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UPDATE – JANUARY 2021:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.

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? – January 2021 update

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

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:

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)

  • rick says:

    OT-Amex Platinum Hotel Status

    Applied as a supplementary card holder for hotel status upgrade. Didn’t happen yet after 3 weeks or more.
    Applied last week again as a main card holder (His-n-Her card!), SPG status has come through within less than a week (3/4 days max).

    • Rob says:

      Did Hilton for my wife recently and it was processed within 48 hours.

    • Ro says:

      Applied for mine 4 weeks ago and nothing :-/

      • Rob says:

        Did you give them existing account numbers or ask them to create accounts? If you asked them to create accounts then you are asking for trouble because some schemes don’t send a card until you’ve had a stay and you don’t know your number until they send a card ….! You’d need to look out for some sort of welcome email.

        I did Melia last week and it took 4-5 days and, as I said, my wife’s Hilton took 2 days. This was upgrading existing accounts.

  • Talay says:

    We have 2 x BAPP and I noticed a 2.99% for 12 months spend promotion on my wife’s card but not on mine (with significantly higher credit limit).

    Asked Amex to match and they are “investigating”.

    Never seen such before and Amex haven’t done balance transfers for donkeys years I believe. Perhaps a shift in the wind over at Amex Towers ?

    • Louise says:

      I had this offer two months ago. I was surprised. A quick google and it appears it has popped up over the years

  • The Original Nick says:

    Last night I manged to redeem my 4th Hilton free night voucher from the Hilton Honors Barclaycard. And once again got a very good deal. The Conrad, Algarve and tagged on another night using points.

    • Gareth says:

      Have you churned to get this 4th free night? If so how long did you leave it between?

      • The Original Nick says:

        I have been churning the card since 2012. Leave it for a minimum of 6 months. That’s my advice anyway. If you have a partner, apply at the same time and then you can get a nice weekend away.

  • Marknewstart says:

    Going to apply for a platinum already have SPG and a nectar is it still ok to apply or do I need to cancel one?

    • Andrew* says:

      Received wisdom is two credit and two charge cards I think…

      • Rob says:

        You’ll be fine, unless Amex thinks your income is incompatible with 3 cards. They are more stringent with charge cards as Amex needs to be sure you can pay it all off immediately.

  • mark2 says:

    You can’t use Connect with an Amex issued card.
    Not sure whether they will add an offer. Probably depends on who you get on the phone when you ring etc.

  • Thomas says:

    Slightly OT:

    I had Amex Platinum and obtained all of the hotel statuses that went with it.

    I then referred my OH to it, I hold the supplementary card on her account.

    I now want to cancel to restart my clock, but don’t want to lose the hotel statuses. How do I go about regaining them based on my holding of the supp card? Is there a way, or do it manually by emailing them individually?

    • Alan says:

      Your status will continue until the end of membership reset for that card – 31/12 for many, 31/3 for Hilton. You can reapply at any time (via your partner’s a/c) once your a supp, to relink the card and hotel to keep status going.

  • Geoff says:

    Rob – looking to follow your advice about having a BAPP card each. My partner already has a supplementary card on my BAPP account, does that count as her having a BAPP card for the purposes of preventing her getting the sign-up bonus for a BAPP card in her own name?

    • Alan says:


    • MarkH says:

      No it doesn’t. She can apply for her own card and then add you as a supplementary card holder.

      • Geoff says:

        So she should still get the 25k points? Can I refer-a friend her?

        • Geoff says:

          Bit more than 1k if I get 9k too as the referrer?

        • Genghis says:

          In your case best to refer you partner.

          My last statement was for getting the card first before any “internal referrals”

        • Geoff says:

          Referral email sent, apparently, but she’s not receiving it.

          • Alan says:

            Remeber with Amex you can always copy the referral link and send it through an alternate route (e.g. Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, etc.)

        • Genghis says:

          I always use the referral link copy and pasted into a new tab. V easy.

  • Will J says:


    Slightly on topic. I held the British Airways Amex card (free) for 6 months, then realised that my spend was going to hit the £10k limit on the BAPP shorlty, so phoned and upgraded.

    I was charged the full yearly £195, I was under the impression it was pro-rata’d so was expecting it to be half that. Anyone have any exprience of this?


    • Trev says:

      You’ve paid for a year from the point of upgrading (as if you took out a new card) the pro-rata comes in if you cancel/downgrade it before 12 months are up

      • Will J says:

        Thanks Trev, makes sense.

        • Polly says:

          Will J, once you have banked your 241 in your baec ac, you can then downgrade to free again, but do it on line, so you don’t get asked any awkward questions as to why? It will just ask you to input your current BAPP no and it transfers back down no prob.

          Or if you have a partner, then refer them for the BAPP. But don’t downgrade again or cancel, until your referral bonus is banked and transferred out to your baec. You will then get your pro rata refund, when you either downgrade or cancel. Do this annually, it works fine.