UPDATE – JUNE 2021: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.
Let’s be honest …. if you’re sitting around at home with nothing to do, there are worse ways to pass the day than getting your credit card portfolio in order!
We have also included a round-up of all of the loyalty credit card news from the last month.
Our directory of the 15 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 March and early April?
Disaster! IHG Rewards Club closed its Premium Mastercard
We loved this card. After all, we gave it an ‘Editor’s Choice’ award in the Head for Points 2019 Travel & Loyalty Awards.
For a £99 annual fee, you were getting 2 points per £1 (which counted towards status), a free night at any IHG hotel for spending £10,000 and Platinum Elite status in IHG Rewards Club. It was a great package easily worth the £99 fee.
What was a little odd is that, in the previous weeks, IHG had been offering a special bonus of 20,000 points on the free IHG Rewards Club Mastercard, pictured below. The free card IS still available.
Why did it do this? Was there a notice period on pulling the Premium card, and IHG wanted to put people off applying in the meantime by boosting the free card? Was it just a coincidence?
I will do an article soon on my thoughts on the best Visa or Mastercard rewards card now that IHG Rewards Club Premium has been pulled.
For clarity, the Premium card will continue to operate for people who already have it.
American Express Gold launched a special sign-up bonus
Now THIS came as a surprise, as American Express is not known for adjusting its sign-up bonuses temporarily.
Until 29th June 2020, the sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is doubled to 20,000 points. You need to spend £3,000 in 90 days to receive it.
You can apply for the card here.
20,000 American Express Membership Rewards points would convert into:
- 20,000 Avios
- 20,000 Virgin Flying Club miles
- 40,000 Hilton Honors points
- 60,000 Radisson Rewards points
- 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
- 1,666 Club Eurostar points
…… amongst other things.
If you have never held a personal American Express card before, you will definitely get the bonus.
You WILL receive the 20,000 bonus points if you have not held a personal American Express card in the previous 24 months. Cards issued by MBNA or Lloyds Bank do not count. You WILL receive the sign-up bonus if you have a Corporate or Business American Express card via your job, even if you receive Membership Rewards points from it.
You WILL receive the bonus if you are only a supplementary cardholder on someone else’s American Express card. As far as Amex is concerned, the card belongs to the primarily cardholder and does not make you an ‘existing cardholder’.
If you do not qualify for the bonus, you can still apply. You still receive the other card benefits, including the two free airport lounge passes and ‘no fee in the first year’.
American Express Gold starts issuing METAL cards in Europe
As you can see from the image above, the roll-out of METAL American Express Gold cards has started in Europe.
Sweden was the first country to get it last week, with the rest of Scandinavia following very shortly. There is no date yet for a UK launch.
This HfP article on the metal American Express Gold card explains what the card benefits are in Sweden, which may be what we see here. It is likely we see an increased fee to pay for it unfortunately.
American Express in the US extends the time frame for sign-up bonuses
This is for anyone whose card was approved from 1st December 2019 until 31st May 2020.
For clarity, this has NOT yet been replicated in the UK.
There is also no sign of any leeway being given on the time needed to spend £10,000 on the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card to trigger the 2-4-1 voucher.
We continue to push Amex on this when we can and will let you know if there is any relaxation. I can imagine that a lot of people will look to cancel their £195 BA Premium Plus card if they cannot see any possibility of triggering the 2-4-1 voucher.
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 of the American Express International Currency Cards in this article.
Your BAPP Amex 2-4-1 voucher will run for 30 months if triggered by 30th June
British Airways has extended all outstanding American Express 2-4-1 companion vouchers by six months.
Importantly, all new vouchers issued before 30th June 2020 will also be extended by six months.
This means that you may prefer to trigger your voucher sooner rather than later. A voucher triggered on 20th June 2020 will expire on 20th December 2022. A voucher triggered on 20th July 2020 will expire five months earlier, on 20th July 2022.
I wrote this article about the extension to the 2-4-1 Avios voucher on the British Airways American Express 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 on how to save the £4.99 fee when you join Revolut via our special HFP reader offer.
Further reading ….
We ran the following credit card articles during the last month:
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our June 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. Here are the other top current deals:
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
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
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 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
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
Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending 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