UPDATE – OCTOBER 2020: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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 Card Offers’ menu above. Thank you.
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 November?
Is HSBC Premier launching a 25% conversion bonus to Avios?
We may be about to see a new transfer bonus between HSBC Premier credit cards and British Airways Executive Club.
A HFP reader, ZW, found this PDF on the HSBC website – click here.
It shows a 25% bonus on transfers made between 1st December and 31st December. No readers reported seeing this on the HSBC website so far, however, so hold your horses until we are sure it is live.
American Express launched a new co-brand cashback card with health and life insurer Vitality
This was definitely the surprise of the month, since I had assumed that the EU interchange fee caps made new American Express co-brand cards unprofitable. Amex is in discussions about how they should be regulated – given that Amex does not have ‘interchange’ due to its vertical integration – but there is no breakthrough so far.
And yet …. here we are. Amex and Vitality have launched a new co-brand card. The package is the same as the existing American Express cashback card BUT you will receive extra cashback on top from Vitality. If you are a Vitality member then this card is very attractive.
Curve Card to add a 1.5% fee to HMRC payments from 24th January
The big news last month, at least for HFP readers, was the decision by Curve Card to add a 1.5% fee for HMRC payments from 24th January.
(It has not been a good month for Curve, with this announcement being bungled and some very critical press comment appearing.)
Curve Card still has value if you make very large HMRC payments, however. There will be no fees to Curve Metal cardholders, and the £150 annual fee is a small price to pay if you use your entire £50,000 Curve Card annual limit – which is what most people get – to make HMRC payments. You can recharge this to a miles and points Visa or Mastercard, generating for example 75,000 free Virgin Flying Club miles via the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard.
You can read more about the Curve Card changes here.
Amex Business Platinum dropped its temporary 60,000 points refer-a-friend sign-up bonus
This was the most generous credit card sign-up bonus of the year – and, to be fair, it still is given that the standard bonus is 45,000 Membership Rewards points if you are referred. You were paying a £595 annual fee, however, albeit with a pro-rata refund.
It is substantially easier to qualify for the sign-up bonus on the Platinum Business card than the personal Platinum card. To get the bonus 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 of the card are in our Amex Business Platinum review here, although the bonus is now back at 45,000 points for a referral.
Free Avios if you live in Ireland
If you live in Ireland, you can earn 250 free Avios by linking any Visa card to your SuperValu Real Rewards account.
You will also earn double Avios on all future SuperValu shopping. Full details are in this article.
Capital On Tap Avios-earning SME cards switched to Visa – and secretly improved!
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.
The switch to a Visa credit card format has now happened. All new applicants are receiving a Visa card. Existing cardholders will receive one over the next few weeks.
There are two bits of Capital On Tap news I haven’t covered yet but will expand on in a few days:
The cards definitely work with Curve Card. This means that you can link your Capital On Tap Visa card to Curve Card (read about Curve Card here) and use it to pay HMRC. HMRC payments are free until 24th January for existing Curve Card holders.
Capital On Tap is combining its two card variants into one, with the best benefits of both. The fee will be £99 and the cards will earn 1 Avios per £1. This change has already happened but the company has not updated its website yet. As soon as this happens, we will do a full article.
Capital on Tap has a special higher sign-up bonus for HFP readers which you can read about here. I would delay your application until the new website is live however. At the moment it advertises two Avios cards but you will receive the new hydrid which is better than both of the current offerings.
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.
The Lufthansa payment card is giving away 1 million Miles & More miles
To promote the Lufthansa Miles & More payment cards (which I rate highly – you get 10,000 miles as a sign-up bonus until 31st December and 1.25 miles per £1 spent, see my review here), Affiniture is giving away 1 million Miles & More miles.
To be more precise, it is giving away 14 prizes of 75,000 Miles & More miles, which I’d value at £750+. Lufthansa’s fabled First Class could be within your grasp ….. at least one-way!
Everyone who applies for the Miles & More payment cards before 31st December will be entered into the competition. However, to comply with UK law, you can also enter without applying for the card.
Visit this page of the cards website and enter. You must be an existing Miles & More member and you must be a UK resident. The competition closes on 31st December. Good luck.
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 ….
During November, we updated our full series of UK credit and charge card reviews. Click the links below to read each review:
- American Express Green review – no bonus
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (Amex Gold) review – 10,000 points bonus
- American Express Platinum review – 30,000 points bonus
- American Express Rewards review – 5,000 points bonus
- British Airways American Express (BA Amex) review – 5,000 Avios bonus
- British Airways Premium Plus American Express review – 25,000 Avios bonus
- HSBC Premier Mastercard review – no bonus at present
- HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review – 40,000 points bonus
- IHG Rewards Club Mastercard review – 10,000 points bonus
- IHG Rewards Club Premium Mastercard review – 20,000 points bonus
- Miles & More Global Traveller cards review – 10,000 miles bonus
- Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG Amex) review – 30,000 Marriott points bonus
- Tesco Clubcard Mastercard review – no bonus
- Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard review – 5,000 miles bonus
- Virgin Atlantic Reward Plus Mastercard review – 15,000 miles bonus
You may also want to read our ‘Top 10’ series:
What are the best travel credit card sign-up deals for December?
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 45.1% 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 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 take a look at the new British Airways American Express Accelerating Business card (apply here, review here).
There is also the Capital On Tap cards which we mentioned above, with their exclusive HFP bonus.
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.