UPDATE – OCTOBER 2021: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.
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.
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.
There is still no word on when the United, Emirates and Lufthansa credit cards will close but it will happen.
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.
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%.
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% variable. My 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.
Finally, remember that the Marriott Rewards Mastercard is returning in August. We don’t know the terms yet but Creation will be the issuer.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – October 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our October 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
The following offers will end soon:
- 10,000 Avios on British Airways American Express (ends 2nd November)
- 40,000 Avios on British Airways American Express Premium Plus (ends 2nd November)
- 60,000 points on The Platinum Card from American Express (ends 2nd November)
- 30,000 points on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (ends 9th November)
Here are the top current deals:
British Airways American Express
10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
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
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee 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 Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
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
60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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
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: