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 September?
You can get a higher bonus on Virgin Atlantic’s two credit cards
Until 31st October, 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 7,000 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 2,000 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 7,000 Virgin Flying Club miles hit.
American Express launched a British Airways SME card
American Express added a third small business card, to add to Business Gold and Business Platinum, with the launch of the British Airways American Express Accelerating Business card.
It looks funky (see below) but I am not totally sold on the package. The annual fee at £210 is relatively high, whilst the sign-up bonus (2200 On Business points) and annual spend bonus (3000 On Business points) are underwhelming.
The day-to-day earnings rate IS good, at 1.5 Avios per £1. You can have 99 free supplementary cards for your staff, which will definitely appeal to some people.
You can apply and find further details on the American Express website here
Interest rate information: representative APR 81.6% variable, including the £210 annual fee, based on an assumed credit limit of £1200. The interest rate on purchases is 22.9%.
The Capital On Tap Avios-earning SME cards have delayed their switch to Visa
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.
I won’t discuss the cards in detail, because they are meant to be switching to Visa in the next few days and I haven’t seen confirmation of the new package. Once we know what they will be offering going forward, we will be able to compare it to the new BA American Express SME card.
You can receive a whopping 60,000 Membership Rewards points on Amex Business Platinum
If you have an SME, you are spoilt for choice at the moment. As well as the new British Airways Accelerating Business card covered above, you can get 60,000 Membership Rewards points with the Business Platinum card.
This offer is ONLY available if you apply via a refer a friend link. I can provide one if you need one – see here. To get the bonus, you need to spend £6,000 in 90 days.
Remember that it is substantially easier to qualify for the sign-up bonus on the Platinum Business card than the personal Platinum card.
To get the 60,000 Membership Rewards points on signing up, you only need to have gone SIX MONTHS without any American Express card which earns Membership Rewards points. The personal Platinum card now requires you to wait 24 months.
Full details are in this article.
Miles & More sign-up bonus of 10,000 miles guaranteed until 31st December
Back in July, the Lufthansa Miles & More payment cards doubled their sign-up bonus to 10,000 miles for the month. At the end of July, nothing happened and the 10,000 miles kept on showing.
The website has now been clarified to confirm that the 10,000 miles sign-up deal will run until 31st December.
There is a £79 annual fee, which is not refunded pro-rata if you cancel, but this is still a good deal to get 10,000 Miles & More miles IF you are already an active collector. It is less use for everyone else because there is little value in Miles & More outside of long haul Business and First Class redemptions. These require far more miles than most people can get from card spend alone, even at 1.25 miles per £1.
American Express still has a 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.
Further reading ….
We also published the following credit card articles in September:
You may also want to read our ‘Top 10’ series:
What are the best travel credit card sign-up deals for October?
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 7,000 miles sign-up bonus) earns 0.75 miles per £1 whilst the annual fee Reward+ card (with a whopping 25,000 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 60,000 points (60,000 Avios) bonus on the Platinum Business card – the Platinum deal requires you to apply via a refer-a-friend link.
You should also take a look at the new British Airways American Express Accelerating Business card (apply here, review here).
I would hold off from applying for the Capital On Tap Avios-earning SME cards until the new Visa product is available later in October.
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.