Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

15,000 American Airlines miles with their free 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 earlier this year.

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.

I had this article lined up and ready to publish yesterday – and then American released details of their major devaluation.

I gave a few examples in this article of how pricing for Business Class and First Class redemptions from the UK will increase by 40% – 60%.

Whilst American will still be better value than Avios for many redemptions, unless you have a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher, this is a moot point for most of us.  Even with the bonus from the credit card, you will struggle to build up enough for a decent redemption as most of the obvious routes for earning more miles (Amex transfers, Tesco, Heathrow Rewards etc) are not available.

Even heavy economy flyers won’t be earning many miles under the new American Airlines programme.  Additionally, from February, you will no longer be better off crediting British Airways economy flights to an American Airlines account.  This arbitrage is being removed.

That said, there is definitely still value in the AA programme for people who undertake lots of premium class travel, especially on flexible fares.  AA will be showering you with miles from next year, and the 15,000 from this credit card will be an extra fillip.

There is also something to consider here for heavy credit card spenders – 1.5 miles per £1 on the Amex is an excellent rate for a free credit card, as is 0.75 miles per £1 on the Visa.

That said, if you are spending six figures per year on credit cards then you might as well pay an annual fee and get a card with an even better earnings rate such as Virgin Flying Club Black (2 / £1 Amex, 1 / £1 Visa).

The offer closes on 8th January.

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 (2)

  • Martin says:

    I’ve got a little favour. You posted the same offer on 28 June, when I applied for the card. Unfortunately I didn’t get the miles because MBNA is saying there was no offer in that time. Do you have any link or detail to this offer from June? Unfortunately when I try to open your post from that time, post from November opens – I guess because they titled the same:) need to prove them there was an offer 🙁 Thank you.

    • Rob says:

      If I had a £1 for every time I had this …..

      Email me at raffles at and I will send it to the senior MBNA guy I know. Please include card number.