We don’t talk about the NatWest Reward Black current account much on HFP, although it has good travel benefits.
It has also been trialling an Avios offer recently, as many of you who were targeted for the trial will have noticed. Whether this ends up being a permanent feature or not remains to be seen.
NatWest Reward Black has a chunky £28 monthly fee. At £336 per year, you are almost in American Express Platinum territory, and arguably Platinum has a better range of benefits.
From 1st October, NatWest Reward Black is making a series of changes to its packages. This PDF explains them.
What is DragonPass?
The three major lounge access cards, which take up 95% of the discussion on HFP about such cards, are:
Lounge Club (two free visits per year for Amex Preferred Rewards Gold cardholders) and
LoungeKey (for MasterCard World Elite cardholders, eg HSBC Premier)
These are all owned by the same company, Collinson. Whilst there are some differences between the lounges available across the three Collinson products, the similarities are far greater.
DragonPass is the only company apart from Collinson offering airport lounge access cards. This has allowed it to cut some interesting deals which are not available with the three Collinson products. Here are some interesting London examples which are NOT available with Priority Pass or Lounge Club:
In Terminal 5 and Terminal 2, you can use the Regus Express business centre lounge in Arrivals
In Terminal 5, you can use the new Plaza Premium departures lounge (this can be accessed by showing an American Express Platinum card but it is not a Priority Pass benefit)
In Terminal 3, you can use the No 1 Lounge in departures (this is in Priority Pass but not Lounge Club)
You get dining discounts – but no freebies – at The Prince of Wales (T4), Giraffe (T3, T5), Comptoir Libonais (T4), The Curator (T3), Apostrophe (T4), Wonder Tree (T2), Market Gardener (T3)
In South Terminal, you can use the Regus Express business centre lounge in Arrivals
You can get dining discounts – but no freebies – at Nicholas Culpepper (North), Giraffe (South), Garfunkels (North), Wonder Tree (South), Eat (North), Armadillo (North), Shake-a-Hula (North), Comptoir Libonais (North), Joe’s Coffee House (South)
Obviously DragonPass will also get you into most of the ‘usual suspect’ lounges which Priority Pass can also access such as Aspire (but not Heathrow Terminal 5) and No 1 Lounges sites. You can search the DragonPass lounge directory here.
What will NatWest Reward Black offer?
From 1st October, DragonPass replaces Priority Pass as the default lounge provider.
This is generally a positive move because of the addition of Plaza Premium in Heathrow Terminal 5, used for the majority of British Airways flights.
Additional guests will be charged at £20. Your DragonPass appears to be ‘account holder only’ so your guest fees will add up quickly if you travel a lot with a partner.
(If you open a joint account then you receive two lounge access cards but only pay the same £28 monthly account fee. This is clearly the way to go if you travel with a partner.)
What are the other NatWest Reward Black changes?
There will be no charges for foreign currency purchases made using your Black debit card. ATM withdrawals outside the UK will still incur a fee.
Discounts on hotels, cruises etc will continue to be offered although I doubt these are better than anything you could track down yourself.
You no longer get free in-flight meals and a 20kg baggage allowance when flying with Thomas Cook!
Outside travel, you will get a 40% discount at 250 UK cinemas and free UK and European breakdown cover with Green Flag.
Benefits remaining the same include travel insurance (although the age limit is dropping from 75 to 70), mobile phone insurance and 2% back on direct debit household bill payments.
How do I get Reward Black?
NatWest Reward Black offers many of the benefits of American Express Platinum for a lower fee, although certainly not enough for me to justify switching.
The criteria – apart from a willingness to pay £28 per month for a current account – are a minimum £100,000 sole income or £120,000 joint income paid into your NatWest account, or £500,000 minimum mortgage borrowing or £100,000 in NatWest savings or investments.
The fee will drop a bit if your household bills are high, because of the 2% rebate on Direct Debit payments. This covers council tax, gas, electricity, water, home & mobile phone, TV packages and broadband. I reckon we would save around £7 per month, although I would lose the points I currently earn for paying our council tax with a credit card.
The move to DragonPass is an interesting one and opens up some interesting new options for cardholders, including Plaza Premium in Heathrow Terminal 5.
You can find out more about NatWest Reward Black here.
PS. Don’t forget that American Express Preferred Rewards Gold comes with 20,000 Avios or other airline miles (or hotel points, or loads of other things) just for signing up and spending £2000. You also get two free lounge access cards – which get you into some places that DragonPass doesn’t – AND the card is free for a year. I strongly recommend getting one of these to boost your frequent flyer miles quickly. You can find out more in this article.
(Head for Points is the UK’s biggest frequent flyer website with 1.4 million monthly page views. Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios? Click here to read our latest news stories, click here to join our email list and click here to read our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series. Read this article to learn how you can get 20,000 FREE Avios by signing up for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card.)