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What are the best credit card sign-up deals for August 2020? – plus your news round-up

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UPDATE – OCTOBER 2021:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.

Best UK credit card sign up bonuses

What was new in July?

American Express paid £750 million upfront to extend its British Airways contract

British Airways, desperate for cash, agreed an early renewal of its credit card contract with American Express.  The deal involves American Express paying £750 million upfront, the majority of which is pre-payment for Avios to be issued to BA Amex and Membership Rewards cardholders.

On my maths, the prepayment covers 4-5 years-worth of Avios.  According to the IAG half year results on Friday, the money will be paid this month.

You can find out all about the deal in our article on the £750m British Airways / American Express credit card deal here.

British Airways American Express

STILL RUNNING: 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 February 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
John Lewis / Waitrose pulled the most rewarding cashback Visa or Mastercard

Over the last year or so, most retailer credit cards have either been pulled from the market or sharply reduced their rewards.  The return you get from the Amazon, Sainsbury’s or Marks & Spencer cards is poor at between 0.1% to 0.25%.

John Lewis was the final store offering 0.5% back – in the form of John Lewis or Waitrose vouchers – on your Visa or Mastercard spending.  This has now reached the end of the line.

From early September, the cashback rate is halving to 0.25%.  It will increase slightly in Waitrose and John Lewis stores, from 1% to 1.25%, but virtually everyone will be earning less overall.

Our full article on changes to the John Lewis Partnership credit card is here.

John Lewis Waitrose credit card cutting cashback rate

Virgin Atlantic offering a £40 fee rebate on its Reward+ Mastercard

Out of the blue, Virgin Atlantic announced that holders of its £160 per year Virgin Flying Club Reward+ Mastercard would receive a £40 rebate on their annual fee.

This is a welcome move and a generous one.  I’m not sure if it will do much to improve the retention rate of cardholders, however.  Virgin Money makes it virtually impossible to swap to the free card (it can be done but the effort required is crazy) and so many cardholders will simply walk away rather than pay another £160.  If your spending is down sharply on what it was, it is difficult to justify the fee in terms of the extra miles you will earn.

Our article on the £40 annual fee refund for Virgin Flying Club credit card customers is here.

American Express ‘Shop Small’ launched and continues until September

American Express has launched a new ‘Shop Small’ initiative to support independent shops and give you up to £50 cashback on purchases.

Starting on 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.

The BA Amex offer at Tesco, Waitrose, M&S and Deliveroo continues

Holders of the British Airways Premium Plus American Express currently have 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.

American Express Business Gold Card
American Express launched new benefits for Business Gold cardholders

American Express has previously launched a range of ‘added value’ offers for Business Platinum cardholders.   These were generous, including £150 cashback on a £150 Dell spend and 10 x £20 cashbacks on £20 Currys PC World spends, amongst others.

American Express Business Gold cardholders got their own package of deals in July.  The following offers should now be showing on the ‘Offers’ section of your online card statement page:

Business Bundle worth up to £100: Spend £20 or more and get £20 back – ONLINE ONLY – with O2 Business, Google Store, Currys PC World and Carphone Warehouse. Valid up to five times until 31st December.

Dropbox: Receive up to 40% back on Dropbox online, valid once up to £50 statement credit. Valid until 28th November 2020.

Dell Technologies: Get 10% back, each time you spend with Dell Technologies, in statement credit up to £1,000. Valid until 1st September 2020.

This clearly isn’t as generous as the Business Platinum offer, but Business Gold has a 75% smaller annual fee!

This article on the Business Platinum offer lists a few items on the Currys PC World website which come in at around £20.  Our article on the Amex Business Gold cashback deals is here.

American Express still has a 30,000 point bonus on the DOLLAR / EURO versions of the Platinum card

Finally, a reminder that 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 July:

American Express buys £750 million of Avios in return for an extension of its British Airways credit card contract

Why Taj Inner Circle Gold is your semi-secret sixth Amex Platinum hotel status

Review: Is the Bank of Ireland Avios credit card from Aer Lingus AerClub worth the fee?

American Express launches luxury shopping cashback offers

Your Marriott Bonvoy ‘bonus’ elite nights have posted – should you now get the credit card?

John Lewis and Waitrose Partnership Mastercard credit card cuts its cashback rate – what’s the best alternative?

How I am maximising the American Express Business Platinum £150 Dell cashback offer

£40 fee rebate for Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card holders

American Express launches new benefits for Business Gold cardholders

You will now receive your Dell cashback from American Express Business Platinum!

HMRC changes its rules for tax payments by business debit card


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – October 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our October 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.

The following offers will end soon:

  • 10,000 Avios on British Airways American Express (ends 2nd November)
  • 40,000 Avios on British Airways American Express Premium Plus (ends 2nd November)
  • 60,000 points on The Platinum Card from American Express (ends 2nd November)
  • 30,000 points on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (ends 9th November)

Here are the top current deals:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee 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

Amex Platinum Business American Express

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 card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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

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 (38)

  • Donna says:

    Would be interested to hear about the best option to pay the HMRC bill outside of paying curve.

    • Crafty says:

      Tesco Bank if it’s a personal tax account.

      • Rob says:

        …. no longer available to new applicants.

        For personal, not business, tax try the Lufthansa card which is actually a prepaid debit.

        • Spaghetti Town says:

          Can you get around cash advance fees with the M&M card then Rob if paying HMRC? I’m likely going to have to pay them this year for the first time ever.

          • Rob says:

            The M&M card is a debit card, HMRC accepts debit cards. End of story. No involvement of Curve for clarity.

          • Spaghetti Town says:

            Thanks for clarifying rob.

  • Gary_Dexter says:

    The Amazon Platinum Card must be the most rewarding now surely, if you’re a prime member?

    • Gary_Dexter says:

      0.75% for a non-Prime member, yes.
      But as a Prime member it’s 1.50%, no?

      Earn 1.5 Amazon Reward Points per £2 spent at Amazon.co.uk,
      Earn 0.5 Amazon Reward Point per £2 spent everywhere else

      For eligible Amazon Prime members:
      Earn 3 Amazon Reward Points per £2 spent at Amazon.co.uk,
      Earn 0.5 Amazon Reward Point per £2 spent everywhere else

      • Rob says:

        Yes, sorry. It is still depends how your JL / Waitrose spend compares with Amazon spend though.

  • makrxx says:

    Does the paid version of the BA Amex tend to have better sign up offers than what is currently on offer?

    • Jay H says:

      No sadly not. Get referred though and get a couple thousand more

  • Nicholas says:

    You mention that “Virgin Money makes it virtually impossible to swap to the free card (it can be done but the effort required is crazy)”. What does Virgin Money require?

    • David D says:

      A £2 billion bailout interest free loan, with zero equity provided, paid back sometime after never.

    • Wally1976 says:

      I think, in short, you’ll be rejected for the free card then you have to appeal

  • Nigel Cohen says:

    With the British Airways Premium Plus Amex offer on Tesco M&S & Apple etc if you accessed the Apple website through the BA shopping portal (6 Avios per £ spent) would that still qualify for the Amex offer?

    • David D says:

      Yes, you do.

      • JohnT says:

        Ba avios offer doesn’t trigger if you use the new M&S app to scan/pay in food stores as it uses a payment aggregator. Mind you quite a pain to use so far.
        Some shop small places use aggregator for direct in store purchases and Amex will credit these if you message them (not excluded in t&c)

  • Spaghetti Town says:

    I will not of held a British Airways Amex for 2 years come January 2021.

    I have however, since then, held Amex MR cards and still have the basic card now.

    Will i be entitled to the sign up bonus on the BA card?

    • Peter K says:

      On the premium card yes (£195 fee) if you have not held a BA amex (free or premium) for 2years.

    • Rob says:

      BAPP yes, free BA no.

      • Spaghetti Town says:

        Thanks both. Was intending on getting PP so this should be fine.

      • Paul says:

        My wife has only ever been supplementary on a BAPP and had Amex Gold in her own name which was cancelled about 12 months ago – would she qualify for sign-up bonus If taking out BAPP now in her own name?

  • S says:

    OT: Just called BA for a refund of a flight that was cancelled by them, LGW-LAS in CW, 137500 Avios + £643 in taxes.

    Was offered 90k Avios instead of the £643 refund. Obviously took the Avios.

    • Dan says:

      That’s brave….

    • Reeferman says:

      I agree, a good deal if you’re in need of AVIOS.
      I wonder if it’s negotiable – if you said you’d accept if they offered 100k AVIOS, for example.
      I’m waiting for BA to cancel my Oct flight to IAD. If it does – and I’m offered a similar deal – will see what happens.
      Otherwise, hopefully someone can find out in the meantime.

      • S says:

        To be honest £643 for 90k seemed such a good deal that I didn’t even consider negotiating. Maybe I should have.

        I wasn’t exactly in a need of Avios, but I also don’t expect devaluation anytime soon. So it seemed pretty solid.

  • rk says:

    Can anyone confirm what the referral bonus is from a PRG prior to 29th June 2020, was it 9kMR?

    • Lee says:

      yes

      • rk says:

        Thanks, is there any documentation to back this up? Or anywhere I can get some just in case if needed when points post and if not correct.

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