UPDATE – MAY 2021: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.
BEFORE WE GO ON …. Do you have a small business? Until 20th May 2021, you can receive a sign-up bonus worth 29,900 Avios with the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa credit card. This offer is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to learn more.
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 May?
American Express Platinum offered £100 to all cardholders
If you need proof that reading HfP pays off in hard cash, this is it.
Last Thursday, Amex rolled out a £100 statement credit deal across Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Deliveroo and Apple. Spend £100 and get £100 back. What’s not to like?! You don’t even need to spend the full £100 to get your rebate – you are repaid in chunks, transaction by transaction, as you go along.
For about 8 hours on Thursday, Amex was letting you register supplementary cards too. If you signed up as soon as our article appeared, you could have banked up to £600 if you had five supplementary cards in issue. Unfortunately Amex soon realised what they had done and stopped new registrations on supplementary cards. Apologies to our email readers, who missed out on this as Amex had already pulled it by the time the emailed version appeared.
For clarity, the £100 IS paying out on supplementary cards if you registered them in time. My wife spent £71 in Waitrose on 29th May and a £71 credit appeared on 31st May.
If you haven’t registered, you will find this offer on your PRIMARY Platinum card under the ‘Offers’ section.
Remember too that American Express is still offering 15,000 to 20,000 points as a retention bonus to holders of The Platinum Card who ring up to cancel.
It isn’t being offered to everyone, but your odds are very good as long as your call is answered by the Brighton call centre. This means calling during UK office hours. If it sounds as if the person who answers is working outside the UK, ask to be transferred to a UK-based agent.
Our article on American Express retention bonuses for Platinum cardholders is here. If you read the comments, some holders of Amex Gold have also had success.
….. and up to £500 to Business Platinum cardholders
Holders of American Express Business Platinum have a similar selection of cashback offers. These are technically worth up to £500 although I doubt many people will claim the lot.
£150 to spend at Dell (£150 cashback on a purchase of £150+)
£200 to spend at Currys PC World, Carphone Warehouse, Google Store or O2 Business (10 x £20 cashback on purchases of £20+)
£150 to spend at FedEx (6 x £25 cashback on purchases of £25+)
Our full article on the American Express Business Platinum cashback deals is here. It includes links to a few Currys PC World items which cost around £20.
…. as well as a £250 discount on their renewal fee
If you have already renewed during 2020, the credit will appear very shortly if it hasn’t already.
If your renewal date is still to come, it will appear a few weeks after you are charged.
This offer does not benefit anyone who signed up for the card in 2020, as you won’t have a renewal date during this calendar year.
Don’t forget the two other offers open to Platinum cardholders
American Express has two other ‘open to all’ offers for holders of The Platinum Card which – unlike the 20,000 points retention offer – do not require you to ring up their call centre and beg.
This immediately makes the card the most generous miles and points card in the UK. You would be earning 2 Avios per £1, 2 Virgin Flying Club miles per £1, 3 Marriott Bonvoy points per £1, 4 Hilton Honors points per £1 etc depending on how you converted them.
The second offer is being able to redeem Membership Rewards points for 0.9p of statement credit – see here. This is VERY attractive and something you should consider. Again, it runs until 20th July.
If you are squeezed for money at the moment, there is no shame in redeeming your Membership Rewards points for 0.9p cash and potentially buying Avios later (at a similar rate of around 1p to 1.1p when a sale is on) when your personal situation is clearer.
Virgin Atlantic dropped the sign-up bonus on its free credit card
Virgin Atlantic has removed the 5,000 miles sign-up bonus on its free Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard credit card.
It’s not fully clear why, but if you read the latest Virgin Money financial statements it states that the business is currently prioritising its existing customers, many of whom are asking for payment holidays, ahead of chasing new business.
There is still a 15,000 miles sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard, which has a £160 annual fee.
The removal of the bonus from the free card makes the paid card more attractive. Before, you were looking at paying £160 for an additional 10,000 miles bonus. Now, your £160 gets you 15,000 more miles than the free card (as the free card no longer has a bonus) which – together with the excellent 1.5 miles per £1 earning rate – makes it a good package, at least for the first year.
American Express Gold is still running a special sign-up bonus
Until 29th June 2020, the sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is doubled to 20,000 points. You need to spend £3,000 in six months 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’.
PS. The picture above is of the new METAL Amex Gold card which is slowly rolling out across Europe. It is NOT available in the UK yet, so if you apply now you will get the old-style version. There is no date yet for a UK launch that I am aware of.
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.
Further reading ….
We ran the following credit card articles during the last month:
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – May 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our May 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
If you have your own business, don’t miss our EXCLUSIVE offer on the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa card, worth 29,900 Avios. See below.
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.
Until 20th May 2021, you can receive a sign-up bonus worth 29,900 Avios with the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa credit card. This offer is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to learn more.
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
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.