Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What should replace your Tandem Money credit card, which is being closed?

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Whilst it doesn’t offer any miles or points, we have recommended the Tandem Money cashback credit card on numerous occasions.  It really had everything (apart from miles):

  • no annual fee
  • no foreign exchange fees
  • 0.5% cashback on all spending
  • operates as a Mastercard so widely accepted

Unsurprisingly, since I cannot imagine any scenario under which Tandem was making money from this product, it has been pulled to new applicants.  The website also seems to imply that the clock is ticking for existing cardholders too.

Tandem cashback credit card closed

You can find out more on the Tandem website here.

My preferred Visa / Mastercard cashback product is probably now the John Lewis / Waitrose one.  This DOES have FX fees, but you also get 0.5% back on third party shopping and 1% back at John Lewis and Waitrose.  There is no fee. All rewards are paid in shopping vouchers.  There is currently a £30 sign-up bonus too.

The Aqua credit card also has 0.5% cashback – and paid in real cash – but capped at £100 per year.  It DOES NOT have FX fees.  I am not a fan of this product because it is aimed at people with credit defaults and is advertised as such.  This means that you will get a low credit limit and it isn’t necessarily one to wave around in the pub.  I know some HfP readers use it and are happy with it, however.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – April 2023 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit 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 with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

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.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus 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:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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

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

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 (156)

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

  • rams1981 says:

    OT is it just me that hasn’t received Avios from the groupon IE via AerClub? Put through last Sunday and still nothing.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      I purchased a voucher last sat, it didn’t credit until Wed.
      I’ve been waiting over 3 x weeks for IB Groupon AVIOS voucher to credit😭

  • berneslai says:

    OT: Virgin Credit Card – I’m slowly coming round to the realisation that I probably won’t be reedeeming Flying Club miles for flights as Virgin Red. Is the redemption to Hilton Honors points reasonably good value?

    • Shoestring says:

      Virgin Miles convert to HH at 1:1.5

      [Under the new structure, the number of points required is based on the cash cost of that particular night. The ‘pence per point’ value varies by hotel but is usually within the range of 0.33p to 0.45p. ]

      So you’re getting about 0.5-0.9p of HH value per Virgin Mile – not bad at all at the upper end

      • Harry T says:

        So potentially 0.75-1.35p of value at Hilton from every pound spent on the Rewards +?

        • Shoestring says:

          Virgin paid card (1.5 Virgin Flying Club miles per £1 spent) – it’s a good card if you can make the annual fee (£160) work for you

          • Harry T says:

            I’ve got it :). Perhaps won’t keep it when Curve get their act together. Most of my spend goes through Amex.

            I was more wondering if you felt the Rewards+ was still worthwhile if you only used it to obtain Hilton points (through conversion)?

          • Shoestring says:

            it would be £160 (as ongoing fee) that I could do without, personally – got plenty of Virgin Miles in the bank, not yet needing much in the way of hotel nights (& the 160K Melia points should keep us going in Spain for the next stay or 2)

            30K Virgin sign up promo bonus would alter the math of course, we haven’t yet cancelled our free Virgin cards so might get round to that to start the clock going again on 6 months’ wait

            so: happy to keep plugging away with Amex for now

            also using my Sainsburys Nectar card for the 30 months of free credit at the mo, the cashflow is always welcome plus a few Nectar points on top – just a reminder that there *are* other cards out there that can prove useful – I’ve used Purchases cards before for (say) £10K of free credit on purchases over 30-odd months (Tesco card last time) – also saw a card the other day offering free balance transfer for 28 months

          • Harry T says:

            @Shoestring my Virgin stash is rather modest so I think I’ll keep on making savings with the government bank.

            Regarding 0% cards, it’s something over never really considered. I guess there might be advantages to using the money for other things whilst keeping the balance on the 0% card. Obviously depends if you can make sure you are organised enough to save enough to pay it off later.

          • Shoestring says:

            @Harry T – the Purchases cards are very combinable with the Govt Bank, for example – you’d be freeing up more cash that could be put to work in other ways – then you’d still have the cash to pay off the Purchases card balance before any interest kicks in after your (say) 28 month interest-free period

            or very combinable with any other MS points opps

          • Harry T says:

            “or very combinable with any other MS points opps” – interested to hear more about this (you can email me at htargett at if you feel so inclined and would rather not discuss in comments).

            Thanks for the food for thought.

          • Ashish says:

            I’d be interested in any manaffacture spending to Harry. Any clue?

          • The Urbanite says:

            I think MSing the CL out of 0% purchases cards is an accelerated form of “slow stoozing”. Just got to watch those T&Cs, some allow 0% on purchases made over the full term, others might only allow it for purchases made in the first 30 or 60 days.

        • Tom H says:

          I m in the same boat harry, by my reasoning with a value of 0.4ppp, i need to put £26666 to off set the card fee. Which works for me but may not for others depending on your spend pattern

          • Harry T says:

            Thanks @Tom H. I’m still in the first year of having the Virgin card so I have the bonus to account into my sums too.

        • Genghis says:

          The Virgin Rewards+ card is the highest earning HH card in UK at 1.5 x 1.5 = 2.25HH/£. But remember can’t value at more than buy them for, otherwise you’d pay cash*. Hilton often sell at 0.4p so I make that 0.9p/£.

          *ie assuming no preference Amex vs MC/Visa, you could be better off with an Amex cash back card and then buy the points from Hilton, especially once you’ve factored in the Virgin card fee.

          • Harry T says:

            @Genghis – I see what you’re saying. 1% c@shb@ck would easily cover the cost of buying the points. I’ve only recently appreciated the utility of sometimes buying points too, especially when hotels are very expensive for cash and there are rewards nights available.

            Do you use a Visa or Mastercard? I seem to remember you saying that you just use Amex Gold now. Would be interested in hearing what your general strategy for earning points is, if you don’t mind sharing?

          • Genghis says:

            Point being that the world of points can’t be too withdrawn fro lm the real world of cash.

            There is no secret strategy now really for points collecting on credit cards. I have an Amex Gold for general spend (I spend a lot abroad and on flights for work) (no need for a 241 as we have our little’un and don’t want to travel as much) and my wife and I each have IHG black as £10k spend for free night is valuable to us currently. I also have HSBC prem WE.

            I used to have many more credit cards of course but the proper churning game is almost over. I’m also trying to simplify my financial life within reason too.

          • Harry T says:

            @Genghis – thanks. It’s important to stay grounded and not carried away with the points game – something I’m learning.

            I can see the attraction of simplifying your financial life – I currently have four rewards cards and it’s actually a bit annoying to keep tabs on when the DDs come out and so forth (perhaps I’m not very organized).

            Would you recommend the IHG card if I can use the free night? I think it might work well with IC Ambassador.

            It’s sad that the glory days of churning and free holidays seem to have passed when I’ve just started out!

          • Lyn says:

            HarryT – I would definitely consider the IHG black card if you can spend the 10K on it for the free night. It can work well added on to a 2-night Ambassador weekend booking, Or to a night booked via Emyr for a weekend away.

          • Harry T says:

            @Lyn – thanks! Their eligibility checker said I would get declined!

            Thanks, does Emyr offer better deals than Amex FHR for weekends away?

            I’ve just used my Ambassador free night for a weekend in the Sydney IC (suite with club lounge access overlooking the Harbour.

          • Rob says:

            Emyr cannot guarantee 4pm check out which for a weekend away may be an issue. He can access more hotels than FHR though.

          • Lyn says:

            @HarryT. I don’t know, because I don’t have access to Amex FHR. I think I saw Rob answer this question in a comment recently though.

            However we do have experience, albeit limited, of ICs extending club lounge access to our free night as well when the night before was booked through Emyr at the usual flexible rate and he kindly asked them to link our bookings. Of course this is up to the individual hotel. In one case we had stayed at the hotel before, but not in the other.

  • Lady London says:

    Grrrr on the Tandem. I hadn’t got round to applying.

    I suppose the only choice is Aqua now? Like Rob, I have an issue with flashing a card intended for those not performing financially, in my wallet….. would rather have something else. What do people recommend?

    • Dave B says:

      Aqua liked to curve.

      • Dave B says:

        There are 2 other 0.5% cash back cards one of which gives 4% back on petrol/fuel.

        • Rob says:

          Not free ones.

          • Dave B says:

            Trustcard started with free 0.5% cash back on 2 Dec 19. not FX free but is with curve.

        • Andrew says:

          Is one of those the MBNA “Horizon” card which is only for people migrated from withdrawn products?

          It’s definitely a keeper.

          I noticed they’ve added an “offers” tab to the MBNA App homescreen. It’s just used for other products at the moment, I understand they’ll be indroducing “everyday offers” in line with other LBG products soon.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Got declined from Tandem months ago.

    • Cormac says:

      Do people really notice these things? Aqua is a good FX card anyway, less likely people abroad will notice what image carrying such a card evokes! At least Curve with Aqua is a good workaround for those who are self-conscious.

      The only card that has been commented on is my Amex MR card, as its transparent!

      • Shoestring says:

        when I get my Gold Amex out in the village shop over at our place in the sun, it always gets a few admiring/ knowing glances from the shop girl and the old people standing behind me in the queue

        ‘that Eengleesh fella, ‘e made o’ money – ‘e not ‘appy with plain white bread but got dat one weeth seeds on – I tellin’ Frank to rob ‘is ‘ouse when ‘e go home’

        • Lady London says:

          You;d be better off with Aqua, mate 🙂

          Thanks to all for the Aqua+Curve recommendation

      • Andrew says:

        People do notice.

        Interestingly, the FOS (and ICO) instructed NewDay (the issuers of Aqua Card) to pay me compensation for inappropriately target marketing me (a finance professional) for the sub-prime Aqua Card. Initially they refused to recognise the ICO as relevant to a financial services organisation. They then protested and blamed their “partners”, but still had to cough up. Then again 6 months later, then again 6 months later…

        Oddly the one card that I always get a comment on is my Virgin Money FX free card with the image of the cassette tape on it.

  • Miguel says:

    OT – Not sure if this has been picked up elsewhere but the booking window for the 4x IHG points promo appears to have been extended to 15th Jan. As before, stays must be completed by 31st Jan.

  • Harry T says:

    Anyone stayed at the Intercontinental Amstel Amsterdam? I’m visiting Amsterdam for four nights in January. Provisionally booked four nights at the Pulitzer but now considering doing two nights at the IC Amstel because the 4x offer has been extended. Any thoughts? I’m IHG Platinum Elite and IC Ambassador.

    • Rob says:

      I’ve reviewed it and stayed 4-5 times. Great views, great pool, Michelin starred dining, boutique service (under 100 rooms).

      Room decor is, erm, eclectic – the only downside.

    • avstar says:

      this hotel is one of the jewels in the IHG crown imo. call ahead to see if you can get one of the preferred rooms/suites. the restaurant is fantastic too

  • L. Allen says:

    The article says all classes covered but the page linked to seems to focus on business/economy. Having gotten a fab companion deal from LHR to HKG in first on Swiss last year (amazing product and service!) I was hoping for something similar again.

  • Rob says:

    Works fine in London (it’s the ex MyTaxi, ex Hailo app) – I have saved a LOT of money with this offer.

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