Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

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UPDATE – MAY 2022:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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

The Platinum Card from American Express has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022. 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.

UK Rewards credit and charge cards

What was new in August?

The first Avios payment cards for small businesses – with a special HfP sign-up offer – are switching to Visa

Until February 2019, there had never been a payment for small businesses which let you earn Avios.  This has now changed.

The Capital Club and On Tap Club cards, from Capital on Tap, aimed at small businesses and sole traders, are the first non-Amex payment for small businesses which let you earn Avios.  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.

The £99 per year ‘Capital Club’ card offers:

  • 10,000 Capital On Tap points for signing up and spending £5,000 within three months
  • 1 Capital On Tap point per £1 spent
  • A 2:1 conversion rate into Avios so the sign-up bonus is worth 5,000 Avios and the on-going earning rate converts into 0.5 Avios per £1
  • 15 free supplementary cards for your staff
  • No FX fees and no ATM fees 
  • 500 bonus points (250 Avios) if you use code headforpoints when applying

The £249 ‘On Tap Club’ card offers:

  • 20,000 Capital On Tap points for signing up and spending £5,000 within three months
  • 1 Capital On Tap point per £1 spent
  • A 1:1 conversion rate into Avios so the sign-up bonus is worth 20,000 Avios and the on-going earning rate converts to 1 Avios per £1
  • 20 free supplementary cards for your staff
  • No FX fees and no ATM fees 
  • 500 bonus points (500 Avios) if you use code headforpoints when applying

The annual fee is obviously tax deductible as a business expense.  The maximum credit limit on offer is £50,000.

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.

However, Capital On Tap is switching to Visa in the next few days.  This is actually a bigger change than you think, because it is also becoming – legally – a business credit card.  At present it is technically a pre-paid Mastercard.  The only real change is that you will no longer be able to use it to pay for free at places, like HMRC, that only accept debit cards.

If you have the existing Mastercard, it will be switched to Visa on 31st October.  This should still allow you to pay your Q3 VAT bill and potentially pre-pay some of your corporation tax bill as well.

My full article on the Capital On Tap changes is here.  If you apply, don’t forget to add the headforpoints promo code for the additional 500 sign-up points.

Earn Avios with Capital on Tap

The Virgin Reward and Virgin Reward+ credit cards ‘no FX fees’ offer ended

The special offer on the Virgin Reward and Virgin Reward+ credit cards ended on 31st August.  New cardholders received 0% FX fees on all foreign spending until 30th November.

You WILL still get the standard sign-up bonus if you apply now.  This is 5,000 miles on the free card and 15,000 miles on the paid Reward+ card.

Virgin Money has literally just added Apple Pay functionality as well.  More on this in an article tomorrow.

Monese is giving away 1 milllion Avios to a Head for Points reader

Online-only bank Monese has launched a great competition with Avios, which also has an equity stake in the business, and Head for Points.

One Head for Points reader who opens a free Monese account by 30th September will win 1 million Avios!

Full details are in this article, which is also pinned to the top of our home page.

Sign-up bonus on the Miles & More credit card may have permanently increased

In July, the Lufthansa Miles & More card was offering a special sign-up bonus of 10,000 miles.  It was usually 5,000 miles.

The offer was due to end on 31st July.  However, it continued throughout August and is still there now.  The wording on the card website has been changed and now implies that 10,000 miles is the ‘new normal’.

There is a £79 annual fee but this is a modest price for 10,000 Miles & More miles if you collect them.  More importantly, having this card and using it once per month stops your Lufthansa miles expiring.

Our full review of the UK Miles & More payment cards is here.

Miles and More UK credit card

American Express still has 30,000 point bonus on the DOLLAR / EURO versions of the Platinum card

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, whilst not directly related to miles and points, Head for Points is running an exclusive sign-up offer with Revolut.  Sign up via our link here and you do not have to pay the £4.99 delivery fee for the plastic card.  Read our full article first.

If you have your own small business, we also reviewed Revolut for Businessclick here for details.  You can sign up here.

And very finally …. before anyone asks …. I have no idea:

  • when the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express will be rebranded as Marriott Bonvoy, although I believe it is soon
  • when or if Hilton Honors will launch a new card, following the survey they sent out a while ago
  • when or if Emirates Skywards will launch a new card, following the survey they sent out a while ago

Revolut Business card

Further reading ….

We also published the following credit card articles in August:

What is the difference between American Express Gold and American Express Platinum?

What American Express bonuses can you get, based on the cards you have?

What can your business do with Amex Membership Rewards points?

100 prizes to be won by British Airways American Express cardholders for #BA100

Why it can be worth paying an annual fee for a miles and points credit 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?

What are the best travel credit card sign-up deals for September?

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are my top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.  These deals are listed in no particular order and their position on the list is not a sign of how good or bad the offer is.

British Airways American Express

The bonus on this free card is 5,000 Avios.  My full review of the BA Amex credit card is here.  You can apply here.  Representative APR 22.9% variable.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

The bonus on the annual fee BA Amex is an impressive 25,000 Avios.  I wrote a full review of the British Airways Premium Plus card here.  You can apply here.  Representative APR 76.0% variable including the £195 annual fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

American Express Platinum

American Express Platinum

The sign-up bonus on this card is 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points.  You need to spend £4,000 in 90 days to trigger the bonus.

Your points can be transferred into various airline and hotel programmes.  You could get 30,000 Avios, 30,000 Virgin miles, 60,000 Hilton Honors points, 90,000 Radisson Rewards points, 2,000 Club Eurostar points etc etc.

You receive a pro-rata refund on the £575 fee when you cancel the card and you will retain most of the benefits – Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold, Hilton Honors Gold, Melia Rewards Gold and Shangri-La Jade – for the rest of the year even after you cancel. The Amex Platinum benefits package is extensive, though, and once you’ve got it you might find the numbers add up for you. I have had one for 15 years.

My full review of the Amex Platinum card is here. Amex’s own home page is here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

This is currently a good deal for a beginner. You pay no fee for the first year and earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points (see here for what 10,000 MR points can get you – 10,000 Avios points for a start!).  You need to spend £3,000 in 90 days to trigger the bonus.

If you are new to this hobby, I would make this your first American Express card.  One benefit of earning American Express points is that you only need to transfer them to an airline or hotel scheme when you are ready to redeem – there is no risk of being caught out by devaluations!

My full review of Amex Gold is here. The Amex home page to apply is here.

Representative APR 57.6% variable including the annual fee (free in year 1) based on a notional £1,200 credit limit. Interest rate on purchases 22.9% APR variable.

IHG Rewards Club Premium Mastercard

This is my preferred hotel Visa / Mastercard because of the strong overall package.  Whilst there is a £99 annual fee, this is offset in Year 1 by the 20,000 bonus IHG points you receive.  You get IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you hold the card.  You will also receive a voucher for a free night at any IHG Rewards Club property when you spend £10,000 per year.  Representative APR 41.5% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

Virgin Atlantic Reward and Reward+ Mastercard

The two new Virgin Flying Club credit cards are the most generous Mastercard or Visa cards for day to day spending.  The free Reward card (with a 5,000 miles sign-up bonus) earns 0.75 miles per £1 whilst the annual fee Reward+ card (with a whopping 15,000 mile sign-up bonus) earns 1.5 miles per £1.  The bonus triggers with your first purchase.

My review of the free Virgin Atlantic Reward credit card is here.  My review of the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card is here.

Reward: representative APR 22.9% variable.  Reward+: representative APR 63.9% variable including £160 fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit Interest rate on purchases 22.9% variable.  The application page is here.

Capital On Tap Capital Club and On Tap Club Mastercards 

These cards are ONLY for small businesses.  We discuss the eligibility criteria in our Capital On Tap review here.  There are two cards – one has a sign-up bonus worth 5,000 Avios and you earn 0.5 Avios per £1 spent, whilst the other (with a higher fee) has a sign-up bonus worth 20,000 Avios and you earn 1 Avios per £1 spent.  HfP readers get a higher sign-up bonus of 250 or 500 Avios respectively if you use promo code ‘headforpoints’ when applying.

Earning miles and points from small business cards

Head for Points focusses primarily on personal cards. However, if you are a sole trader or run a very small business, you may also want to check out the American Express Platinum Business Card (click here) and the American Express Gold Business Card (click here).  There is currently a 20,000 points (= 20,000 Avios) bonus on the Gold Business card and a 40,000 points (40,000 Avios) bonus on the Platinum Business card.

You should also look at the Capital On Tap Mastercards mentioned in the paragraph above.

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibly to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.

Comments (76)

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

  • Catalan says:

    Thanks Rob for the heads-up re the Virgin Atlantic credit card and Apple Pay. Been waiting since the cards were issue for this. Just added after reading your article.

  • Algor says:

    I got only 5,000 points from sign up to M&M card (application signed and sent back 3rd July).

    Didn’t screnshot offer as usual and then forgot how much it was, will give them a call and ask today.

  • Craig says:

    Slightly OT: Apple Pay just pooped up on the Virgin Credit card app.

  • StevenC says:

    Can you cancel the amex gold after earning the 10,000 MR points for £15K spend at end of first month after renewal. Will it cost prorata 1/12th of £140 renewal fee?

    • John says:

      Yes roughly a twelfth but it’s based on the exact number of days when you cancel, which depends on when the points appear.

      • Shoestring says:

        and gives you a chance to use the 2 new Lounge Club passes

        • StevenC says:

          Thanks. So, after cancelling and getting 10K bonus renewal points, you could apply again (without sign up bonus as not waiting 24 months) and keep doing this option if £15K spend achieved annually and it costs approx £14 for 10K MR points – is there a catch?

  • Anna says:

    I know people seem to want to get out of the premium IHG card after the first year, but if you use the free night wisely and get, say £400 of value in a high end hotel, surely it’s worth keeping it? This is my strategy now that the Lloyds cards are coming to an end, but tell me if I’ve missed something.

    • Genghis says:

      I’d say that most people keep the card. My wife and I have had one each since launch. The £99 fee gets you a decent earning rate and a night in a decent hotel at £10k spend (whether it’s £400 of “value” is arguable as I wouldn’t pay that; but I’m certainly happy to pay £99 for a night at the Amstel, for example).

      • Rob says:

        I would keep it personally. The return is excellent – £99 for a free night plus 0.8p per £1 of points plus Plat status.

    • MD says:

      @Anna I agree, definitely worth keeping IMHO. Decent earning rate, and can get great value between the card and Ambassador vouchers. Had a spectacular upgrade at the Amstel last year. Also got Spire from the credit card payments to HMRC, although I realise that’s not much of an incentive to keep spending on it.

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Me and OH have both kept them, the points from the 10k spend alone cover the annual fee.

    • Benylin says:

      It would be great if you could churn it though… quite keen on that bonus.

      Has anyone holding premium applied for the free ihg recently?

      • JPa says:

        I don’t recommend trying to churn as I cancelled my one after getting the free night voucher in year 1 and they will not let me get it again when I tried to apply recently. Straight turn down on application. They can’t seem to give me a reason for it – just state credit agencies etc. I put a complaint in with them and are very slow to get back to me (sending me a letter say they are sorry for the slow response by still not got back to me). I do still hold the white one not sure if that is part of the issue.

        I do have one for my wife so keeping that one…..

        • JPa says:

          Applying for the white may be possible, you only know if you try!

          • Genghis says:

            I got the white card at the time time as holding the black when they had the double points bonus on, but that was a couple of years back

        • Pangolin says:

          I cancelled the Black and then got the White a few months later. No issues.

          One interesting thing. Even after cancelling the Black card I retained Platinum status!

    • 1nfrequent says:

      I’ve kept my IHG premium card and have had a lot of value out of the Platinum status – I’m a solo traveller normally and I’ve had upgrades at every hotel I’ve stayed at (with the exception of HIEs, which is understandable given the nature of their rooms).


      • Benilyn says:

        Do you lose your status immediately when you cancel your card?

        • Pangolin says:

          I managed to keep my status (see post above) even after cancelling the card. I now have AMB which gives Platinum anyway but my status never reset, even after 6 months and a new status year starting.

  • James says:

    Signup bonus on Amex Platinum Business is now 60k with a 27k referral bonus fyi

  • Jeff says:

    Can we get a partial refund on Capital on Tap as I got this card for HMRC and the fact it recognised as a debit card for suppliers – product will have fundamentally been changed – not what I signed up for!

    • Rob says:

      We need to see what the paperwork says when the cards are switched. In theory you are being moved to a totally different product so you should have grounds. Easy to argue that you don’t want a credit card.

    • Simon says:

      Just squeezed in my 1/4ly VAT. Shame this is going as it is a great avios earning option.

  • Stephen Tan says:

    Hello, slightly O/T, but is it possible to refer myself from my American Express Gold for a BA premium? I assume if I do this I would get 6k referral points?

    Also is there any sort of strategy to getting the BA express 1st then upgrading just before the 10k spend to BA Premium? I assume the downside to this would be I wont get the 25k Bonus points?

    Thanks in advance!

    • CraigyC says:

      Amex have apparently taken back self referral points recently so probably not wise (just search online for it). You can get the free BA card and then upgrade closer to the 10k spend, but you lose out on the larger sign up and the extra on the earning rate by doing so. I did this recently so got the 6000 points for the initial bonus, then 6000 points when I upgraded the card. So saved myself on the card fee but lost out on 17000 points all in (25000 + 4000 – 12000). Probably should have just got the BAPP card to start with.

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