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‘Credit Card Offers’ updated for October 2014 – summary of top deals

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UPDATE – NOVEMBER 2021:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.  We produce a monthly directory of the top UK travel credit card offers – please click HERE or use the ‘Credit Card Offers’ menu above.  Thank you.

I have updated the ‘Credit Card Offers‘ page at the top of the screen for October.

What’s new?

The latest special offer on the British Airways American Express cards ended in September.  However, the excellent deal on the two Virgin Atlantic cards runs until the end of the month – see below.

Emirates is also running a special promotion on the Skywards cards – see below – which should be of interest to anyone who already has a Skywards miles collection.  The Emirates award chart has few low value redemptions so there is little you can do if you only collect miles from their credit card, however.

Finally, Flybe has improved the sign-up bonus on its card.  Full details are in this post from last week.  I was not over-excited, your comments were even less enthusiastic ….

UK Rewards credit and charge cards

What’s back?

The IHG Rewards Club Visa card (the free one) is finally available again.  Oddly, the Premium version is not yet available again.  I wrote more about this in an article yesterday.  In summary, I recommend that you hold off from applying as a better sign-up deal may emerge and, in any event, many people will be better off with the (still not available) £99 Premium Visa.

What’s gone?

The Ryanair credit card appears to be totally dead, with all references to it now removed from their website.  I have removed it from our credit card directory and deleted references from some older articles.

What are the best deals at the moment?

If you are looking to apply for a new card today, here are my top recommendations based on the sign-up bonus. The Emirates and Virgin cards are special deals whilst Amex Gold, Amex Platinum and Hilton cards are consistently strong offers.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

This is currently an outstanding deal which is showing no signs of going away. You pay no fee for the first year and earn 20,000 Membership Rewards points (see here for what 20,000 MR points can get you – 20,000 Avios points for a start!).  If you are new to this hobby, I would make this your first American Express card.

My full review of the card is here. The Amex home page is here.

Emirates Skywards

The sign-up bonus on the free Emirates credit card is currently increased from 5,000 to 12,000 Skywards miles. Full details are in my review here.  Representative APR 17.9% variable.

If you are happy to pay a fee, the bonus on the Emirates Elite card has also been improved, from 10,000 to 25,000 Skywards miles.  If you are an existing Skywards collector – because  you need a lot of Emirates miles for a decent reward, more than you can get from a credit card alone – then this is something to consider seriously.

My full review of the Elite card is here.  Representative APR 55.1% variable including the annual fee, based on a £1200 credit limit.

Both offers run until November 30th.

Emirates Elite cards

American Express Platinum

The card offers 30,000 Membership Rewards points, worth 30,000 Avios amongst other things.

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 – for the rest of the year even after you cancel. The Amex Platinum benefits package is extensive, though, and once you’ve got it you might find the numbers add up for you. I have had one for 15 years.

My full review of the card is here. Amex’s own home page is here.

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.

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.

Representative APR 18.9% variable.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club White and Black cards

Virgin Atlantic has started to match promotional activity on the British Airways credit cards. Last week they increased the bonus on the free White cards to 10,000 miles and on the £140 fee Black cards to 25,000 miles.

You can find full details on the Virgin credit cards bonus and links to the application forms in this article from last month.

The representative APR on the White card is 17.9% variable. The representative APR on the Black card is 52.0% variable including the annual fee.

Bonus on small business cards

Head for Points focusses primarily on personal cards. However, if you are a sole trader or run a very small business, you may also want to check out the American Express Platinum Business Card and the American Express Gold Business Card. There is currently a 20,000 points (= 20,000 Avios) bonus on the Gold Business card and a 40,000 points (40,000 Avios) bonus on the Platinum Business card.

In my experience people still receive the sign-up bonus on the small business cards even if they already have a personal Gold or Platinum card. This is technically not what the rules say, however, and you should bear this in mind.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – November 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our November 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the top current deals:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

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 credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 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

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 Gold

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

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

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

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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 and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (45)

  • Ben says:

    Hello all.

    Any sign on an SPG sign up bonus is on the way?

    • Rob says:

      Historically they start something last week of October or first week of November. I only get 48 hours notice, though, and often not even that!

  • Stuart says:

    Can you hold both a PRG and a platnium? Do you get a limited upgrade sign up bonus or can you get the full bonus if taking ok the Plat card?

    • Rob says:

      Yes, you can hold them both. No, you won’t get a bonus – any bonus – for the 2nd card.

      You can get a bonus for upgrading Gold to Platinum, link on the ‘Avios Promos’ page on HFP.

  • aceman says:

    Do any hotel cards let you get to the top tier in the hotel group just through spending? about to hit some fairly big (non amex) expenses and it doesn’t look like I have many options… Failing that, best option for fairly big visa spends?

    • aceman says:

      answering my own question, looks like I really have to wait for barclaycard to pull their fingers out…

    • Dave says:

      Platinum amex gives you second highest tier in a few of the larger chains

    • Rob says:

      Not top tier, Hilton and SPG offer Gold for hitting spend targets

  • oyster says:

    Is there a way of identifying when an Amex card was officially cancelled?

    • Rob says:

      Not without calling

      • AndyGWP says:

        or your last statement date perhaps? (if you keep hold of them!)

        • AndyGWP says:

          sorry, meant to say the date specified on your final statement… its just speculative suggestion though as I’ve never really paid much attention, but they do send you a final one even if you’re on zero balance, so assumed the date on it would tally up with the closure of the account 🙂

  • ZP says:

    I have recently joined gold amex and my husband is an additional card holder on my account. Can I refer him for his own gold amex so that I can get the referral bonus and he gets the sign up bonus? Or do we need to cancel his gold amex first? Also can both our MR points be transferred to the same avios account? Still very new to all this so any help would be appreciated. Thanks

    • TimS says:

      You can definitely refer him for his own card without cancelling his supplimentary card.

      However I would recommend you wait at least until you have reached your spend target to refer him so that you onlyhave one spend target to hit at a time!

      Also, you might want to wait until towards the end of your first year so that you could cancel your card once his referral has gone through & been accepted (with you as a supp on his card), thus allowing you both to churn Gold cards efficiently but still have one active/available to use at all times.

      • ZP says:

        Thanks for the very helpful info! I’ll leave the referral for now and do it nearer the time I cancel mine.

  • Simon says:

    I got an email from American Airlines for 15,000 bonus miles from the MBNA credit credit card. The bonus isn’t showing on the MBNA site at the moment but it does show for me if you apply via this link

    • Rob says:

      Thanks Simon, that is one for Saturday morning

    • Dave says:


      I applied and they asked me to call them.

      Apparently having a BMI, Emirates and AA was one card too many so cancelled my BMI and was approved

  • What's The Point says:

    Question ref Hilton CC. If you spend the £10k and get Gold status, does that mean you only then need an additional 10 stays to get to Diamond?

    Or will you still have to get to 30 stays irrespective of how much you spend on the credit card?

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