Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

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UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 2023:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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 Cards’ menu above.  Thank you.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.

Keep up to date with the latest UK credit card bonuses by signing up for our free daily or weekly newsletters.

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 and charge 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.

Miles & More UK Mastercard credit card launched

What was new in October?

Lufthansa relaunches its Miles & More card with Diners Club

Yes, I know.  It’s weird.

Lufthansa has succeeded where Emirates, Etihad, American and United have failed and managed to get a new card onto the market following the closure of their MBNA credit card.

They did this by jumping into bed with Diners Club, the card that time forgot.  Luckily the card comes as a double-pack with a Mastercard.  The structure is weird though – the Mastercard is actually a pre-paid Mastercard (which means you can’t use it for deposits at hotels or car hire depots) and when you buy something, Diners Club immediately tops up the Mastercard in the background because the retailer sucks the money out.

Our full article – which is a very long and detailed one – on the new card is here.  The package is impressive for high spenders, and more importantly charging £1 to the card each month is enough to stop your Miles & More miles from expiring.  This is what you get:

Annual fee of £79

Sign-up bonus of 10,000 miles if you apply before 31st December (5,000 miles afterwards)

A free voucher, valid for 6 months, to visit a Lufthansa airport lounge if you apply before 31st December

1.25 miles per £1 spent on either card

No supplementary cards allowed

2.99% foreign exchange fee

It is a charge card, not a credit card, so you MUST clear your full balance each month

If you were another 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 Emirates Skywards credit card, read this article

alternatives to the United MileagePlus credit card, read this article

Miles & More Diners Club credit card

Earn Virgin Flying Club miles with a Virgin Money savings account

Whilst not strictly credit card related, Virgin Money relaunched their Virgin Atlantic 1-Year Flying Club Savings Account last month.

The number of miles you earn has been increased and it now pays 1,600 miles for every £1,000 you save.

My article is here.  You can apply and find out more on the Virgin Money website here.

Curve prepares to relaunch with American Express functionality

Curve Card will be relaunching in November.  They have been teasing some of the new features on social media, but to be honest I don’t know how much of what I know is still meant to be secret and how much isn’t!

To be safe, I have been saying nothing.  However, the company has said publicly that American Express will return as a partner – allowing you to recharge Visa and Mastercard transactions onto a linked Amex card – so I feel happy repeating that.

There are going to be limits and restrictions which will be announced in due course.  However you think it is going to work, you are probably going to be wrong!  It is very interesting though, especially for readers of this site.

You can find out more about Curve Card hereThe card is free and they will pay you £5 for taking it out if you use my referral link.  You can apply here.

Curve Card accepts American Express

Flybe drops its UK credit card

With excellent timing, Flybe chose to close its UK credit card to new applications just 24 hours after we published our annual – and not very enthusiastic – review of it.

The card was issued by Creation.  It had made no sense for a long time, because it was still giving credit in Spend&Fly points whilst the airline had switched to Avios a few years ago.  My Flybe Mastercard review is here if you want to see what you missed.

Flybe UK credit card closed

Lloyds Avios Rewards accidentally gave out 2nd upgrade vouchers

A lot of Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card holders found that they had mysteriously been given another upgrade voucher in early October.  We wrote about it here.

Avios has admitted this is mistake but said that if you got a 2nd voucher, you can keep it.

Tesco Bank brought back the bonus on the Tesco Clubcard Mastercard

I spotted by chance over the weekend that Tesco Bank has extended the sign-up bonus on its Tesco Clubcard Mastercard.   The card is free and you will get 1,000 Clubcard points (2,400 Avios or 2,500 Virgin Flying Club miles) if you apply before 31st January.

The earning rate is not great but beats the Lloyds Avios Rewards Mastercard.  You earn 1 Clubcard point for every £8 you spend, but rounded down to the nearest £8, so a £7.99 purchase earns nothing.  Ignoring the impact of rounding down, this means you get 0.125 Clubcard points per £1 which converts to 0.3 Avios per £1.  You can apply here.  Our review, which will be updated this week, is here.

There is still no word on the relaunch of the Marriott Mastercard

Creation is meant to be running this, as they ran the old version which was closed to new cardholders two years ago.  It was due to launch in August but nothing has happened.

EVERYTHING you need to know about the BA American Express 2-4-1 voucher

Finally, if you missed this article last month, newcomers should read my guide to ‘everything you ever wanted to know about the British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher’ which you can find here.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 2023 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 bonus points (SPECIAL OFFER TO 2ND OCTOBER) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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 Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

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

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 (185)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Shoestring says:

    Flights must be booked by 1st Dec

    • Robman says:

      Thanks all. Is there any way to easily see Avios availability on the Iberia website. There doesn’t seem to be an easy way.

      • Shoestring says:

        Where exactly do you want to go? It wasn’t difficult to book a few flights earlier on (using BA from LHR).

        I also need to get my act together, tis true – got a few IB points to redeem or face losing them or the fun of cancelling IB a/cs.

        • Robman says:

          can the points be used to book BA flights from London or do you have to fly on Iberia?
          I’m not fussy re location, wouldn’t mind USA somewhere, Caribbean or South America.

        • Shoestring says:

          BA from LHR was easy

          All Oneworld from LHR if you feel like it, availability may not be as good as with BA though

        • tom1 says:

          for anyone looking to cancel an Iberia account, you have to submit a request, which their site says can take up to 1 month. The request a little bizarrely needs to include your passport number, and a scan of it.

        • tom1 says:

          and any guesses what will happen if you book a BA redemption for the future using these Avios, and then cancel it sometime in the New Year?
          I can’t realistically see how Iberia would tag these specific Avios as being promo ones, and their IT manage to claw them back.

  • Ben says:

    Would you recommend taking Curve now or after the new changes you cannot talk about are announced

    • Si says:

      From what Rob has hinted at, existing members won’t be grandfathered in. So whether you sign up now or later you’ll be hit with the new (annual/monthly?) fee. Of course, given this is Curve nothing is nothing is certain!

      • Rob says:

        I honestly don’t know, but I am being realistic. Another option may be that they don’t upgrade existing Premium members to the new Black package and keep them separate – no extra money demanded but you don’t get the ‘extra’ Amex Platinum style benefits either.

        • Lumma says:

          The strange this about Curve is that I initially signed up when it went free (I think just after they lost the ability to link to AMEX, the one killer function of the card in my opinion, but I took it anyway for the free £5 signup deal) and I got upgraded to the black card when I lost my original card; I wasn’t charged anything but I now get the double bonus Curve reward points, although there’s not a lot of businesses on the list that I regularly spend money in.

          It would be nice if long term card holders were recognised in some way though

        • Joe says:

          Amex Platinum style???

          I’m struggling to keep up with Curve to be honest.

          Hoping for a long (multipart?) article when the changes come in!

        • rams1981 says:

          So Curve will charge £450 type fee and for that you can link Amex, use up to 250k a year with any underlying credit card and make it seem like a debit card and get other items such as insurance and priority pass chucked in?

  • Robert Maroon says:


    I moved to the UK a couple years ago and I am genuinely puzzled by a few things, when it comes to credit cards:

    – Regardless of the tier, I find the offering lacking: few issuers, usually putting out several brands (e.g. newday)
    – Abysmal customer service

    About Amex, I had problems in the past with a business green issued from the UK (they failed to collect a payment and then blamed me for it) and – by reading trustpilot – I have the feeling that their customer care is still very hit and miss.

    What is your experience with Amex? It rates 2/5 on Trustpilot and the bad reviews comes from several countries as well.


  • andy says:

    Just secured our first avios redemption for a trip to NY next October for my wife’s 40th. What is the best card combo to start using now to generate hotel points for this stay? I have 25k Amex MR sat in my account but can’t decide which hotel group has the best earn rates to generate points towards this 4 night stay. Any advice much appreciated.

  • chef says:

    i’d allow your preferred hotel in the area dictate your decision, no point saving marriott points if there isn’t a hotel of theirs that you fancy, hilton and marriott do a 5 for 4 on redemptions.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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