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UPDATE – JULY 2024:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.

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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.

The market is slowly coming to terms with the interchange fee caps and is moving forward.  The key news in May was the notification of the official closing dates for the Etihad Guest, American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic credit cards.

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.

Etihad Guest credit cards closed

What is new in the last month?

The Etihad Guest and American Airlines cards are closing on 27th July

MBNA has finally announced the closing date for these cards.

You will be swapped onto their Horizon Visa card.  This is a surprisingly impressive card to use when travelling as I explained in this article.

If you are looking for alternatives to the American Airlines credit card, read this article.  For alternatives to the Etihad Guest credit card, read this article.

There is still no word on when the United, Emirates and Lufthansa credit cards will close but it will happen.

American Airlines credit card closed

Meanwhile, the Virgin Atlantic cards close on 6th July

The MBNA Virgin Atlantic cards will switch earlier.  Charges must post to your statement by 6th July if you want to earn Flying Club miles.  From the 7th, your card will be operating as a Horizon Visa.

This article will help you decide which of the two new Virgin Money issued Virgin Atlantic cards is best for you.  The website for the two new cards is here.

Remember that:

You CAN apply for the new cards – and get a sign-up bonus – if you already have the MBNA Virgin Atlantic credit cards.  You don’t need to wait for your MBNA cards to be closed on 7th July.

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

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%.

New Virgin Atlantic credit cards

You can still get 2,400 Avios with the FREE Tesco credit card

Of the (few) temporary special offers currently running, don’t forget the 2,400 Avios or 2,500 Virgin Flying Club miles sign-up bonus on the FREE Tesco Clubcard Mastercard.

The bonus is actually 1,000 Tesco Clubcard points but that converts into Avios or Virgin miles at the rates above.

We rarely see a bonus on this card.  You don’t even need to hit a spend target – you get the bonus as soon as you make your first transaction.  The representative APR is 18.9% variableMy full article on the deal is here and you can apply here.

The Tesco Clubcard Mastercard is the most generous free Visa or Mastercard for earning Avios unless you have a £75k+ salary and qualify for HSBC Premier.

The Tesco Premium card is still offering 12,000 Avios

The Tesco Premium credit card is offering a sign-up bonus of 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.

There is no spend target.  You simply need to make one purchase in Tesco within the first two months.

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.

If you spend over £5000 per year with Tesco on this card, including petrol, you receive an end-of-year bonus of another 5,000 Clubcard points.  This does make it a decent proposition but clearly not many people spend that much.

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

Finally, remember that the Marriott Rewards Mastercard is returning in August.  We don’t know the terms yet but Creation will be the issuer.

best travel rewards credit cards

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – July 2024 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.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points for signing up and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

30,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

18,000 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:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up 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

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 Business Credit Card

1% cashback uncapped* on all your business spending (T&C apply) Read our full review

Comments (105)

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

  • Nick says:

    Canvassing for opinions please (and kind-of on-topic!)…
    Assuming I’ve exhausted PRGC and Plat upgrade, but wanting another Amex, what would you go for? I can’t decide between BA (free) and Nectar. Possible outlier is SPG but would cancel quick to reduce fee rather than ongoing spend. BAPP is out as I won’t spend enough for the 2-4-1 (and usually travel alone anyway). Thoughts?

    • MarkH says:

      Why not get BAPP and cancel once you have the 26k sign on bonus?

    • Genghis says:

      SPG Amex is a seriously underrated card (by those not in the know)

      • the real harry1 says:

        Marriott packages?

        • the real harry1 says:

          35% bonuses?

        • the real harry1 says:

          Plat #1 his ‘n hers ‘n its referrals?

        • Genghis says:

          🙂 not forgetting the “pluripotentiality” of the points. Avios are kinda the lowest order of points, not really valuably converted to anything else

        • the real harry1 says:

          You reckon I can start referring my eldest once he turns 18 in December? I don’t want to mess with the the truth before then, he’s 17. Figuring on Plat #1 & Plat supp #2 getting 4 of us into lounge. He never needs to even handle the card/s (not capable).

          That way, his income (lack of, full time education) is irrelevant.

        • the real harry1 says:

          mixed up 2 different aspects there, sorry 🙂

      • Nick says:

        No partner for his and hers, but yes I think I might try SPG. If I move some MR over first then I might have a chance of the transfer bonus to airlines kicking in before SPG hits the dust. It’s 20000, right?

        • the real harry1 says:

          yep permanent 25% bonus for conversions to Avios (in 20K increments), that’s why Avios don’t get to enjoy the regular 35% bonus SPG gives to other schemes

          the 5000 bonus even makes it worth thinking about buying a few to cross the threshold to 20K, as it can make the real end result total of Avios a lot cheaper, eg you buy 3000 but get 8000 in real terms when you convert

        • the real harry1 says:

          wasn’t that long ago we got 20K for taking out SPG card in the first place 🙂 =25K to Avios

          too thick to get one for the wife & one for mygoodself, just went for main + supp lol

        • Genghis says:

          Don’t hurry to transfer as the 25% bonus is moving over with the Marriott integration at same rates. I’ve never done this transfer. Not as good as TP or use in hotels.

      • Crafty says:

        Are you hinting at something significantly more “ITK” (and hence unmentionable) than those things that TRH1 has pointed out in response? Trying to decide whether to spend time scratching around for something I haven’t thought of!

  • Lesta_lad says:

    OT – Re referrals from Amex Platinum for 18k Bonus, I recently referred myself for the SPG and got the 18k but before i cancel was thinking of getting another card, already hold the BA card. Will it trigger the 18k Bonus MR with nectar/Platinum credit card?

  • Rachael says:

    Realharry1 that what we did as soon as he hit 18. Every offer, he gets signed up. That way at least they can he he has good credit. Mind you he does have some income from dividends… I I have all the pin codes !

  • Lee says:

    OT – sorry for the ot as no bits today
    Looks like my flight from DEL to LHR has plane change as now it says Qatar Airways For British Airways. It was 777 now a330 from Qatar Airways, I’m not aware that Qatar Airways lease any a330 to BA, what I am expecting from Qatar Airways? Hope it’s better than BA J, anyone had same experiences? Thanks

    • Rob says:

      Just announced, 3 leases. Unfortunately, with no F and a small Business cabin, BA is telling CW passengers that they have a serious chance of being downgraded to Economy (no PE either). Full story tomorrow.

  • Lee says:

    Thanks Rob, 3 of us travelling with 2 4 1, looks like we are at highest chance of being downgraded. Anything we could do if that happened?

    • Rob says:

      If there are other BA flights not on QR you can ask to move. You definitely get EU261 from J to Y so it isn’t a bad deal especially as you would get paid out on the ‘free’ ticket too ….

  • jason says:

    Rob & the experienced crew,
    I just upgraded from PRGC to Plat.
    Does Amex ever offer bonus MR for a free supplementary Plat card?
    And what about a free supplementary Gold card?

    Many thanks

    • Polly says:

      Sometimes, and it’s possibly targeted…

      • jason says:

        So, a lot of people were targeted for their first supplementary Plat card? as well as the supplementary Gold card?
        how frequently does it happen? Should I try to wait for it then?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          The supplementary card ones just post as soon as you apply. Do not add together with the application wait for your main card to turn up first

  • jason says:

    Thanks, TGLoyalty. Do you know how many points I get?
    Is it the same amount for the first suppl Plat and the first suppl Gold? Do I get anything for requesting more than one Gold card?

    • Polly says:

      Think it’s 3k for gold and 5k for plat, and only for the 1st supp card tho..but not always granted. Might have to ring up and beg…

  • Nick Smith says:

    Hi – hoping someone with a better brain than me might have an answer…
    I took out the free BA card planning purely to trigger the bonus. For one reason and another I’ve ended up spending almost £10k on the card this year.
    If I upgraded to the premium card, would I trigger the 2-4-1 voucher (by hitting £10k before the card year ends?
    If I do so, do I pay a full annual fee? (i.e. I’m buying a 2-4-1 voucher for £195)
    If I then roll the card over as premium in to next year, and focus a bit of spend to hit the £10k faster. Once I’ve triggered the 2-4-1 voucher can I downgrade for a pro-rata refund? (i.e. if I do it after 6 months I’m only paying £97.50 for the 2-4-1 voucher? (and the slightly higher earn-rate))
    Thanks! Bit of a novice, but starting to get the collection of Avios building up – have about 150k now, so I can theoretically get some good value from a 2-4-1 voucher, albeit longer travel isn’t that easy with a 3 year old in tow!!!

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

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