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UPDATE – AUGUST 2021:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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 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? – 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 (185)

  • Matt says:

    Article correction – 24 hours not days re Flybe cutting card after your review?

  • BJ says:

    OT amex offers: £20 off £60 Laithwaites Wine in-store and online, on all three of my cards. £10 of £40 at Wilko on my BAPP.

  • Brian S says:

    I love my Curve card but I’m pretty close to the 50k annual limit with about 4 months to go before I’m in my 2nd year. Are there any hints that the limits may be increased?

  • Idrive says:

    FYI Lufthansa mastercard does not work with Curve as it is technically a prepaid card.

  • Rob MC says:

    OT, can I book a room using my ambassador certificate for my brother? Same surname?

    • Rob says:

      Depends if it is a country where ID must be shown at check in.

      • Rob MC says:

        Vietnam…

        • Gavin says:

          I was definitely asked for ID in vietnam at every hotel a few months ago, photocopied passort etc, arguably it’s still a semi-communist country and the mindset is very bureaucratic, lots of paper copies in triplicate.

  • BSI1978 says:

    Happy Monday all, and apologies for the massively OT query (when we’re all excited by the imminent Curve news….) but what benefit, if any is there to me gifting Avios to a pal as opposed to simply buying their ticket…? I have a reasonable stash and was going to do the former but the cost makes this prohibitive. As far as I can tell I can buy the ticket in their name unless I’m missing something?

    • Anna says:

      I think the only proviso is that your friend would have to be registered on your BAEC account, either as a HHA member or Friends and Family. You’d then be able to book a ticket for them using your avios (if that’s what you’re asking!)

      • Matt says:

        If you aren’t in a HHA then you can book avios tickets for anyone. It’s only if you’re in a HHA that you can only buy for Friends and Family

        • jane says:

          can you still use a BA amex 2-4-1 when buying tickets for friends and family and not in a HHA ? I had thought (hoping to be mistaken) that you could only use these in a HHA ??

          • Rob says:

            If YOU are in a HHA then you can only use your 2-4-1 voucher for either someone else in the HHA or someone on your Friends & Family list.

    • RTS says:

      Basically… add your friend to your friends and family list… et voila…

  • S says:

    OT Lloyds Avios card

    anyone else still in the dark about the replacement of theirs? I haven’t heard so much as a whisper from Lloyds about mine

    • John says:

      I haven’t received any letters, and paid another annual fee 5 weeks ago

      • S says:

        Interesting… my avios.com account was finally automatically shut down last week so perhaps the letter is imminent

    • Anna says:

      I spoke to CS last week about a couple of issues and asked about the card change/closure. The agent said that they couldn’t say exactly when each account will be closed, but that everyone will get 65 days notice. My avios.com account disappeared the following day!

  • David says:

    Re FlyBe: “it was still giving credit in Spend&Fly points (the old loyalty scheme) whilst the airline had switched to Avios”

    Wasn’t the old flybe scheme called ‘Rewards4all’? – I’m sure ‘Spend&Fly’ was a totally separate scheme brought in totally for that credit card and used for nothing else.

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