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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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.

El Al adds Manchester, starting in May 2019
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Comments

  1. Tom Cook says:

    Still limited wins on the SPG game, another 50 points today 🙁

  2. Adam Neal says:

    Is now the time to upgrade to Curve Black ahead of the return of Amex?

    • Not clear because we don’t know how they will treat existing cardholders. There is NO CHANCE of getting ‘Black for life’ for £50 given the new benefits it will have.

      • Rob – you said before to upgrade to Black before the new rules come in.

        Are you now changing your advice?

        I am sure I am not the only one who spent £50 based upon your article encouraging this.

        • I seem to recall he suggested signing up for black for £50 in order to get 6 months of the new benefits guaranteed at a ‘value’ price, therefore suggesting that the fee is likely to be more than £100/year.

          What Rob is saying above is simply that your £50 Black fee will not get you all the benefits forever.

        • Change in T&C/Fee – you are probably entitled to a partial refund.

        • You will come out ahead, but there is zero chance that you will get the new package, for free, for life. It will be costing Curve £70-80 wholesale per yer to buy your benefits.

      • Will Avery says:

        Hoping I’m going to get some sort of reward for sticking with Black from the beginning. Primary reason is I couldn’t be bothered to deal with the admin and I like and use the freebie Tumi wallet all the time.

  3. RE: SPG Amex

    I know the SPG points automatically transfer from Amex into our SPG accounts.

    What happens if the transaction that took me over the bonus threshhold (£1000 spend) gets refunded? My other spend is now well above £1k in total, but hope my 33000 SPG points are not at risk?

    • You’re fine if the points have been transferred across, you are at risk if Amex has not yet sent them.

    • I think maybe Rob replied too quickly, if you’ve spent over £1K after refunds, Amex won’t care what gets refunded and when. Amex are pretty relaxed about all of this stuff. Read the comments here and you’ll see there are people that churn continually and Amex just don’t seem to care.

      • If you refund a transaction which triggers a sign-up bonus, the bonus is clawed back. That is a fact. If the points have already been sent off to a partner, they can’t be clawed back but your Amex account will show a negative points balance.

        • and what about the BA 2-4-1?

        • You don’t lose the 2 4 1 but your account will have a negative balance and you won’t start earning another one until you make that back up. I don’t know if you would be allowed to close the card in those circumstances.

        • My points for the transaction in question (2700) plus the 33,000 bonus points have all transferred to SPG.

          I am about to get a refund on the £900 spend – so just 2700 will be clawed back from Amex (as in the balance sitting in my Amex account will decrease by 2700 points only)??

    • I once had £2k refunded for an Airbnb stay after I cancelled my Gold Amex – my account was showing -20k MR points lol as I had already banked them before i cancelled. I got the full refund transferred to my bank account no question asked…. the refund was completely unintentional as an FYI..

  4. Question about Curve,

    I’ve got basic one with 10k limit, so was thinking that need to update to paid version

    1. Can I apply for additional curve on their site to get wallet as well? Or since I have basic already I can only request update, and get no wallet option?

    2. Amex would be definitely very useful option even if there are some limitations /small fee, any idea if they goint to add new card option with amex or existing cards will get that feature? Basically thinking if I should wait till announcement or it does not matter if would apply now?

    • Froggee says:

      I can only answer question 1 but I upgraded a couple of weeks ago (following Rob’s article!) and asked for and got the Tumi wallet. However I am still stuck at three curve reward partners. Have put in a help request to be able to add three more a couple of days ago but they are busy upgrading the old prepaid cards apparently.

    • You get the wallet when you upgrade. Pretty useless wallet – can’t hold many cards.

      Not worth worrying about.

      • Genghis says:

        I like the wallet. Been using it since the early days of Curve. Indeed it only holds a few cards but how many cards do you actually need on a day to day basis?

        • Quite a few (Santander for supermarkets, Amex, Hilton (where Amex not accepted), AA (for discounts), debit cards – curve only covers a few – and then there is cash.)

        • Same here. Although mine is now in a bit of a state and needs replacing.

    • I opened a support ticket and asked do I get the wallet when upgrading. They confirmed I would and just wanted the last 4 digits of the card to be charged.

      I also too can’t work out how to change reward partners, just takes me to the webpage when I select it in the app.

  5. OT: Last month my hubby’s Amex SPG pts transferred over for Aug and Sept like everyone else’s. Award Wallet shows expiry date unknown. I thought I would leave it to see if this months pts transferred over ok which they did overnight but the expiry date is still showing as unknown. Is anyone else having the same issue? AW is using his old SPG number after accounts were merged. His new number shows the same thing. Has anyone managed to get it to show an up to date expiry date.

    • His account says no activity in the last 30 days so it looks like it is not acknowledging the Amex SPG spend as qualifying spend to reset the expiry date. The Amex SPG Card is not listed on their site as one of the ways to earn points. Does anyone have any further info.

    • What does it say when you login to Marriott? I have found that the expiry date has not been updated with the transfer over of the SPG CC points last month. I am hoping that this month will finally sort it out…

      • That’s what I am saying – it hasn’t sorted it out and the account says no activity even though there is activity ie Amex SPG pts transfer. The Marriott account isnt registering the Amex spend as activity.

        • Hmm, I was going to contact Marriott if mine didn’t get sorted this month. I had put it down to the fact that the previous 3 months points had been manually added. Perhaps contact them and see what they say?

        • Yes that’s what I thought too. But it clearly says no activity on your account for the past 30 days so it is not acknowledging the SPG pts. Drafting an email now but only to a generic email address. Will see if I get a reply.

        • Actually they are showing as “Bonus” which is obviously making them non qualifying and won’t reset the expiry date. Rob do you now any more info about this?

        • I combined into my Marriott account. SPG Card point transfers show as “Bonus” but with a little star beside them which confirms they are qualifying and the expiry date is 2 years from the last transfer. It was taking a few days for detailed lines and expiry to catch up with the total points/ nights but that seems fixed too.

          I’d suggest that unless you’re close to expiry I’d see if it works itself out over the next month or two.

        • @Stu – his says Bonus* also but above it says no activity on the account in last 30 days despite credit card spend showing on 5/11 and 13/10 so it’s not registered it as activity on the account. I don’t know the expiry date – that’s what I am trying to determine. Don’t want to lose these points as I am planning on building them up over the next couple of years for Singapore Airlines miles and not Marriott stays,

      • RussellH says:

        Points from my Marriott M/card also say Bonus*; the expiry date moves on each month as the points are credited.
        I would guess that the SPG Amex thing is a bug of some sort…
        Transfer of Amex MR points also updated the expiry date.

        • @RussellH – that’s good it’s at least working for you. I have emailed them so will see what response I get. He doesn’t have any MR pts at the moment either. I’ll be transferring some to my account soon so that will reset mine at least.

        • @RussellH – I think I might have found the solution. When we applied for the SPG Card before the merger I used the old SPG number. I am going to ring Amex and get them to change to account number over to the new combined account number and hope that next month that will resolve the expiry date problem. Is your Amex SPG linked to your new Combined account number.

    • According to Award Wallet, my SPG expiry date is Feb 2019 – recent transfers from Amex haven’t reset this at all

      • Does booking and cancelling a stay count as “activity”?

        • It’s all horribly inconsistent isn’t it?

          Pretty sure the “book and cancel” won’t work with Marriott but would be useful to know if anyone has had success with this. Amex Membership rewards look to have reset my expiry date too. I’m relying on the Marriott app for all of this by the way.

      • My account says Feb 2019 also but I am not actively adding any points to my account as I don’t have a credit card at the moment. I’m a bit worrried that he didn’t have any other activity other than the Marriott NFL pts which don’t count to reset the expiry that these SPG pts will be lost if treated each month as bonuses rather than credit card spend.

        • I’ve read the expiry rules article and Rob suggested this but others had reported that it didn’t work. Although we shouldn’t need to try it. I am going to put a order via their shopping portal as a back up but there’s not much on their portal. I assume we will all be in the same boat though.

        • RakishDriver says:

          Re the Marriott shopping portal, I just looked into doing what you’ve suggested, but yeah, minimal offerings compared to Virgin’s and BA’s portals – and they’re closing on the 15th of Nov – might be risky getting those shoppping points?

        • @RakishDriver – where does it say it’s closing on 15/11. I was just searching for something to buy! Bummer! I was thinking that was a good way to reset the expiry date.

        • Duh! I didn’t see that splashed across the screen!

        • RakishDriver says:

          @Liz – yep, page loading times.
          I never knew this existed until reading this today!

  6. Will Avery says:

    Has Christmas come early with Curve Mr HfP? Amazing news!! Or are they going to tell me I’m only allowed to spend £500 a month?

  7. O/t Hong Kong hotel recommendations please…
    2-3 nights, I have Marriott and Hilton points, and a few IHG. Status as per Amex plat
    I saw Rob’s review of the IC early last year – any other suggestions?
    Tks

    • +1 and I want guaranteed early check in (comfortable to pay a bit)

      • Froggee says:

        I like the Conrad at Pacific Place. The JW Marriott there is nice enough too but not quite as good in my view. My success rate at being upgraded to the Exec Lounge at the Conrad (as HH Gold from Barclaycard) is pretty good – maybe 60%-70%. The lounge there is pretty nice and you get comped breakfast for two in the main restaurant if you don’t get upgraded.

        I booked a points stay for my parents there once and they got upgraded to the lounge despite having no status but then the incidentals for their stay hit my HH account so that one was a misunderstanding! My parents still rave about it 🙂

        I’ve only once needed an early check in at the Conrad but my wife and I were so early (arrived about 9am) we didn’t even ask. When we checked in we asked if we could leave our luggage and if there was perhaps somewhere we could have a shower. We were ushered up to the Exec Lounge, given a cup of tea while we checked in and then shown to our guest room as if this was no biigy. However – I guess for [guaranteed] you would need to pay.

        Summary – I love Conrad Hong Kong.

        Oh – and you get a free teddy bear every time…

        • Genghis says:

          I really like the Conrad. Got a great upgrade a couple of years ago to a Harbour Suite and lounge is OK. We stayed at the JWM last month, however. Not as good a room IMO but a much better Exec lounge – huge choice of breakfast, good afternoon tea, cocktails and evening grub. Hotel Icon also comes recommended to me though I’ve not stayed there (though no points, only hotels.com nights).

        • Hotel Icon is nice but it’s no Conrad Hong Kong. Conrad is a massive step up from Icon. Conrad is my favourite in HK. (I am also quite fond of W but I couldn’t explain to you (or myself) why I like it!).

        • Big fan of Conrad. I get upgraded to a suite everytime i stay!

        • Thanks for all the recommendations.

          Are all these upgrades as Diamond?
          Any experiences as a lowly gold?

    • IHG indigo without any hesitation..

      • Looks like Indigo is only 5k points less than the IC, even though the cash rates are a wider spread (1800 v 2800) – would you still choose Indigo on points?

        • Dimitri says:

          Many times Indigo in HK is a more expensive hotel than the Intercontinental (as far as I remember) plus they are in a better location (hong kong island vs Kowloon) and they have an amazing infinity pool that gets out of the building and hangs on the air. I would personally choose them unless you are Ambassador and aiming to a room upgrade with HK skyline view, which is the only thing that it’s better than Indigo (the view).

      • Indigo is more expensive on my dates than Conrad, JWM, IC, Langham and others… surely not still worth considering?

  8. Tom Cook says:

    OT

    I have the AMEX Plat – we’re abroad at Christmas and given the potential for disruptions in fights due to weather etc I wonder if the insurance covers my partner and her son? The insurance talks about your immediate family, and I’d say she’s covered as we live at the same address, but would her son be covered as it talks about “your children”?

    • Check the Ts and Cs but it usually means dependant children under 18 living with you.

      • Tom Cook says:

        Thinking about it she’s a supp on my plat so maybe he should be covered through her – as he lives with his dad 3 days a week I wonder if he’s defined as being dependent – the definition of “children” doesn’t fit I don’t think…

        “Children” means any of Your children (including step-children,
        fostered or adopted children) under the age or 25 on the first day of a Trip, who are legally dependent on You……

    • Respective partner & partners dependent children up to age of 25 are covered. I had a similar query earlier in the year. I think the weather delay is one of the benefits that is only available if you’ve paid your holiday on the platinum card.
      If you call customer service they transfer you to insurance department to confirm specifics about the policy.

      https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/content/pdf/card-products/platinum-charge-card/UK_Platinum_Charge_Insurance_Documentation_v1_0.pdf

  9. OT – Sunday Times travel Mag. Had an email from them last week confirming my new subscription (which is nonsense as I only signed up once for the avios deal). Just called them and they had somehow signed me up again, as they have some previously. They said they have had some ‘issues’. Keep an eye in case you get an email from them.

    • A couple of months ago I was charged another £30 on my bank account having cancelled the DD about 18mths before. Bank shouldn’t have honoured it but they did. Cancelled the DD again and got my money bank and phoned STTM again to cancel it.

    • I had the same. Charged £30 a couple of months ago (having cancelled over a year ago) No email. And a magazine through the post a week or so ago. Called them up and apparently I am being rebated.

    • Kevin C says:

      I’m still on my free trial of the TLS. I was annoyed by it for the first six months but am through the other side and am enjoying it now.

  10. 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/

  11. 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

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