Bits: HFP on Radio 4, new Amex cashback hotel deals inc Marriott, changes to the Tesco Premium credit card

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News in brief:

Listen to me on ‘You and Yours’

I did a segment on Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ yesterday lunchtime, discussing the recent changes to petrol loyalty with Esso dropping Clubcard and BP dropping Nectar – which Esso is joining!  We did a Shopper Points piece on this here.

You can listen by clicking here (log-in required) and fast-forwarding to 29:25.

New American Express hotel cashback deals

American Express has launched a new batch of hotel cashback offers.  Some, all or none of these deals may be available for registration under the ‘Offers’ tab online of one of your American Express cards – click here for the Amex website.

The new offers are:

£100 back on £500 spent at Marriott / Starwood brands (expires 31st January, ONLY valid at this list of UK and European hotels) – website here 

£55 back on £200 spent at Amba Hotels (expires 31st January)- website here 

£55 back on £200 spent at Guoman Hotels (expires 31st January) – website here 

£35 back on £200 spent at Thistle Hotels (expires 31st January) – website here, here is my article on staying at Thistle Heathrow and using the driverless pods to get to Terminal 5 the next morning  

Existing offers you might have forgotten about include:

Virgin Trains – various permutations of spend and cashback (expires 28th February)

£100 back on £1000 spent at Trailfinders (expires 31st December)

£20 back on £150 spent at Avis (expires 31st December)

£50 back on £200 spent at Hand Picked Hotels (expires 31st December)

25% back on all Gett taxi rides (expires 31st January, max £50 cashback)

£100 back on £500 United Airlines spend (expires 16th December)

£5 back on £30 spent at Minicabit (expires 31st December)

£20 back on £150 spent at Europcar (expires 13th December)

3% back on all purchases from The Trainline (expires 16th January)

£50 back on £250 spent at Hilton (expires 31st December)

£50 back on £200 spent at Red Carnation Hotels (expires 24th May, some good London hotels

£10 back on £35 spent at Heathrow Express (expires 29th January, will work with this 250 bonus points promo)

Changes to Tesco Premium credit card for existing customers

Tesco Bank makes big changes to the Tesco Premium credit card – will it re-open to new applicants?

The Tesco Premium credit card was closed to new applicants in June.  Tesco Bank has just announced major changes to the benefits package for existing cardholders which makes me think that it may be reopened to new applications at some point.

The Tesco Premium credit card was a surprisingly aggressive offering:

  • £150 annual fee
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • 5,000 bonus Clubcard points (12,400 Avios) for spending £5,000 in Tesco per year
  • 1 Clubcard point (2.4 Avios) per £1 spent with Tesco
  • 0.25 Clubcard points (0.6 Avios) per £1 spent elsewhere

This was a real ‘Marmite’ card.  For people who spent a lot at Tesco – and fuel purchases were included in the £5,000 target – it was a decent deal and a very good Visa / Mastercard option for collecting Avios.  If you couldn’t spend £5,000 per year, it wasn’t worth it unless you needed the travel insurance.

Tesco Bank pulled the card from the market shortly after Tesco Direct was closed.  Tesco Wine closed shortly afterwards.  I think that a lot of people had been relying on Tesco Direct spending to reach the £5,000 target and these people were now stuffed.

Tesco Bank has announced that the card will be relaunched for existing cardholders from February 2019.  Your benefits will change on your next card anniversary after 1st February, which means that some people will remain on the £150 package until January 2020.

Details are on the Tesco Bank website here.  In summary:

  • the annual fee drops to £36
  • the travel insurance benefit is removed
  • the bonus is realigned to offer 2,500 bonus Clubcard points (6,200 Avios) for spending £2,500 in Tesco per year
  • 1 Clubcard point (2.4 Avios) per £1 spent with Tesco (unchanged)
  • 0.25 Clubcard points (0.6 Avios) per £1 spent elsewhere (unchanged)

I think, if you can hit the £2,500 of annual Tesco spend – which many people could do just on fuel, even without buying any food – this looks pretty good.  The £36 fee is easily justified by the 6,200 bonus Avios for spending £2,500, and you have the added benefit of earning 0.6 Avios per £1 on all your other Visa / Mastercard spend.

It is less clear cut if you collect Virgin Flying Club miles.  The free Virgin Atlantic credit card, which currently has a 10,000 mile sign-up bonus for another 10 days, earns 0.75 miles per £1 spent, is better.  For day to day spending, it trumps the Tesco Premium credit card.  You could still justify using the Tesco Premium credit card purely for Tesco spending as long as you knew you’d hit the £2,500 annual target – but it does mean another card in your wallet.

For clarity, there is no certainty at the moment that Tesco Bank will reopen the Tesco Premium credit card to new applicants from February.  If they do, however, it will become the best Visa / Mastercard option for many Head for Points readers.

(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.)

FINAL TWO WEEKS: Get 5,000 to 10,000 EXTRA sign-up miles with the Virgin Atlantic credit cards!
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  1. Does anyone know if the Marriott Spend is all in one transaction or if it can be split across multiple transactions?

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