Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What are the best credit card sign-up deals for February 2019? – plus news round-up

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UPDATE – NOVEMBER 2022:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.

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?

UK Rewards credit and charge cards

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 hereYou 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 hereYou 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.

https://www.headforpoints.com/hfp/virgin-atlantic-flying-club-rewards-plus-credit-card/

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.

Bank of Ireland Avios credit card

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.

You can find out more in my N26 review hereThe N26 site is here.  Their basic account is free but the metal card has a £14.90 monthly fee.

N26 metal card

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:

What are the top 10 reasons to get American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (Amex Gold)?

What are the top 10 reasons to get American Express Platinum (The Platinum Card)?

What are the top 10 reasons to get the American Express Rewards Credit Card?

What are the top 10 reasons to get the British Airways American Express (BA Amex)?

What are the top 10 reasons to get the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card?

What are the top 10 reasons to get the HSBC Premier Mastercard?

What are the top 10 reasons to get the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard?

What are the top 10 reasons to get the free IHG Rewards Club credit card?

What are the top 10 reasons to get the Lufthansa Miles & More Diners Club and Mastercard?

What are the top 10 reasons to get the Marriott Bonvoy American Express credit card?

What are the top 10 reasons to get the Tesco Clubcard Mastercard credit card?

What are the top 10 reasons to get the Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard credit card?

What are the top 10 reasons to get the Virgin Atlantic Reward Plus Mastercard credit card?


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – November 2022 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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £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 UK’s most valuable card perk – the 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 unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus 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 sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

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

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa 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 (85)

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

  • Mike says:

    Slightly OT but AMEX related: Is there any way to pay a British Gas bill using an AMEX?

    • Shoestring says:

      online says Paypoint is OK, cash only – could be the usual rollocks in which case pay with Amex

      not with BG myself, maybe somebody can advise

    • Anna says:

      If you’re desperate, you might be able to pay via Billhop if you can get the BG account number and sort code.

  • John2 says:

    OT.
    How long does hotel status last once you cancel Plat?

    • Rob says:

      Varies by scheme. Will definitely run for the rest of the current year.

      • Sussex Bantam says:

        Although that might not mean calendar year – Hilton renews end March I think

  • William says:

    OT: How long after a card approval does the referral bonus get posted for Amex? I called and the card has been approved, but referral bonus points haven’t posted yet

    • LewisB says:

      A few working days, I find it usually appears as soon as my friend / family member receives the card. Never had any issues with this.

    • Jill (Kinkell) says:

      We’re having a bit of a ‘do’with getting bonus points for us and my son getting his 18k referral points. Amex say we didn’t use the link…..we definitely did….why else would I Be applying for a card?! I’m not so bothered about the 2k bonus for Gold, but I am really cheesed off that we have to fight tooth and nail for for my son to get his points.

  • Nick says:

    Topping up my Revolut card (using the Apple Pay option)- do Lloyds Avios Mastercard or the virgin + cards charge any cash advance fees? Or is this seen as a normal purchase?

    • Chas says:

      I tested £10 last week on Virgin+ and it seems to be showing as a purchase. Currently waiting for end of billing cycle to double check no additional fees get added when the bill is generated.

      • EwanG says:

        Goes through as a purchase with my Virgin Reward card, although that is using the card directly as the card is not supported for ApplePay

  • Mr Dee says:

    OT: Did anyone’s Curve Amex transactions not post to their Amex card?

    • Flying Misfit says:

      Some have posted in recent days that their Amex top ups were showing as pending and then these pending transactions on Amex have disappeared suggesting no monies were taken by Amex… I’m in same boat, however the difference between my credit limit and available funds still accounts for those curve top ups that are no longer showing as pending… wait and see I suppose

    • guesswho2000 says:

      I was just searching for others’ experiences on this. I had a £200 transaction post to Amex, points awarded, but a £500 and £1,000 stuck at pending which have now disappeared completely.

  • Richard says:

    No bites on the new Avios card?? Who are the 10%? High rollers (a new HSBC premier card??) or business owners??

  • Cuchlainn says:

    Tesco Premium CC ( update ) :
    5,000 Clubcard points bonus ( aka 12,000 Avios ) posted approx.4 weeks after cancelling card and full £150 annual fee refunded ( after phone call ).
    Also looks like Tesco Bank have postponed / cancelled relaunch of said Premium Credit Card, after changing T&Cs including annual fee / earning rates etc..

  • Roger says:

    Should I be upset with Curve.

    1. Have had 10K limit on my Blue Curve for last 5+months
    2. Applied for a limit increase last week while undergoing the Curve Metal upgrade.
    3. The limit got upgraded after few hiccups.
    4. Received the new Metal card today and limit is now reset back down to 10K

    So much for the Metal card fees!

    • Mr Dee says:

      Yes 10k is hardly worth it for the fee

    • Alan says:

      Sounds like the upgrade was already in progress before limit increase so it carried forward. Am sure support will increase it again if you drop them an email.

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

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