Bits: changes to the little-known TSB Avios credit cards, Heathrow Rewards bonus, IHG ‘UK staycations’ 20% discount

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News in brief:

Changes to the lesser-spotted TSB Avios credit cards

New HFP readers may not know that TSB used to issue two Avios credit cards.

When TSB separated from Lloyds, part of the divorce proceedings involved custody of the Avios contract.  TSB ended up retaining the right to issue an Avios credit card, but it was weaker than the Lloyds Avios Rewards card.  Unsurprisingly, it was pulled from the market soon after.

Existing cardholders have retained their cards.  However, with American Express pulling all of its licensing deals, the American Express element of the TSB Avios package is ending on 27th September.

In addition, the TSB Premier Avios credit card – which offered a companion voucher – is being closed completely from the same date. 

Going forward:

TSB Avios credit card holders will only have a Mastercard product, not an Amex

Premier card holders will be moved to the standard card

The earning rate will be a poor 0.2 Avios per £1 on UK spend and the slightly better – albeit with a 3% FX fee – 0.4 Avios per £1 on overseas spend

What is the best alternative?

If you still have the TSB Avios credit cards, I recommend you switch to the Tesco Clubcard Mastercard (representative APR 18.9% variable).

The earning rate on this card isn’t great either, but it is the best Avios Visa or Mastercard available unless you are wealthy enough to qualify for HSBC Premier.  You earn 1 Clubcard point (2.4 Avios) per £8 spent – calculated on a ‘per transaction’ basis, so small transactions are penalised.  You are still likely to come out ahead on UK spending.

There is currently a sign-up bonus of 1,000 Clubcard points (2,400 Avios) on one specific version of the Tesco Clubcard Mastercardsee here for details.  There is no annual fee.

If you are happy to walk away from Avios, you can’t beat the new Virgin Atlantic MastercardThe free card has a 5,000 mile bonus and offers a whopping 0.75 miles per £1 – almost 4x what the TSB Avios card earns!  The annual fee card has a 15,000 mile bonus and offers 1.5 miles per £1.

TSB Avios credit card closing

TSB Avios credit card changes

More on the Heathrow Rewards 50% / 100% bonuses

Yesterday I ran a fairly complex article showing how you could redeem your Amex Membership Rewards points for 1p each this week.

I caveated the original article with a few risk factors about timings.  It seems I was too  cautious because a few people tried out my scheme yesterday and it worked perfectly.  From our comments:

“Just did this having not even created an Emirates account before. MR to Emirates, Emirates to Heathrow and Heathrow to redeemed shopping vouchers all went off without a hitch. The bonus Heathrow points from the Emirates transfer posted instantly too!”

IHG launches UK staycations promotion

We recently covered IHG’s special Manchester offer (click here) which gets you 20% off weekend breaks in the city until the end of the year.

A similar offer has now been rolled out for the rest of the UK.

Book via this link between now and 17th September and you will (apparently) save 20% on stays at all IHG hotels in the UK and Ireland.  I say ‘apparently’ because I was struggling to see much improvement on the examples I checked yesterday, but it is worth a look.  This offer is good for stays until 30th September, unlike the Manchester offer which is good until 31st December.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

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Comments

  1. Clive says:

    New SPG/Marriott programme goes live 18th Aug. Sure we will have a post in the morning

  2. Martin says:

    TSB wrote to me earlier in the week to tell me about these changes. They then wrote to me again today to tell me specifically that my Amex card would be ceasing. That would be fine, but I closed my TSB Avios cards over a year ago.

  3. Benylin says:

    OT: Sorry new to tbis so bare with my amateur question. I have a Gold Charge card, now going to upgrade to Platinum via the popular link. I will then hit the spending amount pretty quickly, and also refer a few people. Then I want to cancel asap to reduce the annual fee charge.
    1) will I lose all my amex points immediately? Or is there a grace period for holding the points in your account before you are forced to spend them.
    2) if I open a BA Amex via self refer before I close, can I keep my Amex points (in Amex currency not Avios)?

    I want to leave in Amex points format to retain flexibility.

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