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This is a very fluid situation at the moment, so what I am writing here may be out of date by the time you read it.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for these cards was closed three weeks ago, and the opportunity to sign up in the Heathrow Clubhouse lounge was also withdrawn  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

  • Roger says:

    Can you still apply for Virgin Black card, bag the bonus and hope for a fee refund when the card is cancelled?

    • Rachel says:

      You dont get pro rata refund on these cards. You only get it on those issues by Amex

      • JamesB says:

        Yes, but if you can no longer use the card you payed for then mbna should at least partially refund you if not in full. I’m tempted to have a punt, only another credit search holding me back.

        • Clive says:

          Then making the cards unavailable isn’t the same thing as them cancelling the cards for existing customers. They haven’t mentioned cancelling cards of existing customers yet, have they?

          • Alan says:

            Nope, nothing mentioned yet. It might even be that it’s going to last for a year from now and they just don’t want to take on new folk!

    • Gareth says:

      I think this is worth a shot because you aren’t getting the black card for a year like you should with the fee

      • Gareth says:

        Bizarrely just done their eligibility checker for both the wife and I, both not eligible at this time…..never had that before

        • Michael Jennings says:

          Do you have multiple cards already? I have three MBNA cards at the moment, and I am being shown as Not Eligible, also.

      • Clive says:

        How do you know you won’t have the card for a year?

    • Genghis says:

      Do the T&Cs mention anything as to what happens in the event of card cancellation?

  • Relaxo says:

    Have the 5000 miles retention bonus from earlier this summer posted for anyone?

  • Mike says:

    Successfully applied for the Virgin Black, thanks for the heads up Rob, been thinking about it for a while for the tax payment due in Jan.

  • Daniel says:

    Miles & More link already partly dead. The MBNA link works, but the M&M link has been taken down.

    What options for keeping M&M points alive now beyond the 3-year expiry?

  • JamesB says:

    Veering slightly OT: I have just read elsewhere about four new Hilton amex cards launching in the USA. They are incredibly generous but alas we will never see such in the UK in current regulatory environment. What’s the likelihood that Hilton will switch from Barclays to amex in the UK? I would like to churn my Hilton card in the hope of another free night next summer but in the current upheaval in the industry I’m wondering if the card is best considered a keeper? What are oeopkes recent experiences with retention offers when attempting to cancel the Hilton card?

    • TripRep says:

      Saw that link on LL, like the idea of 14x points & Auto Diamond status…

      After sending secure message, we phoned to cancel my wife’s Hilton Platinum recently, they asked if there’s anything they could do to retain custom, I specifically requested points or free night with spend target, all they could offer was low rate on balance transfers, meh.

      Card duly cancelled. We’re hanging onto mine, for now..

      • JamesB says:

        Thanks, same result here when I tried cancelling two months ago. I decided to hang on and try again later. Changed days at Barclays, they used to drop credit in my account just about every time I called. How long are you planning to give it before reapplying?

        • TripRep says:

          No big trips planned that we need an expensive Hilton for, so maybe end of next year for use in early 2019.

    • Alan says:

      Never had a retention offer with the Hilton card (have held it 4 times). Occasionally refused it when applying despite excellent credit and instant approval from other issuers – wonder if they sometimes move their criteria about and only want poorer credit risks as have had friends with good credit history also refused!

      Agree new US Hilton Amex cards are insanely generous, even by US standards!

    • Rob says:

      Zero chance of an Amex, since interchange fee is capped AND limited acceptance. New Virgin card will not include an Amex.

      • JamesB says:

        If so, then by extension should we expect to see amex dropping all their cobranded cards?

        • Rob says:

          Amex won’t drop them, but look at what Iberia has done in Spain – despite signing a deal with Amex 2 years ago to launch one, they have dumped them completely and gone with Visa. Same 0.3% interchange fee income but far wider card acceptability.

          Amex will happily work with companies who want to issue a co-brand Amex but you need to question why any airline would want to.

        • JamesB says:

          Thanks Rob, I follow. However, would it not be reasonable to assume that amex will rise to the challenge and aggressively promote card acceptance by merchants?

        • JamesB says:

          Ah right, all clear now 🙂 I’d rather have gold, platinum, referals, upgrades and churns myself so no complaint from me.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Thanks for the heads up. I’ll be applying for these once launched with hopefully very healthy sign up bonuses (current cards at 50,000 and 75,000 HH respectively). Small pay back for the ball ache of filing US returns all these years.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        Working through the math for my next Hilton Maldives trip based on a resort spend of $5k on my last visit:

        Sign up bonus: 75,000 (probably more on the $450 higher cards)
        Base Points plus 50% Diamond bonus: 100,000 (complimentary Diamond with $450 card)
        x14 Points Bonus: 70,000

        Assuming there are no other offers on at the time I’m looking at 245,000 points plus a $250 resort credit. I think last time I went I earned triple points. Current Hilton offer is double points.

        5 nights for the price of 4 and they might end up paying me to stay there!

  • VT says:

    Cancelled my Virgin Black 2 weeks ago – is it possible to re-apply to get the sign-up bonus or are they requiring a longer inactive period? Never understood how long you need to wait before applying again with Virgin MBNA.

  • James says:

    Anybody got any idea how long until Lloyd’s pulls the Avios Amex card? I assume it’s bound to happen sooner or later …

  • mark2 says:

    Before cancelling any Amex cards remember ShopSmall on 2nd December.