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And the credit card of the year award goes to ….

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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. 

Card Product of the 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.)

However, whatever you think of their customer service, the most innovative credit card launch last year was – easily – the Lloyds Avios Rewards cards.  My original article on these cards is 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.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – February 2023 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback (3% for 3 months if you apply by 31st March) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (19)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • olybeast says:

    Surely the best new card is the one that attracted the most customers?

    • Lloyd says:

      olybeast – no its based on the one who paid the most for the award… (possibly)*

      *disclaimer, the above may be abject nonsense.

  • DontLikeFruit says:

    “This list is so wrong …..” is precisely what I think every time I see the latest Top 100 Employers award (or whatever) plastered across the front of Capital One’s offices.

  • Stephen says:

    The Aspire World was replaced by the new Aspire Elite. World MasterCards are being replaced with World Elite MasterCards.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Not so! Aspire Elite launched alongside Aspire World in 2012. Aspire Business followed several months later.

      Platform requirements mean that we’re unlikely to see much swap from World to Elite and they’re both being interchange-capped anyway.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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