Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

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UPDATE – NOVEMBER 2020:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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

It is 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 22 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?

The main development last month did not involve a new bonus.  It was American Express losing the first round of its legal challenge to stop the British Airways American Express having its fees to retailers capped at 0.3%.  This would have long term repercussions on the benefits that Amex could afford to give cardholders.  My very long article discussing this is here if you’ve got a cup of coffee handy.

We lost another credit card last month.  Lloyds Bank pulled its Choice Rewards cards, which came as an Amex and MasterCard double-pack.  This card offered Avios points alongside various other reward options, but it was not ‘best in class’ by any means and won’t be missed.  I doubt many readers had one.

These are the most interesting special offers currently running:

In June, MBNA scrapped its existing American Airlines cards (free, a dual Amex / Visa package) and replaced them with something completely different, together with a bonus which ends soon.

The American Express card has gone.  You now have a package which looks like this:

  • £70 annual fee
  • 15,000 American Airlines miles for signing up by 22nd August (likely to drop to 5,000 miles)
  • an excellent 1.25 miles per £1 spent
  • Visa only

Full details, and my view on whether to apply, are in this article here.

MBNA American Airlines credit card

In other news:

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.

Tesco is offering a £50 Tesco gift card if you sign for the Tesco Premium Credit Card before the end of August.  My review of the card is here.  If you convert your Clubcard points from purchases into Avios it works out at 0.6 Avios per £1 which is very good for a Visa or MasterCard.  My full article on the deal is here.

Finally, the additional bonus points on the HSBC Premier credit cards end on 31st August.  The £195 World Elite MasterCard is currently at 90,000 points (45,000 Avios or other miles) although 20,000 Avios of this is only paid after a year and only if you have spent £12,000.  The free HSBC Premier card does not usually have a bonus but currently offers 10,000 points (5,000 Avios when converted).  The snag is that qualifying for HSBC Premier is very difficultsee my full article here.

best travel credit cards


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

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are my November 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 (92)

  • Cate says:

    I didn’t know that. Thanks Bill. Interesting.

    • Alan says:

      Although that only changed relatively recently. Their market is quite different – much more profitable and competitive for the card companies so amazing deals available. After the US the UK isn’t too bad though.

      • Cate says:

        thanks Alan 🙂

        • Drav says:

          dont look at Aus either Cate :-/

          • Alan says:

            Haha yep some very nice sign-up bonuses there, although more annual fees and normally 18/12 rather than 6/12 to churn 🙁

          • Alex W says:

            Also most places in Australia charge about 2% or more for paying by Amex.

          • Alan says:

            One workaround for hotels (that certainly used to work at least!) was to prepay – they only seemed to charge the fee if paying at checkout.

  • S says:

    Can one convert the American advantage points to Avios?

    • Roger says:

      No but you can use AA miles to book one world (+ some more) award redemption.

  • Fahd says:

    Does anyone know what is happening to those of us with mbna aadvantage double packs? Presumably the Amex will be cancelled at some point but I’ve yet to hear anything about a fee for the visa?

  • m28 says:

    OT
    Is there any benefit in upgrading from an Amex Gold to a Platinum (via the link mentioned before in the comments) vs. applying for the Platinium as a new card (and keep the Gold alongside it / or cancel it, doesn’t make a difference in that instance). With option 1 (upgrading) you’d get 20,000 MR points if you spend £1,000 within 3 months, but with option 2 (new card), and assuming you’re referred, you could get 35,000 MR points if you spent £2,000 within 3 months?
    Therefore, trying to understand the benefit of upgrading?

    • Tom says:

      You wouldn’t get any points if you just applied for a new card as you already have a MR account – you would need to wait 6 months between closing the gold and applying for platinum to get the sign up offer.

  • Cate says:

    Amex are having a hotel sale. “Earn 2 Membership Rewards points for every £1 spent directly with airlines or in a foreign currency, and 3 points for every £1 spent at American Express Online Travel”
    I think our dusty gold card just interesting again.

  • Cate says:

    Amex are having a hotel sale. “Earn 2 Membership Rewards points for every £1 spent directly with airlines or in a foreign currency, and 3 points for every £1 spent at American Express Online Travel”
    I think our dusty gold card just got interesting again.

  • Lee-Anne Stewart says:

    Not see it mentioned anywhere but I got a letter last week from TSB to say that they were stopping their functionality/support of their Avios Amex on Apple pay. Quite a disappointing step although it has been temperamental at some retailers it is the card i use the most.

    • Lee-Anne Stewart says:

      Just remembered that my TSB Avios cards now no longer open to new entrants so I guess this may be connected………