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MBNA adding cashback rewards to its credit cards

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Many HfP readers have an MBNA credit card, primarily the (not available to the general public) Horizon card:

For the benefit of new readers, MBNA used to dominate the ‘air miles’ credit card market in the UK. At its peak, it issued cards for:

  • American
  • bmi British Midland (many versions!)
  • Emirates (x 2 versions)
  • Etihad
  • Lufthansa
  • United
  • Virgin Atlantic (x 2 versions)

With the introduction of the cap on interchange fees, MBNA decided to withdraw from the affinity market and put itself up for sale, eventually being purchased by Lloyds Bank.

MBNA Smart Rewards

Most people who held one of these cards were offered something called the Horizon card. This is, frankly, an amazingly good piece of plastic:

  • It’s a Visa card
  • which gives 0.5% cashback
  • and which has no foreign exchange fees

You don’t earn any points, but for non-UK spending it is a great product.

MBNA is now introducing Amex-style cashback rewards

MBNA is about to launch ‘Smart Rewards’. There is a holding page here on their website and a FAQ here.

All cardholders will see potential ‘Smart Rewards’ offers as long as they are registered for online card servicing.

As with Amex, you need to manually opt in to each offer that you think may interest you.

Cashback will be added to your card balance once per month. You will be able to see ‘pending’ payments online so you will know that an offer has successfully triggered.

The companies shown as typical of the partners who will be involved are:

  • Co-Op
  • LNER trains
  • Hilton
  • Costa Coffee

To quote:

If you’d like shopping to be a little more rewarding, MBNA Smart Rewards could be the perfect fit:

  • Browse available offers and pick out the ones which suit you best.
  • Keep track of the cashback you’ve earned in the Smart Rewards hub.
  • Coming to Online Card Services soon, and launching on our app in early 2021.

It’s the cherry on top of that ice cream sundae… an extra banana in the bunch. Up to 15% cashback on the things you buy regularly soon adds up, but you might also be inspired to try something new.

At present, we don’t know any more. It is good to see Lloyds Bank extending this scheme, which is already available via some of its other brands, to MBNA.

The key point at present is that, if you were thinking of cancelling a legacy MBNA credit card for any reason, you may want to hold on.


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

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our July 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. Here are the other top current deals:

British Airways American Express card

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

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 – 20,000 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

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

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

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 (51)

  • MattB says:

    Don’t forget the horizon card doesn’t even have the usual ATM fees you pay in the USA if you withdraw from a BofA cash point. Can be very lucrative in somewhere like Vegas where $5 to $10 is the norm.

  • Alex Sm says:

    It’s an amazing card and I keep promoting it elsewhere and use abroad. The only issue is the high APR

  • ADS says:

    The 0.5% is calculated on a transaction basis – and each transaction is rounded down to the nearest £2

    So you never actually earn anything like 0.5% – it’s a marketing gimmick

    Although not as bad as the Tesco credit card rounding !

    • Will says:

      Harsh… each transaction cash back is rounded down to the penny. So not far from 0.5% total unless you only spend in small transactions

      • ADS says:

        spend £1.99 get 0p back – 0.0% return
        spend £2 get 1p back – 0.5% return
        spend £3.99 get 1p back – 0.25% return

        good luck getting anywhere close to 0.5% on day to day spending !

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