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This is a very fluid situation at the moment, so what I am writing here may be out of date by the time you read it.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for these cards was closed three weeks ago, and the opportunity to sign up in the Heathrow Clubhouse lounge was also withdrawn  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

  • Sergeant Major says:

    Just signed up for Llyods card and it didn’t ask me for avios.com membership number? Any ideas how they link it? Should I phone up?

    • the_real_a says:

      You wont get much sense form the call center, they will probably put you through to Avios. WHEN the points don’t post you will probably find avios have opened a new account. They can merge the accounts quite easily. This happens pretty much every-time i link Avios to anything.

      • Iain Wilson says:

        I had exactly this problem, Avios call centre easily found the orphan lloyds account and merged them.

    • Rob says:

      Email match.

      PS. Is ‘solution’ now a verb? Sat next to a middle management type in Edinburgh’s No 1 Lounge who thinks it is, eg “I am solutioning ….”

  • Stephen says:

    OT: Last month we were able to manually add offers to AMEX cards with some jiggery pokery in URL.
    AMEX has updated the site lately and it seems that this is not working any more. Is this is the case or there is still a way around to add offers that are not appearing in the “available offers” list onto my card?

  • Lux says:

    Thanks for the prior warning Rob.

    I decided to tidy up my MBNA cards

    – I’ll probably drop the Black Virgin card at the end of the year as it’s not that useful for me. But I’d like to keep the Virgin miles ticking over so have applied for the White card. The link on the website still works as of 1445 today

    – I was going to close the basic Emirates card (I’d opened it just for the bonus, I also have the fee-paid card) and was offered a 5,000 miles offer for a £1,000 spend on the card within 90 days. I’ll aim for that and then likely this card, as Emirates have a three year cut off for miles expiry regardless of account activity

    So – can still apply for VS cards, plus I now hold four MBNA cards without any issue.

    • MattB says:

      I just rang up to see if I could get another 5k retention deal, no luck but they did offer to pro rata refund the £140 fee I only paid 2 months ago if I cancelled. They even left a note on my account if I called back to go ahead with the cancellation.

      Not sure whether to go for it or leave it and collect the PE economy upgrade voucher I’m due in 10 months

    • J says:

      I was offered a 5k on my virgin black when cancelling on Monday, so even if you plan to keep it a bit longer, it might be worth phoning now to ‘cancel’.

  • Wally1976 says:

    This is bad news – suggests there won’t be a transfer bonus (not that I really thought there would be but we live in hope!).

  • 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

    • Lev441 says:

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

      I just let two expire annoyingly….

  • Lumma says:

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

  • 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.

      • Will says:

        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.