I have updated the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page at the top of the blog for December.
Apart from the big changes to the Starwood and BA cards, which I summarise below, the other points worth noting are:
Tesco has brought in a 1,000 point sign-up bonus for the Tesco MasterCard. This may or may not be combinable with the ‘refer a friend’ bonus. The bonus runs to December 15th.
I had confirmation from two readers during the month that the 40,000 points sign-up bonus link for the IHG Rewards Club Black Visa card is still working.
The additional 10,000 miles sign-up bonus (taking the total bonus to 11,500 miles) for the Lufthansa Miles & More cards is still running, but only until 15th December. My review of the card is here.
United Airlines relaunched its MileagePlus UK credit card, issued by MBNA. Until December 31st, the sign-up bonus has jumped from nothing to 12,000 miles, which is not bad for a free card. However, if you don’t have an existing MileagePlus balance you are unlikely to earn enough miles purely from card spending for a worthwhile redemption.
We learnt that the FREE Cathay Pacific Gold status card, that comes with American Express Platinum, will not be issued after February 15th. This gives almost all of the benefits of British Airways Silver status, including BA lounge access.
Emirates joined the American Express Membership Rewards programme as their latest airline transfer partner
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?
It is debatable whether this offer is better than Amex Gold or not. The Starwood / SPG Amex offers you (if you transfer the 20,000 points to Avios) 25,000 miles for signing up! You pay a £75 annual fee, but this is refundable pro-rata when you cancel. Amex Gold, in contrast, offers you 20,000 Avios for £0 fee.
However, you don’t need to choose, as Amex will allow you to have both cards and to earn both bonuses! (Don’t apply for both at once, though – you should leave 2-3 months between applications). As the Starwood offer is only available until 30th January – at which point the bonus will drop back to 10,000 points – I am prioritising that at the moment.
You can get this card even if you already have a BA Amex, Amex Gold, Amex Platinum or indeed any other Amex card. My full review of the card is here and my initial post on the 20,000 points promotion is here. The official Amex page for the SPG card is here.
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!).
The card now offers 30,000 Membership Rewards points, worth 30,000 Avios amongst other things.
TYou 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!
The key benefit of this card – the Cathay Pacific Gold card, which gets you the same benefits as a BA Silver card, including BA lounge access, is going away on February 15th. You need to have received your Platinum card by that date.
You receive a free night in any Hilton Group property for spending £750 on this card. That could be worth £250 if spent wisely at a Conrad or Waldorf-Astoria branded property. My full review of the card is here. The home page is here.
This remains my favourite promotion for someone new to this hobby. The card is free, you only need to spend a modest amount to trigger the bonus, and you can enjoy a free night in a luxury hotel afterwards (if you pick a decent one!). It will whet your appetite for what miles and points can bring you.
The sign-up bonus on this free card is increased from 3,000 Avios to 9,000 Avios until February.
The sign-up bonus on this card is increased from 18,000 Avios to 25,000 Avios until February.
Full details on all of these cards, including links to the application forms, are on the ‘Credit Cards Update’ page.