Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

New year, new credit card – various sign-up bonuses disappearing soon!

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If one of your New Year resolutions was to churn your credit card collection in order to pick up a generous sign-up bonus, there are a number of offers which are ending soon and are well worth considering.

All of these deals are with American Express, because they are the only issuer which currently has time-limited sign-up bonuses on offer.  That said, I expect to see some interesting deals from MBNA and potentially Lloyds in the next few weeks.

Note that there is no longer any rush to apply for the Amex Platinum card to receive the Cathay Pacific Gold card (=BA Silver).  In the last couple of days, Amex updated their website.  This now says that the deadline for applying for the Cathay card has been moved back to 31st March from 15th February.

Deal 1 – expires 30th January – Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit card

The Starwood / SPG Amex offers you 20,000 Starwood points in their hotel programme for signing up.  If you transfer the 20,000 points to Avios, you will receive 25,000 miles!

As well as Avios, Starwood partners with another 20+ airline programmes, so this is also a good opportunity to top-off any other airline account you have.

You pay a £75 annual fee, but this is refundable pro-rata when you cancel.

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.

SPG Amex

Deal 2 – expires 12th February – British Airways American Express credit card

The sign-up bonus on the free British Airways credit card is increased from 3,000 Avios to 9,000 Avios until 12th February.

Full details are in my review here.  The Amex home page for the card is here.

You will receive the sign-up bonus on this card even if you already have an Amex Gold, Platinum or SPG Amex (or indeed any MBNA or Lloyds Amex).

British Airways American Express card

Deal 3 – expires 12th February – British Airways Premium Plus American Express credit card

The sign-up bonus on the British Airways fee-carrying card is increased from 18,000 Avios to 25,000 Avios until 12th February.

Full details are in my review here.  The Amex home page for the card is here.

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

Deal 4 – apply by early March – American Express Platinum charge card

The American Express Platinum charge 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!

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 March 31st.  (This old post explains a little more about it, albeit it references the old closing date of 15th February.)  You need to have received your Platinum card by that date, which means you really need to be applying by early March.

(Note that Amex has just changed the end date for this promotion from 15 February to 31 March. I will do a separate post on this in a day or so.)

My full review of the card is here. Amex’s own home page is here.

If you are interested in applying for any of these cards, it makes sense to move sooner rather than later.  Don’t forget to think about whether you can sign up your partner as well …. or even your parents if they agree!

(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (34)

  • Johnny5a says:

    re: CX Gold Card
    Now they’ve extended the deadline to March, I’d be interested whether they’ll renew my wife’s card, as it expires in mid Feb

    • Polly says:

      They just extended my husbands a further 6 months! No reason… So she might get the same offered. They sent a new card with the new expiry date on it automatically.

  • Paul Irving says:

    Is the cx gold card valid from a year you get it it from when you get your amex platinum? As I am not travelling until April again, it would give me longer at the back end.

    • Polly says:

      Valid from when you actually apply for it, following receipt of your plat card, but you must apply for it before March 31st this year. Final call!

    • Andrew says:

      I was going to ask exactly the same question. My wife has just been accepted but think I will hold off for a couple of months to get a later expiry date.

  • Chris1922 says:

    Raffles, I just tool out the SPG Amex, shortly after cancelling my basic BA Amex. I’ve now got the card, but in all the details that came with it and on my Amex login, there is no mention of the 20,000 bonus after 2K spend, just the point per pound and various SPG rewards for 15k and 25k annual spend. Will I still get the 20,000 ? I applied online after clicking the link direct from the Amex website.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, it will be fine. There is always a bonus on this card of some sort, I don’t think it is possible to apply without getting one (subject to the 6 month rule on previously having the card).

    • Stu says:

      I have the same issue with the SPG Amex. When I log in it just mentions the 15k and 25k annual spend bonuses with no mention of the 20000 starpoints for 2k spend.

      I’d be curious to know if your 20k SPG points post when you reach the 2k spend requirement. Mine didn’t, and turns out my account was set up incorrectly. Apparently there’s a review period where Amex will then credit the missing points after a couple of months.

      • Rob says:

        Don’t worry, you will get the bonus. It NEVER mentions it online.

      • tangey says:

        Points havn’t posted for me yet either, I did get a 1K bonus, which is the extra for being referred, but having gone past the 2K on the 5th december, the 20K have yet to post. Previouis experience has been bonuses post on the transaction that brings you over the spend. I have a secure email saying they are looking into it.

  • Thywillbedone says:

    HI Raffles,
    Any idea if IHG are going to improve their offer on the Priority Club Rewards black card? Currently a somewhat meagre sign up bonus of 20k pts versus 40/45k early last year?


    • Chilibenny says:

      Yes I can confirm the IHG 40k bonus was paid to my IHG Rewards account on December 23.
      Took a couple of weeks after hitting the spending target and I had to chase IHG up once for that and a couple of times to get the Platinum membership status.
      Has worked well though as we got a nice Executive room upgrade at the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury over the weekend and it had only cost £35 anyway as part of the flash sale they ran before Christmas.

      • stevejnr says:

        I got the 40k points but no platinum status.
        I can’t see the Platinum Status advertised anywhere – please correct me!

        • pazza2000 says:

          Would I be likely to receive the sign up bonus (again) having only cancelled this 6-9 months ago. Frustratingly, taking out and using the card is one of my IHG Big Win challenges.

          • Rob says:

            No idea, Barclays has no stated policy AFAIK. They would give you the card anyway, though, I guess, even if they refused the bonus.

        • Rob says:

          You will get it. The IHG website promotes it as a benefit.

  • pazza2000 says:

    Holding the BA, and having just cancelled the SPG / MR. It’s non AMEX sign-ups for the next 6 months+ I can only consider. Here is hoping for an improved IHG (fee free 1st year), Etihad or Virgin offer at some point,

  • Kam88 says:

    Hi Raffles,

    I have the Amex Gold but want to take out the Amex Platinum for the benefits. Can I do this and still qualify for the points and benefits even with Gold? And do you think it’s worth it?


    • Kam88 says:

      Scrap that question I didn’t read your review properly!

    • Rob says:

      You won’t get the sign-up bonus, unfortunately. You need to cancel Gold and wait 6 months to get that. You will get the usual Plat benefits though.

    • Kam88 says:

      My husband’s 1st year with his Gold Amex is up on 7 March so would we lose the renewal bonus of 7,500 if we upgrade to Platinum? Also, once you upgrade will they then downgrade you back to Gold if you cancel?


      • Dan says:

        Pretty sure you would lose the 7.5k points if you upgrade before March as it is not quoted as a benefit of the Platinum card.

        They basically use this to get people to go from the free year Gold card to paying. You pay from the outset on Platinum so less need to have such an offer. Wouldn’t be surprised if they tend to do something on anniversary though.

        I would wait until 8th March then upgrade, you will still have time to apply for the Cathay Gold.

        I have read that you can downgrade to another chargecard if you want (eg. Plat ->Gold, Gold->Green). They refund the fee pro rata.

  • 1967stuart says:

    A question regarding both SPG card for my wife.

    I held an SPG card and received the 20k bonus where I had a partner card on that account for my wife. I cancelled the cards in September and do I need to wait until the 6 months are up before reapplying to get another 20k bonus or can my wife apply for a card in her name now to get another 20k bonus miles ?

    Also would the same apply for the American Express Preffered Rewards Card (again my wife had a partnercard on my account but never had her own account)


  • Ralph says:

    Got my Marco Polo card in the post today, love the aluminum luggage tags with steel straps 🙂