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

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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.

Virgin Flying Club Savings Account

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 – and you can keep them!

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.

Tesco Clubcard Mastercard

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.

Literally EVERYTHING you need to know about the British Airways 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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

What are the best travel credit card sign-up deals for November?

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are my top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.   The British Airways offer is a special deal, the Virgin Atlantic cards are new this year whilst the IHG and Amex cards are consistently strong offers.

These deals are listed in no particular order and their position on the list is not a sign of how good or bad the offer is.

British Airways American Express

For an unspecified period, the bonus on this free card increased from 3,000 Avios to 5,000 Avios.  My full review of the card is here.  You can apply here.  Representative APR 22.9% variable.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

For an unspecified period, the bonus is increased from 18,000 Avios to 25,000 Avios.  I wrote a full review of the British Airways Premium Plus card here.  You can apply here.  Representative APR 76.0% variable including the £195 annual fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

Amex Plat

American Express Platinum

The sign-up bonus on this card is 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points.  You need to spend £2,000 in 90 days to trigger the bonus.

Your points can be transferred into various airline and hotel programmes.  You could get 30,000 Avios, 30,000 Virgin miles, 60,000 Hilton Honors points, 90,000 Radisson Rewards points, 2,000 Club Eurostar points etc etc.

You receive a pro-rata refund on the £450 fee when you cancel the card and you will retain most of the benefits – Starwood / Marriott Gold, Radisson Gold, Hilton Gold, Melia Gold and Shangri-La Jade – for the rest of the year even after you cancel. The Amex Platinum benefits package is extensive, though, and once you’ve got it you might find the numbers add up for you. I have had one for 15 years.

My full review of the Amex Platinum card is here. Amex’s own home page is here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

This is currently an outstanding deal which is showing no signs of going away. You pay no fee for the first year and earn 20,000 Membership Rewards points (see here for what 20,000 MR points can get you – 20,000 Avios points for a start!).  You need to spend £2,000 in 90 days to trigger the bonus.

If you are new to this hobby, I would make this your first American Express card.  One benefit of earning American Express points is that you only need to transfer them to an airline or hotel scheme when you are ready to redeem – there is no risk of being caught out by devaluations!

My full review of Amex Gold is here. The Amex home page to apply is here.

Representative APR 57.6% variable including the annual fee (free in year 1) based on a notional £1,200 credit limit. Interest rate on purchases 22.9% APR variable.

Amex Gold

IHG Rewards Club Premium Mastercard

This is my preferred hotel Visa / Mastercard because of the strong overall package.  Whilst there is a £99 annual fee, this is offset in Year 1 by the 20,000 bonus IHG points you receive.  You get IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you hold the card.  You will also receive a voucher for a free night at any IHG Rewards Club property when you spend £10,000 per year.  Representative APR 41.5% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

Virgin Atlantic Reward and Reward+ Mastercard

The two new Virgin Flying Club credit cards are the most generous Mastercard or Visa cards for day to day spending.  The free Reward card (with a 5,000 miles sign-up bonus) earns 0.75 miles per £1 whilst the annual fee Reward+ card (with a 15,000 mile sign-up bonus) earns 1.5 miles per £1.

There is no spending target to hit to receive the sign-up bonus.  Reward: representative APR 22.9% variable.  Reward+: representative APR 63.9% variable including £160 fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit Interest rate on purchases 22.9% variable.  The application page is here.

Bonus on small business cards  

Head for Points focusses primarily on personal cards. However, if you are a sole trader or run a very small business, you may also want to check out the American Express Platinum Business Card (click here) and the American Express Gold Business Card (click here).  There is currently a 20,000 points (= 20,000 Avios) bonus on the Gold Business card and a 40,000 points (40,000 Avios) bonus on the Platinum Business card.

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.

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Comments

  1. Rob, if I’m Amex Gold can you do a self referral for Platinum and possibly get a bonus?

    This article from back in the spring seems to suggest that??? https://insideflyer.co.uk/2018/05/how-to-get-much-bigger-american-express-sign-up-bonuses/

  2. I upgraded from Gold Charge Card to Plat using this link on 1 October.

    https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/content/platinum-charge/upgrade/

    The 20000 MRs for spending £1K were credited on 19 October.

    I tool out the Gold in March. So far, no fee for the Plat.

    • RakishDriver says:

      I too had taken the gold charge in Mar, upgraded 3 months later, no plat fee – I’m expecting the fee payable Mar ’19 – and I will happily pay it and continue to Mar ’20

      • Tom Cook says:

        I upgraded to the Plat in October 17, and last month was charged the £450 fee, 12 months later. Happy to have 2 years at £450!

        • Interesting. My gold renewal date is tommorow (and they owe me the 10K MR) – hope my fee gets similarly postponed!

    • Too bad that’s all over now. Had to sign up for Platinum by itself this time around!

      • All over?

        • You used to be able to get 22000 MRs for the gold charge card and then upgrade to Plat for another 20000.

          You cannot upgrade from the Gold Credit Card to the Plat Charge Card

  3. OT: Has anyone else had issues with combine my avios recently? Trying to move some from Iberia to BA – Iberia website will only pull (not push) and BA website just says ‘Combine my Avios is not available at the moment. Please try again later’ every single day I try.

    I’ve heard that you can move Avios through Aerclub – but I can’t seem to find any documentation on it at all.

    • I just “found” some avios in my avios account (now essentially Aer Club) – I was able to transfer fine to BA.

      The Aer Club logins are just the old Avios.com logins (as long as you created an Aer Club account and alligned your avios account).

      If you dont have either an avios account or an Aer Club one – go to Aer club and create an account using the same email address, name and snail mail address as any accounts you want to transfer with and you should be able to do the transfer!

      • FlyUpTop says:

        How do you move avios in Vueling to BA account? I couldn’t find the combine avios option in Vueling account so opened BAEC & tried to use option from there.
        Firstly, it stated your DOB was not correct so updated in BAEC & then ensured same in Vueling account, then tried again in BAEC but now get a message stating you cannot combine your avios?

        • Log in at avios.com with your Vueling details and do it there.

        • FlyUpTop says:

          Cheers Rob, I’ve logged in to avios new account using Vueling details but it stated details do not match. Upon checking the new avios account it has my wife down as Mr? The Vueling account doesn’t even have an option for M or F?

        • Thanks all – got it to play ball.

  4. Harjit Mehat says:

    Does anyone know if a Supplementary Gold card also gets another 2 lounge passes, asked on online chat and they said no, but I’m sure I read there should be another 2 with a Gold supplementary card?

    Thanks!

    • No extra lounge passes with a supplementary card with gold

    • Ironically, i didn’t even get lounge passes for my Gold as main gold cardholder! Lounge passes haven’t turned up – not that i have every used them…

      • My Brother took out the Gold Card on 28 September, but didn’t get the lounge passes. He called Amex last week. They told him they had been sent, but will re-issue them.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        you never got the lounge club card? the passes aren’t actual passes you just get the first 2 entries free

  5. I would be very wary of Diners Club. Over at Flyer Talk there was lots of chat recently about them closing a lot (most?) personal accounts. The brand seems to be in terminal decline.

    • I closed my Diners Club account when they started charging for access to lounges…that along with the “high” non-GBP transaction charges – there was no point!

      Also, their lounge range was pretty pathetic compared to Priority Pass or even Dragon Pass….for £50/year, it wasnt worth it to charge £15pp for entry rather than free.

  6. Creation confirmed to me they are blocking Curve. High risk transactions and they have a reputation is what I am being told. No evidence and suspect its costing them too much money.

    • Completely incorrect information given by their security team. Curve are a bitcoin company first of all. Then they arent regulated was the excuse.

      • What about tax-like payments to HMRC ?

      • Shame about the Bristol-based company – I was relying on that method to hit Spire this year. I should have put more through before the changes, but didn’t want to trigger my free night cert too early. And of course, I’ve just realised that with Creation the voucher isn’t awarded until the end of the year anyway so should have invested away!

      • Kiran,

        Was going to kake Spire this week with a couple of payments. I wont now unfortunately either.

      • RakishDriver says:

        This correlates with what I’ve been experiencing with curve-creation these last two weeks.
        horizon card £200 payment using curve worked just now. Piecemeal payments now.

      • Don’t count on creation staff knowing why a transaction is declined and the reference to bitcoin is ridiculous.

        If it was a cash type transaction then that is probably why but HMRC still works

      • I see the overnight moderator machine has been in action again…

        • I had numerous emails telling me your comments offended them 🙂

        • Aww, bless their cotton socks. #Snowflakes.

          Offended that all their little “secrets” are being shared more like…

  7. OT: Any data points for those readers who still have the PRG charge card, have recently added the companion gold credit card, and have got the 5000MP for spending £500? Want to do this route before I upgrade to the plat. Thanks!

    • RakishDriver says:

      Not guaranteed – unless you have an offer on your account you can click through.
      I didn’t have an offer – did get the bonus in the end but spent too much time chasing amex for 5K MR

    • RakishDriver says:

      Also, it has been recommended by folks here to then cancel that gold companion card before upgrading..to get/chase the plat companion bonus I believe..

  8. O/T – need your guys expert opinions

    Hypothetical situation of course ????

    Book BA holiday for summer 19 and do UUA but agent doesn’t quote avios cost and e-tickets make no mention of avios cost, six months down line no avios taken and have 125- ticket numbers.

    Chances of avios being taken now ?

  9. I used to have the Curve but gave up shortly after they split with Amex.

    I re-signed up to Curve c. 6 months ago to start paying HMRC bills but still don’t have a new Curve card; is there a waiting list?

    If they’re going to work with AMEX again then looks even better to have one.

    • I think it still remembers you from last time. I emailed customer service, fot s half baked reply, so told them to close my account. Life is too short to faff around with Curve. I have a Horizon cash back card, and don’t really shop places if they don’t take Amex, I would rather have the protection of using my card directly, as I have great experience of Amex crediting anything that is irritating. I won’t give it longer before Amex oil the plug again.

  10. iamfugly says:

    Hi Rob,
    It would be great if you could relay back to the Curve team a need for them to increase their £50,000 annual spending limit. It’s a huge pain in the a$$ when I have to cancel, reapply, and then the nonsense of wasting a couple of months to “cultivate a spending history” before they can apply the enhanced spending limits. Its just a waste of time and energy for both the Curve team and the customer, when I already had a card with the enhanced limits but had to cancel as I had hit the £50k limit.

    • Now they have opted for not increasing the 10k limit even if the card is maxed out for the year, come back in 6-8 weeks for a review when nothing can be charged. to the card as the limit is maxed out! Makes no sense or about as much sense as Curve as a money making business

  11. RakishDriver says:

    Wildy OT – Best Western hotels
    I recently stayed a night near Luxembourg, decided to create an account and status matched to become platinum.
    Is it worth earning BW points or select a partner airline? I normally stay at Marriotts or IHG when in the US but I think I might start diversifying a bit when next there – worth doing?

  12. sorry for O/T.
    I had a long saga obtaining my Iberia 9000 avios per flight from the promotion a few months ago. I’ve now got 45,000 points and worried I might lose them if I don’t use them quickly. Do the flights in relation to the points redeemed have to be flown before the 1st December or is it sufficient to have booked a flight before the 1st Dec, but travel sometime in 2019?

  13. Shoestring says:

    Flights must be booked by 1st Dec

    • 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.

        • 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

        • 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.

        • 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.

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

    • 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!

      • 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.

        • 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

        • 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?

  15. Robert Maroon says:

    Hi,

    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.

    Thanks.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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