UPDATE – JANUARY 2021: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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 June?
HFP EXCLUSIVE: Get points worth 15,000 Avios when you get the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
It is very rare that we get an EXCLUSIVE credit card sign-up offer for our readers, so are very pleased to be offering a great deal on the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa card.
If you apply by 13th July, you will receive £150 or 15,000 Avios – your choice – when you spend £5,000 within 3 months. Given that the annual fee is only £99, this is a no-brainer if you have a qualifying business.
As well as a big bonus, you will receive 1p cashback or 1 Avios per £1 spent going forward. This is an unbeatable Avios rate for a Visa or Mastercard.
You ONLY receive the higher 15,000 Avios bonus if you use promo code headforpoints when you apply. The application page is here.
I strongly recommend you read our main article on the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa first, however.
American Express Gold dropped its enhanced bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points
After offering 20,000 Membership Rewards points as a sign-up bonus for the last few months, American Express Preferred Rewards Gold dropped its bonus back to 10,000 points on Monday. This is worth 10,000 Avios or other airline miles, or a varying amount of hotel or Club Eurostar points.
American Express continues to offer six months to earn sign-up bonuses
It is not clear how long this offer will last. With lockdown restrictions easing, it is arguably now a good time to apply as your spending will pick up and you have until the end of the year to hit your sign-up bonus target.
Here is the full list of personal cards which are included:
The Platinum Card: 30,000 Membership Rewards points (=30,000 Avios) when you spend £4,000 in six months
Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card: 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points (=10,000 Avios) when you spend £3,000 in six months
British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card: 25,000 Avios when you spend £3,000 in six months
British Airways American Express Credit Card: 5,000 Avios when you spend £1,000 in six months
Nectar Credit Card: 20,000 Nectar points (= £100) when you spend £2,000 in six months
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card: 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (= 6,666 Avios) when you spend £3,000 in six months
The American Express Rewards Credit Card: 5,000 Membership Rewards points (=5,000 Avios) when you spend £2,000 in six months
Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card: 5% cashback on your purchases for six months (up to £100)
Platinum Cashback Credit Card: 5% cashback on your purchases for six months (up to £125)
Here are the small business cards included:
The Gold Business Card: 20,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 in six months
The Platinum Business Card: 40,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £6,000 in six months
British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Card: 2,200 On Business Points when you spend £3,000 in six months
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.
You can learn more in this article on the Amex six month bonus period.
My detailed article on ‘which American Express sign-up bonuses can I still get?‘ is here.
The two offers on The Platinum Card end in late July
American Express is running two ‘open to all’ offers for holders of The Platinum Card.
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 directly from BA later on, when your personal financial situation is clearer. In a sale you will usually pay around 1.1p per Avios so the different isn’t huge.
Qantas joins American Express Membership Rewards
In late June, Qantas joined the UK American Express Membership Rewards programme.
You can now transfer your points to Qantas Frequent Flyer at a rate of 1:1. The minimum transfer is 500 points and transfers seem to be instant.
We wrote three articles discussing ways you could benefit from this new partnership. See:
American Express brought back ‘Shop Small’
American Express has launched a new ‘Shop Small’ initiative to support independent shops and give you up to £50 cashback on purchases.
Starting from 22nd June and running until 13th September, you will receive £5 cashback on the first 10 transactions you make for £10 or more at participating ‘Shop Small’ businesses.
There are very few rules apart from the fact that you can only get one £5 cashback per shop per card. You can, of course, register multiple American Express cards if you have more than one.
As in 2019, cashback is capped at £50 per card. Supplementary cards are treated separately and have their own cap, so you could technically get more than £50 cashback.
Amex launched a special bonus Avios offer for BA Premium Plus cardholders
Holders of the British Airways Premium Plus American Express found a good ‘bonus Avios’ offer available.
To see if you have this, look at the ‘Offers’ tab on your online statement page. You need to click ‘Save to Card’ to register. This offer is only for Premium Plus cardholders.
Here is the deal:
You will receive 2 bonus Avios (so 3.5 Avios per £1 in total) on every £1 you spend at Tesco, Waitrose & Partners, Marks & Spencer, Deliveroo and Apple
Offer runs until 12th September
Offer is valid instore and online
One possibility is buying gift cards at Tesco for other retailers. This would be especially useful for Amazon, Uber or iTunes where you can add a gift card to your online account and it is used up automatically on future orders.
British Airways to give a six month extension on upcoming BA Amex 241 companion vouchers
As part of the current coronavirus compensation deal, all British Airways American Express 241 companion vouchers issued by 30th June 2020 were to be issued with an additional six months validity.
During June, it was announced that this has now been extended to 30th September.
This means that all newly issued 241 vouchers, triggered by 30th September 2020, will be valid for 2.5 years (or 1.5 years if generated on the free BA Amex card).
Anyone who triggers their next voucher in October, November or December 2020 or January / February 2021 will be worse off than someone who triggers their next voucher in late September 2020. Here’s why:
A 2-4-1 voucher issued on 20th September 2020 will expire on 20th March 2023 (30 months)
A 2-4-1 voucher issued on 20th October 2020 will expire on 20th October 2022 (24 months)
There could be real benefits in triggering your voucher early to get the extra six months. If you have kids and your card year ends in November, for example, triggering your voucher in September 2020 would cover you for Christmas 2022 and February half term 2023. If you don’t trigger your voucher until October or November 2020 it won’t – it will expire in October 2022 or November 2022 respectively.
American Express still has a 30,000 point bonus on the DOLLAR / EURO versions of the Platinum card
Amex is currently running a rare 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:
What are the best travel credit card sign-up deals for July?
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 74.7% 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 six months 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 six months 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 56.6% variable including the annual fee (free in year 1) based on a notional £1,200 credit limit. Interest rate on purchases 22.2% APR variable.
The two Virgin Flying Club credit cards are the most generous Mastercard or Visa cards for day to day spending. The free Reward card (no sign-up bonus) earns 0.75 miles per £1 whilst the annual fee Reward+ card (with a 15,000 miles 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.
The Capital On Card is an EXCELLENT Avios earner for small businesses. We discuss the eligibility criteria in our Capital On Tap review here. You get a sign-up bonus of £100 cashback or 10,000 Avios after spending £5,000 in 90 days and you earn 1 Avios per £1 spent.
HFP readers get a higher sign-up bonus worth 15,000 Avios on the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa if you use promo code ‘headforpoints’ when applying – click here for details of our exclusive Capital On Tap sign-up Avios bonus.
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, BA Amex Business review here).
There is also the Capital On Tap cards which we mentioned above, with the exclusive Capital On Tap ‘extra Avios’ 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.