Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What are the best credit card deals for February 2018? – plus a news round-up

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UPDATE – DECEMBER 2023:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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 Cards’ menu above.  Thank you.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

Keep up to date with the latest UK credit card bonuses by signing up for our free daily or weekly newsletters.

It is time for our regular round up of what is coming and what is going in the world of UK airline and hotel credit card sign-up deals.

Our directory of the 15 main 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.

What is new?

The market continues to be very static since MBNA culled its line up in October.

We have covered two major bits of credit card news in the last month:

There are rumours coming from the Brighton call centre in comments to callers – but denied by the Amex press office – that aggressive changes are on the way to American Express sign-up bonus rules.  Whether you will in future have to wait one year, two years or until the planet is engulfed by an exploding sun before you can get the bonus again on the same card is not clear.  The little we know is in this article.

The Curve Card launched its public version (it was theoretically only available to self-employed people before).  This turned out, surprisingly, to be a debit card that recharged all your purchases to a Visa or Mastercard credit card.  This has huge potential for earning points when paying HMRC, council tax etc.  Curve is free and, even better, they will pay you £5 for trying it out if you use a referral code.  Full details, and a referral code, are in this article.

American Express Rewards Credit Card

What else is going on?

Not a huge amount:

There is still no word on the new Virgin Atlantic credit card.  We expect them to be back in the market with a new non-Amex product within the next few weeks.  Virgin Money will be the issuer.

HSBC Premier is giving away a free hotel night if you move your current account over to them.  This would allow you to take out the HSBC Premier World Elite credit card which is the most generous Avios Mastercard or Visa product.  Details are in this HfP article.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – December 2023 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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 offers:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (95)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • JamesB says:

    When referring from an amex card can you get the bonus multiple times for referring the same person for different cards or do you only get one bonus for each individual referred? I am sure it was the former as couples typically churned multiple cards but I would just like to confirm that this has not changed since amex introduced the ability to refer across card families recently.

    • Chris says:

      Worked towards the end of last year for me

    • Claire says:

      My husband and I have referred each other a couple of times and both received the extra points – this was last year and as recent as last month. Hope that helps 🙂

    • JamesB says:

      Thanks Chris and Claire, Seems like it is working as always.

  • Polly says:

    Each teferral is classed clearly as an independent application. But it can be difficult to do multiples to the one person as you mention. That could affect credit rating if needing a mortgage application e.g.. in the following few months.

    • JamesB says:

      I always space them out Polly to be on the safe side but I’ve given up trying to understand my credit score. I have seen it rise when I expected it to fall and vice versa. I’m fortunate not to have mortgages to worry about.

      • Polly says:

        We do too..generally hold cards for 8-10 mths..but usually always working towards one bonus or another. In rainy/sunny balmy Bali now on our 241 to kul. V nice. Drop in tourist nos. All v welcoming tho. Just earned our new 241 for next years booking.

        Strange our credit rate stays the same. Guess they look at your payment record etc and seem happy with it.

        • Tom Cook says:

          Enjoy, Polly!

          I have to say that after starting this game a year ago and having opened new cards (had one knock back from SPG which has subsequently been rectified) my credit score has only dipped once from 999 to 979, and is now back up to 999. As I need to renew my mortgage in August I might ease off and drop a card just to be on the safe side.

      • S says:

        There is no generic credit score in the UK, the number that Experian (or Callcredit or whatever) gives you is completely meaningless.

  • mark2 says:

    If you have Amex Gold or Platinum don’t forget the companion credit cards which give you 5,000 extra MR points for £500 spend.

    • JamesB says:

      I’m currently following the same stategy as you reported yesterday Mark but just at gold at moment. Do we need to cancel the gold credit card before the platinum upgrade, does it become a platinum credit card if we don’t?

      • mark2 says:

        I have not done it yet, but I would always cancel the Gold credit before upgrading (move points first).

        • Louie says:

          I didn’t know about this so many thanks for the links which I have now bookmarked. That’s two thanks in two days Mark, much appreciated 🙂

      • Alan says:

        I believe that as soon as you request the upgrade your card becomes a “Platinum” card (although it will still be gold in colour) giving you all the Platinum benefits. No need to cancel Gold

        • JamesB says:

          Thanks Mark/Alan. I’ll work through step by step. Even if they change application bonuses then hopefully ugrqde bonuses will be unaffected.

        • mark2 says:

          That is true, for the charge card. But JamesB was talking about the Gold credit card. If that upgrades automatically then you will lose the 5,000 points for applying for Plat credit.

      • johnny_c-l says:

        The Gold credit card will remain the same, only your charge card will change to Plat on upgrading. This can be quite useful as you still have access to the Gold-specific offers like £50 off £200 Amex travel plus whatever they offer on the Plat charge.

        • Jeremy says:

          Presumably you can’t then take out the Platinum Companion Credit Card while you still have the Gold one?

        • MrZee says:

          Above is brilliant thanks all. I cant find Marks comments from yesterday re amex strategy. Can someone please send a link/copy and paste?

        • johnny_c-l says:

          Jeremy, yes you can hold both.

    • Jeremy says:

      Do the Amex Gold/Platinum companion credit cards count as one of the max 2 credit cards that Amex usually lets you have at any given time?

      • johnny_c-l says:

        I’ve found they don’t seem to enforce the 2 credit card limit.

      • JP says:

        They haven’t enforced the two card limit for years. I was caught with it about five years ago, but have had no issue with holding one of each of the different family of cards at the same time recently.

    • Lee says:

      If applying Platinum companion credit card pull another credit check? Just got another card last month so don’t want to make it too aggressive on credit report.

      • S says:

        Unless you’re going to seek credit elsewhere within the next 6 months, you should be fine.

        Amex doesn’t care about your credit file as much as they do about your history with them.

  • Volker says:

    Do the hotel status benefits (e. g. Hilton Gold) which come with the Amex Platinum card only apply to the main card holder?

    • Rob says:

      No, your first supplementary cardholder gets them too. Someone told me that Amex had cunningly changed the online form to imply this was not the case, but it is.

  • Jon says:

    Have the same question – my wife had the BAPP card and I want her to refer me for the Gold card. Will she get the 9000 MR points in this example? I thought it used to be that you had to refer for the same card eg Gold refer Gold, BAPP refer BAPP to trigger the referral bonus.

    • JamesB says:

      Yes, you will. Yes, same card family referals used to be the rule but for the moment at least, cross family referrals are possible.

    • Alan says:

      No, that isn’t my understanding.

      Your wife will get whatever the referral reward is from the BAPP card (presumably, a number of Avios). She will not get the 9000 MR points. It is the card you are referring from that dictates the referrer’s reward.

      You should still get the 22,000 MR points though.

      • mark2 says:

        No, as JamesB said, the rules have changed and now the referrer’s card ecides the referral bonus rather than the card referred to. From SPG I referred my wife for Gold and got 5,000 SPG points. My wife referred my sister to SPG from her now Platinum card and got 18,000.

      • Alan says:

        Yes, that’s exactly what I said.

        Jon asked whether his wife would get the 9000 MR points for referring from her BAPP. She won’t. She will get whatever the BAPP referrer’s bonus is. She will get a bonus, but it won’t be 9000 MR points.

        Jon will get the 22,000 MR points

      • JamesB says:

        Apologies Jon, I misread first part of the question and I am guessing Mark read/thought it the same way as me. Alan is correct, number of points received will be those for referral from BAPP but I forget hpw many that is.

      • Genghis says:

        9000 avios

  • JamesB says:

    You should do as it is on thd referral page. Points usually post in a few days, around the time the applicant receives their card. However, I think there have been sone reports that some people were waiting around a week or more lately.

  • Alison says:

    I’ve had a BAPP card for several years and at the weekend referred my husband for a BAPP. I then called the next day to change my own card to the free BA Amex to avoid my own annual fee which is due this month. It just occurred to me this may affect the bonus Avios I get for referring my husband (though hopefully not the 26000 he should get for applying?) Anyone know if the bonus is determined by which card you have when you make the referral, or once the spend on the new card is reached?

    • Scott says:

      The person who refers a friend gets the bonus once the friend is approved, it’s not contingent on the friend reaching a spend target. The size of the bonus *should* be determined by the card you held at the time you made the referral.

    • Polly says:

      You can call up amex to hold the drop down to bacc if you are concerned. I jumped the gun a bit too early once when l referred my OH. I didn’t say why l wanted it delayed but thought it was worth risking a delay to make sure l got the higher referral bonus. It was a Saturday and hadn’t looked at it yet. It does depend on when they process his application. If you are already at bacc you might be unlucky. Sorry. But worth a call, just ask to delay it.

      • Alison says:

        Thanks Polly, but I got home to the blue card tonight which was really quick! So too late unfortunately. Will just have to keep my fingers crossed.

  • James says:

    Asked the call centre about the rumours as I was cancelling a gold with the intention of signing up to Plat in 6mths – was told it was unlikely that I’d get a sign up bonus then and it was best to take the 20k upgrade offer.

    • mark2 says:

      definitely better to take the upgrade to Plat even if you cancel after getting the points. We may know by then.
      Also get the Gold and Plat companion credit cards see above.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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