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What are the best credit card sign-up deals for September? – 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.

We have also included a round-up of all of the loyalty credit card news from the last month.

Best UK credit card sign up bonuses

Our directory of the 15 main UK travel credit and charge cards can be found by clicking the ‘Credit Card Offers’ tab at the top of the site or – for email, Flipboard, Apple News or mobile readers – by clicking here. We have also introduced a separate directory for small business credit cards which is here.

What was new in August?

Holders of the free British Airways American Express can earn 1,000 bonus Avios by spending £2,000

American Express launched a deal offering one bonus Avios for every £2 spent on the free British Airways American Express card by 25th October.

Your bonus is capped at 1,000 Avios. You MUST register by opting in via the ‘Offers’ tab in the Amex app or on your online statement page.

For clarity, since we made a mistake in our original article, this offer is NOT valid for holders of the Premium Plus card.

You can find out all about the deal in this article.

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic made SUBSTANTIAL improvements to its credit cards

Virgin Atlantic surprised us all by making substantial improvements to the vouchers that come with the two Virgin Atlantic Reward credit cards.

As a reminder, you receive a voucher each year when you spend £20,000 on the free Reward card or £10,000 on the £160 Reward+ card.

Here is what is new:

You can use the voucher to get a 2-4-1 voucher. This is now valid on cash OR miles tickets. It is also valid in ALL classes for the first time. However, if you have no Virgin Flying Club status you need to pay 50% of the usual miles for the 2nd ticket if it is in Upper Class.

You can also use the voucher to upgrade a return flight (or upgrade one way for two people). This is now valid in ALL classes so Premium to Upper is acceptable.

You can also use the voucher to visit a Virgin Clubhouse lounge. This is now valid if you are flying with Delta, Air France or KLM as well as Virgin Atlantic.

This article explains the changes to the Virgin Atlantic credit card voucher in detail.

In summary, the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are now a lot more attractive.

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

American Express cut the time to earn the sign-up bonus on new cards to three months

During lockdown, American Express became more lenient in letting you earn the sign-up bonus on its credit cards.

The time frame to spend £500 to £4,000 – it varies by card – was extended to six months.

During August, this offer was withdrawn. If you apply for an American Express card now, you will only have the usual three months to earn the sign-up bonus. Here is our full article on Amex sign-up bonus deadlines.

American Express Platinum card

American Express is letting Business cardholders sell their Membership Rewards points for 0.9p

American Express is, until 18th November, letting Business Gold and Business Platinum cardholders sell their Membership Rewards points for 0.9p each.

This is a very generous deal, and better than the majority of miles and points redemption options.

You ‘sell’ your points by using them to part-pay for items on your card statement. The usual rate is a poor £4.50 per 1,000 points redeemed, but it is currently doubled to an excellent £9 per 1,000 points redeemed.

Our full article on redeeming American Express Business Membership Rewards points for 0.9p is here.

American Express Business Gold card

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

Amex is also letting Preferred Rewards Gold cardholders sell their points

A similar offer was launched for Preferred Rewards Gold cardholders, valid until 1st October.

The rate is not as impressive. You only receive £6.75 per 1,000 points.

This is NOT a no-brainer and you should think carefully because you can get better value for your points. It isn’t a terrible deal, however, and if your job is currently looking uncertain you may prefer the certainty of cash.

Details of the Amex Gold Membership Rewards redemption offer are here. The deal runs to 1st October.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 10,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

Buy 1,000 Membership Rewards points for £6 with Santander Cycles

Here’s one of the odd little deals we cover now and again.

Santander Cycles is running an offer on targeted American Express Membership Rewards cards. You will receive 1,000 bonus points when you make three transactions.

The smallest purchase is £2, so you can get 1,000 points for £6.

You do NOT need to live in London to do this. You can use the Santander Cycles app to buy a £2 day pass for the system, even if you never pick up a bike. I proved this works.

Full details of the Amex / Santander Cycles deal is here. A follow-up article showing that it worked for me is here.

Santander Cycles TFL Boris bikes

American Express ‘Shop Small’ continues

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

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.

American Express Shop Small Summer 2020

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

Holders of the British Airways Premium Plus American Express have a good ‘bonus Avios’ offer available for another three days.

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. You could also buy gift cards at Waitrose for use in Waitrose or John Lewis.

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

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

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 Platinum improves its travel insurance

American Express Platinum made some changes to its travel insurance during August.

The cover previously had strong rules on pre-existing conditions and sports exclusions, although they were not rigorously applied in my experience.

The company has now published a long list of pre-existing conditions and sports – including menopause, constipation, rounders and badminton! – which will no longer disqualify you from insurance cover.

Full details are in this article on American Express Platinum travel insurance terms.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Amex still has a 30,000 point bonus on the Dollar / Euro versions of the Platnium 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 August:

Review: the American Express Platinum Cashback credit cards

Buy 1,000 Amex Membership Rewards points for £6 with Boris Bikes – even if you’re not in London

Thinking of cancelling your American Express Gold or Platinum card?

What is the best Virgin Atlantic credit card?

The Virgin Atlantic credit cards just got a LOT more valuable

Now Amex Business cardholders can sell their Membership Rewards points for 0.9p!

CHANGED: You now only have three months to trigger American Express sign-up bonuses

American Express Platinum card improves its travel insurance

Received a Harrods American Express card invitation? This is what it offers.

Got Amex Gold? American Express will pay you 0.675p CASH for your Membership Rewards points

Why on earth do we recommend a Diners Club card?

Got an SME? American Express will pay your wage bill, HMRC and rent for a fee and give you points!

SME? Get 40,000 points with American Express Business Platinum

visa mastercard credit card best bonus

What are the best travel credit card sign-up deals for September?

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 card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

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

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 10,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

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

Head for Points focusses primarily on personal cards. However, if you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these:

American Express Business Gold card

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

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 small business 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.

Comments (13)

  • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    I was about to comment how slick the main image looks but you got the HSBC card wrong because Mastercards begin with a 5…but then I checked the HSBC website and it’s actually their mistake!

    Amazing how things like that jump out at you after you spend too long in the industry.

  • Alex says:

    I closed my BA Premium Plus in September 2018, since then am using Amex Gold. Am I eligible for sing up bonus if I apply for PP card now?
    Another question, is there any way to check the exact day of the account closure? It was definitely in September, but I don’t remember on what day.

  • daftboy says:

    Any recommendations for a good credit card with no FX fees?

    I have had a Tandem card for a few years now (which I stuck with when they introduced the monthly fee) – but I’ve recently received an email informing me they are shutting down from 2 November, which is not a great surprise to be fair.

    I think I’ll prob go for Barclaycard Rewards, which has no FX fee and 0.25% cashback (better than nothing) – other suggestions welcome!

  • Paul74 says:

    Thanks for the update Rob. The Reward+ Virgin card would definitely be appealing as my regular non Amex card with the improvements you’ve described…but I think I’ll be holding back until I have more confidence in the airline. In the meantime, the £99 IHG card serves me well (although the fact that they aren’t taking new applications does make me wonder how long it will last for).

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      The Creation Marriott card is still going even though it was withdrawn five years ago, so fingers crossed.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Though it was withdrawn because no one at Marriott had the correct licence to be able to market a credit product.

        • Rob says:

          Marriott had to stop advertising it on their site, yes, because they didn’t have a licence. Didn’t mean it had to be closed though!

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I meant it was effectively closed to new applicants as Marriott couldn’t advertise their own card.

            I didn’t mean that meant it had to be closed for existing card holder.

      • Paul74 says:

        No complaints if it keeps going for that long!