I have updated the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page at the top of the blog for February.
The big event during January was the launch of the temporary sign-up bonus on the Virgin Flying Club credit cards. At 10,000 miles for the free card and 25,000 miles for the £140 fee paid card, these are the highest bonuses that I have ever seen.
I ran through the Flying Club bonuses in this post. Remember, if you need more Virgin miles, that Tesco Clubcard is also offering a 30% bonus on transfers to Flying Club at the moment.
The other changes during January were:
MBNA removed the 1,500 mile sign-up bonus on the Miles & More credit card! 1,500 miles was hardly anything to get excited about, but the decision to remove it entirely still seems a little odd.
The 20,000 point sign-up bonus on the Starwood American Express card ended. This is now back at 10,000 points which converts to 10,000 airline miles.
Finally, remember that we are now into the final few weeks of being able to claim a FREE Cathay Pacific Gold card when you apply for American Express Platinum. This gives almost all of the benefits of British Airways Silver status, including BA lounge access.
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!)
2. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club American Express and Visa
It is rare that you see an offer on the Virgin cards – the last one was 18 months ago. This is the best offer ever seen on these cards – 25,000 Virgin miles with the £140 ‘Black’ card and 10,000 Virgin miles with the free ‘White’ card.
Note that you CANNOT cancel the £140 paid card and receive a refund of your annual fee.
You can find full details on the Virgin credit cards bonus in this post.
3. American Express Platinum
The card now offers 30,000 Membership Rewards points, worth 30,000 Avios amongst other things.
There is a lower bonus of 30,000 points if you apply directly. 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. You need to have received your Platinum card by that date.
4. Hilton HHonors Platinum Visa
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.
5. British Airways American Express
The sign-up bonus on this free card is increased from 3,000 Avios to 9,000 Avios until May.
6. British Airways Premium Plus American Express
The sign-up bonus on this card is increased from 18,000 Avios to 25,000 Avios until May.
Full details on all of these cards, including links to the application forms, are on the ‘Credit Cards Update’ page.