Is this week your last chance to get the MBNA airline credit cards?

The end appears to be coming sooner rather than later for the MBNA-issued airline credit cards which come as an American Express plus Visa or MasterCard double pack.

If you had been thinking about applying for any of these cards, I suggest you do it immediately.  That means today, not next week.

This is a very fluid situation at the moment, so what I am writing here may be out of date by the time you read it.  It was correct as of last night.

(EDIT: the Lufthansa card disappeared from their website last night. It is still on the MBNA site as of 8am.)

This is where we currently are:

Virgin Flying Club White and Black credit cards – partially dead

These cards are no longer available via the MBNA website 

They ARE still available via this page of the Virgin Atlantic website

The refer a friend scheme for these cards was closed three weeks ago, and the opportunity to sign up in the Heathrow Clubhouse lounge was also withdrawn  

Etihad Guest credit cards – partially dead

These cards are no longer available via the Etihad Guest website

They ARE still available via the MBNA website

United Airlines MileagePlus credit cards – DEAD

These cards are no longer available via the MBNA website 

These cards are no longer available via the United website 

Lufthansa Miles & More credit cards – partially dead

These cards are still available via the MBNA website 

These cards are no longer available via the Miles & More website 

Emirates Skywards credit cards – still alive

These cards are still available via the MBNA website 

These cards are still available via the Emirates Skywards website 

The American Airlines card is not affected by these changes as it has already been relaunched by MBNA as a pure Visa card with a £70 annual fee.

I will keep you updated on these changes as they develop.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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  1. the_real_a says:

    So the rumor is that the cards will be pulled on 28th Feb 2018. The question is do i grab the white card now, to spend 10k on the AMEX to generate the premium economy upgrade voucher. That would be a net loss of 10k points (vs the black amex which i would normally spend on). I would get 3k welcome bonus. This equates the upgrade voucher at a cost of 7k points. Hmmm

    • Depends on if you’d make use of the premium economy upgrade vouchers..

      I just let two expire annoyingly….

  2. OT But 20% bonus on Clubcard to virgin transfers again this quarter

  3. RussellH says:

    It will be interesting to see what happens to my ancient Lufthansa Amex and Visa. I have had the (standalone) Amex for nearly ten years and in that time it has had its earning rate cut once from 1.75 points per £1 to 1.5 points. I suppose they could be looking at a second cut, should the card survive. The Visa is even older, still earns 1 point per £1 (as it always had done). I took them out to maintain the validity of my M+M miles, and while I have used the cards a lot in the part, these days I put just a few pounds a month on each card to keep the miles alive.

    • Solivagus says:

      I’m also praying that both legacy standalone M&M Amex & Visa will stay. At least, just the Visa will be good enough – to keep the validity and clocking up the miles.

    • the_real_a says:

      The specific clause on gaming has been in the UK T&C`s for a while now. However having a clause to “safeguard” the company is very different to actively perusing and committing resource to “catching” people. There is no evidence that the latter is happening. I have always found it completely bizarre that AMEX encourages people to sign up for multiple cards. For example i have 3 MR cards of various colours – each of which earned a sign up bonus. This defies commercial logic to me, so AMEX has to take some of the blame in the form of the use of their marketing budgets.

      Also in the US its common to access what i believe is called level 3 data. This is the ability to see the line by line item transaction from the major retailers. Apart from Air tickets, this information is not allowed to be transferred in the EU due to privacy legislation. So whereby AMEX could “see” that their card was used for gift cards in the US it would not be able to see that detail in the EU.

      • Great response. Cheers. Gaming meaning churn effectively? Surely if they wanted it to stop they would do what the other issuers do and withdraw bonus from repeat sign ups? I know it has been talked about previously.

  4. This is the first I’ve heard of this. Ironically I cancelled my Virgin black 30 mins ago as I was due to pay the £140 fee and wanted to avoid it. What happens to existing accounts if they stop issuing the cards? Will they be closed down eventually? Or is it too early to tell?

    • Existing card accounts will be closed down. There is likely to be a grace period, but whether it is 2 months or 2 years we don’t know. I’ve seen both in the past.

      • I let mine renew a couple of months ago with the 5k bonus for £1k spend well aware that the cards had a limited lifespan left with MBNA. Hoping to get to £10k spend > generating the 2 x premium economy upgrade vouchers and hoping for a refund of some sort for the card if it’s cancelled shortly I’m the new year!

        • Sounds sensible! Sometimes these things are too good to be true…in the long term anyway! 🙁

      • Thanks Rob. Seems a shame, but I guess we will see what the future holds. I’ll be sad to see my Virgin card(s) go completely though – hoping it’s not going to come to that!

  5. I was told by someone in the complaints department today at MBNA that their contract with Affinity Cards is ending next year and that applications for all airline cards will stop on either 7th or 10th November (cannot remember). He did have the email in front of him telling him of this. He also said that the American Airlines Visa card is being axed. MBNA will no longer do any airline partner cards. He did say the Virgin Atlantic card has gone over to Virgin Money but does not know what is happening to the other airline cards.

    • That lines up with some stuff I have been told confidentially and so cannot repeat – although if the AA card is going that must be a Lloyds decision, post takeover, given that it was only launched very recently.

      Pretty bad timing for updating my Credit Card Reviews series, all told 🙂

      • Wasn’t there talk Lloyds would be doing what MBNA did with multiple earning cards? But wouldn’t IAG have words to say about that? Mind you, the 241 vouchers solely being the domain of Avios would give them a massive edge. I’m gonna stick with Lloyds Avios and wait.

        P.S. Rob – any chance you can tailor the “comments” to update via email when one gets a reply?

  6. Von Schmallhausen says:

    My brother was refused a BA Amex today due to ‘internal issues’.

    Is that the beginning of the end for the BA cards too ???

    • New Card says:

      I also had a random decline for a BA Amex last week, for no reason I can think of…

    • Scallder says:

      I had this as well in the past week. I took out a Platinum and SPG in August/September all fine. SPG card had a high 4 figure limit. Closed the SPG in early October. Applied for a Nectar card on the 29th Oct using the higher 30k offer (and an extra 3 cards for Shop Small), and called up on Wednesday to be told I was declined due to an ‘internal scoring measure’.

      Asked for a manager to look into it given I’ve never had a decline for any card at all (including my fair share of Amex cards) and they called back today saying the scoring measure was that my level of available limit was too high compared to my salary. So he said that he could move some of my available limit from my BA card (which frankly was much more than needed anyway), and did that so now all got through ok (with 30k offer intact).

      Either they’ve put a new policy in place within the past month or so which genuinely looks at available credit (I’m not so sure), or something else might be going on… :S

  7. So are Virgin Money taking over the Virgin card? Will this be a smooth transition over I’m wondering and not mean having to cancel and then take out again! Any chance Virgin Money will offer an amex and visa?

  8. Spencer says:

    Hi all, was told by a customer services agent that all Airline credit cards will be stopping covert miles by end of this month, and no new online applications from 7th Nov. Telephone applications have completely stopped. All cards will be dead… just got my Miles and More card few days ago…

  9. polarization says:

    I found this old articles when MBNA sign a deal with Virgin Atlantic back in 2014, not sure if it is relevant. That agreement was up to end of 2018. It seems to make sense if they stop new sign up this month so all the new sign up can be used until end of 2018, which last for a full year,

    “We’ve had a strong and successful partnership with Virgin Atlantic since 2006, so we’re absolutely delighted to be continuing this relationship into 2018,” said Michael Donald, Marketing and Commercial executive for MBNA.

  10. Hi Rob, what are the best options for United? I looked at the options above, but for the Amex Gold/Platinum I couldn’t see how to convert points into United Miles, and the same for the Starwood. Also, do you know whether there will be a new United card or when current ones will be withdrawn? Cheers.