Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What are the best credit card sign-up deals for March 2019? – plus the first Avios SME card

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UPDATE – OCTOBER 2022:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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

Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card from American Express. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus. You can apply here.

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 February?

The first Avios payment card for small businesses launched – with a special HfP sign-up offer

Until now, there has never been a payment for small businesses which let you earn Avios.  This has now changed.

The Capital Club card, from Capital on Tap, is aimed at small businesses and sole traders.  Whilst you may not have heard of Capital on Tap, it already has 50,000 customers for its existing ‘no rewards’ payment card.  This is their first move into the rewards market.

This is what the card offers your business:

  • 10,000 Capital on Tap points (converts to 5,000 Avios) for signing up and spending £5,000 within 3 months
  • 1 Capital on Tap point for every £1 you spend (converts to 0.5 Avios)
  • No foreign exchange fees when spending overseas
  • No ATM fees if withdrawing cash on the card
  • Up to 56 days interest free credit on purchases (minimum monthly repayment is the greater of 10% of balance or £250)
  • Up to 15 free supplementary cards for your staff

The card has an annual fee of £99.  This is obviously tax deductible as a business expense.  The maximum credit limit on offer is £50,000.

There is an extra bonus for Head for Points readers.  If you use promo code headforpoints when signing up, you will receive an additional 500 Capital on Tap points.  This is worth an additional 250 Avios.

The site will still show 10,000 Capital on Tap points as your bonus but the extra 500 will be added separately.  Your interest rate is based on your business profile and can be as low as 9.9% APR.  The standard interest rate for marketing purposes is 39.4% APR.

You can find full details on their website hereMy full article on the Capital Club card is here.  Don’t forget to add the headforpoints promo code for the additional 500 sign-up points.

Earn Avios with Capital on Tap

The special offer on the Virgin Reward credit cards ended

The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Reward and Virgin Reward+ credit cards dropped back to its standard level last Thursday.  You will now only receive 5,000 miles (was 10,000) on the free card and 15,000 miles (was 25,000 miles) on the paid Reward+ card.

On the upside, the Apple and Android smartphone apps from Virgin Money finally launched.  You can now manage your cards on the go.

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

Monese launched an exclusive partnership with Avios

Online-only bank Monese announced a partnership with Avios, which also has an equity stake in the business.  We covered the Monese / Avios partnership here.

The benefits so far are restricted to viewing your Avios balance and recent transactions.  There is a lot more to come, however, which will apparently include the ability to earn Avios with your debit card spending.

You download the Monese app here if you want to give it a try.

Monese and Avios

Bank of Ireland announced it is dropping its Real Rewards 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.

There was an alternative option, however.  The free Bank of Ireland personal credit card let you earn SuperValu Real Rewards supermarket points, which converted at 1:1 into Avios.  The rate wasn’t great to put it mildly – 1 Avios per €10 spent – but a lot of people found it better than paying €7.99 per month for the ‘official’ Aer Lingus / Bank of Ireland card.

Unfortunately this option is ending. From 1st April it will no longer be possible to earn SuperValue points from Bank of Ireland credit cards.  Your only route for earning Avios is to pay up for the Aer Lingus 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.

Finally, I also ran this article on “What are the best travel credit cards for LONG-TERM spending?“.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – October 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.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

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 & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable 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 long list of travel benefits 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 (61)

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

  • Wz says:

    Rob or anyone else, do you know if I open a platinum Amex in russia if the points from that card can be transferred to my Uk Amex account OR if they can be transferred to a airline partner along with the uk Amex points? What I’m wondering is do the airline partners allow you to transfer in from 2 Amex sources?

    • Rob says:

      Most do, yes. Emirates is a weird outlier in that their IT, possibly for security reasons, blocks transfers from multiple accounts. This also impacts you if you churn.

      • Wz says:

        Thanks Rob, and can I transfer my Amex points from Amex russia to Amex Uk accounts? Or is there no such thing and it’s just one big happy international Amex pool of points?

  • Waddle says:

    OT: Amex MR points
    Can they be transferred to BAEC accounts that are not yours? My in-laws (both) need a small top-up of Avios for a future redemption. Is it possible?

    • RTS says:

      No

    • Michael says:

      Might be hassle but couldn’t you pool all your avios into a household account and let them just take what they need?

      • Waddle says:

        We already are in a household account. The idea is to break it up and zero out there accounts. Oh well. Thanks for responses.

        • Shoestring says:

          You can use Iberia/ avios.com to manage the system. You say you are all already in a HHA. Whenever they need the top up (after which you will knock them out of the HHA), move all your own points except for the top up into Iberia. They get the reward flight, HHA Avios go down to zero, you get rid of the in-laws from the HHA.

          Then transfer your points from IB—>BAEC so all they’ve had is the top-up.

  • Alex Horne says:

    Slightly o/t but credit card related I just received an email from TUI saying that they will stop accepting American Express as from the 20tj of March 2019.

  • Freddy says:

    Is it me or is the IHG no blackout dates a complete farce. I’ve looked in four different destinations and there is no reward nights in any half decent hotel. Glad I looked before going for the premium card or am I missing something

    • Rob says:

      There are always rooms made available every day, but that is not the same as making unlimited number of rooms available. Hyatt and Marriott have ‘if we have a room for sale, you can have it on points’ – IHG and Hilton do NOT do that.

  • Alistair says:

    Any news on a Hilton credit card for the UK Rob

  • Roger says:

    OT – ITA Berlin 2019
    Rob, are you covering QR’s new Y seat unveiling later this week from Berlin?

    • Rob says:

      I am going to His Excellency’s press event on Wednesday. Whether I cover it or not is a different question …

  • Adam says:

    A bit OT but card related: there was an 200of600 Amex travel offer recently which I redeemed. Received the confirmation email as well. My question is how do those statement credits work? Will those be applied automatically at the end of the billing period?

    • Louise says:

      Normally appear on account as statement credit 7-10 days after transaction

  • Alan says:

    Lots of us, all still working fine and not yet heard of anyone receiving a letter? I’m spending my next £7k as just entered new card year. Sadly their IT implementation is crap – full D/D still taken even after card payment made, SMS OTP to make purchase successfully used and then still blocked payment!

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

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