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HfP ‘Credit Cards’ page updated for September 2016 – what are the best deals?

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UPDATE – JULY 2021:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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 updated 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.  This article is a summary of the recent changes.

UK Rewards credit and charge cards

What’s new?

Enhanced sign-up bonuses are back but only with the two usual suspects – British Airways and Virgin.

The issuers of the other 20+ cards on the market continue to sit on their hands, which is not entirely surprising as they are probably losing money at the moment following the cap on interchange fees last December.

The only card which may see a sign-up bonus launched is the new Tesco Premium Mastercard.  It has been trialling a targetted 5,000 Clubcard points bonus

The big recent news, however, was the announcement that the bmi Diamond Club credit cards, issued by MBNA, are to close on 30th September (article).  This is a big blow as they are far more generous than any cards currently available.  My Mastercard earns me 2.5 Avios per £1, albeit with a £60 annual fee.

If you have a Diamond Club card, you should look at this article I wrote on the best alternative Visa and MasterCard products for you.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – July 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our July 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. Here are the other top current deals:

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 offers.

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

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:

Barclaycard Select Cashback Credit Card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (87)

  • Chaim says:

    So basically the points game is dead as we can excpect no more big sign up bonuses?!

    • Rob says:

      You could never churn the MBNA cards anyway. Even if Etihad decided to offer 30,000 miles for getting their free card tomorrow, the changes to their reward chart last year still wouldn’t give you many options beyond a one-way in Business to Abu Dhabi, and even that would require a fair bit of card spend before you had enough.

      I think it will cycle. Why would MBNA want to encourage you to take out a card which loses it money?

      However, in 2 years time the Etihad card (for example) will probably be:

      MasterCard only
      £99 fee
      Come with Etihad Silver status
      Earn 0.5 miles per £1

      That is probably sustainable as a model and MBNA would be prepared to put a big sign-up bonus behind that.

  • MR Bridge says:

    Tesco premium mastercard:
    I always used the amex Fx, because they did not charge the tx as a cash advance only as a purchase. I always checked the fx calculator on money saving expert, and although amex wasn’t the best rate the US$0.01 difference paid for the 1.5 avios.

    Always near the top was Tesco (order online, not in store), and they still are.
    Robs hint a couple of months ago that DC was closing, led me to get the Tesco premium.

    Looking into the t+c’s tesco bank also treat Fx tx’s as a purchase when paying with tesco card. Oddly this is not in the card t+c’s. but actually on the fx site:
    Tesco Credit Cards
    If you pay with your Tesco Credit Card, there’s no cash advance fee (excluding Tesco Business Credit Card) or card handling fees. Buying foreign currency with a Tesco Clubcard Credit Card from Tesco Travel Money will count towards a customer’s cash limit but will be treated as a purchase transaction and will still be charged interest at the purchase interest rate.

    Whilst this does not count toward you £5000 spend, i believe you still get the £4/1cc as a purchase. still 0.6 avios on a very good fx rate

  • Catherine O'Donnell says:

    Does anyone have a link to the 10,000 point White Virgin card offer, when I click on the link it still shows the standard 3,000 points?


  • James67 says:

    OT but credit cards: some new offers on amex this morning including 1000 extra avios on BA cards used at TfL, and £20 of £60 at eurostar.

    • Brian says:

      Has anybody actually been able to register for the TFL offer? I can’t on either of my cards…

      • idrive says:


        • Roger says:

          Same here. Looks like the lonk is still not live. may be try later today or tomorrow and it should work.

          Happened similar to this in one of previous offer which worked on the following day.

      • Roger* says:

        Yes, and my offer is 10 extra MR points per £ when used as contactless on buses, tubes, trains, etc, capped at 1,000, so UP TO 1,000. 🙂

        • John says:

          You sure it isn’t 10 mr per £2?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Mine is 10MR per £2 via contactless, wonder if topping up the Oyster might work £30 at a time, I’m there a few times over the next few weeks but can see me not getting full value from the “per £2” element just using it as a payment card

          • Ignacio says:

            Hi guys

            Do you know if this offer applies only one time or you will receive the extra avios or MR points for all your spend during the promotional period until the end of November?

  • John G says:

    Slightly OT but I referred someone for the Lloyds Avios card last week and they have not yet received the referral email. I know there have been reports of it taking 6+ months at the extreme for the email to arrive, but how long does it generally take?

    • James67 says:

      It’s a lottery, ranging from days to never according to previous commentsbon HFP. If nothing ithin two weeks just try it again or get in touch with CS. If the person you referred has any orevious business with Lloyds then they will likely not get it.

      • Rob says:

        They only arrive on Mondays now so today may be your lucky day.

        Unless Lloyds recognises the email, in which case you’re blocked. Or the recipient has an account set to ‘no marketing email’, in which case you are blocked. Or your email service blocks emails which sound like sex spam (’I have a secret to share with you ….’ headline) in which case it will be blocked.

        Of all the people I try to refer, I get the bonus on 1 in 3. The rest give up or are thrown out for one of the reasons above.

    • Polly says:

      John, my referral for my OH took 4 mths. Almost gave up. But since got it and getting our double pts posted for our first six mths currently.

      Mr bridge, that’s a very useful tip re the tesco currency on line purchase. A new one for most of us l would guess.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      similar experience my friend just applied and then chased them later, it did turn out the reason was he was set to ‘no marketing emails’. But after a msg on twitter it was sorted within a week.

    • Alan says:

      It’s a totally broken system TBH. However as long as you and the person being referred both use the same email address (to refer and to apply) then you should still get the bonus, as long as they aren’t a preexisting customer of course.

  • Graeme says:

    Re. the Hilton Visa – it’s been a while since I’ve had one so I hadn’t noticed (or don’t remember) the ‘once only’ rule – how long has that been a rule for, and does it only count from a certain date or does it count for anyone that’s ever had one?

    Apologies for what is almost certainly a stupid question.

    • John says:

      About a year IIRC, but the matching to previous customer profile is imperfect.

    • Russell says:

      I had the Hilton Visa for the first time last year, and cancelled in January ’16, having used my free night voucher. Re-applied August this year, and have earned a 2nd free night certificate without any issues. They may not be enforcing the “only once” reward to fiercely, or perhaps i just got lucky. Only thing I can think of that may have gone in my favour was a change of home address?

      • Nick says:

        I’m going to try and get the HH card again Christmas as I cancelled the card in July this year. I’m going to use a different email address and see what happens..

  • Andreas says:

    Rob, the World Elite card gives 40,000 points for spending £2000 in the first 3 months, and an ADDITIONAL 40,000 points when spending £12,000 in a year.

    • Mycity says:

      Yes but the 80000 points total is only worth 40000 Avios etc, so Robs correct

      • Andreas says:

        I didn’t notice he said avios. But still a clarification is required as you earn the first 20K Avios in this case if you spend £2000 in the first 3 months.

        • Mycity says:

          The clarification is there, click on the link on each card description and it takes one to Robs review on each card.

          • Andreas says:

            well not on this page anyway. I’m not sure why the attiude. I was only trying to be helpful. I just happened to misread avios to points.

        • Rob says:

          Fair point, will amend.

  • Leo says:

    Is it now possible to get the Hilton card alongside the grandfathered IHG Barclaycard? I presume not…but I’d like to! Not keen on ditching my current IHG card for the Creation one.

    • Rob says:

      Not clear, they may treat the IHG card differently now that it is ‘dormant’.

    • Ed says:

      Exactly the same boat here. If anyone tries please share

      • Mark E says:

        I’d appreciate knowing too, so another request to share please if anyone does know.

    • Rimas says:

      Applied for Hilton Card first time last Wednesday (still keep my Barclays IHG), received a letter today – “Sorry, we can’t accept your application…”

      • Joe says:

        It could be worth emailing them and asking if they will reconsider if you reduce the limit on your existing card. I did this and never got a reply but then they sent the HHonors card in the post.

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