For reasons unknown, I was not invited to “The Cards & Payment Awards” award ceremony a couple of weeks ago.
It is, however, an intriguing look at how people who do not know much about airline loyalty schemes judge airline loyalty credit cards. (Guys, if you read this, I am willing to help you pick the winners next year.)
The motley crew above (apart from Milton Jones) were the winners of the “Best New Credit Card Product Of The Year” award.
This went to the Capital One for Aspire World Travel card.
The three finalists were:
Capital One – Aspire World Travel
Emirates Skywards and MBNA – Emirates Skywards Credit Card Account and Emirates Skywards Elite Credit Card Account
Etihad Guest & MBNA – Etihad Guest Credit Card Account
This list is so wrong …..
The Emirates cards are derivative, frankly. As I wrote in my original article here, the ‘2 for 1’ voucher promised by the premium card is useless for most people. Whilst the earnings rate is good (2 per £1 on the Amex, 1 per £1 on the Visa), Emirates has higher redemption rates than BA. The sign-up bonus is weak and has never been on promotion.
The Etihad card is better – they ran a 17,000 mile sign-up bonus at one point (very good for a free card), offer double and triple miles on Etihad flights for cardholders and offer free Etihad Silver status for taking just one flight in any class. (More details via the Etihad website here.)
The lack of a sign-up bonus means that these cards have not taken off well. My personal impression of them was not helped when the Lloyds marketing team put the boot into me because I had allowed readers to post complaints about Lloyds credit card service levels on the site.
However, it is the first UK credit card to offer reward points AND no foreign exchange fees on overseas transactions. There is a £24 fee but that is easily outweighed by the 3% saving on all your foreign transactions – and you earn Avios on that spend as well.
I cannot, for the life of me, understand why the Lloyds cards were not nominated for this award, unless they missed the entry deadline. If they did miss the deadline, I hope they win next time – if only to put some pressure on other card issuers to drop foreign exchange fees.
And the greatest irony of all? The winning card, the Capital One Aspire World Travel card (which offered cashback in the UK and no FX fees abroad) is no longer seems to be available to new customers, looking at the Capital One website.