A few days later than usual (I am aware it is 15th December!), 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.
Note that TODAY, Tuesday 15th, is the last day to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Hilton Honors for the 25% bonus.
Our directory of the 12 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 November?
The big news in November came from Lufthansa, of all places.
The Miles & More credit card was closed to new applications, with plans to relaunch in mid 2021
We had suspected that changes were afoot with the Miles & More Global Traveller Card, and we were correct – see here.
The card, currently an odd double pack of a Diners Club card and a prepaid debit Mastercard, has been closed to new applicants.
It will relaunch in Summer 2021 as a Visa product. It reads as if it will remain a prepaid debit product, operating as a charge card.
The card has proved a revelation for me. The earning rate is huge – 1.25 miles per £1 – and because the Mastercard element is a debit card it is accepted by places such as HMRC with no fees.
You can learn more here. We will let you know when we learn more about the replacement product.
Amex launches a Membership Rewards transfer bonus to Hilton Honors – ENDS TODAY
Today, Tuesday 15th, is your last day to take advantage of the American Express Membership Rewards transfer bonus to Hilton Honors.
The standard transfer rate from Membership Rewards to Hilton Honors is 1:2. Under this promotion, it is 2:5 (ie 1 to 2.5) as you can see here. This means that you are getting 25% more Hilton Honors points than you would usually get.
Here is the small print from the Membership Rewards website:
“Minimum transfer is 200 Membership Rewards points and maximum transfer of 499,950 points. Points need to be transferred in increments of 50 points. Redeem for this exclusive offer from 04:00am GMT on 17 November 2020 to 11:59pm on 15 December 2020. Please note that your points will be transferred to your Hilton Honors account within five working days. Please allow up to two weeks for the additional Hilton Honors Bonus Points to be awarded. Hilton Honors Bonus Points do not count towards elite tier qualification.”
In general, with any bonus, 25% should not be a game changer for you. 50%, probably. 100%, definitely. However, 25% shouldn’t be enough to persuade you to do something that you wouldn’t otherwise have done.
This is because your estimate of the value you will get from the points is always going to be an educated guess, and you could easily be 25% off. I tend to value a Hilton point at 0.33p which means that you are getting 0.82p of Hilton points per Amex point. You can do better than that with other partners such as Avios.
You can find out more in this HfP article.
Collect Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles?
The offer ends on 27th December. You can read more here.
Amex Gold in Spain switches to Priority Pass – UK to follow?
American Express Gold cardholders in Spain have been told that the Lounge Club card, which gives two free airport lounge visits each year, is turning into a Priority Pass. The ‘two free visits’ rule will still apply.
If this happens to the UK Amex Gold card too, it would be an improvement. Despite the fact that both Lounge Club and Priority Pass are owned by the same group, Lounge Club has a smaller reach. I have always assumed that it paid less to lounges.
This would be a sensible tidying up of the lounge card portfolios. One upside for the owners is that you can buy a stand-alone Priority Pass (here’s their Black Friday deal which is still running) but you cannot buy a standalone Lounge Club card.
You can be sure that a percentage of people who cancel Amex Gold will choose to buy a Priority Pass to retain that benefit. At present, anyone who tries to buy a Lounge Club membership will be disappointed.
Amex Platinum extended the £400 of free Marriott hotel credit to 31st December
This will now be a moot point for many, since London has dropped into Tier 3 covid restrictions, but American Express extended the £400 Marriott credit offered to many Platinum cardholders to 31st December.
Even if you live in London, it was arguably worth booking a stay and having a few drinks or a meal to get to exactly £400 purely to earn the Marriott Bonvoy points.
A base level member would earn (£400 – 5% VAT x $1.32 x 10 points per $1) 5,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, whilst an elite member would receive a status bonus on top.
It is unlikely that London will drop out of Tier 3 by 31st December, however, which means that anyone who was yet to use their credit will lose it.
You can read more in our article here.
EXTENDED: American Express is letting Business cardholders sell their Membership Rewards points for 0.9p
American Express is 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. It has now been extended to 31st December from the original closing date of 18th November.
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.
Amex doubled the sign-up bonus on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold to 20,000 points (=20,000 Avios)
This change actually happened in October but I want to flag it again in case you missed it. It is about 18 months since Amex cut the sign-up bonus on Preferred Rewards Gold to 10,000 Membership Rewards points.
This doesn’t seem to have worked out too well, because the bonus is now back at 20,000 Membership Rewards points. These convert into 20,000 Avios, 20,000 Virgin Points and loads of other things.
A lot of HfP readers won’t qualify for the bonus. If you have had a personal Amex card (not a supplementary) in the past 24 months, you don’t qualify. However, does your partner? Your adult children? Your parents?
They could apply, issue a supplementary card to you and then you could focus on doing the required £3,000 of spending within 90 days to trigger the bonus.
Amex 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 November:
What are the best travel credit card sign-up deals for December?
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
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
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
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:
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
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.