Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Get yourself an 18 carat gold debit card

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The Royal Mint has unveiled the world’s first 18 carat gold payment card, aimed at:

“those who value high quality luxury items that make a statement.”

And, unsurprisingly, it looks quite funky as you can see above (click to enlarge).  You’ll notice that your signature is laser engraved into the front.

Raris Royal Mint gold debit card

It comes with Mastercard World Elite benefits, such as Lounge Key airport lounge access – albeit you can get the same benefits with a £15 per month Curve Metal card.

Raris Royal Mint gold debit card

You can find out more on the Royal Mint website here.  What it doesn’t tell you is that the fee for the card is £18,750.  It is also a debit card, not a credit card, so you won’t earn any points when you use it.  On the upside, there are no foreign exchange fees and, as it is a debit card, anyone can get one ….. well, anyone happy to pay the £18,750 fee.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our September 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

The following offers will end soon:

  • 2,000 Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard (ends 15th October)
  • 30,000 Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard (ends 15th October)
  • 10,000 Avios on British Airways American Express (ends 2nd November)
  • 40,000 Avios on British Airways American Express Premium Plus (ends 2nd November)
  • 60,000 points on The Platinum Card from American Express (ends 2nd November)
  • 30,000 points on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (ends 9th November)

Here are the top current deals:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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 Gold

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

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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 (147)

  • C says:

    OT: Looking to potentially buy some electronics at Heathrow this week before a flight. Is the Heathrow rewards 3000 bonus points signup offer still going if I was to sign up this week with the BA2019 code? I see from the original article that you had to spend £150 in one day by the end of the year but was there any limit on the time period in which to sign up? Thanks!

  • Harry T says:

    OT:
    Does anyone know which part of LHR Terminal 5 the BA106 flight from Dubai arrives at? All the information says that it arrives into Terminal 5, but doesn’t specify a gate or A/B/C section.

    My flight is due to get into LHR at 6.25 on 1/11/19 (economy, cash, BA Holidays) and I’m looking to catch the 7.30 BA1324 flight from LHR to Newcastle (Club Europe, Avios). That leaves me just over an hour to connect, albeit these are two separate bookings. Hopefully BA will check my bags through to my Newcastle flight, or it will be an interesting time grabbing them and rechecking them.

    • Harry T says:

      For clarity, the flight from LHR to Newcastle departs from gate A1 in Terminal 5. So I’m hoping the Dubai flight also arrives into Terminal 5 A Gates.

      • Harry T says:

        Apoogies if these questions seem naive – I live in Newcastle and don’t travel through LHR very often.

        • Spaghetti Town says:

          Will arrive B or C

          • Harry T says:

            Thanks

          • Alex Sm says:

            Your luggage will still have to be picked up from A and re-checked at the upper concourse? Why wouldn’t you play a little theatre in Dubai and beg them to check in through to Newcastle despite being on two separate bookings?

    • CV3V says:

      Cant answer your specific question but T5A is usually for domestic flights, but a 1 hr transfer time is right on the limit and remember you need to clear immigration and security, so you want to get through T5 as fast as possible – simple rule is don’t use the escalators, follow the BA crew and BA Golds and head to the elevators! It’s a lot quicker.

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks for the advice, appreciated

      • HAM76 says:

        What‘s confusing is that there are signs all over the place at LHR that point out that the elevator is faster, and still most people head towards the escalator.

    • John says:

      No chance of checking through. A is only for Europe flights or rarely non-Europe flights arriving at bus gates. You need to change your NCL booking (cost £35)

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks – happily you can cancel Avios bookings for 50p at the moment, and then just book another one.

    • Anna says:

      We connect from T5 to MAN a couple of times per year. The fastest we’ve ever done it was 45 mins from disembarking to the connecting departure gate with hand luggage only and a fair bit of running. You will need to go through immigration, collect your bags AND go though security again so it will largely depend on how long the queues are for immigration and security. I would suggest 2 hours as a minimum.
      Why did you not just book your BA holiday with the regional connection included, which would get you extra avios and tier points, plus your luggage checked all the way through and (probably) better service from BA if one of your legs is delayed or cancelled. A regional connection in CE is a bit of a waste of avios, especially as you won’t have much time, if any, in the lounge between flights.

      • Harry T says:

        Hi Anna – you are right, of course.

        Main issue is I’m going with my Mum on holiday and she lives near Leicester (I live in Newcastle). We are making our way separately to Heathrow and then travelling together and staying in the hotel together in Dubai. For the way there and back, I didn’t fancy driving all that way or getting the very expensive and slow trains. So I’ve opted for some Avios bookings to get me to Heathrow and back (using the best Avios and money option available – 6500 Avios + £45.50). Unfortunately only Club is available. Still works out as good value vs the train or paying cash for connections, even against economy cash prices.

        Do you think it’ll still take too long if the flight to NCl is in Club? Should get fast track security and priority boarding. My two options are the 7.30 flight (1 hour to connect) or an 18.15 flight (there is a flight after 19.0 as well).

        • Anna says:

          Yes, as you’ll also need to factor in time getting bussed over to T5 if you land at B or C concourse. You can’t underestimate how much of a faff LHR is! Priority boarding is irrelevant, as they won’t hold the plane for you, and fast track security isn’t guaranteed to be fast (one year we found ourselves behind an entire cabin of Americans who thought their US pre-clearance meant they didn’t need to put their toiletries in zip lock bags – resulting in much unpacking and lengthy, sarcastic lecturing from the security staff 🤦‍♀️). How many daily flights are there to NCL? As you have the full day, the worst case scenario is that BA will move you to a later flight, however this will be a lot easier to negotiate if you have given yourself the minimum connection time (not sure what this is without checking).

          • Anna says:

            But on a quick glance, minimum connection times only seem to apply to through bookings where you don’t have to collect luggage…!

          • Harry T says:

            There’s three daily flights to Newcastle, including my current 7.30 booking. Do you think BA would let me catch a later flight if I missed my earlier one?

            Sounds like it is a nightmare to connect through Terminal 5!

          • Shoestring says:

            not unless your Newcastle leg is on the same PNR as your flight in from Dubai

            BA can be perfectly nice about these things but on the other hand you need certainty

        • Anna says:

          Just realised you answered the bit about flight times!

          • Harry T says:

            Managed to get through to BA on the phone and they reckon I would need at least 90 mins to pull off a connection where I have to collect and recheck my baggage.

          • Lumma says:

            If you’re being forced to use club Europe to Newcastle, why not just book one of the later flights and enjoy some free drinks in one of the lounges in T5.

          • Lady London says:

            Lumma +1. Do not forget that transit luggage has been one of T5 weak points.

            Anna’s advice was the best as it protects you from consequences of most complications like QR incoming late, for example. If you insist on keeping the bookings separate then Lumma’s advice.

            I’m a bit of a worry wort but landing at T5 longhaul connecting shorthaul, I’d allow 5 hrs. There’s enough in or near T5 to amuse you if some of that might not be needed. Incoming on QR you don’t have eu261 protection. But outgoing you do.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            There’s talk of Dubai and QR here so maybe getting crossed wires.

            Anything less than 2.5 hours is a risk if you need to collect baggage and recheck it for a flight that’s for sure. Handbaggage only you could easily cut that down to 90 mins, 60 if you walk fast.

            If you were flying QR from Doha they will through check your bags for you even if on a separate PNR allowing you to relax and not worry about bags, as long as it’s a OW partner ofcourse. BA won’t.

          • Harry T says:

            Thanks, everyone. I’ve decided I was cutting it fine with that conection and have cancelled. FWIW it was a BA inbound and BA domestic. It’s amazing that BA won’t just check your bags through but QR will.

          • Shoestring says:

            BA will check your bags through fine

            just order your tickets on the same PNR

  • Phatbear says:

    O/T.

    I have two lloyds avios upgrade vouchers, one is due to expire end oct and i want to book some flights using them.

    However no one seems to answer the phone, as it cant be done on line due to the vouchers, emails get bounced back as email address isnt active, no twitter activity for ages so im kinda at the end lf my tether so anyone got any suggestions?

    • Anna says:

      Who are you calling? I call BAEC to redeem mine since avios.com closed. The voucher can be seen in your BAEC account by the call CSAs.

      • Phatbear says:

        Thanks for the reply.

        I’ve been phoning avios as during a previous webchat with baec, when I needed to check the expiry date on one of my vouchers, they stated it would need to be booked through avios and when you phone avios part of the answer message states if you have a Lloyds avios upgrade voucher to stay on the line to book flights.

        I’ll give baec a call tomorrow and hope they can help as I have a limited window of opportunity to get the flights I want!

        • Anna says:

          I had a really good experience redeeming my last voucher through BAEC, it only took a few minutes and there were no quibbles about also applying the upgrade to a connecting flight which one or two people on here seem to have experienced. I really hate calling BA as a rule and try to do it at 7.30 am if I really have to as that seems the best time to get through!

          • Phatbear says:

            So after being on hold for 30mins with BAEC they weren’t able to help at all as they claim not to be able to see the vouchers on my account.

            Their suggestion was to phone avios which is what ive been doing for the past week and often hanging on for an hour but to no avail.

            Kinda lost with this one its mega frustrating as I have a specific date I need to get a flight for and everything either side of my date is not available.

          • Anna says:

            That is annoying. Have you had confirmation from Lloyds that the voucher was issued when it was triggered? Up till recently they were having IT problems and had to issue some vouchers manually. If I was in this situation I’d call Lloyds in the morning and find out why your voucher isn’t in your BA account. It can be a bit of a pain getting put through to someone who actually knows what you are talking about at Lloyds but they are the ones who should have a record of the voucher being issued and sent to your Avios account (from where it should have been transferred to your BAEC account).

          • Anna says:

            Also tell Lloyds you want to log it as a formal complaint, that way they are obliged to investigate and get back to you as they seem to desperately not want people to go to the FOS IME!

          • Anna says:

            Just a thought also – I seem to recall Rob saying at some point that the BA and the Avios staff now work from the same call centre. It might be worth trying BA again first thing, and speaking to a different CSA. If you don’t already do this, make sure you ring the UK office by withholding your number and dialling the UK landline number on the BAEC contact page. I find them generally much more knowledgeable than the overseas call centre staff.

        • ChrisA says:

          I had similar issues recently – lots of agents were saying that they couldn’t see a voucher/didn’t know what I was talking about etc. Finally someone answered the phone who actually knew what to do – forward the call to a certain group of agents who make the Lloyds booking. This would tie in with what Anna said.
          When you call the number again, insist that you need to speak to someone who will handle Lloyds avios voucher bookings.

          • Phatbear says:

            Thanks everyone for your replies.

            Yes i have the emails which state the upgrade vouchers have been triggered and i have an email confirming this too from avios as id contacted a few months ago to confirm the expiry on my oldest upgrade voucher.

            I’ll keep trying tomorrow its just mega frustrating as the wait time to speak to someone never seems to be less than 30mins and for some reason i dont think my work place would appreciate me not actually doing the job they pay me to do due to being on hold.

          • meta says:

            I did this about 2 weeks ago without issues. I called 0344 49 333 49 and they pretty much picked up straight away. The agent just said he needs to put me on hold to transfer to another system and then it was all processed.

  • MattyS says:

    O/T I’ve got reward flights from Heathrow to Miami for next year but want to change the outbound date to fly three days earlier, keeping the return the same. There is availability but I can’t do it on-line as using a 241 voucher. I phoned up and they are saying that the ‘taxes’ are coming out differently and would be an additional £114 per person plus £35 change fee plus £15 service charge.

    They waived the £15 service charge as I told them that I can’t change it on-line and anticipated the £35 fee. They couldn’t explain why the ‘taxes’ have changed though. It is the same class (economy), doesn’t go from off-peak to peak or vice versa. Only difference is the new flight would be a Wednesday rather than a Saturday and would be flying out later in the day. The original flights were only booked a month ago, so don’t think the surcharge has increased since then.

    Is there any reason why the taxes would change as its pushing a 50% increase ?

    Many thanks.

    • Shoestring says:

      if the fees have gone up in the meantime, when you change dates you have to pay the difference – you don’t keep your cheaper deal from earlier

    • TGLoyalty says:

      The fees that have gone up (not taxes) are set by BA.

      Recently they did increase for flights over the pond.

    • MattyS says:

      Thanks both, you are right as always. Just tried a dummy booking on a similar return flight and the ‘taxes’ (BA call centre words not mine !) for that have gone up by the same amount. I had heard that the fees had gone up but thought that was some time before I booked these flights.

      • Lady London says:

        Amazing how when BA increases their fees by 50% to use your collected Avios for a Transatlantic ticket. – resulting in things like a ticket change like this literally adding Hundreds of Pounds to the cost that must be paid to use your Avios, there is not one single announcement, at all, from British Airways? And apparently their agents are still calling this extra money thatbis kept by BA “taxes” !!

    • Dave says:

      OMG – Don’t use a 241 on economy flights!!! (only true value is to use on Club World or First flights)

      • memesweeper says:

        That’s not *always* true. I’ve got five of us in economy one way to the Middle East later this month, hugely expensive in cash, cheap in Avios, getting over 2p of value per point. I’ve not used a 2-4-1 as I have other plans for mine, but would be a very good use of a voucher if I had needed to due to insufficient Avios. Some routes seem to have disproportionately high taxes and charges coupled with low fares and it is these routes where economy redemption of Avios makes less sense.

  • James says:

    Slight OT but still BA:

    I have the choice between the A380 or 747 to fly BA First, LHR to MIA. Any consensus on what is the better product?

    Cheers,

    J

    • Anna says:

      We’re flying F to MIA next Easter on the A380. Haven’t flown F on a 380 yet, but all the reviews I’ve read seem to indicate that the cabin is more spacious (and often newer) than on the other aircraft. I’m very excited about it all, especially the Cathay lounge in T3!

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Make sure you try the Cathay J lounge and Qantas if you like Gin.

        My personal preference is the CX J over F lounge.

        • Anna says:

          Thanks TG. I’m going to Vienna for the Xmas markets in December so planning to try the Qantas Lounge then, and the Cathay lounges at Easter!

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Cool. Just booked Vienna myself but just as the Xmas market starts in mid Nov.

            First time to Vienna and going from T3 swayed it.

          • Lumma says:

            You can use more than one lounge per flight if you want. Personally, I don’t like the Qantas lounge, it’s style over substance but too brightly lit. The food whether it’s buffet or they have the downstairs open isn’t great and it can take a while to get served for drinks as “Australians take their coffee seriously” and won’t accept machine made coffee.

            These days if I fly from T3 I go to American Airlines lounge and have a few drinks and take some pick and mix for later then go to Cathay Pacific for some food and cocktails

          • Anna says:

            T3 swayed it for me too! I’m treating my sister to CE on the way out, courtesy of the penultimate Lloyds voucher, but we’re flying direct back to MAN with EasyJet to avoid the kind of shenanigans our NCL friend above is having to put up with!

          • Lady London says:

            Why do people go to Christmas markets? This is a serious question.

          • Shoestring says:

            and it deserves a serious answer

            obvs not to buy Xmas stuff as it is all overpriced tat you would not dream of giving as a gift

            just an excuse to go glug a Gluhwein, snaffle a sausage & Schnapps, weally welly a Weissbier – Vienna is great any time of year but the other Xmas markets are fun as well

            cheaper than going to Manchester for the weekend – and much classier

          • Anna says:

            I’m not actually going primarily for the Xmas markets (though the whole prettiness is appealing), I have always wanted to visit the Imperial Treasury and I also love Mozart. Plus my sister likes to practise her German! And I got the HGI Vienna South when it was still 10k points per night.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Not going for the Xmas market itself just a city break and Shoestring pretty much hit the nail on the head. Just thinking it could look prettier than say Feb and it’s something else to have a wonder round and enjoy a drink or two.

    • Rob says:

      Do A380, some of the 747s are knackered (and all will be gone in 3-4 years).

      • Jon says:

        We’re flying F in a 747 (by choice) to LAX shortly….can’t wait for one last bash in the old bird!

        • BJ says:

          I want to do that too but options fast running out unless I fly the Great British retro-carrier to Trumpland.

    • Lady London says:

      A380 is my favorite aircraft.

      Some people still like the 747 but this seems to be the people that can get seats on the Upper Deck? For me this does not make up for bad air and noisy plane.

      • BJ says:

        +1 although I love the 747 too. On the 747 I prefer the nose to the upper deck.

      • Polly says:

        Yes A380 1st choice also. But upper deck on an old bird worth for one last trip. Will be sad to see those 747s finished.

        • Shoestring says:

          the sooner they get sent to the crusher, the better

          uncomfortable, noisy, badly maintained, very poor for CO2 emissions

          they give flying a bad name

          • guesswho2000 says:

            Inclined to agree. Newer planes are much nicer inside, and the 747 is noisy, polluting and the interiors showing age, but they’re a majestic looking beast.

            I’ll almost always pick newer planes if I can, but with QF rapidly phasing out their fleet, I’ve booked on a domestic 747 flight (MEL-SYD) for the experience. Certainly can’t wait for the 787 to take over MEL-SCL, though.

    • HAM76 says:

      The A380 is more spacious, less noisy and overall nicer. The 747 is more special, especially if you manage a seat in row 1, however you are more likely to exit the plane after World Traveller Plus on some configurations and with some crews. Both cabins are equally filthy and dirty.

      • Lady London says:

        ‘filthy and dirty’ sadly, +1. I always wonder what I am going to sit down in on a British Airways seat.

        I forgot to say that at least twice I’ve taken off in an A380 and it’s so big and you notice it so much less that I’d not even realised we had taken off…. I just love that aircraft.

  • Scallder says:

    The Times reporting that a ban on frequent flyer schemes being proposed to tackle climate change. 2 paragraphs as follows:

    Air miles schemes must be banned because they encourage excessive flying, according to a report commissioned by the government’s climate change advisers.

    The report by Imperial College London, commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), says that frequent flyer loyalty schemes are particularly damaging because they can result in people taking extra flights simply to “maintain their privileged-traveller status”.

    • Anna says:

      Obviously someone who gets upset about the great unwashed being allowed in premium cabins.

    • BJ says:

      Ok, I’ll chip in with two suggestions totally for free, no need to worry about IC overheads:
      1. Ban all MPs except the main cabinet from flying and put an end to any overseas trips.
      2. Ban IC and all other academics from flying to attend conferences and the likes overseas, nothing to stop them using live video conferencing these days.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      But the plane flies regardless of the TP runner.

      Seriously though TP runners are not the problem. Not encouraging the airlines/aircraft manufacturers to cut CO2 like governments have for vehicles plays a far bigger part.

      • Shoestring says:

        what a shame nobody thought of some painless/ pleasant ways to keep world population at around (say) 5-6 billion

        3 billion in 1960
        6 billion 2000
        nearly 8 billion now, by 2025?

        don’t go blaming burping cows or chasing TPs when it is total world population that is the problem

        • Lady London says:

          +1,000.
          If sanctimonioius or trendy individuals (I cant work out which they are) would stop bleating about a few extra flights and do their bit by using birth control and not having so many kids, then I’d believe in their genuine commitment.

          Until then, it’s just a soundbite on the part of the trendy, and an excuse to tax us more on the part of government.

          Sorry for grumpy OT, am a bit stressed right now – have been kissing an awful lot of frogs lately 🙂

  • Joe says:

    Hi,

    Know the t&cs say upto 45 days on the Nutmeg promo, whats the normal timeline on this, and are they quite easy to chase if needed.

  • guesswho2000 says:

    That card is beautiful ha! Imagine losing your wallet though.

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