Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

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UPDATE – JUNE 2022:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on the two Barclaycard Avios Mastercard credit cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

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 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge 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.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

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

50,000 Avios for signing up (A CRAZY SPECIAL OFFER!) and an upgrade voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) and an upgrade voucher for spending £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: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 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 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:

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

American Express Business Gold

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

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

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

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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 (3% on business travel for four months) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (109)

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

  • Sh83 says:

    OT – rented with Avis using Virgin FF number. 2 day rental with Avis using corporate rate. Only got 250 points deposited to my account not the 6000 as per promotion. Has anyone else had points post?

    • Rob says:

      There is a thread on the Virgin Flyertalk board on this. Some get, some don’t.

  • Alex says:

    Can I apply for Lloyds Avios Card if I have the following Amex already: Platinum, Platinum Charge, Nectar and BA Premium plus? Or I’d better cancel one of the existing first and only 2 get real use anyway?

    • RTS says:

      Yes you can. Lloyds is Lloyds.

    • RTS says:

      Albeit – i would say it is prudent for you to close down some of your cards if they aren’t in use.

    • Rob says:

      The Lloyds Avios card has NOTHING to do with American Express and it makes no difference how many Amex-issued Amex cards you have. Lloyds just uses Amex as a payment intermediary.

    • mark2 says:

      sox, the number between fove and sovon.

  • RTS says:

    FYI – the UK Hotel’s Collection will no longer be offered with the Platinum card at the end of March.

  • PRAVEEN says:


    Germans get 200 Euro credit for Amex Platinum holders for the annual 500 Euro fee which makes it worthwhile to have it with the added PP,Insurance benefits unlike us in UK.

    • RussellH says:

      They still seem to have a secure e-mail channel on the website too – certainly I found a mention of it on a linked page.

  • NIck_C says:

    Isn’t it worth highlighting that if you already have an Amex card, you can refer yourself and get a double bonus? (I recently referred myself from my free BA to PRGC. I got 4000 Avios on my BA card, and will get 22K on PRGC).

    • Rob says:

      If you mean “do I want to lose my FCA credit broking licence by encouraging abuse of the Amex system and therefore not be able to keep this site going or keep Anika in a job” then, no, not really.

      • NIck_C says:

        Oops! Thanks for the explanation. I didn’t realise this was an abuse. I would have thought Amex could stop this easily enough if they were concerned about it!

        • mike says:

          word of warning on this – previously I has somehow slipped through the net on amex’s 6-month rule, and was opening and closing accounts at will for numerous sign up bonuses. they clocked on to me a few months ago and suddenly was no longer eligible for welcome bonuses, so instead over last few months have been repeatedly referring and immediately closing, referring and closing the various amex accounts for the wife and me…. was a good gravy train while it lasted but just had my first ever declined amex application. so gonna stick with the cards I have currently (spg and PRGC) for at least a few months and lay low. the rumours of a new amex landscape in the coming months should clarify what my strategy will be in the future, but best I stay off Brighton’s radar for a while.

      • Watchman says:

        But you are quite happy to post paid-for articles promoting poorly performing investment schemes without declaring your interest? Does the Financial Conduct Authority not have rules about that too?

        • Rob says:

          Nutmeg does not pay us to run articles. They do advertise but that is clear to see 🙂

        • RIccatti says:

          Nutmeg is a legitimate ISA.

          No financial services provider (neither FCA for that matter) are there go guarantee “good” or any kind of return.

          They might refer to past performance/comparisons from certain angle for promotion purposes, always with a statement that capital is at risk and past performance is not a guarantee of the future.

  • Phil G says:

    Virginia Atlantic and MBNA are currently not aquiring new customers to these products.
    That’s what there website says wrt to credit cards, so hopefully the virgin money version is not far away

  • Aliks says:

    If you have an Amex green card, who bonus will you get when referring someone to a Platinum Amex – is it 5,000 or 18,000?

    • mark2 says:

      In a nutshell, you will get the reward for referring someone for a green card.

  • Tom says:

    OT: In terms of Curve card, can I use it to pay off my Amex card? (If I want to use a credit card by MasterCard)

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

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