UPDATE – JANUARY 2021: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.
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 was new in the last month?
The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express restructured
In advance of the merger of Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards on 18th August, the SPG Amex made a few changes:
the earning rate moved from 1 SPG point per £1 to 3 ‘new scheme’ points per £1 – this is not a change in real terms
the free night voucher changed – instead of a free WEEKEND night at a Category 1-5 hotel, you will now receive a free night, valid every day, at any hotel which costs under 25,000 points. This makes the voucher more valuable although still a poor return for spending £25,000.
the refer-a-friend bonus dropped 40%, from 5,000 SPG points (15,000 ‘new scheme’ points) to 9,000 ‘new scheme’ points
The SPG Amex is always worth a look because you can get the sign-up bonus of 30,000 ‘new scheme’ points (worth 10,000 Avios or around £150 of free hotel nights) irrespective of what other Amex cards you have. As long as you haven’t had another SPG Amex in the previous six months, you’ll get the bonus.
Full details are on the Amex website here.
In other news, transfers of SPG points from the credit card and from Membership Rewards are now suspended until after the new merged loyalty scheme launches on the 18th.
The old TSB Avios cards restructured
If you still have the old TSB Avios credit cards, which are closed to new applicants, you should have received a letter about upcoming changes.
The Premier card is being closed entirely. The basic card is losing its companion American Express card and will just operate as a Mastercard going forward.
Hilton Honors sends out a survey on a new credit card
Hilton is currently working on a new UK credit card to replace the Barclaycard one which is now closed to new applicants.
They recently sent a survey to some Hilton Honors members to share their ideas. This HFP article explains what they are considering.
We are expecting the Marriott Mastercard to relaunch in August
I have no details AT ALL on this. However, if they simply reopen the old Marriott card – which I still have – to new applicants once again, this is what you will get:
- a Mastercard issued by Creation
- no annual fee
- 1 ‘new scheme’ point per £1 spent
- 10,000 ‘new scheme’ points, worth around £50, as a sign-up bonus
- 2,000 free ‘new scheme’ points annually on your card anniversary
- 10 elite night credits each year
Keep an eye on HFP for news on the launch.
All of the MBNA airline cards are finally dead
All of the MBNA airline cards are now finally dead. Even if you haven’t been sent the replacement Horizon Visa card yet, your existing card is now operating as Horizon with cashback benefits.
This is a surprisingly impressive card to use when travelling as I explained in this review of the Horizon Visa credit card.
If you are looking for:
The old Virgin Atlantic cards finally closed last month
The MBNA Virgin Atlantic cards switched earlier, on 6th July. From 7th July, your card has been 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.
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%.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – January 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 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 – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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:
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
Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending 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
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.