UPDATE – AUGUST 2022: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus. You can apply here.
IHG Rewards Club (Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental, Indigo etc) has not had any promotions on its credit cards since March.
A new deal has now arrived. IHG has DOUBLED the sign-up bonus on its two Visa credit cards.
There are two different cards available, a free version and a version with a £99 annual fee. Both of these cards are worth a look – your personal stay preferences will decide which one is best for you.
The cards are issued by Barclaycard so your ability to get the IHG cards may be impacted if you hold the Hilton Visa (also Barclaycard). I was told this week that Barclaycard is stopping people who already have one of its cards from getting another – we need to see if this is really happening in practice. In any event, Barclaycard will not give you a second card within six months of previously applying for one.
This offer was promoted in the IHG member email this month. The small print states that the offer is only available to those who received it. As this email goes out to all opted-in IHG Rewards Club members, I am pretty sure that anyone who applies via the links below will receive the higher bonus. You should be aware, though, that there is a risk that you only receive the normal bonus.
The IHG Rewards Club Visa
The free card is the IHG Rewards Club Visa. The standard sign-up bonus is 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points but until 31st December you will receive 20,000 points. The bonus is triggered with your first purchase.
20,000 IHG points transfers into 4,000 Avios or other airline miles. It would get you between 1-2 free hotel nights in a cheap part of the world or FOUR free nights if you use the points to book a hotel in the next round of PointBreaks offers where rooms are reduced to 5,000 points per night.
You will also receive Gold status in IHG Rewards Club for as long as you hold the card. This doesn’t get you much, to be honest, so I would put very little value on it. The 20,000 points do NOT count towards status so this is not a way of speeding up your passage to Platinum or Spire Elite status.
The earnings rate is poor at just 1 IHG Rewards Club point per £1 spent. I value IHG points at 0.5p so that represents just 0.5% return on your spending.
My full review of the IHG credit card can be found here although it has not yet been amended to reflect this higher bonus.
This card is best for …. someone who does not intend to keep it long-term and is mainly concerned with getting some Avios or hotel nights from the sign-up bonus.
The representative APR on this card is 18.9% variable.
The link to apply is here. This offer is ONLY available via this link.
The IHG Rewards Club Premium Visa
The second version of the card is the IHG Rewards Club Premium Visa. This carries an annual fee of £99 which is non-refundable if you choose to cancel.
The standard sign-up bonus on the Premium card is 20,000 IHG Rewards Club points but until 31st December 2015 you will receive 40,000 points. The bonus is triggered with your first purchase.
40,000 IHG points transfers into 8,000 Avios or other airline miles. You will get far more value using them for hotel nights, however. Even the best InterContinental hotels in the world only cost 50,000 points per night, so this is effectively a very cheap way to get yourself close to a night in the IC’s in Paris, London, New York, Bora Bora etc.
Used for more modest hotels such as Holiday Inn Express properties in suburban locations, you would receive between two and three free nights for 40,000 points. If you use the points to book a hotel in the next round of PointBreaks offers where rooms are reduced to 5,000 points per night, you could book yourself an 8 night stay.
The Premium card comes with Platinum status in IHG Rewards Club for as long as you hold the card. At Crowne Plaza hotels this can often result in an excellent upgrade and/or lounge access. At a Holiday Inn Express there is little they can give you except a free drink. It really does vary. Platinum is now the middle tier status following the launch of Spire Elite status this Summer.
The 40,000 points do NOT count towards status so they are no use if you are looking to hit Spire Elite status quickly.
The earnings rate is good at 2 IHG Rewards Club point per £1 spent. I value IHG points at 0.5p so that represents a 1% return on your spending. This is impressive for a non-American Express card. If you use the card abroad, you receive 4 points per £1 albeit with a 3% FX fee.
You also receive a free night voucher when you spend £10,000. This is valid for 12 months and lets you redeem for a free night at ANY IHG property, as long as standard reward nights are showing. This is worth £250+ if used at a key InterContinental hotel. Both my wife and I have this card and trigger the free night voucher each year.
My full review of the IHG Premium credit card can be found here although it has not yet been updated to reflect this offer.
This card is best for …. someone who can put £10,000 through the card in order to earn the free night voucher or who is a regular guest at IHG properties and would value the Platinum status.
The representative APR is 42.2% variable including the £99 fee, assuming a £1,200 credit limit.
The link to apply is here. This offer is ONLY available via this link.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – August 2022 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit 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 with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
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.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
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 – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points, £200 travel credit 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.