UPDATE – JANUARY 2021: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.
What was new in the last month?
Very little. That’s why this article is tucked away in the third news slot today instead of leading the home page as it usually does!
The major news in September was with Curve Card. This card (which is free – in fact they will pay you £5 for getting one) announced two changes:
Foreign exchange transactions are now free (subject to monthly caps) if made midweek
Your underlying Visa or Mastercard holder can now see when you use the card in an ATM and could charge you a cash advance fee if it wished – although only Tesco Bank is doing so at the moment
You can now use Curve Card to turn ANY Visa or Mastercard into a 0% FX fees card, and you still receive miles and points from that card. Simply pay with Curve, which will recharge the transaction in £ as a purchase to any linked Visa or Mastercard. You can find out more here.
Here are five things which did NOT happen in September:
Not happening #1: No 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.
Not happening #2: Re-opening the Lloyds Avios Rewards Mastercard to new applicants
- the Amex part is going (it will be Mastercard-only)
- the upgrade voucher is going
- the 0% FX fees benefit is going
- the Avios earning rate is improving
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.
Will this card be re-opened to new customers or will it will remain exclusively for legacy cardholders? We don’t know.
Lloyds Bank has set up a special website on the changes and you can find more details here.
Not happening #3: The new Hilton Honors credit card
Hilton is running a few surveys with members as it tries to put together a package for a new UK credit card. There is no time frame for the launch.
Not happening #4: A relaunch of any of the other MBNA credit cards
I had a few chats with industry consultants at the Loyalty Summit conference last month, and there doesn’t seem to be progress on Lufthansa, Etihad, Emirates, United or American relaunching UK credit cards.
There is a real market gap here. After all, the 0.3% interchange fee cap has not stopped aggressive new credit card launches in Europe. There is no-one – literally no-one – interested in stepping into the gap in the UK.
I spoke with someone who was consulting for one of the ex-MBNA airlines and he could not find anyone willing to take them on. I also spoke with someone from a major loyalty programme who had failed to get anyone new to respond to a recent ‘request for proposals’.
With so many fintech companies currently fighting over what may prove to be unfertile ground – with Revolut, Monzo, Starling etc all desperate to provide current accounts for people in their 20s with modest incomes – it is hard to understand why no-one is keen to come into this space.
If you were an ex-MBNA airline cardholder and are looking for:
Not happening #5: Tesco Bank rolling over its sign-up bonus
The offer of 1,000 Tesco Clubcard points (2,400 Avios or 2,500 Virgin Flying Club miles) for taking out a free Tesco Clubcard Mastercard ended in mid September. It has not been rolled over and, knowing Tesco Bank, is not likely to appear again for another year.
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.
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
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
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
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
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
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
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
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.