UPDATE – JANUARY 2021: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.
What was new in December and early January?
HSBC launched a sign-up bonus for its HSBC Premier Mastercard
This week HSBC launched a 10,000 point sign-up bonus for its free HSBC Premier credit card.
This is worth 5,000 Avios. You could also credit it to Asia Miles, Singapore KrisFlyer or Etihad Guest. The deal runs to 2nd March.
The snag is that you need to have a HSBC Premier current account to get the HSBC Premier credit card. Full details of the tough eligibility criteria are in our article here. The upside is that you have a free Mastercard earning 0.5 miles for every £1 you spend.
You have three weeks to get a sign-up bonus on the free Tesco credit card
Until 31st January, you will receive 1,000 Tesco Clubcard points if you apply for this version of the Tesco Clubcard Mastercard. This converts into 2,400 Avios or 2,500 Virgin Flying Club miles.
Whilst there are many different versions of this card – different interest rates, balance transfer periods, interest free periods etc – you only get the bonus via the one I link to above.
The sign-up bonus dropped on the Miles & More Diners Club / Mastercard
The bonus on the new £79 Lufthansa Miles & More Diners Club and Mastercard charge card package dropped to 5,000 miles on 1st January.
This will be the long-term bonus. The 10,000 points offered in 2018 was only designed an incentive to promote its launch. I now have this card and, whilst it is odd, it is working OK. You can find more thoughts about the Miles & More Diners Club card in this article.
American Express launched a 30,000 point bonus on the DOLLAR / EURO versions of the Platinum card
For the first time in a while, Amex is running a sign-up bonus on its Dollar and Euro Platinum charge cards – 30,000 Membership Rewards points to be precise.
The good news is that you can get this bonus even if you already have a UK Platinum or Gold card. The bad news is that this is a complicated product with poorer transfer rates to most airline schemes than the UK cards. I wrote about the pros, cons and sweet spots in this article.
If you missed it, I also published an article this week on ‘Which low interest rate credit cards also earn miles and points?‘.
What can we expect from the travel credit card market in 2019?
2018 was, to be honest, a more positive year than I expected. Both Virgin Atlantic and Lufthansa Miles & More returned to the market with non-Amex products, and both were generous:
- 0.75 Virgin miles per £1 on their free card
- 1.5 Virgin miles per £1 on their £160 card
- 1.25 Lufthansa Miles & More miles per £1 on their £79 card
Here are two things I know will happen in 2019:
- An attractive new SME card is coming to the market soon
- Curve will move its Amex acceptance out of beta mode, allowing all of us to recharge Visa and Mastercard purchases to most American Express cards
Here are some questions I can’t answer at the moment:
Will the new version of the Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card being rolled out to existing customers be re-opened to everyone?
Will the new version of the Tesco Premium credit card being rolled out to existing customers be re-opened to everyone?
Will Hilton find a new issuer for their Hilton Honors card?
Will Creation ever get around to putting the Marriott Rewards card back on the market?
What will happen to the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card, given that the Starwood brand disappears in March?
Will we see major changes to the co-brand American Express cards (BA, Nectar, Starwood, Harrods, Costco) now that they have had their retailer fees capped?
Will we will see more aggressive action from American Express to persuade people to move from its co-brand cards to Gold or Platinum, which have not had their retailer fees capped?
Will Flybe, Etihad, Emirates, American or United find a way back into the UK credit card market?
And, more of a wish than anything else as I am 99% sure it won’t happen, will Hyatt ever sign up as an American Express Membership Rewards partner? (It would make sense, for Europe only, as I doubt Hyatt will ever launch its own co-brand card here. There would be no cannibalisation.)
I will keep you up to date with the answers to these questions as I get them! In the meantime:
You may also want to read our ‘Top 10’ series:
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – January 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
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
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
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
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
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:
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
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
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
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.