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UPDATE – JULY 2021:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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? – July 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our July 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)

  • 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?

  • Tom1 says:

    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

    • Crafty says:

      +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).

        • Sam says:

          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!).

        • RTS says:

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

        • tom1 says:

          Thanks for all the recommendations.

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

    • Dimitri says:

      IHG indigo without any hesitation..

      • tom1 says:

        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).

      • Crafty says:

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

  • 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”?

    • Anna says:

      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……

    • Tom Cook says:

      Thanks Gill

  • AndyW says:

    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.

    • Liz says:

      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.

    • Jonny says:

      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.

  • TripRep says:

    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/

  • Nick_C says:

    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!

        • Joe says:

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

    • Sam says:

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

      • Joe says:

        All over?

        • Nick_C says:

          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

  • George says:

    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.

    • sunguy says:

      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?

        • Rob says:

          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?

        • George says:

          Thanks all – got it to play ball.

  • 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!

    • Lumma says:

      No extra lounge passes with a supplementary card with gold

      • Matt says:

        You may be thinking of platinum where supplemtary cards and given their own priority pass.

    • RTS says:

      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…

      • Nick_C says:

        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

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