During July I will be updating the ‘Preparing for Summer’ series of articles that I first ran last year. These cover the best ways to earn Avios from car hire and hotels and how to save money paying bills abroad.
One of the easiest ways to save money whilst travelling is to use a credit card with no foreign exchange fees. 99% of UK credit and debit cards charge a fee of 2.75% to 2.99% when you use them outside the UK.
A small number of credit cards (including Post Office and Halifax Clarity) do not charge foreign exchange fees. These two cards are also free. However good your mileage credit card may be, it is unlikely that the points you will get for using it abroad will offset the 2.99% cash saving you will make with either of these cards.
The Lloyds Avios Rewards card also has no foreign exchange fees. And you earn Avios points when you spend as well! This gives you the best of both worlds – a 3% saving compared to using any other credit or debit card AND you earn a chunk of miles back.
The only fly in the ointment with the Lloyd Avios Rewards card was the £24 annual fee. This meant that you would need to spend £2,000+ on the American Express card abroad before the value of the Avios earned outweighed the fee – otherwise you might as well get the Post Office card instead.
Until Sunday or Monday (the site is not totally clear), however, cashback site Topcashback is offering £20 back when you successfully apply for the Lloyds Avios Rewards card. This means that the card is effectively free for the first year.
Unless you need to put spending onto another card to trigger a spending target (such as £10,000 on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card to trigger the 2-4-1 voucher) then the Lloyds Avios card is worth a look purely for your Summer spend in foreign currency.
For reference, the representative APR of the Lloyds Avios Rewards card is 22.7% variable including the fee, based on a notional £1200 credit limit.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – December 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:
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 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 bonus points 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:
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
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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.