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UPDATE – JULY 2021:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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

  • Simon says:

    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.

    • sunguy says:

      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.

  • Graeme says:

    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.

    • Graeme says:

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

      • Sundar says:

        What about tax-like payments to HMRC ?

      • Kiran says:

        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!

      • Graeme says:


        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.

      • mr dee says:

        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

      • Stuart says:

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

        • Rob says:

          I had numerous emails telling me your comments offended them 🙂

        • Stuart says:

          Aww, bless their cotton socks. #Snowflakes.

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

  • Jon says:

    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 get/chase the plat companion bonus I believe..

  • Nick says:

    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 ?

  • Simon says:

    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.

    • David says:

      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.

  • 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.

    • mr dee says:

      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

  • 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?

  • Robman says:

    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?

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