Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Last chance: Virgin, Etihad and United credit card bonuses

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There are four big credit card sign-up deals ending in the next 48 hours.  This is your last chance to sign up if you are interested.

ALL of these cards are issues by MBNA / Bank of America so bear that in mind if considering applying for any of them.  You may already have MBNA exposure via the American Airlines, Lufthansa or bmi cards.

For full details of any of these deals, click through the link to find my original post.

Etihad card

Note that, whilst the sign-up bonus on these cards is higher than usual, the spending target to trigger them is also higher than usual.

Virgin Atlantic White card (free) – usual offer 3000 miles, current offer 10000 miles

Virgin Atlantic Black card (£140, not refundable) – usual offer 6000 miles, current offer 30000 miles

Etihad Guest card (free) – usual offer 5000 miles, current offer 12000 miles

United card (free) – usual offer nothing (!), current offer 15000 miles

Remember that all miles are not created equal.  15000 United miles is not necessarily more useful than 12000 Etihad Guest miles or even 10000 Virgin Atlantic miles.  It all depends on whether you currently have a pot of these miles to top up and where you plan to go.

The Virgin deal ends on the 14th whilst the others end on the 15th.  Don’t know why ….

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge 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.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

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

50,000 Avios for signing up (A CRAZY SPECIAL OFFER!) and an upgrade voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) 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: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

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

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

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:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits 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 card

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

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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% on business travel for four months) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (15)

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

  • Peter says:

    Thanks for the post HFP! I just relocated for work from the US to the UK and was wondering if you have any advice on how the points worlds differ? I’ve noticed a few glaring differences (pittance of sign up bonuses here!), but curious if there is more I’m not noticing. i.e. How credit reports work, churning best practices, etc.

    Also, do you know if those 12k United points can be deposited into my US account? Or must I open a new UA account in the UK?

    • Rob says:

      Same UA account as long as you have changed the address on it to a UK one.

      Credit scoring in the US sense does not happen here. No FICO etc. it is a more subjective process with no hard rules. However you are unlikely to get a card until you:

      A open a UK bank account
      B have some utility bills in your name
      C register to vote in the UK (or at least fill in the form to tell them you cannot vote)
      D have a council tax bill in your name

      Once you have 3 of those 4 you will ‘exist’, ie you will have a credit record, which card companies can look at.

      If you had an Amex in the US it is easier as Amex can pull your US data and will be less fussy.

  • James says:

    I currently have 3x MBNA cards (BMI,AA,EK), before applying for the 3rd card I called them and asked what the policy was on the number of cards per person.

    I was told that they allow you to have a max of 5 cards (accounts) and that I could have an £18k limit spread across the 5 cards.

  • James says:

    Alas because virgin only let’s you upgrade full fare tickets from all classes Flying Club miles seem less useful than avios?

    • Rob says:

      This came up before. Apparently semi flex tickets are upgradable and, in Premium Economy, the cheapest is only £150 or so more expensive than a non-flexible one. You would need to call Virgin to book that because you need a particular fare class. I am sure someone can jump in and confirm.

      • Alan says:

        I haven’t booked one yet myself (although investigated it a bit before getting their credit card!), but my understanding is the Flying Club part of their website is clear which fare codes are eligible and their booking system let’s you search for fares based on those codes if you want. Agree calling to confirm makes sense though.

  • Jason says:


    After BA( Avios), what would be the next best reward scheme, for families travelling to the middle east( in business or first)
    Although Avios availability, as it gets worse with BA, is still pretty good with other one world airlines are their other better options people should be looking at?

    • Rob says:

      Not Etihad because they restrict premium seats to 2 per flight.

      Emirates is VERY easy at Flex level, I would guess you can get 4 seats in business on 80 per cent of flights to Dubai even at Easter, half term etc (because I do it myself).

      Downside is that this is very expensive – 125000 per person, so 500,000 miles for a family of 4. Unless you spending huge amounts on an Amex or Emirates credit card or flying with them a lot you will not reach this.

      Lufthansa availability in J is generally OK. Buying Avianca Lifemiles could get you these seats cheaply but you need to know what you are doing (if you Google Aviance Lifemiles you will find some US blog articles.)

      Qatar from Manchester, Paris, Amsterdam etc may also be an option depending on where you live.

      • Jason says:

        Thanks Raffles

        Looks like I’ll be sticking with Avios for a while, at least the qatar option is a good substitute if BA isn’t available.
        There are worse places to spend overnight, than Doha!

  • David says:

    Can someone please confirm if, for the Virgin Atlantic Black Card, the £3000 spend requirement can be achieved with spend on both cards or rather just the Amex OR the Visa?

    The T&Cs stated (abridged): “A further 11,500 bonus miles will be credited to your account when you apply by 14 July 2014 and spend £3,000 on either card in the first 90 days of your account opening and supply your Flying Club membership number”

    So is this £3000 across the two cards, or £3000 on the Amex OR the Visa? I would like to think the intention was for it to be across both cards, but I wonder if anyone is able to confirm?

    I appreciate for the ongoing vouchers the spend is required on the Amex only, but the account opening bonus is written differently. Thanks.

    • Rob says:

      Both cards. You only actually get one statement and one bill anyway.

      • David says:

        The PE upgrade and companion flight voucher eligibility is based on Amex spend only, so the fact it is just one statement may not be key (and there are different earning rates so they have to add up the spend on each card separately). MBNA don’t seem to know anything about any signup bonus, can’t see any promotional offers on the account, and refer me to VFC. VFC thought the offer ended at the end of June and was based on Amex spend only – which is clearly incorrect – so getting confirmation of this seems like hard work. Also the paperwork that arrived with the cards only mentioned 18500 bonus miles, which is a little confusing! I have kept a print out of the offer page in case I need it later.

  • David says:

    Just as a quick follow up I have spoken again to MBNA and they have confirmed that the required spend can indeed be across both cards, .e.g. £1500 Amex and £1500 Visa.

  • Ryan says:

    Does anyone still have the original email for the Virgin Credit Cards offer? I have spent the qualifying spend (£1k) for the white card and no bonus 7000 miles. I have queried it, and now have a very formal letter from the ‘Contact Centre Site Lead’ stating there was no such promotion. I need some proof!

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

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