American Airlines has tripled the sign-up bonus on its UK credit cards from 5,000 miles to 15,000 miles. This is the same offer which ran twice during 2014.
Whilst a far cry from the amazing 35,000 miles they offered in early 2013 – which was probably the best sign-up deal ever seen in the UK for a free credit card – this is still a very good offer.
The representative APR is 17.9% variable.
The main benefits are discussed in my review of the card. Here are the key points:
The cards are issued by MBNA, so if you already have the bmi, Virgin, Lufthansa, Etihad, Emirates or United cards it may impact your ability to get them
However, MBNA has a history of allowing you, if rejected, to still get them if you agree to reduce the credit limit on your existing cards or to close one of them
The cards come as an American Express and Visa double-pack, earning 1.5 miles per £1 on the Amex and 0.75 miles per £1 on the Visa. This is a very impressive earning rate for a free card.
The cards are free.
The bonus is triggered as follows:
5,000 miles for the first purchase
10,000 miles when you spend £1,500 within 90 days
There is NO restriction that the spend must be on the American Express card. All of the qualifying spend can be made on the Visa card if you want.
MBNA does not like ‘churning’. If you have previously had the AA cards, you are unlikely to receive the bonus again. If you apply now, you will not be able to receive another bonus in the future, at least for a few years. The small print says “This one-time bonus offer is valid only for first-time MBNA / AAdvantage credit card account holders. Previous and existing MBNA / AAdvantage credit card account holders are not eligible.” You will be fine to apply for other MBNA cards, however.
On its own, 15,000 American Airlines miles is not enough to make it worthwhile starting an AA collection. However, if there was a redemption you liked the look of (perhaps an Etihad First Class Suite to the Middle East from London for just 40,000 miles!) and you had a way of topping them up via a points purchase or a hotel points transfer, it might be worth a look. My review of the card touches on some of these ‘sweet spots’.
It is also worth noting that many US writers believe that American will sharply devalue their reward chart soon. It is currently substantially more generous than its competitors, especially for flights on partner airlines like BA and Etihad. The merger with US Airways has delayed any changes to date but, with the integration of the frequent flyer programmes now nearing completion, the date may be coming nearer.
The other thing to consider is that you currently earn 400% more miles when you credit discounted economy BA flights to the AA programme instead of Avios. My article yesterday discussed why you may want to do this – and if you did, this would be an attractive way of topping up an AA account.
The offer closes on July 31st.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – January 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 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
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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:
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
Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending 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
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. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.