Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

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UPDATE – OCTOBER 2022:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card from American Express. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus. You can apply here.

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.

Finally, after a few relatively dull months, we have had some exciting developments in the last couple of weeks!

Our directory of the 16 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.

Virgin Atlantic Reward free credit card

What is new?

“A lot” is the answer.  And it has been a long time since I could say that.

You can now get the two new Virgin Atlantic credit cards

The big news this month, of course, is the launch of the two new Virgin Atlantic credit cards.  As these are brand new, you should – if you haven’t read my recent articles – read these three pieces: one, two and three.  They will help you decide which card to get.

If you don’t have any existing Virgin Flying Club miles, I wrote this article to help you decide if the new credit cards were a good excuse to start collecting.

In summary:

You CAN apply for these cards – and get a sign-up bonus – if you already have the MBNA Virgin Atlantic credit cards

The free Reward card has a 5000 miles sign-up bonus, earns 0.75 miles per £1 and comes with a 241 or upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 per year

The £160 Reward+ card has a 15000 miles sign-up bonus, earns 1.5 miles per £1 and comes with a 241 or upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 per year

The cards are issued by Virgin Money so it is very unlikely that you will be conflicted due to having any other cards from the same bank

You can apply for the free Reward card here and the £160 Reward+ card here.   You can compare the cards side-by-side here.

Frankly, as long as your credit is excellent, picking up 5000 miles from the free Virgin Reward credit card seems a no-brainer especially as there is no minimum spend threshold.

Legal stuff: I need to tell you that the free Reward card has a representative APR of 22.9% variable.  The Reward+ card has a representative APR of 63.9% based on a notional £1200 credit limit and the annual fee.  The representative APR on purchases is 22.9%.

Virgin Atlantic Reward Plus credit card

Tesco Bank has also launched a new promotion

Tesco Bank is also keen to get your attention at the moment.

The Tesco Premium credit card is offering 5,000 Tesco Clubcard points until 11th July.  This means that the bonus is worth 12,500 Virgin Flying Club miles or 12,000 Avios.

The snag is the £150 annual fee, which basically nets off the bonus.  This means that whether you get the card depends on how you value the other benefits, including free travel insurance and a strong (for Avios) earning rate which works out at 0.6 Avios per £1 spent.

You can apply here but read my full article on deal first.  Representative APR 56.5% variable, including the fee, assuming a £1200 credit limit.

We may get some news on the Starwood Amex ….

As I mention in my other article today, we learn about the new combined Starwood Preferred Guest / Marriott Rewards / The Ritz-Carlton Rewards loyalty programme tonight.  This should give us some clues about the future of the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card – although I doubt we will get a clear answer.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – October 2022 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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up 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.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

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 Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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:

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

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 and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (71)

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

  • Olly says:

    I have both the old and new virgin Atlantic cards. I will be due a PE upgrade soon, does anyone know what kind of economy seat I will have to buy to get the upgrade? I’m wondering if I can use it on the new economy light seats as long as there is a PE Miles seats availability?

    • rams1981 says:

      None. All you need is PE seat availability to use the PE upgrade vouchers

    • TripRep says:

      You don’t buy a cash economy seat and upgrade.

      You just need redemption availability in PE and pay the miles for an economy reward + your upgrade voucher

      NB: there does not need to be reward availability in Economy either.

  • Nicholasp says:

    Does anyone know if you get the same hotel benefits for Amex Plat business as for the regular platinum? Hilton isn’t included in the upgrade request form only starwood and Accor.

  • Clare M says:

    Another note for small business users, I was contacted by Amex to offer me a currency card (Euro or USD) so no F-EX charges and still earns reward points! 90% of my business spend is overseas so a massive earning potential

  • Tom says:

    OT: Does anyone have an idea about when Lloyds Avios CC will be gone? (I hold one at the moment, and I will need a 0% fx)

  • Caleb Wong says:

    I know people will apply Amex Gold then upgrade to Platinum? What is the bonus on that upgrade step? Just think would I get the Gold first and upgrade or directly get Platinum to maximize my earning. Thanks!

  • Gael Wright says:

    Hi, could do with help with best card options. We are chasing Virgin Miles. Once upon a time it seemed a good idea, so now we are persevering. We have done the usual things to get points – ISA’s, wine deals, hotel bookings, surveys, Tesco’s and Waitrose, and, more continuously, we have dabbled with credit cards. I still have the MBNA white dual cards, my partner had this but cancelled and replaced with the Amex Gold. He has spent enough to get the qualifying bonus and plans to cancel before the annual fee kicks in. I was going to follow suit and take out the card but now unsure.
    We do short haul flights to Europe but happy enough to do them with Messer’s Ryan and Easyjet. We also fly to Oregon in the US to visit family but can cope with cattle class for this. Our main flight each year is to New Zealand – this is the one we would love to do business class, on miles. I am hoping the arrival of KLM/Air France will give more options for this with Virgin but not sure they will decrease the number of miles required? To date the more points we get, the more we seem to need! At the moment I have approx. 75,500 points and my partner has 87,600 (including his Amex Gold bonus and points which he hasn’t transferred yet). We are in NZ for 4 – 6 months each year so do not amass huge annual spends on UK cards – probably less than £10,000 between us. However, we are going on a very expensive cruise which will mean £18,000 on a cc next March. We will be able to pay with our choice of card and will have flexibility to split the total.
    We will take out the new Virgin cards, to get the sign up bonus and to get .75 points per £ where Amex is not accepted. At first reading my Scrooge instincts came to the fore and I discounted the fee card. But now I am wondering if that is the right decision. Would we be better paying for one, or, Shock, Horror, two cards and lowering our sights from one business class flight to a more achievable premium economy upgrade – maybe even two such flights? We have very few status points.
    All advice much appreciated

  • aceman says:

    what spend is the break even point on paying the £150 fee for the VS card, versus the free card?

  • Suhayl says:

    Great read. Any thoughts on the Amex Gold Credit card. I currently have the Amex Gold preferred rewards card and have been getting a number of marketing materials on the new companion Amex Gold Credit card.

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

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