Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What are the best credit card deals for August 2018?

Links on Head for Points may support the site by paying a commission.  See here for all partner links.

UPDATE – JULY 2024:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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

Keep up to date with the latest UK credit card bonuses by signing up for our free daily or weekly newsletters.

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.

SPG Amex

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.

You can find out more in this article.

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.

Marriott Mastercard UK

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:

alternatives to the American Airlines credit card, read this article

alternatives to the Etihad Guest credit card, read this article

alternatives to the Miles & More credit card, read this article

alternatives to the Emirates Skywards credit card, read this article

alternatives to the United MileagePlus credit card, read this article

New Virgin Atlantic credit cards

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.

Remember that:

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%.

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 (95)

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

  • Jon says:

    OT: Wonder if anyone else has had the same experience? I have a PRG charge card, got the 3k bonus points for adding a supplementary card holder. My friend was referred for the PRG credit card, but hasn’t received any points for adding his 1st supp card. Is it just bad luck for him that they didn’t credit, or have they got rid of the supp card bonus points for PRG credit card users? Thanks!

    • Max says:

      People have reported that there’s no longer points for adding supp on the Gold credit card. Wonder if upgrade to Platinum charge is possible?

      • Peter K says:

        No. Not from credit to charge card.

      • Jon says:

        Interesting. Looks like I will be going the plat upgrade route, if it is the last time it will be offered!

  • Alex Dickinson says:

    I applied for the Tesco Mastercard via the link. I have made my first purchase and am yet to receive the 1000 points. How long is the delay before they hit your account? Can i chase them up on this?

  • jtz says:

    Hi all,
    I’m currently still on my Amex gold charge card and was contemplating upgrading to plat and doing some cross referrals for churning….except, I don’t have enough spend….
    my hopes were definitely to get the spg and move all MR to spg, currently have approx 60k MR and then take advantage of a nice Maldives spg hotel before the merger….but now that’s kind of gone, I’m not sure what to do….OH moved all his MR . to hilton before he referred me and has approx 170k…I’d love to use that in Rangali or the new resort due to open in 2019…
    I’m not really avios rich either 20k and doubt we would put a lot of value on redeeming them for business or first, unless the miles opportunity was really easy and worth the numbers (90k iberia, I would have done, but no routes that appealed, so stuck to 18k, but waiting for 9k) probably use them for last minute RFS

    My bucket list destinations are the far east including Bali, and of course Maldives….
    Really confused on what I should aim for, ideas would be great….I think if I got a bit risky…I can try some MS…(without OH knowing!)

  • Ben Toudic says:

    I referred someone from my Amex gold card for the SPG card. They got the additional bonus points but I never got the referral bonus. After calling Amex they agreed to give me 9,000 points as a ‘goodwill gesture’ but said that you only get the points when you refer the same card as you have. As per the t&c’s all it says is that you don’t get it if you refer the basic card. I didn’t make a fuss because I got the points anyway but I think I was due them regardless. Thoughts?

  • Nilesh says:

    How exactly does the 6m rule work in terms of being eligible for the bonuses. I cancelled my SPG card on 8th February.

    Is it safe to apply for a new one today (9th August)?


    • Genghis says:

      Yes. But check that the date on the cancellation letter you received is 8 Feb.

  • Jimbob says:

    OT – I cancelled my SPG Amex several months ago, but now have a refund coming back on the card. Anyone know if the refund will bounce back, or will Amex need to send me a cheque once the refund clears? Thanks

    • Genghis says:

      Refund will go back to card. Amex will send you a statement via post showing the credit. Then call up requesting transfer to bank (if still possible) / cheque / transfer to another Amex. If you still have the cancelled card on online acct still refund should show there.

  • Colin JE says:

    A warning if you are applying for Virgin Atlantic Mastercard. My wife got a postal offer with extra miles if you spend over a certain amount for the first few months But the offer is misleading. So, for the Reward+ card, in addition to 15k miles on the first purchase, the offer said: ” – 6,000 miles a month in your first 3 months, when you spend a minimum of £1000 each month”. It turns out that you have to spend £1k in each and every month after the card is issued, otherwise you don;t get anything. Calls to VirginMoney CS have been equally misleading, with the first agent saying I’d still be eligible even though I’d missed the target in my first full statement month, then the second agent said it was based on calendar months, then her supervisor told me I’d not get anything. He kindly offered to escalate it as a complaint, as CS couldn’t award points. We’ll see.

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.