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What are the best credit card sign-up deals for December 2018? – plus a news round-up

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UPDATE – OCTOBER 2023:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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 Cards’ menu above.  Thank you.

Keep up to date with the latest UK credit card bonuses by signing up for our free daily or weekly newsletters.

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.

What was new in November?

Flybe announced the final closure date for its cards

Last Friday, holders of the Flybe credit card received an email from issuer Creation saying that the cards will close for good on 11th March 2019.

You will have until 20th September to spend your remaining Spend&Fly points.  Depending on how customers used their account, they are being offered a card with either 0.5% cashback or a ‘no rewards’ card as a replacement.

The Flybe credit card was closed to new applicants a few weeks ago.  I’m not sure why it lasted so long – Flybe switched its core loyalty scheme to Avios a few years ago, so keeping open a credit card which earned a different loyalty currency, Spend&Fly, made little sense.

I don’t think Flybe has any plans to replace the card at present, although obviously that could change if the airline does change ownership as a result of the current informal auction process.

The Tesco Premium credit card restructured – and got better

The Tesco Premium credit card has announced a big shake-up of its benefits.  With Tesco Direct and Tesco Wine now closed, it seems that the old benefits package threshold – which required £5000 of Tesco spending annually to maximise your returns – was seen as too high.

Tesco Premium is reducing its annual fee from £150 to £36, but dropping the travel insurance benefits.  You will now only need to spend £2500 per year in Tesco to earn the annual bonus, which is reduced to 2500 Clubcard points.

It isn’t yet clear if the card will be reopened to new applicants.  If it is, it won’t be until at least February when the new benefits package kicks in.

You can learn more about the changes on the Tesco Bank website here and in our article here.

Curve relaunched with American Express functionality

Curve Card has now launched its Beta programme with American Express.  This is only open to selected Curve members.

It is a slightly fiddly system which we outline in this article here.  It will be an exciting prospect when the bugs are ironed out and it is open to all, allowing you to recharge Visa and Mastercard debit and credit transactions onto a linked Amex card.

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

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.

Don’t ask me about any replacement Hilton Honors UK credit card either ……

Virgin Atlantic launches sharply increased credit card bonuses – which end on Friday

Full details are below, but don’t forget that you only have six days to apply for the new Virgin Atlantic credit cards with the higher sign-up bonus.  Full details are on their website here.

The free card earns you 10,000 miles (usually 5,000 miles) whilst the paid card comes with 25,000 miles (usually 15,000 miles)

Virgin Atlantic credit card higher bonus

American Express relaunched Shop Small for 2018

Until 16th December, you can earn £5 cashback each time you spend £10 at a participating ‘Shop Small’ retailer.  You need to opt-in via the Offers tab on your Amex statement page.

Ignore the Amex map of participating outlets.  In reality, most independent shops and restaurants which take Amex will trigger the deal – it worked for us at restaurants twice in the last week.  Full details are in our article here.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – October 2023 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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 Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 (67)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Craig says:

    Went to 2 local butchers yesterday who were very understanding as I split £80 bills between 8 Amex, 4 mine and 4 OH. One of them triggered alerts on all 8 cards the other didn’t, to be fair the second batch haven’t appeared as pending transactions yet.

    • Jonathan says:

      Careful, someone reported their account being closed by AmEx the other day for multiple £10 transactions using lead & supplementary cards in same store @ same time. Think they can interpret as “gaming”.

      • Craig says:

        OK, thanks.

      • Mark2 says:

        ISTR there was more to it than that. Using both cards seems entirely reasonable to me, having done it on a number of cards (with two supplementaries in some cases) for sevral years.

      • FlywithPoints says:

        Heard of the same for gaming the esso offers.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        It’s not really gaming. They have given you the offer and you have used it as per the T&C’s.

        Tbh I’ve not really used small shop seems more hassle than it’s worth this year based on where I spend and what I normally eat/drink.

  • Kip says:

    Anyone know what is the likely timescale for the Curve Amex beta program before rolling out to everyone?
    Are we talking 12 months or 12 weeks?

  • James M says:

    Rob – I recall seeing (but can’t remember where..) a hint that there would be a half decent (BA?) business credit card, any further news on this?

  • Adam says:

    Couple of questions – anyone know when the Hilton Card will finally be withdrawn? I know it was closed for new applications but will it be actually closed?

    As I still have it will spending on it keep my points active? I have cancelled a booking for this week so now will not be staying again until the month after my points expire, can I spend on the card to reset the clock?

    • Alan says:

      Not sure if anyone knows for sure – could be ages.

      Yes, credit card spend definitely resets Hilton Honors expiry.

    • Rob says:

      Almost certainly, but actually it benefits Hilton to keep it open until a replacement launches rather than risk you getting hooked on another card.

    • guesswho2000 says:

      There’s plenty of other ways to keep HH points alive! However I also hope they keep the Barclaycard Hilton around for a while yet, I’m still earning a fair chunk of points on it each month.

      Wonder if Hilton are reducing their card footprint, or moving over to Amex, as their offerings worldwide are being cut down now. The Macquarie Bank Hilton Honors card was killed off a few months back in Aus, and there’s now only a few left on their website.

  • Tilly says:

    Let’s hope I get the credits on my SPG. After seeing that report of cards being closed I have split bills/purchases over less cards. Do you get the £5 credits even without the emails? Offer is definitely saved to card.

  • FlyingBobFlying says:

    I gave up my Amex Gold Charge Card two months ago. Is there any way to apply before the full six months between cards for the Platinum and reap the 30,000 points?

    • Rob says:

      No, unless your partner signs up and you get a supplementary card on their account (partners gets the points though!).

  • Waribai says:

    “Ignore the Amex map of participating outlets. In reality, most independent shops and restaurants which take Amex will trigger the deal – it worked for us at restaurants twice in the last week. ”

    Indeed, I just paid £15k over the phone for a new kitchen and bifold doors. Unexpectedly I got an email alert thanking me for shopping small.

    Down the road from us there is a bespoke car dealers with a 2018 Lamborghini Huracan Perfomante 640 in stock for £240k. They are also on shop small…..

    Just need to get 120k amex supplementary cards and I’ll have a bargain on my hands.

    Give Genghis a run for his money…!

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