Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What are the best credit card sign-up deals for September 2018? – plus a news round-up

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UPDATE – AUGUST 2021:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – August 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our August 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. Here are the other top current deals:

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 offers.

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

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 Credit Card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (130)

  • Mark2 says:

    My wife’s Lloyds Avios card has gone wonky gain, I am pleased to say. All of the statements for 2019 have disappeared, although some Avios have been added to her account.
    Can we look forward to more compensation?

    • Bob says:

      Statements for 2019 have surely disappeared… they may re-appeared in 2019 :-))))

      I guess it is meant to be read 2018.

      • Mark2 says:

        Yes, it was early and I am old. She will not get much compensation for not being able to see next year’s statements.

    • BJ says:

      I gather Lloyds had a problem with double charging on some accounts last week so best keep an eye on your recent transactions.

    • John says:

      I would love even £1 of compensation, received perfect service from Lloyds so far.

  • Rich says:

    The Lloyds Avios Rewards card isn’t being phased out in line with card anniversary as mine is this month and I’ve not heard from them yet.

  • Chris says:

    My Lloyd’s was charged £24 last statement, so I figure I’ll earn one more vouche ????

  • Annabelle says:

    Morning! Does anyone know if you can get the 40k x2 bonus points again when opening a Hsbc world elite card – if you’ve closed one over 6 months ago? Not sure if I’ve heard you can churn this card? Thanks

    • Genghis says:

      Yes. @rams1981 reported a few months ago.

      • Annabelle says:

        Thank you! The world elite card like the premier MasterCard can be used without fees with revolut and curve?

        • Zana711 says:

          Yes, can confirm. I use the HSBC MC World Elite to top up Revolut and as one of my cards on Curve. Great option when traveling… through Curve there’s only 1% forex surcharge. Revolut is even better as 0% during the week when forex markets are open and 0.5% for major currencies over weekends. And if one plans ahead and converts the currency ahead of time (and let the amount sit in Revolut), can lock in exchange rate in advance as well.

        • Polly says:

          We are currently using our curve with the elite mc in France atm, on non amex spend.

      • rams1981 says:

        Correct. 7 months between cancelling and re-applying.

        Last time my spend bonus posted immediately once I hit 12k. Has not done so this time.

    • Polly says:

      But, unless you are tranferring a bank account, don’t think you get the £200 cash back..(150 plus 50)which effectively wipes out the card fee of £195. But yes you will get the 40k points. Etc. Good luck dealing witg their customer service though.

      • Polly says:

        It was on MSE, martin Lewis site, when they list the back account switches. That was couple of months back..was thinking of moving my OH accountmover to them, but felt one account was enough to be dealing with. The cs is so bad, sorry.
        That offer may not be there any more.

      • BJ says:

        Thanks Polly, I think that offer has gone already. I didn’t qualify based on previous accounts rules. Hopefully they will shift the goalposts a little next time the offer comes around.

  • Mr(s) Entitled says:

    Still waiting for Hilton news. Hopefully something comes out before 2019.

  • thehornets says:

    As expected, I was just offered double points on SPG for three months as an inducement to keep the card.

    • Crafty says:

      Are you a big spender? Slightly miffed that neither my partner nor I was offered this. We even explicitly asked having reached the point of cancellation.

      • Ian M says:

        @thehornets, be sure to check they really do give you double points and not just 1 extra point per pound. Quite a few of us on here were on the ‘double points’ and since the earning rate tripled due to the merger, the bonus has been stuck on 1 point.

        After a number of calls and using their useless online chat I put in a formal complaint which was accepted. Amex made a generous deposit of points into my account to compensate me but they have not fixed the IT issue. I’m still only receiving 1 extra point per pound on my spend.

        • S**mo says:

          +1 to Ian
          Get them to repeat the offer as DOUBLE POINTS on the phone.

          I had to get a manager in Brighton to listen to the call and agree on what I was told.
          I’ve been told they will honour it, but only at the end of the 3 months when they will manually add them to my account after working out my spending.

          Safe to say as much as possible it going through the card.

      • thehornets says:

        No, not really. They were all ready to cancel my card when I told them (truthfully) that the online chat team had said that there was an offer available to me. It took them all of 5 seconds to say ‘Yes, we can offer you double points’

    • the_real_a says:

      Don’t wait for the “offer” – ask them directly for what you want. Especially if you are routed to the Philippians. Ask them several times if necessary…

  • Fred says:

    A quick Amex referral question, if I may.

    I have a friend wanting a Preferred Rewards Amex card. I only have the Platinum – how to I do the referral?


    • Mark2 says:

      You send them an invitation for Platinum and they can then change to any other card.
      If you put the link into your own browser you will be able to see (some people have even referred themselves).

      • reds says:

        Can you refer BA Premier card to Platinum? When I open the referral link, the only other option in the ‘other card’ section is the basic BA card.

    • JPa says:

      They click on other cards at the bottom when they go to your link.

    • Mike says:

      @Fred you have to refer them for the Platinum. When your friend follows the referral link they can then navigate away from the platinum page to the preferred rewards page and you will still get the referral bonus.

    • Fred says:

      Thanks all.

  • Jeki says:

    I already have a IHG card from creation, will I be able to get the Marriott card from them?

    • ankomonkey says:

      I have both, so they do allow it. But Marriott card is not available for new applications right now, pending the delayed relaunch Rob mentions.

    • Rob says:

      Not clear to me but I imagine someone on here has legacy Marriott and new IHG?

      • David says:

        Yes, I’ve held the Marriott card for about 4 years, and got the new IHG Creation (free version) soon after it launched (18 months ago?). I still have both.

        • @mkcol says:

          Likewise – had my Marriott for what seems like forever now, ticking away in the background & the IHG card. Not a problem getting the IHG card, despite loathing Creation…

        • RussellH says:

          Me too.

          Had the Marriott card since it first came out (had one from, I think, Halifax before that), and got the white IHG when that first arrived too. Marriott card is my current non Amex standard card in the UK. It is arguably worth using at a Marriott outwith the UK as you get 4x points, though you do get stung for FX. That said, the one time I used it in the US (Marriott Miami) I was pleasantly surprised at the effective exchange rate.

    • the_real_a says:

      Yes – i had 5 cards at one point. I had the IHG and legacy Marriot

    • the_real_a says:

      hahahaha good luck with that… 🙂 I gave up. Each card is considered an individual product, they dont have a “credit line” across cards. This is not barclaycard or MBNA, so brew a large coffee and set aside an hour with your best patience.

    • Genghis says:

      I don’t think Creation actually understand credit. When I came to cancel my IHG White I asked for the limit to be transferred to the Black but they refused. They agreed on a minor uplift only.

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