Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What are the best credit card sign-up deals for October 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UPDATE – AUGUST 2021:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.

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

We now know what is happening to the existing Lloyds Avios Rewards Amex and Mastercard double packs:

  • 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:

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

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? – 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 (229)

  • Pug206 says:

    OT: Is there a referral link for the BAPP card pls? My 6 months is up and I can apply again. I’m currently a supp. card holder on OH’s basic and Gold Amex.

    OH’s referrals only come up for basic card or Gold charge card, and same for me when I log-in.

    TIA

    • RTS says:

      Get your OH to refer you so you both get points!

      • RTS says:

        Scroll to the bottom and make sure you don’t have an ad blocker on your browser (or just use another browser altogether)

      • Pug206 says:

        @RTS

        I know – but the only cards coming up on his a/c for referral are the basic card and the Gold charge card.

        • RTS says:

          I just checked on mine using chrome browser and can confirm that I can still refer to ALL card types. Try a different browser?

    • Mark says:

      use a different browser, i had to use chrome to get the other cards to appear

      • GRIMZ says:

        From my Plat referral link I only get referrals to Plat, Gold or the Greem amex card. No Starwood BA etc in any browser that I use.

      • Pug206 says:

        Thanks @Mark. Tried that and Amex just isn’t having any of it. OH’s account again only shows basic and gold and mine said not eligible to refer for any cards.

    • Alan says:

      Try a different browser or leave it for a day or two and try again, it seems to come and go.

  • Soloflyer1977 says:

    If I use my Curve (linked to my Lloyds avios cc) for a payment to amex, will I incur any charges especially due to the new reporting of transactions?
    Already incurred charges on my Tesco cc so want to avoid any future ones

  • Aliks says:

    OT – I should have posted this in yesterday’s BA holidays discussion.
    Question is about booking flight plus hotel for 1 person versus booking for 2.
    For example Berlin Marriott for 3 nights in November is priced at £386 per person for 2 people, and £394 for 1 person. So why not just book for one person, and buy flight only for the partner? If the hotel room is nominally booked for 1 person, will they complain if 2 people show up at the desk?

    • Rob says:

      Germany is well known for adding ‘2nd guest’ charges, it is pretty much the only EU country that does. Is it really worth the faff for £24? Likely the hotel will impose the charge if they notice so you need to think about how your partner will feel about being told to hide around the corner whilst you check in. I can tell you what my wife would say in such a scenario ….

      • Aliks says:

        Understood – but really I was after the big saving from BA holidays.
        Booking via BA holidays for 2 people would be a total of £782 whereas booking a BA holiday for 1 and then paying the 2nd person charge plus 2nd person flight would be about £500 total.
        Looks like a big saving!

    • Anna says:

      I’ve done exactly this for a trip to Rome next Easter – flight plus hotel package for me and redemption flights for husband and son. I’ve booked a suite which sleeps up to 4 so I won’t be impressed if they try and charge for extra guests!

      • Anna says:

        And I’ve also done it for our big Caribbean trip next summer, just remembered! 2 4 1 in CW for me and son, flight, car plus one night in hotel package for OH. It would have cost 2k more to get a package for all of us (I class my avios as free money!)

  • Frances Morris says:

    Little heads up. Hilton used to email you to say your points were about to expire and you could top them up to keep them….
    No email… lost all my points.

  • Jo says:

    Curve is blocking my Revolut top ups now saying ‘insufficient funds’ – dumping all these Fintech cards soon – no more use for them

  • Dave says:

    With the Lloyds card my year started again in august they have taken the fee – does that mean im still qualifying for another upgrade voucher?

    I havent been told otherwise but know from here its going

    • AndyF says:

      I am in the same situation I haven’t received a letter or any notifications from Lloyds about the changes. They have just taken the fee also, I assume its business as usual until the letter comes. I am a few hundred off the upgrade voucher and I am trying to hang on as long as I can before I trigger it. Hopefully, it will be no nasty surprises. p.s My partner also holds the same card and she hasn’t received anything either.

      • fivebobbill says:

        Just be careful, if they have just taken the fee for a new year then your £7k clock may have been reset, remember it’s for £7k spend in your card year the voucher is issued, not calendar year.

    • fivebobbill says:

      Vouchers are still being issued, triggered my most recent one last week

      • Ben says:

        Same here. Voucher already in the account (I got the letter about 6 weeks ago)

    • Wongster says:

      I got my upgrade voucher as well. Annual fee to be taken tomorrow (Oct statement), already spent >£7k in September (I think my card anniversary date is early September). This spending has triggered the voucher and has appeared in my avios.com account.

      I’ve actually already used the voucher last Friday, even before the annual fee been taken! 😀

      P/S didn’t receive any written communication yet on the changes to the account yet.

      • Yawn says:

        I still haven’t received my letter either but spoke to someone at Lloyds over the phone. I was promised that when the letter comes it will be really clear. They also said that it would be possible to earn another voucher (my anniversary date was mid August). I got the impression that they were expecting a lot of people to earn another voucher before the card closed. It’s hard to justify the fee otherwise, even if they refund it pro rata.

  • pablo says:

    New offer on my platinum: 1000 MR points for spending £50 doing online shopping with boots, currys, debenhams, expedia, made.com, nespresso, spotify or wiggle.co.uk

    • Russ says:

      Do you have to sign in to find out about the offers or are they sent by email?

    • Rob says:

      Not bad …

      • John F says:

        Hi Rob

        just dropped into my email today, any thoughts !!

        We are delighted to announce our exciting new card duo – the Miles & More Global Traveller Cards – a Diners Club card and a Mastercard provided in one single straightforward charge card account, which is issued by Diners Club International. It enables you, as always, to earn valuable award miles, take advantage of extra benefits such as lounge access – and best of all, you have unlimited mileage protection.

        We have left no stone unturned to ensure that your new payment cards comply with the highest standards you expect from Miles & More, and we would like to thank you for your loyalty by offering you 10,000 additional award miles1, if you register by 31 December 2018.

        Please visit here for more information and to apply for your new Miles & More Global Traveller Cards.
        Yours sincerely,
        Roland Adrian
        Managing Director
        Miles & More GmbH

    • Liz says:

      I got 2000 MR!

    • Nate1309 says:

      I got 4000MR for £100 on Gold charge card

    • RTS says:

      Got sweet FA on my Gold, Nectar and Plat. >.>

      • Nate1309 says:

        It was right at the bottom of the list on mine.Listed just as american express

      • Rob says:

        Nothing for me or my wife either.

        • Liz says:

          I just used my offer on Boots. Boots are offering 21 advantage pts per £1 – offers ends TONIGHT. I just got 2058 pts for a £98 order which is a further £20.58 back when the points post plus my 2098 MR pts. A good deal!

        • Shoestring says:

          Got an email address Liz?

        • Shoestring says:

          take it down, HfP

        • Jill (Kinkell) says:

          I am so fed up of not getting any offers and I mean zilch. Contacted via chat and got some corporate speak about new cards…er No! Lucky everyone else.

        • Liz says:

          Hey Jill – I don’t get many offers and the ones I do get are normally useless for me. Got lucky with this one. We got the recent £200 off £600 Amex travel offer but when I priced up car hire for next years trip it was more than £200 more expensive than going via BAEC for Avis so that deal was useless. I complained before to AMex but go nowhere.

    • PUP says:

      I got 7000MR for a spend of £250 on gold…..!

      I have no big purchases planned at any of them – Any bright ideas on what to buy to take advantage?

  • James says:

    Hi @Rob – I’m not sure if I’ve read this incorrectly…
    Applying for Amex Plat, your review says “permanent status” (Hilton etc.). If you then cancel the card for the pro-rated refund, will your status eventually reset or be rescinded ?

    • Dave says:

      I cancelled my Amex platinum in April, lost my Hilton status straight away (not even a soft landing!), the rest of them seem to run until various points next year..

      • Rob says:

        Interesting. Never heard of this happening before.

      • Anna says:

        I cancelled mine in June, still showing as HH gold. When I got gold status Hilton confirmed it would last until March 2020, there was no mention of it being withdrawn if I closed my Platinum Amex account.

    • Rob says:

      It is obviously permanent for as long as you have the card (long-term readers will know that Plat has occasionally done one-off one-year status benefits which could not roll over) and once you cancel you usually keep it until natural expiry.

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