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I lose out with MBNA’s replacement for Diamond Club

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Letters started to land on doormats yesterday from MBNA explaining what rewards scheme would apply to ex-bmi Diamond Club credit cards now that the Avios scheme has closed.

Interestingly, MBNA has decided to make different offers to different people.  It isn’t yet clear if they are doing this based on the card type you used to hold OR the amount of money MBNA made from you in the past.  It seems to be the latter.

There are at least three different variants:

Some people are told they will get no rewards

Some people who held the Mastercard are being offered an eye-wateringly good 0.75% cashback on all future spend (details here) on what will now be a free card

Some people who held the Amex and Visa combination are being offered 1% back on the American Express and 0.5% back on the Visa (details here) on what will now be a free card

What did I get?

Nothing.

My Diamond Club will be converted to an MBNA credit card.  This card will carry no rewards or cashback at all.

What is interesting about this decision is my ‘history’ with Diamond Club.  I am responsible for probably the biggest single transaction ever made on a bmi Diamond Club credit card.

Despite this, I have paid a grand total of £0 interest on the cards over the last decade.

So, why have I been given a card with no rewards?  Have I historically spent too much?  Have I paid too little interest?  I imagine I will never know.

For the rest of you – or at least those of you who did not also receive the ‘no rewards’ card – there is a substantial arbitrage available here if you are self-employed or have any other reason to pay tax to HMRC.

Let’s take VAT payments for sole traders.  The credit card fee is 0.38%.  Because it is a business expense, the net fee for most people is nearer to 0.25%.  Giving you 0.75% cashback represents a decent profit.

Even on your personal tax payments, where you cannot write off the card fee as a business expense, you will make a margin of 0.37% which is worth having.

Anyone who receives the 0.75% cashback Mastercard deal should consider themselves lucky and should be thinking carefully about why they may want to use a rewards Visa or Mastercard instead.

I am not yet sure what I should do.  I am tempted by the Lufthansa Miles & More card, purely as a way of getting Lufthansa First Class redemptions.  I may not qualify for the sign-up bonus as I have had the card before, but I would get a 33% bonus on my spending for 6 months.  That would make 1 mile per £1 on their Visa card.

I also qualify for the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard as I have the current account – I used to work for HSBC once and lifetime Premier came as a perk – which pays 1 Avios per £1.  There is a £195 fee but the sign-up bonus offsets this in Year 1.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

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

50,000 points bonus until 2nd October – 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.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (122)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Mick says:

    I’ve taken the Lloyds Avios duo card as my Diamond Club replacement.

    double avios on Amex spend for first 6 months, so it’s 2.5 per pound. Good value

    • Genghis says:

      Very good card. Remember it’s only 2.5 avios/£ up to £2.5k / statement month. This meant a bit of juggling between and wife’s cards to maximise value.

  • Tom says:

    Does anyone know if having had a Diamond Club AE card disqualifies you from the welcome bonus if you take a British Airways Premium AE card because the former is classed as a BA product?

  • biscuiteer says:

    Nothing for me – had the Amex card for 10 years and paid off every month.

    I called up to cancel the card – which they’ve done.;

    Interestingly I tried to apply for the Virgin White card and was refused! Anyone else had any issues when applying for any of the MBNA owned cards?

    • Rob says:

      I applied for the Lufthansa card and my application has been referred!

      • Genghis says:

        Perhaps similar to my recent one re moving credit limits around? Do you need to call them to discuss?

        • Rob says:

          They asked me to but I will leave it until I am officially refused and then ring.

          • Genghis says:

            Interesting move Rob. Why would you do that? I thought any kind of refusal is bad news?

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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