Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

HFP ‘Credit Cards’ page updated for May – what are the best deals this month?

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UPDATE – DECEMBER 2020:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.

With a new bonus on the Virgin Atlantic credit cards launched over the weekend, I thought it was 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 23 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, and will hopefully be a useful starting point for new readers.

What’s changed this month?

Virgin Flying Club brought back the increased bonus on its two Virgin Atlantic cards over the weekend.  You will get 10,000 miles on the free card and 25,000 miles on the £140 Black card.  Virgin is even happy for you to apply for both cards!  More details on this below.  The offer runs until 28th June.

British Airways is still running an improved sign-up bonus on its two British Airways American Express cards.  No closing date has been given for this deal.

There is a slight tweak this time.  The Premium Plus card is back to 25,000 Avios for signing up.  The free BA Amex, however, is only up to 5,000 Avios from the usual 3,000 Avios – this is usually increased to 9,000 Avios.

I would guess that Amex is trying to encourage more people to take the Premium Plus card by widening the gap in the sign-up bonus.  Frankly, you shouldn’t get the free BA Amex if you are planning to earn the 2-4-1 Avios flight voucher – this article explains why.

Emirates and Etihad also launched enhanced bonuses last month.  Details are below.  These are both good deals in terms of the number of bonus miles you receive, but unless you are already collecting Emirates or Etihad miles, or have a lot of Amex Membership Rewards points you could transfer, you are unlikely to get enough purely via card spend for a good redemption.

best travel credit cards


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – December 2020 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our December 2020 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 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 (48)

  • Jason says:

    OT..how long does it normally take for SPG to confirm account number with AMEX so I can start to move so points?

    • Rob says:

      Did my wife the other week and it took 3-4 days I think. If you link online you need to add 3-4 zeros at the front or it may be rejected.

      • Jason says:

        if i need to buy points are they instant?if i need to buy points do they credit instantly

        • Roger says:

          IIRC it is 0000 followed by your account number (4 leading zeros).
          I have done this in the past and it goes through fine.

  • Jason says:

    cheers Rob that is why i couldn’t get it to work!

  • Jay says:

    Hi All

    I’m very new to the world of collecting miles/Amex points and wanted a suggestion on what to do from you experienced heads 🙂 I’ve got the Amex Gold card and have hit £15k spend for the year (5 months until I would have had it a year). I’ve referred my father and use that for most of expenses now to get the 20k points. Should I cancel my card now and wait 6 months or upgrade to Platinum first and get the additional spend points triggered and then cancel?

    • Wally1976 says:

      Assuming you can do the spend requirement quickly definitely upgrade to the platinum. Bank the hotel statuses, transfer points out then cancel ASAP to minimise the fee.

  • Mark says:

    As a result of a recent telephone conversation with Barclaycard, I can report that, if you already hold two credit cards issued by Barclaycard, then an application for Hilton Honors Platinum Visa will be refused. Also, the credit limits on other, perhaps unused, credit cards from other providers will be added up, and the total amount used to decide whether you already have sufficient lines of credit for your needs. Of course, one could cancel one of the two Barclaycard credit cards, reduce the credit limit on other cards that are held, and then try for Hilton again. However, that will not guarantee that the application will be successful.

  • Will says:

    After reaching £10k spend on hilton barclaycard, how long before you actually get goldbenefits? And how long do you remain gold if you cancel the card?

    • Rob says:

      Note the £10k must be done in a CALENDAR year.

      You’d get status for all the current calendar year, all the next calendar year and until March the next year. Triggering it today would last until March 2019.

      No idea how long it takes to process.

  • Jake says:

    I could do with some advice, if anyone can oblige.

    I’m going to be spending some money on new furniture over the next few months, over £2000. This would do nicely to hit a spend target on a reward credit card – but which card should i go for?

    I’ve already got the Virgin Atlantic Black Card and have qualified for the 2 upgrade vouchers this year. The BA card looks attractive, but i’m not confident in earning enough Avios to make decent use of the 2-4-1 voucher. The Amex charge cards look ok, but i’m weary of the Platinum fee of £450, although i think i might be able to make good use of the Priority Pass. None of the hotel cards appeal ,other than the £99 IHG card as I tend to spread my hotel spend.

    If you were in my shoes, what would you do??

    • Genghis says:

      Amex Plat. Be referred, spend £2k, bish bash bosh 35k MRs for say £10 card fees (week and a half) if it gets charged straight away, potentially zero.

      • Genghis says:

        Ah. Just seen you’ll be spending £2k over the next few months. If so, the card fees might stack up. Gold?

      • the real harry1 says:

        depends if you have enough trips lined up to justify the Plat, after the Gold

        don’t forget you get the fee cancelled pro rata

        you could get the free Gold, trigger the bonus, upgrade to Plat, get 40K MR points total/ Avios, PLUS use a few lounge visits, first with Lounge pass on the Gold then with PP on the Plat

        let’s say you had 3 trips lined up – you could easily get 6 lounge visits for free (= c. £120?) ie keeping the Gold long enough to trigger the bonus, upgrading to Plat – then out for maybe a Plat fee of £25-50 depending on your trip timings

        • Jake says:

          Thanks guys for your advice.

          I think i’ll plump for the Amex Plat but will cancel it once I’ve hit the £2k. I’ve got 4 trips over 5 months but the first one isn’t until October and i’d rather not keep the Plat card for that long.

          Thanks again