UPDATE – JUNE 2022: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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 Cards’ menu above. Thank you.
Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on the two Barclaycard Avios Mastercard credit 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.
After a break in February – because there was nothing new to write about – it is time for the return of our monthly round up of what is coming and what is going in the world of UK airline and hotel credit card sign-up deals. Our directory of all 25 UK travel credit cards can be found by clicking the ‘Credit Card Offers’ tab at the top of the site or – for email, Flipboard or mobile readers – by clicking here.
Not much, to be honest. Apart from IHG Rewards Club (which is a good deal) and Virgin Atlantic, not much is happening. The only new offer is from Emirates and that is a repeat of one they ran twice last year.
These are the three offers worth noting:
IHG Rewards Club (Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental etc) is offering a TRIPLED bonus on its two hotel cards. The free card gets you 30,000 IHG Rewards Club points, the £99 card brings you 60,000 points. This is an EXCELLENT deal if you are focussed on free hotel nights – you even get Gold or Platinum status in IHG Rewards Club thrown in. This offer runs until March 31st so you only have two weeks left to apply.
The bonus on the free Virgin Atlantic White card is more than tripled from 3,000 miles to 10,000 miles. The bonus on the paid Black card increases from 18,500 miles to 25,000 miles. This offer will run until the end of March – again, you only have two weeks left.
The higher sign-up bonuses on the two Emirates credit cards are back. This offer runs until early April. The bonus on the free card is doubled to 10,000 miles whilst the bonus on the paid cards is doubled to 20,000 miles. MBNA is happy for you to apply for both cards.
I expand on all of these offers below.
What are the best deals at the moment?
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are my top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus. The IHG, Emirates and Virgin offers are special deals whilst Amex Gold, Amex Platinum and Hilton cards are consistently strong offers.
These deals are listed in no particular order and their position on the list is not a sign of how good or bad the offer is.
IHG Rewards Club Visa and IHG Rewards Club Premium Visa
The bonus on these cards is tripled until 31st March as long as you apply via special links. The free card gets you 30,000 points which is worth up to six hotel nights during a PointBreaks promotion – or 6,000 airline miles. The £99 card is worth 60,000 points which should get around £300 of free hotel rooms – or 12,000 airline miles. You can find our more in this article from December.
The representative APR on the free card is 18.9% variable and 42.2% variable on the Premium card, including the fee and assuming a £1200 credit limit.
Emirates Skywards and Emirates Skywards Elite
The sign-up bonus on this free card is increased from 5,000 Avios to 10,000 Skywards miles until 12th April. The paid card has its bonus doubled to 20,000 miles albeit with a £150 non-refundable fee.
The representative APR is 17.9% variable on the free card and 54.9% variable on the Elite card, including the £150 fee and assuming a notional £1200 credit limit.
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.
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. One benefit of earning American Express points is that you only need to transfer them to an airline or hotel scheme when you are ready to redeem – there is no risk of being caught out by devaluations!
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 UK Hilton credit card is here. The home page 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. The representative APR is 18.9% variable.
Virgin Flying Club White and Virgin Flying Club Black
Virgin has increased the bonus on its two credit card packages. The free White card now offers 10,000 miles (usually 3,000) whilst the Black card offers 25,000 (usually 18,500). I wrote more about this deal here.
The representative APR on the free card is 17.9% variable and on the paid card 52.0% variable including the fee, based on a £1200 credit limit.
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.
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:
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 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 Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 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
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:
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
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.