UPDATE – NOVEMBER 2021: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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
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
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
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
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: