UPDATE – JANUARY 2021: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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 Card Offers’ menu above. Thank you.
It’s time for 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 Cards’ tab at the top of the site or – for email, Flipboard, Apple News or mobile readers – by clicking here.
Rather worryingly, not much. The impact of the new EU interchange fee rules appears to have led to the whole industry sitting on their hands whilst they decide how to react.
There are only two key things to be aware of:
The current special offer on the British Airways American Express free card (9,000 Avios instead of 3,000 Avios) and the Premium Plus £150 card (25,000 Avios instead of 18,000 Avios) ends on Wednesday night
The refer-a-friend bonus on the £24 Lloyds Avios Rewards card has been increased from 4,500 Avios to 5,500 Avios each, until the end of March
And that, I’m afraid, is it.
If you didn’t read HFP over the weekend, it is also worth pointing out that:
Here is a summary of what I consider to be the best deals available at the moment.
What are the best travel credit card 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 BA, Lloyds and Tesco offers are special deals whilst the Amex Gold 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.
The sign-up bonus on this card is 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points.
Your points can be transferred into various airline and hotel programmes. You could get 30,000 Avios, 30,000 Virgin miles, 60,000 Hilton points, 90,000 Carlson points, 2,000 Eurostar Frequent Traveller points etc etc.
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, Hilton Gold, Melia Gold and Shangri-La Jade – 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.
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!
The sign-up bonus on the fee-paying British Airways card is currently 25,000 Avios until Wednesday 10th February 2016 compared to the usual offer of 19,000 Avios. The bonus on the free card has been tripled from 3,000 Avios to 9,000 Avios. Read my review of British Airways Premium Plus here and my review of the free British Airways Amex here to decide which is best for you. Move quickly if you want to jump on this.
This card is less useful than it was following the halving of the earning rate in December. However, it remains the most generous non-Amex card unless you meet the strict criteria for HSBC Premier.
Some comparison sites are currently offering a 1,000 point bonus with this card as I wrote here. My full review of the Tesco Clubcard MasterCard credit card can be found here. The representative APR is 18.9% variable.
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.
I have become more keen on this card over the last year. The Avios devaluation last April increased the value of the upgrade voucher. With no other cards following its lead of dropping foreign transaction fees, it remains a good choice for spending abroad. Representative APR 23.7% variable including the £24 fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.
More importantly, with most Visa and MasterCard cards looking unexciting these days (eg Tesco cutting its earning rate by 50%), the ability to use MasterCard spend on the Lloyds card to count towards your upgrade voucher is valuable. My full review of the card is here. Until 31st March, the refer-a-friend bonus is increased from 4,500 Avios to 5,500 Avios for both of you.
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.
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.