application will be based on your credit file which links your current and previous home addresses together. (You will still be using the same name, DOB etc, won’t you?)

      By the way, “statute of limitations” is usually only relevant for breaches of law/disputes.

      Sir Stamford

  • Rob says:

    Good spot! Sorry, that was a typo. Now corrected.

  • Yozza1977 says:

    May be a stupid question – Is it possible to have 2 BAPP Amex cards in one persons name to generate 2 x 241 per year? Obvioulsy you wouldn’t eligible for the sign up bonus.

    • Rob says:

      No. The only thing you can do, assuming you have a partner who you always travel with, is to get another BA Amex in their name and then – if you do most of the spending – get a supplementary card on that account for yourself.

      We do this, my wife has a BAPP and so do I.

      • Yozza1977 says:

        Thanks Raffles. I do that already but when we book 4 seats with 2x241s we are put on separate PNRS and was looking for a way around it, as only one of us have status.

      • Martin says:

        Can you refer your partner/spouse to get the sign up bonus even though you live at the same address?

  • Brian says:

    I’ve just noticed that the Preferred Rewards Gold Card has a sign-up bonus of 20,000 points, which can be transferred to a number of loyalty programmes. That represents 20,000 Avios, BUT – since you can also transfer them to SPG, is there anything to stop you doing so, and then transferring the SPG points across to Avios to get the 5,000 Avios bonus?


  • Squire says:

    If one were to get a platinum amex with a supplementary cardholder, do they both get the cathay gold (BA silver), or just the named card holder?

  • ups says:

    Perhaps a bit OT – what do you think of a retention offer of double MR points on the Amex Gold card for 6 months on all spend? The previous year spend was 25k. They insisted that it is double of whatever you earn on the card, not double of base points. So travel and foreign spend would earn 4x and not 3x. The 6 months can be started anytime, so thinking of keeping it for the next high spend period…

    I wouldn’t have minded getting an offer of say spend 1k get 10k in 3 months but that wasn’t offered. Only other option was 50 quid statement credit.

    • Rob says:

      Well, if Avios are your goal, a free BA Amex is 1 per £1 and this would be your ‘no fee’ alternative.

      You would be on, lets say, a weighted average of 2.5 per £1.

      If you value Avios at 1p then you’re on a winner if you spend more than £8k (as £8k would 12k more Avios than the BA free Amex and at 1p per Avios value is the level which covers the £125 Gold fee).