UPDATE – JANUARY 2021: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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 Cards Update‘ page at the top of the screen for October.
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 ….
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.
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.
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.
Emirates Skywards (click on the box with at the top of the page to see the special offer)
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.
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.
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 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.
(Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.)