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MBNA Smart Rewards – the new cashback scheme – is now live

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Back in November, we tipped you off about the upcoming launch of MBNA Smart Rewards.

This is MBNA’s attempt to compete with Amex’s market-leading cashback offers. It is now active.

Many HfP readers have an MBNA credit card because at one point it issued 13 different airline cards.

MBNA Smart Rewards

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.

When those cards closed, most cardholders were offered a market-leading card called Horizon with no foreign exchange fees and 0.5% cashback. I think most people who got offered it decided to keep it, because it is a decent option for overseas spend.

MBNA Smart Rewards

How does ‘Smart Rewards’ work?

At present, MBNA Smart Rewards is only available via the website. It is apparently coming to the app soon. This is good news because, as the app is OK, I hadn’t used the website for well over a year until I was researching this piece yesterday.

There is more information here on their website and a FAQ here.

When you log in to the website, you will see a reference to ‘Smart Rewards’. Click on that and you will be asked if you want to activate it or not.

You will see a screen like this:

MBNA Smart Rewards

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.

I have seven offers showing at the moment:

  • Paul – 10% back
  • Huel – 10% back
  • Trespass – 10% back
  • Byron – 5% back
  • Europcar – 5% back
  • Land’s End – 15% back
  • Fortnum & Mason – 5% back

One obvious problem is that, as the screenshot shows, it is not immediately clear that you need to opt in. You need to click the little ‘down’ arrow for the registration box to show. I can imagine a lot of people not realising that registration is required.

This clearly isn’t a life-changing selection but, given the current lockdown, it would be unfair to judge how it will develop.


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

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our March 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

Until 9th April 2021, American Express is running the biggest sign-up bonuses ever seen on a UK payment card.

You will earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points on American Express Business Platinum (apply here) and 50,000 Membership Rewards points on American Express Business Gold (apply here) which is FREE for your first year. Points transfer 1:1 into Avios. Here are links to our reviews:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

100,000 points sign-up bonus – SPECIAL OFFER TO 9th APRIL – and a long list of travel ….. Read our full review

Amex American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

50,000 points sign-up bonus – SPECIAL OFFER TO 9th APRIL – and free for a year Read our full review

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:

Amex American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

50,000 points sign-up bonus – SPECIAL OFFER TO 9th APRIL – and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

100,000 points sign-up bonus – SPECIAL OFFER TO 9th APRIL – and a long list of travel ….. 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

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 (45)

  • Fenny says:

    Just taken out an MBNA card for a balance transfer, but even if I was using it for spending, none of these offers leap out and grab me at all. I’ve heard of 3 of them!

  • The Savage Squirrel says:

    I just got my card out of the drawer. As it’s my go-to card for foreign currency spend in situations where a crediut card is advisable, but not much else, it has had a quiet 2020 🙁

  • Dominic says:

    Huel offer would be very good if one was actually going to the office… their new Hot and Savoury range is perfect for a busy day.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Second this and the shakes while pretty terrible used to be good for journeys, certainly beat Esso sandwiches…

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