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

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UPDATE – AUGUST 2021:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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? – August 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our August 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)

  • NS says:

    O/T slightly. If I cancel my PGR card do I lose the lounge access passes I have? Thanks

  • James says:

    Slightly O/T.

    I currently have Amex Gold and want to upgrade to Amex Platinum in advance of a Eurostar trip in a few weeks. When I go through the Amex portal there is no mention of the 30k points for upgrading, and in fact the only notice is that I may not get the signup bonus as an existing customer.

    Anyone know the current position with upgrades?

    • Liz says:

      When I rang Amex a few months ago I was told the 20k upgrade offer was on till Jan but others have reported differently. I will call them and ask if the link/offer is still on before applying.

      • Charlie says:

        I phoned Amex a few days ago and the call centre staff member confirmed there were no offers to upgrade to from gold to platinum. They mentioned the usual cancel and wait 6 months rule.

        Also there doesn’t seem to be a way to find this link from the standard amex website, whilst logged on or not logged on to my account.

        Has anyone used this recently with points posting?

        • Rob says:

          Works for some, not all – which is why I haven’t written it up, because you are stuffed if it goes wrong.

          • Sussex Bantam says:

            I’m thinking by “stuffed” you just mean that there is no way to chase the 20K points ?

            I’m planning on churning my gold card soon anyway so thought I would try this upgrade first and see if it works. If it doesn’t – no real loss.

            Am I missing something ?

          • Rob says:

            There is a loss because a) you are paying £38 for Plat per month whilst you chase the 20k and b) you cannot downgrade back to Gold because the £140 fee is applied immediately, there is no longer a free first year.

          • Radiata says:

            Another bonus given to some is the remainder of the free first year for the Amex Gold retained post upgrade to Plat.

            I was not charged happily but I understand this erratic in application.

          • The Urbanite says:

            I upgraded from Gold to Platinum around 2 months ago and got the 20k upgrade points with no issues at all.

            Is it still possible to sign up for the Platinum Credit Card?

          • Rob says:

            Not until you’re invited.

          • Nathan Fox says:

            Wouldn’t the website be updated to take note of the offer and if not, just cancel the card immediately to avoid the fee?

          • Nathan Fox says:

            and by website I mean your online account page…

          • Rob says:

            No, it doesn’t show there. If it takes you 5 weeks to spend £1,000, only to find the bonus doesn’t post, you are down £80 in Amex Platinum fees and you can’t downgrade back to the free Gold. You need to start paying the £140 fee immediately.

  • Brian says:

    OT – there is a Heathrow Express offer on the Amex Connect site – £10 back on £50 online spend.

  • roberto says:

    AMEX RELATED… I note that the US has an extra bonus when converting Amex MR to both BA and Virgin currentl. I also got an email relating to my Spanish Amex which is also offering a 20% bonus to BA and Iberia. Whats the likelihood of Amex UK doing the same?

    My Spanish email said :-Sea cual sea su próximo viaje, ahora puede despegar más rápido. Porque del 9 de septiembre al 9 de octubre de 2016 conseguirá un 20% extra de Avios al transferir sus puntos MR a British Airways Executive Club y/o a su tarjeta Iberia Plus.

    Google translate :- Whatever your next trip, you can now take off faster. Because of September 9 to October 9, 2016 will get an extra 20 % of Avios when transferring your MR points to British Airways Executive Club and / or your Iberia Plus card.

    • Rob says:

      I must admit, the Spanish offer is closer to home which makes you think they may try something here. Amex seems to have pulled back entirely from transfer bonuses however, probably because they worked out it is bad business for them – why encourage cardholders to do something which results in Amex having to write a fat cheque to BA?!

      • roberto says:

        Unless the offer comes the other way ie from BA with a discount.

        • Rob says:

          I’ve no doubt that BA funds the bonus element, but it still money out of the door today vs money out of the door tomorrow for Amex.

          • RIccati says:

            Nonetheless, Raffles, for USA Amex

            “Get 50% more Avios when you transfer Membership Rewards points “

          • RIccati says:

            Note that it was 200 Avios = 250 MR points (USD card)

            With the offer, it is 300 Avios = 250 MR points.

  • Dave Barron says:

    Rob,

    I totally agree that everyone who collects airline miles should get an Amex and take advantage of Membership Rewards. 6 months ago thanks to this sites recommendation I got the Amex Gold fee free for the first year. I spent £2000 within the first month (primarily thanks to an £1800 spend with BA which also got me 2 points per pound spent) so got the bonus 20k points. Since then I have earned 18k bonus points thanks to the generous friend referral scheme. I’ve now earned an easy 50k points in 6 months and I intend converting to Avios before my fee free year is up. I will then cancel the card avoiding the fee and churn 6 months later, by getting a referral from my wife (who will earn 9k points) who thanks to me has now just got this card too!

    In addition to airmiles this card has saved me money due to the Amex Offers such as a couple of spends with Hilton getting statement credits. A true win win for me and by churning it isn’t costing me a penny. Furthermore because my wife and I have a BAEC Household account, when she earns 22k bonus miles by spending the necessary £2k within 3 months out account will get a further boost.

    Hopefully Amex won’t pull the plug on card churning / generous bonuses anytime soon because at this rate we can look forward to further travels, often in higher class cabins, which otherwise we simply couldn’t afford or justify paying.

    I also recently got the Blue BA Amex getting the higher 9k Avios bonus. I now need to do some referrals on this card too!

    Thanks to Rob and this wonderful site I look forward to future flights where I turn left when boarding!!

    Happy flying folks!

    • Polly says:

      Dave, you are also missing a further trick to double your avios use. We really try to be helpful in this site. You said you got the BA blue card. As its fee free, and you hopefully will have spent just under the 10k! This is very important. Stop spending at this point! around month 10 or 11, do apply to upgrade to the fee BA Premium Plus card. It’s worth the couple of months fees, l promise. Once you have upgraded to the BAPP, your spend will go towards a 2 4 1 companion voucher. So then you spend until you go over the 10k, but it MUST be within that one year only. This 241 companion ticket lasts 2 yrs instead of the 1yr that comes with the free blue card, and you only have to spend 10k instead of 20k. It takes very careful planning, but it does work. Read the info Rob has here, and the other threads. Therefore you could both travel club long haul using one set of avios, but both sets of fees, taxes, charges etc, usually around £550 pp.
      You really also should be double dipping in tesco too, by using your clubcard, convert the points to avios, and pay with Amex. Am sure you do that already. Plus if you roll into year 2 with gold, you get those bonus mr pts too, then cancel, and get your pro rata fee back. Worth it.
      Also go easy with referring each other, stick to annual change over for both gold, and BA Amex.
      It’s a fun hobby, but can take a good year or two to build up a stash. Good luck.

  • Roger says:

    OT-Re: Le Club Accor

    I have about 2400 points with Le Club Accor, can I convert this to IB Plus now?
    Or is it minimum 3000 points I need to accumulate before I can change them to Iberia Plus?

  • Andy S says:

    Re . IHG black mastercard, I’m a little disappointed with it. Did 3 transactions on line last night with the same website (they don’t have a basket as such so everything has to be paid for separately), the third was blocked so I used a different card, today I used the card a couple of times during the day then in the evening it was declined again. I phoned their customer services was just on hold for 10 mins, got through to someone, then kept waiting for another 10 minutes as to unblock the card needed a supervisor’s intervention! there was no sign of todays transactions other than the failed ones, very strange. Anyway while I was there I asked about when platinum would kick in on IHG, he very quickly responded that it was down to IHG and creation only manage the card! Based on this I don’t have much faith that if I do get to 10k in a year, that the voucher will come through! IHG customer support isn’t very good, and creation seem even worse!

    • Mr Dee says:

      I have found the IHG customer service to be ok and the hotels directly are even better but I guess it depends on your issue.

      The creation team really do need to train their staff better, if your card is declined their staff have no idea how to go about fixing it, often they say maybe you entered the address wrong or tell me to use a different card!!! Very odd behaviour, I often feel I have to tell them what they need to do!

      I find its declined with the same merchants so just avoid using the card with them, it doesn’t work well with supercard which is very annoying but supercard could be at fault as well.

  • Guy says:

    Has anyone had/seen a recent link for the Amex Gold Credit card? (i.e. the funny little one not the charge card) I’ve had it a couple of times alongside the MR Gold charge card (and my wife still has one) but I’ve seen no link at the moment – I’m guessing closed to new applications but any intel would be gratefully received.

    • Roger* says:

      Is this the one Rob shows when discussing the Preferred Rewards card?

      I’ve no idea whether his illustrations are linked if you click. You never know. It may be worth a try. 🙂

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