Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What are the best credit card sign-up deals for September? – plus a news round-up

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UPDATE – JANUARY 2021:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.

Marriott Mastercard UK

What was new in the last month?

Being August, there wasn’t a lot of travel credit cards news but there were a couple of stories of interest that we covered.

The dog that didn’t bark – the new Marriott Mastercard

The new Creation-issued Marriott Rewards Mastercard was due to launch in August.  Nothing has happened and my approaches to people I know at Marriott and Creation have got nowhere.

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, but don’t hold your breath.

Lloyds announced its plans for the Lloyds Avios, Lloyds Duo and Lloyds Choice cards

Lloyds Bank has finally announced what is going to happen to its legacy rewards cards.  Basically:

Holders of Lloyds Duo Avios cards or Lloyds Choice Rewards cards are being moved to Lloyds Avios Rewards

Holders of Lloyds Avios Rewards cards will see their package change substantially – the Amex part is going (it will be Mastercard-only), the upgrade voucher is going, the 0% FX fees benefit is going and the Avios earning rate is improving

This is going to be a very slow process.  Letters will be staggered between now and April 2019.  It isn’t clear if this is due to Lloyds looking to avoid a squeeze on their infrastructure or if they are hoping to tie it in with your annual renewal date.

The Avios earning rate on the new Mastercard will be:

0.4 Avios per £1 you spend in the UK

0.8 Avios per £1 you spend outside the UK (but with a 3% FX fee)

0.4 Avios per £1 transferred on a balance transfer (this is a new benefit – Lloyds Duo Avios cardholders used to get Avios on balance transfers but Lloyds Avios Rewards cardholders did not)

….. plus a 25% Avios bonus for Club Lloyds current account holders.

One thing I don’t know is whether this new Lloyds Avios Rewards Mastercard will be reopened to new cardholders or whether it will remain exclusively for legacy cardholders.

Lloyds Bank has set up a special website on the changes and you can find more details here.

MBNA Horizon launched as replacement for airline cards

MBNA’s Horizon cards finally arrived

Well, my Horizon card turned up – I don’t know about yours!  The timing was good and it was used heavily in Italy last month.  This is a surprisingly impressive card to use when travelling as I explained in this review of the Horizon Visa credit card.

Even if you haven’t been sent your replacement Horizon Visa card yet, your existing card is now operating as Horizon with cashback benefits.

All of the MBNA airline cards are now finally dead.  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

Nectar American Express


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

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

British Airways American Express card

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

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

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

Nectar American Express

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

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 card

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

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 card

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.

Comments (130)

  • Graham Walsh says:

    I’ve got the Amex Travel offer on my Plat card for spend £600, get £200 back. I can’t see anywhere where it says it has to be done in one transaction. Any ideas?

  • Moktar Ahmed says:

    OT: Trying to access amex chat, but no luck for the last couple of days. Tried several pages including contact us and transactions. Anyone facing similar issue?

  • Kevin says:

    Apologies OT – does anyone know if I get the sign up bonus points for HSBC World Elite card (£195 version) if I upgrade from the HSBC World card (free version), please?

    • Zana711 says:

      Yes, got the initial 40,000 points after 3 months when I upgraded back in Feb but the next tranche if 40,000 points HSBC is insistent that it’s an anniversary bonus. You don’t get the cash back bonus amount though.

      • Kevin says:

        Thank you Zana!!

        TBH I wasn’t expecting the cash back bonus – I banked with HSBC for years before upgrading to a Premier current account, and since I didn’t ‘swtich’ to HSBC, I was never awarded that cash back lol.

  • S says:

    OT: Boingo still seems to be available for Amex Plat cardholders. It was supposed to go on 31/08.

    You can even sign up for it.

  • Henry Young says:

    Ref Lloyds, front end it with Curve and the loss of 0% FX doesn’t matter.

  • fivebobbill says:

    Is there any way to check how many referrals you have made from your Amex account? I have Amex Platinum and want to refer the wife for BAPP, but I think you’re only allowed 4 per year (?) and cant remember how many I’ve made. The easy way would be to go back through your points account and count the 18,000 points credits, however I only seem to be able to go back through 3 or 4 months points activity.
    Anybody…?

    • Grimz says:

      Your allowed 5, go into your amex online account, click on ‘use your points’ and then go to your ‘points account’. You get a list of your points accumulated in there and you can count how many 18k referrals you have had.

      • fivebobbill says:

        Thanks Grimz, but you can only check your points statement going back 3 months, I’m almost a year into Amex Plat and it wont let me check back further than 9th June.
        I’ll ask on chat…

        • Genghis says:

          90k points / calendar year is the limit.

        • fivebobbill says:

          Is that calendar year or account year Genghis? I ask as I think my account began back in October 17, cant recall if I’ve made 4 or 5 referrals since then, but the first one or two would certainly have been before end of 2017

        • fivebobbill says:

          It’s ok, found the terms page – thank you

  • Kevin says:

    May I ask is the 20k MR points upgrade offer from Amex preferred Gold to plat by spending £1,000 within 3 months still available?

    I called Amex but the lady I talked to didn’t know about it at all. Does anyone know the upgrade link that can be shared.

  • James says:

    As I already have the British Airways American Express card. Can I apply for the British Airways American Express Platinum card and get the sign up bonus? Or do I need to close the standard card and wait 6 months before applying? Many thanks