Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

15,000 free American Airlines miles with their UK credit card

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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 offer is outlined on the American Airlines site here.

The representative APR is 17.9% variable.

AA credit card

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

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

British Airways American Express card

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

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

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

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

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 card

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

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.

Comments (17)

  • PGW says:

    I actually applied for this card just 2 days ago. I was aware of MBNA’s policy on churning so called them before making the application and was told that I would be eligible for the bonus and all the associated benefits (0% APR etc) even though I had previously held the card up to around a year ago. I was doubtful about what I was being told and asked the agent to check with his supervisor. He did so and came back and was adamant that I would be treated as a new applicant. I subsequently applied online and was approved. I should be getting it in the next few days.

    To be honest I remain sceptical but the assurance was absolutely categorical.

    • James67 says:

      If you can get them to put it in writing I expect they will honour it but if not you are right to be sceptical, I doubt you will get it. However, if old 5000 point paperwork comes in instead of new 15000 point paperwork that is a good excuse for you to call again and ask them to confirm in writing you will get the bonus. Easier still, you could just send a secure message now raising the query and their reply to that will be useful one way or the other.

    • Darren says:

      I applied in the last promotion after previously owning the card, i still received the bonus again without any problems, so you will be fine.

      • James67 says:

        No guarantee, I’ve had bonus twice before too and other times not, with them continuing to decline it even after I raised a complaint. Their policy is not clear except that you can sometimes get more than one bonus but this has become less common in last few years. My guess is that if you have a history of churning same card (held it twice or more before) or have a history of applying for many cards in a given time periid and cancelling or markedly reducing use after receiving tge bonus then irt will more likely be declined. Or maybe it’s just luck.

  • Elena says:

    Do you have any details on how many points are needed for US flights with AA? Planning to use our BA companion voucher next year to go to Hawaii. As it can only be used with BA, planning to use it for a flight to LA, then paying from LA to Hawaii flights, wonder is the 15K points on this MBNA card may give us some discount. Thank you. Any other suggestions will be welcomed.

  • James67 says:

    In the event you end up buying a ticket you might be better going to SFO as opposed to LAX. Apart from SFO itself you have airports bearvy in Iakland, San Jose and Sacramento one of which is boud to have cheap flight to HNL. If planning on spending a few days in California, San Francisco and the north have much more to offer than LA.

    • Elena says:

      Thank you!

      • Imbruce says:

        Hi Elena.,
        If you are going to stay in San Francisco the hotel Diva is a nice hotel and book a bus tour from their to take you to the Nappa Valley Wineries. If you like seafood go to McCormick & Kuletos at Fishermans Wharf.
        Also ride the cable cars.
        Have fun.

        • Kipto says:

          Don’t forget Alcatraz. Absolutely fascinating. Need to book in advance.

          • RK says:

            I actually prefer LA to SFO although SFO does have more specific tourist attractions. Most people do seem to prefer SFO though.

          • James67 says:

            It’s not just the city itself, it is what is all around it within a few hours drive: Big Sur, Santa Cruz and Monterey; Bapa and San Joaqin (even more impressive) wine valleys, Muir Woods, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, Reno, Calaveras, Yosemite National Park, Lassen Volcanic Natiinal Park, Burney Falls and Mount Shasta. In my opinion it is holiday wonderland, there is little you cannot do. Hawaii is nice, been there a couple of tumes but is very American, not the tropical Pacific culture peopke expect. Northern California has everything Hawaiu has and lots more besides.

  • Mario says:

    It is important to note that Awardwallet has now implemented dual factor authentication, which basically means that your account will be even more secure – you’ll need your username, password and a token from your mobile phone to log on.

  • Joe says:

    Just got myself a Virgin Black with MBNA, with a fantastic 32,000 bonus miles.
    (Sorry Rafs, would of got a referral from you, but was 11th hour on deal close)
    Credit limit is quite low, is this normal? I do have CC’s closing that still appear as open on my file.
    Anyone know how flexible they are in upping these things + when do you expect I can apply for another MBNA card, really looking for an Emirates or AA deal.

    • Rob says:

      Refer a friend does not work alongside the ‘special offer’ bonuses so I couldn’t have helped you anyway!

      MBNA normally very generous on credit limit to be honest. If you apply for another MBNA card and are turned down you can ring them and offer to move credit across from your Virgin card (so their exposure to you is not increased), this can work.

      • Joe says:

        I have a big limit elsewhere what i have closed, MBNA have only gave me £2.5, is that normal?