Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

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UPDATE – JUNE 2021:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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 Card Offers’ menu above.  Thank you.

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.

To be honest, there is more ‘going’ than ‘coming’ at the moment …..

Our directory of the 14 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.

UK Rewards credit and charge cards

What is new?

The market took a couple more blows during the last month:

The Hilton Honors Platinum Visa was closed to new applicants.  This was my key recommendation to newcomers to miles and points, since the sign-up bonus (a free night at any Hilton Group property for spending £750 on the card) was ludicrously good.  You could get a successful redemption under your belt quickly and see the real value that is out there.  My article on the closure is here.  Hilton is working on a new card, with a totally revised benefits package, but I doubt we will see it before 2019.

The Lloyds Avios Rewards cards were closed to new ONLINE applicants.  For a limited period, you CAN still apply by telephone or in-branch – although I should warn you that one in-branch applicant was forced to sit through two Lloyds Bank videos before they agreed to process the form!  As I explain in this article these cards are particularly good for foreign spend (0% fee and you earn Avios) and for solo travellers who value the upgrade voucher higher than the BA Amex 2-4-1.

If you are interested in the Lloyds Avios Rewards card you should move quickly.  It is very unlikely that in-person and phone applications will continue indefinitely when online applications have been stopped.

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

‘Challenger bank’  Tandem launched its first real product – a Mastercard offering 0.5% cashback and with NO foreign exchange fees.  The Tandem press office got grumpy when we suggested in our article here that they couldn’t make any money on this, but I doubt they can.  That’s not your problem though!

The Curve Card added a new rewards scheme, paying you 1% cashback for your first three months at three retailers of your choice (from a selection).  Curve Card is a debit card that recharges 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.

What else is going on?

There is still no public word on the new Virgin Atlantic credit card.  Virgin Money will be the issuer and the 2017 Virgin Money accounts confirm a H1 2018 launch date.

HSBC Premier is giving away a free hotel night if you move your current account over to them before 25th March.  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? – June 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our June 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. Here are the other top current deals:

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 offers.

Amex 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

Comments (109)

  • Dan says:

    Just cancelled my AMEX Gold card (was about to hit the 365 day anniversary, and fell agonisingly short of triggering the additional 10k bonus, oh well), and the nice lady on the phone stated that it would only be six months to wait until I could re-apply for the Gold or apply for the Platinum. Is there any update on when or if they may extend it to two years or do away with it altogether?

    • Rob says:

      No. According to emails I get from readers some agents are still people it is going to move to 2 years, so who knows?

      • RTS says:

        Under GDPR, I just don’t know how they are going to police this?

        • Rob says:

          GDPR is trumped by regulatory obligations, in this case the need to keep bank records for a number of years.

    • Polly says:

      Dan

      You could have bought the required amount of supermarket and petrol gift cards to get the bonus. Tesco or whoever. Or even prepaid your mobile phone or BT bills. Or other utiluties. And theres Billhop to pay yourself a few £100. What a shame.
      If a newbie maybe read up some of the avios series.
      Dont miss out next time.

  • Will says:

    I’ve referred my girlfriend for an Amex gold and received 18,000 points (I have amex platinum). If I now refer her for the premium ba amex will I get the same referral bonus again?

  • mark2 says:

    OT
    Can anyone tell me please how long it takes the points for spending on Tesco debit cards to hit the ClubCard account?

    • NIck_C says:

      Within three days. A transaction I did on Monday left my current account on Tuesday, and the CC points are now in my account.

    • Rob says:

      With the credit card (not sure about debit card) they used to go on transaction by transaction, so a few days later. It wasn’t a once per month transfer.

  • Alexey says:

    re SPG AMEX :
    how quickly do spg points are posted after required spend on the card ? I need to book some starwood hotel soon but haven’t got the points yet even as reaching required spend few days ago , do I need to wait for nearest DD or pay in full ? any ways to speed up the process of getting points ?

    • Lee says:

      Don’t think you can speed the process, it will always post to you SPG account abound 5 days before the bill date

    • Andrew S says:

      Points are transferred to SPG once a month. My statement date is the 19th and my points just transferred today.

      • mark2 says:

        It is the same procedure with BA and probably other credit cards. You only have control over when to use MR points.

  • Kevin says:

    Sorry for this question again and those answered before but I can’t find it.

    Does Lloyd Avios Amex also 0% FX fee for abroad spending?

  • Anon says:

    I’ve called up to try and apply for the Lloyds Avios Rewards card and was told my application was unlikely to be successful. This can’t be due to my credit score as I’m debt free and have an Experian rating of over 980. The lady I spoke to on the phone suggested it may be due to having too much credit available.

    What are other’s experiences on this? If I cancel all credit cards I’m not using regularly (hotel ones etc.) and bring myself down to £5-7k worth of credit would that help? I can also write a letter appealing the decision but unsure if that would achieve anything.

    • Rob says:

      Lloyds has generally looked for people who are average credit risks for this card. They want you to pay interest. People who they think will never pay a penny of interest are encouraged towards the BA Amex.

    • Genghis says:

      It’s been said before but Experian credit scores don’t mean. Credit institutions do their own assessment of you based on information available and what is attractive to one institution may not be attractive to the next.

  • James W says:

    OT – new to all this but are there ever any bonuses or promotions for transferring Amex MR points to BA Avios. A google search suggests it’s happened before but not very frequently, is that about right?

    • Rob says:

      A couple of years ago someone at Amex UK decided to de-emphasise airline mile transfers. This is because Amex is paying close to 1p per airline mile whilst non-travel redemptions, eg shopping gift cards, only cost them 0.5p per point redeemed. Transfer bonuses, even if the airline funds the bonus element, are still unattractive.

      The only Amex transfer bonuses we have seen in recent years have been ‘unofficial’. Etihad does this – it emails members occasionally offering a bonus on Amex transfers BUT Amex itself will not promote the offer because it wants to keep costs down.

  • London Traveller says:

    I have a SPG Amex (for the points, will cancel in due course) and wonder when the SPG points are transferred from the Amex to my SPG account or do I have to do it manually on the Amex site (can’t see readily how to)?

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