Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What are the best credit card sign-up deals for December 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UPDATE – MAY 2022:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.

visa mastercard

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 a PDF on the HSBC website.  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.

You can find out more about the American Express Vitality credit card in our article here.

American Express Vitality credit card

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.

American Express Business Platinum 60,000 points

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.

Earn Avios with Capital on Tap

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.

Revolut Business card

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.

Further reading ….

During November, we updated our full series of UK credit and charge card reviews.  Click the links below to read each review:

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?


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – May 2022 update

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

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards. You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

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

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 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 (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 points bonus (SPECIAL OFFER) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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:

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

American Express Business Gold

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

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

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

Capital on Tap Visa card

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa 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 (3% on business travel for four months) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (68)

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

  • Steve Woodward says:

    Did a 100 point transfer on the 1st December. 50 + 12 landed today in my BEAC account 🙂

  • The Original David says:

    Has anyone got any tips on cancelling the M&M card? I now have Frequent Traveller status so my M&M miles are protected for a couple of years anyway, and I don’t want to pay the annual fee. To maximise my use of the cards though, can I just ring up the day before my card anniversary and cancel there and then? Or will the balance need to be paid off before I cancel, so should I stop using it for the month before?

    • Rob says:

      We don’t know, card is too new. I would stop using it 2 weeks before, make an online banking payment to clear the balance (I have the sort code etc if needed) then call to cancel when your balance is clear. Can then be closed immediately.

      • Tical says:

        That would be very useful Rob, as it will allow to use up to the credit limit and then repay a few times a month

  • Bupps says:

    Can also confirm the HSBC transfer bonus is live. Received the 25% additional Avios on a transfer that just posted.

  • Jonathan says:

    OT – I moved 150k MR points to Emirates skyrewards In the hope of bagging a redemption. We’ve just had a new addition and you cannot get business redemptions with a lap infant. The silly points expiry rules mean they will expire before the new one turns 2. Anyone know how I could make this booking please or workaround? TIA

    • Rob says:

      That’s a bit weird. I would take a look at their partner airlines who won’t be as restrictive. I assume, given the baby, that Arsenal VIP packages and their other social events don’t appeal either.

    • KevMc says:

      Did you call them to check to see if you could book with a lap infant that way? It may just not be bookable online

    • pauldb says:

      Can you perhaps buy a cash fare for the infant – perhaps not great value at 10% of the full fare but an alternative to walking away.

  • Titus Adduxas says:

    Can anyone confirm that the Amex Gold and the BAPP cards are effectively different and don’t prevent sign up bonuses. I’m currently on my 2 year break with my BAPP card, having just missed out on the 6 months when they changed the rules, but I do have a Gold one which I’ll be cancelling once my years bonus has landed.

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Gold = no signup bonus if you’ve had any Amex card in the last 24m; BAPP = no signup bonus if you’ve had BA/BAPP within the last 24m.

  • guesswho2000 says:

    Re Curve, “Two sources provided information to Business Insider which suggested only 72,000 of Curve’s 500,000 customers have used their card once a month or more.”…the other 428,000 have hit their limit and Curve won’t let them spend any more for 12 months. Mine’s been in a drawer for six months because they won’t let me spend more then 50k.

    • Qwertyknowsbest says:

      I don’t have any great problem getting Curve to increase my limits (in two steps over 4 months) to an annual £500k.

      • guesswho2000 says:

        Nice work…I did ask, but they wouldn’t do it for whatever reason. Never mind, pretty sure some of the transactions start dropping off the rolling 365 days sometime this month, so maybe I’ll dust it off and +1 to their active users again (especially since they’re giving everyone £5 this month for making any transaction it seems – OH and I have both received an email to that effect at least).

        • The Original David says:

          What makes you think 428k have hit their limit? I’d have thought people maxing their limits would be a tiny minority (and probably all of them are HfP readers) – much more likely that a few hundred thousand signed up for the free £5 and haven’t bothered using the card since.

          • Mr. AC says:

            Another source is Curve aggressively giving Black for referring 5 people. I did it and only 1 person actually started using Curve consistently.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          If all you did was spend £50k at HMRC then what did you expect? Need to make it worth their while aswell

        • Lady London says:

          Well, what else was Curve going to do with the 60m they raised?

    • fivebobbill says:

      This Curve spending cap debate is something I’ve read in here over and over again, posters keep asking what the maximum amount you can have your cap increased to, so I had a bit of a rummage around the app yesterday and came up with a surprising statement (to me anyway).
      I personally have a £50k cap, which I dance around for most of the year, but have never asked for an increase. Then I found this (I assume it’s on everyone’s app):
      When logged into the app click on the “Card” logo bottom left,
      then “Curve Card Limits”,
      then “See Details”.
      When you scroll down to the bottom of your Limits page there is an obvious “Upgrade Your Limits” link in a blue bar – It’s safe to click on this, it simply takes you to a list of topics.
      Almost there…

      Now click on “Your Curve Spending Limits”.
      The second paragraph below the “But it doesn’t end there” heading reads:

      “Based on your account activity and identity verification documentation you have provided us with, your 365 day rolling spend limits can be increased up to £1,400,000!

      • fivebobbill says:

        Sorry if all that is common knowledge, I was simply astonished!

      • aDifferentSimon says:

        I have the same, I wonder if it is just standard text.
        I’ve never dared ask for an increase due to my spending habits!

        • Anna says:

          Not in my app, even though I’ve updated it just now! Though Revolut is working very well while my Curve limits re-establish.

      • Rui N. says:

        As far as we’ve heard here on HfP, no one has got more than £100k limit though. They can claim they give up to £1.4 million, but if they don’t give it to anyone, that’s no use. (I would be happy with £100k though)

        • aDifferentSimon says:

          500k has been mentioned a few times including about 5 comments up…

        • Rob says:

          A few have a £500k limit. Holders of Curve Business seems to be able to get this more easily, I think.

        • Rui N. says:

          Well, we’ve just heard someone with £500k just above!

      • Joe says:

        Mine won’t increase from 10K despite a decent income (around 80K). Going to render it unusable very soon.

        • LewisB says:

          It’s got nothing to do with your income, it’s how you use it. Regularly put all your all non-amex spend (not just HMRC) through Curve and you’ll have no problem getting your limit increased.

          • Anna says:

            + 1 – my limit increased to £50k very early on without me even realising. I top up my Ovo account regularly with Curve which seems to make them happy (though not Ovo who keep asking me to increase my DD despite having a 4-figure credit balance!)

  • koroleon says:

    Any changes to the Amex referral program? Seeing as restrictions were introduced in the USA.

  • aDifferentSimon says:

    OT- Did anyone read the terms of the barclays premier 25k avios sign up bonus / know when and how the avios can be claimed? I signed up but didn’t save the details and now the webpage is no more…

    • Benilyn says:

      Would like to know as well.

    • tom H says:

      Following a successful account switch you will receive an email by 20 December 2019 containing an electronic voucher code which you can use to redeem the applicable Avios.

    • Miguel says:

      Should be getting an email by the 20th as per the other comments.

      One other thing to watch out for is the triple Blue Rewards, my account was created still in October, so I enabled Blue Rewards then and got the £4 debited from my account at the beginning of November. No problem I thought, since my current account switch happened early in November, which should make the triple rewards kick in and I managed to move over and get two direct debits withdrawn from the newly created Barclays account still in November. However, I only got credited with £7 today, relating to the past month. According to Barclays Premier support, you are first credited the £7 (for 3.5 DD*2) and then the £14 related to the triple rewards should be credited at around the middle of the month… Something to take into consideration and phone them up if the bonus amount for the triple rewards fails to show up!

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

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