Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

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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This is a very fluid situation at the moment, so what I am writing here may be out of date by the time you read it.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for these cards was closed three weeks ago, and the opportunity to sign up in the Heathrow Clubhouse lounge was also withdrawn  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 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 (118)

  • Dave says:

    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?

    • Rob says:

      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.

      • Lev441 says:

        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!

        • Dave says:

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

      • Dave says:

        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!

  • UZI says:

    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.

    • Rob says:

      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 🙂

      • Will says:

        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?

  • 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

  • Craig says:

    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?

  • 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…

  • 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,

    http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/mbna-and-virgin-atlantic-sign-new-uk-credit-card-partnership-245997551.html

    “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.

  • TWG says:

    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.