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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Further reading ….
We also published the following credit card articles in August:
You may also want to read our ‘Top 10’ series:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.