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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.

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? – May 2024 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

HUGE 60,000 POINTS BONUS UNTIL 3rd JULY and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

18,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year Read our full review

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 Business Credit Card

1% cashback uncapped* on all your business spending (T&C apply) Read our full review

Comments (45)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • 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…

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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