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UPDATE – AUGUST 2021:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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

  • Nelson says:

    O/T how to book lounge access with avios/ba miles?

  • David says:

    What’s the latest on upgrading from PRG credit Amex to Platinum? Is it true that it’s no longer possible, since the PRG is a credit card and the Platinum is a charge card?

  • 1nfrequent says:

    Question about the BA Amex card. I just had my statement for last month and went to check it against my BAEC account. The non-BA spend related points have been credited to my BAEC account but there’s no sign of the Avios related to the BA spend. Is there usually a lag between the two sets of points being transferred or has there likely been a snafu that means I should get on to Amex?

    • Polly says:

      The spend avios may not have been credited in time for the transfer date. That happened with my bonus 26k last month too.

      • 1nfrequent says:

        Thank you – did it show up on your next statement or did you have to call Amex to get them to force it through?


    • Genghis says:

      Should credit at same time.

  • Paul says:

    What I find most interesting is the complete absence of Visa from the travel rewards market. I was in the USA recently and Costco only take visa there. Here it’s Amex and I had to get cash using my Halifax card.

    • David says:

      My Horizon is a Visa, and so is the Barclaycard Platinum Travel (although no rewards on the latter).

  • Munch says:

    How many credit card applications a year is an acceptable amount without destroying your credit score? I noticed on my credit report I now have amber for the amount of hard searches / credit applications which is a total of 4 applications, all accepted. I believe they only appear for 1 year on your credit record? I’m not looking for any loans or mortgage renewals for at least 4 years so amber for a year shouldn’t affect me?

    • S says:

      Hard searches stay on for 2 years, but have negligible impact after 6 months.

      If you’re not looking for any specific credit product in the next 6 months, there’s no point in worrying about it at all. Each lender has its own criteria anyway.

    • Genghis says:

      4 in a year? Rubbish. I apply for probably 8 credit cards a year, may change a couple of banks, change utilities etc yet still have 999.

      • Alan says:

        My rating went down this month from 999 to 984! Most disappointing.

      • GabeS says:

        Hi Genghis
        Any experience with balance transfer credit cards?
        My wife had just transfer not a huge amount of money from one card to a new one-her score has dropped 100 points after first month
        Shocking,could not believe it,dropped her from good ,almost excellent to the bottom

    • Tom Cook says:

      Think I’ve made 5 applications this year and a mortgage application and my rating has stayed at 999 with the odd drop to 990!

    • the_real_a says:

      In my experience its not the number of applications, its the overall available credit % Vs income that has the biggest effect of approvals.

      Also your credit score is very liquid, just because you are declined one month does not mean that you will be declined the month after (if you clear some debt)

    • RTS says:

      I made 2 mortgage apps, 1 bank acct and 2 CCs in 1 month. Down to 919 !

  • Gin and Tonic Please says:

    Any news on a replacement Lufthansa card yet?

  • Jonathan E says:

    Re: Virgin Rewards+ card. I went through the application link for the enhanced bonus given that I’d had the MBNA version. After the first month’s spend, I’ve received the 15,000 but not the extra 6,000 (I think) for spending £1k.Anyone had experience of when this posts? Is it separately or should I chase? Many thanks.

    • Rob says:

      They are taking a while to arrive, Virgin is doing it all manually. I wouldn’t worry for a month or so.

    • Jonathan says:

      The way i read the paperwork is they enhanced bonus is manually added on the subsequent statement to the qualifying statement (i assume to allow Virgin to manually verify it). So if your initial statement met the spend threshold the enhanced bonus will appear on your second statement, and if your second statement qualified the points would appear in your 3rd statement and so on.

    • George says:

      Where are the details for the bonus 6000 points? Think I missed this. Thanks.

  • Scottydogg says:

    I’m holding out for a Hilton Visa / Mastercard , any sign of that coming out ?

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