Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What are the best credit card sign-up deals for July? – plus your news round-up

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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.

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

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.

However ……

American Express continues to offer six months to earn sign-up bonuses

American Express has currently extended the time needed to trigger the sign-up bonus on new cards from three months to six months

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.

American Express Platinum card UK retention offers

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.

The first offer is double points on all American Express Platinum spending until 20th July – see here.

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.

American Express Membership Rewards

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:

Three reasons why BA flyers may find the new Qantas / Amex Membership Rewards tie-up useful

Fly EL AL? It’s a new option now Qantas has joined Amex Membership Rewards

Qantas Frequent Flyer is now a UK American Express transfer partner!

American Express Shop Small Summer 2020

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 cardSupplementary cards are treated separately and have their own cap, so you could technically get more than £50 cashback.

Full details of American Express Shop Small 2020 are in our article here.

British Airways Premium Plus offer

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.

Our full article on the Amex ‘bonus Avios’ promotion is here.

Should you trigger your next BA Amex 2-4-1 voucher before 30th June?

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.

This article tells you more about the British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher extension.

American Express in the US extends the time frame for sign-up bonuses

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:

Three reasons why BA flyers may find the new Qantas / Amex Membership Rewards tie-up useful

Fly EL AL? It’s a new option now Qantas has joined Amex Membership RewardsQantas Frequent Flyer is now a UK American Express transfer partner!

Get more £50 Shop Small credits – and bonus points – by adding American Express supplementary cards

Get £50 cashback as American Express Shop Small returns – and another £50 for each supplementary card you have!

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Get 15,000 points (=15,000 Avios) sign-up bonus with Capital On Tap’s Visa SME credit card!

Earn bonus British Airways American Express Avios at Tesco and Waitrose

British Airways to give a six month extension on upcoming BA Amex 241 companion vouchers

How do British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion vouchers work?

Which five loyalty credit cards are worth keeping for their benefits even if you never use them?

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.

British Airways American Express

The bonus on this free card is 5,000 Avios.  My full review of the BA Amex credit card is here.  You can apply here.  Representative APR 22.2% variable.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

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.

American Express Platinum

American Express Platinum

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.

My full review of the Amex Platinum card is here. Amex’s own home page is here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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!

My full review of Amex Gold is here. The Amex home page to apply is here.

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.

Amex Gold

Virgin Atlantic Reward and Reward+ Mastercard

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.

My review of the free Virgin Atlantic Reward credit card is here.  My review of the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card is here.

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.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa 

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.

BA Amex Business Accelerating Business credit card

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.

Comments (37)

  • Alan Jones says:

    Hi
    I am looking for some advice on earning Avios using a Business Capital on Tap Credit Card linked to Curve Card which is treated as a debit card.
    This I understand would allow you to use the Curve card in places that do not accept Credit Cards (or Amex) for example such as HMRC.
    The cost are £99 per year for the Business Capital on Tap Credit Card and £150 per year for the Metal Curve Card.
    You get 1 Avios per £1 spent so can anyone advise on the advantages and disadvantages of this approach and also the maths of how much spending would be required to make this worthwhile.
    I understand that there a very few business credit cards out there (maybe 4) that offer benefits? and this is the only one that offers Avios as Visa/Mastercard.

    • rams1981 says:

      Need to know first if COT works with Curve and allows the payments through – can anyone advise?

      • RedEyeDonkey says:

        Water + Shiny Card –> Boris = worked fine a few weeks back. hopefully/assuming their change of processor after the whole WC situation doesn’t impact that.

      • The Urbanite says:

        CoT does work with Curve, but they block the usual MS MCCs and send you a nice text message asking you to contact them for information on why the transaction was blocked.

  • Robert says:

    Does anyone know which cards offer a 0% balance transfer, preferably with a low or zero fee?

  • Andreas says:

    This is a very timely article – I am currently trying to decide what I want to do with my Amex cards. I currently have a BA Premium Plus card that I am about to trigger the 2 for 1 voucher on. However, I am currently short on Avios to make the 2 for 1 worthwhile (90k at the moment, would IDEALLY like 200k+ for a First redemption to Tokyo, though 150k for Club World works too)

    As far as I know, my options are:
    – Keep the BA Premium Plus. As well as regular spend, try and boost Avios gain using referrals. I could work towards another companion voucher, though I don’t earn enough Avios per year to be able to effectively spent one voucher per year.
    – Drop the BA PP and get the Platinum card instead to get the 30k introductory offer (can boost to 35k by finding a referral). However, I am apprehensive about the £575 fee and I’m not sure I’d be using the other benefits of the card very well

    Thoughts?

    • Rob says:

      Separate the bonus from the long-term costs. If you can spend enough, quickly, to trigger the Platinum bonus (assuming you qualify) then just do that. If you can spend the money in 3 months, for example, you are paying £150 for 35,000 Avios if you immediately cancel at that point. You’d also keep the hotel statuses for a while, but not Priority Pass.

      You could also drop to the free BA card during this period to save £15/month on that to offset the Plat fee you’re paying.

      • Andreas says:

        I totally forgot that Amex refund pro rata. I’ve got some bigger spends planned for September – I could trigger the 3k spend in a few days if I time everything well. By the time September comes around, it could be that we are all more free to travel, so I could explore the benefits of the platinum card better

    • Anna says:

      Is there another destination you’d like to visit which requires less avios – east coast USA or middle east for example would cost a lot less, especially if you can travel off-peak?There have been a few mentions on here that F to Tokyo might be disappearing altogether, and I get the impression that even J award seats are quite difficult to come by.

      • Andreas says:

        I’ve got my heart set on Japan – I’ve been before and absolutely love it over there. It would suck if F to Tokyo disappeared 🙁

        • Alex says:

          If I go by the chats on flyertalk, it was still temporarily on one of the two daily flights in anticipation of the Olympics, but it looks like an A350 destination going forward, so without F.

        • Harry T says:

          F to Tokyo seems to have been axed.

        • Lady London says:

          OT what do you really love about Japan? I loved it on my one visit there but hard to put into words.

          • Andreas says:

            I know what you mean – it’s hard to describe. It’s almost alien over there compared to the west. I guess I loved the culture and how they are – the way everyone follows their social rules (do not talk on the phone on trains, always cross when the light is green even if the road is quiet etc.) It’s very clean and feels very safe too

          • BlueHorizonuk says:

            Absolutely love Japan too and yes hard to describe why….lol

            I had left my phone in a Taxi and through the kindness of strangers we were able to locate the driver who drove back across town to deliver the phone and would not take a tip in gratitude no matter how much I pled with him.

          • cinereus says:

            easy: food, food, food, food, mountains, food.

  • Alex says:

    I don’t have those offers mentioned for the BAPP, is anyone else experiencing this too?

    • eligold says:

      Same here.
      Has anyone managed to get the offer added?

      The offers really seem to be a mess at the moment

  • Marco says:

    Hi guys. I currently have BA free amex and Lloyds avoid MasterCard. I’m planning big spendings in next few months (apartment renovation) and I think this is the best moment to get new card as I can easily trigger bonus.
    What would you recommend as the best option for me? Biggest bonus and best earning for spending 10.000+ in few months time?
    Thank you

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      As you obviously collect Avios: Upgrade to BAPP week before spend,. Spend 10k, earn voucher and some more Avios, downgrade again. Should only pay 1 month free and get a nice valuable 2-for-1 and some extra Avios on the spend too.

    • Anna says:

      You may be eligible for Platinum as well, you could get the sign up bonus quickly if your spend extends to it on top of any BA Amex spend.

      • Marco says:

        Thank you. That was my first thought too. Just wondering if I can earn similar amount of points without signing up for the most expensive CC..

  • PaulC says:

    Just received an email from Virgin Atlantic Credit to say they are refunding £40 due to not being able to use the credit card much the last few months.

    • WaneM says:

      Me too… but it says ‘Just after you’ve paid your fee…’ does that mean I won’t see the refund until December if that’s when my fee is due?

      • PaulC says:

        Mine says
        “There’s nothing you need to do – just look out for your refund landing in your credit card account in the next few days.”

  • WaneM says:

    Anyone know if there’s a way to change my billing from annual to monthly on the platinum card.
    My £575 card fee is due in a few days, but I’d like some more time to see what travel is looking like before I decide what to do. So I want to know if I can change to a monthly bill rather than the full amount.
    Thanks guys.

  • Tom1 says:

    Is there any reason to keep the SPG card these days?

    Seems the Marriott version is here to stay, so can reapply again in future if there’s reason to.

    Putting spending elsewhere so cannot see any other reasons?

    • Harry T says:

      They give you 15 elite nights every year for holding the card. Means you can achieve status with Marriott more easily – 35 nights required for Platinum instead of 50, for example.

      • Tom1 says:

        Ok thanks Harry.
        Too many nights for me to reach without work – and that seems unlikely for a while.