UPDATE – JANUARY 2021: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.
Even if you don’t read the rest of this article, please note that we hope to have exclusive details of a new Avios-earning credit card on HFP later this week. Don’t get too excited, though, as only about 10% of our UK readers will be eligible. Intrigued?
What was new in January?
You can get Virgin Atlantic’s relaunched higher bonus on its two credit cards
Until 28th February, you will receive enhanced sign-up bonuses on the two Virgin Atlantic credit cards. You can get up to 25,000 miles!
You have two options:
The FREE Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard comes with a bonus of 10,000 miles. The earning rate is an unbeatable, for a free card, 0.75 Flying Club miles per £1. You will receive 5,000 Virgin Flying Club miles with your first purchase and a further 5,000 when you spend £1,000 within 90 days. My full review is here. You can apply here.
The ‘annual fee’ Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard comes with a bonus of 25,000 miles. It is highest earning airline card on the market, giving you 1.5 Flying Club miles per £1. You will receive 15,000 Virgin Flying Club miles with your first purchase and a further 10,000 when you spend £1,500 within 90 days. My full review is here. You can apply here.
This page of the Virgin Money website lets you compare both cards.
This is well worth a look, even if you do nothing more than pick up the free card for a quick 10,000 Virgin Flying Club miles hit.
HSBC launched a sign-up bonus for its HSBC Premier Mastercard
HSBC is currently running 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.
Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status now given with the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card
Whilst American Express does not mention this on its application site, Marriott Bonvoy – the new name for Marriott Rewards – will now give you Silver Elite status if you take out the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card.
Silver Elite is not hugely valuable, if we’re honest, but better than nothing if you stay in Marriott properties on a regular basis. More valuable is the 30,000 Marriott points that come with the SPG Amex which converts to 10,000 airline miles, including Avios, or will get you around £150 of free hotel rooms.
Marriott has confirmed that neither the SPG Amex or the (closed to new applicants) Marriott Rewards Mastercard will be rebranded in the short term, even though the new Marriott Bonvoy brand launches on 13th February.
Aer Lingus launched an Avios-earning credit card in Ireland
For our Irish readers, Aer Lingus is now offering a co-brand credit card in association with Bank of Ireland.
The reception has been muted, to be honest. There is no sign-up bonus and the monthly fee is high. You can find out more in this HFP article.
American Express still has 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.
Online bank N26 launches a metal card with travel benefits
Whilst not strictly a credit card, we did a detailed article during January on the new online bank N26. It is similar to Monzo, Starling, Revolut etc but also has a premium metal card with travel benefits. You also get hot desking benefits at WeWork locations globally.
Finally, I also ran this article on “Which American Express sign-up bonuses can I get if I already have an American Express card?“.
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.