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What are the best credit card sign-up deals for May 2021? – plus your news round-up

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UPDATE – MAY 2024:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.  We produce a monthly directory of the top UK travel credit card offers – please click HERE or use the ‘Credit Cards’ menu above.  Thank you.

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With travel and life in general hopefully getting back to some level of normality this month, we are bringing back the regular HfP features which were suspended last year.

Today it is time to welcome back 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 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, RSS 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 April and early May?

American Express has been dominating the travel rewards credit card news in the last few weeks:

ENDS 12th MAY – Get up to 74,000 points between you by referring a friend to American Express

For a limited period, from 7th April to 12th May 2021, American Express has SUBSTANTIALLY increased the bonuses on their ‘invite a friend’ referral programme.

Not only will your friends receive an increased bonus if they’re approved by 12th May 2021, but you will receive an even bigger bonus for inviting them.

You and a friend could share up to 74,000 Membership Rewards points or 42,000 Avios between you from just ONE successful referral.

74,000 points would require a Platinum cardholder to refer someone for the same card. 42,000 Avios would require a British Airways Premium Plus cardholder to refer someone for the same card.

If you are looking to apply for a Gold, Platinum or BA Amex to benefit from the higher bonus and don’t have a friend to refer you, email and we will sort you out with a referral link.

Your friend must be approved by 12th May, so I recommend applying no later than 10th May.

Full details of Amex’s improved referral bonuses are in this article.

Get 29,900 points worth 29,900 Avios with Capital On Tap’s Business Rewards Visa card

If you have a Limited Company then this exclusive Head for Points offer is for you.

We are covering it again this weekend so I won’t go into all the details here. Basically, a £99 annual fee gets you a sign-up bonus worth 29,900 Avios and you will earn 1 Avios for every £1 you spend.

Full details of our Capital On Tap offer are here. You must own or run a Limited Company or Partnership to take part.

HFP Capital on Tap business Visa credit card blue

Amex Gold adds £120 per year of Deliveroo credit

American Express has been working to add non-travel benefits to its proprietary cards in recent months. It is an attempt to reduce the number of cancellations from people who feel the non-travel benefits no longer justify the fee.

The new Amex Gold / Deliveroo partnership announced this week is easily the most significant. Giving out 2 x £5 monthly credits (no minimum spend required) on a card which is free for the first year is a big step.

Throw in the sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which converts via Avios into £160 of Nectar points, and you are looking at a first year package worth at least £280 plus two airport lounge passes – and the card is free for the first year.

If this goes well for Amex it could open up Gold to a whole new market. Full details of the Deliveroo / American Express Gold partnership are in this article.

Amex reduces the cashback on its Platinum Cashback and Vitality credit cards

Oddly, the day before adding £120 of Deliveroo credit to Amex Gold, American Express cut the cashback rate on the two Platinum Cashback cards and the Vitality card.

Because the cashback rate was so strong, the Platinum Cashback cards are still massively more rewarding than any Visa or Mastercard cashback card.

However, oddly, they are now less rewarding than the free British Airways American Express card, assuming you convert the Avios to Nectar and treat it as pseudo-cash.

You can learn more about the changes to Platinum Cashback in this article.

Amazon Business adds a sweetener to its American Express card

For a limited period, one of the two Amazon Business credit cards, the Amazon Business American Express Card is waiving its annual fee. This saves you £50.

In addition to the first year free, you receive a £25 Amazon Gift Card upon approval.

Day to day, you will earn 1.5% back in Amazon Rewards for purchases at Amazon, and 0.5% back elsewhere.

This card is well worth considering if your business or SME makes regular Amazon purchases. It’s worth noting that there isn’t a minimum spend required to trigger the £25 Amazon Gift Card.

You can find out more about the Amazon Business American Express offer in this article.

Amazon Business Prime silver card

Curve Card adds cashback rewards

If your Curve Card has been languishing in a drawer recently, you may want to dig it out.

Curve has launched a series of cashback rewards, similar to those offered by American Express. What is odd is that Curve is generally paying you 5% whilst identical offers on other cards are paying 10%-15%. Is Curve pocketing the difference?

I won’t complain, however, as there is a 5% Selfridges cashback deal on mine which I don’t have on any other card. You can find out more about Curve’s new cashback rewards here.

Amex launched a bonus for free BA American Express cardholders

Last month, American Express launched an Avios bonus offer on the British Airways Premium Plus card. It has now rolled out a similar offer to holders of the free BA Amex card:

This is how it works:

  • You receive 1 bonus Avios for every £2 you spend
  • This is on top of the usual earning rate of Avios per £1
  • The bonus is capped at 1,500 Avios, representing £3,000 of spending
  • The promotion ends on 19th July
  • Spending by supplementary cardholders does not count

You can find out more about the British Airways American Express bonus points offer in this article.

The Lloyds Avios Rewards cards are closing on 31st May

Lloyds Bank has announced that the Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards are finally closing for good.

Anyone who still has one of these cards will be switched to a cashback credit card on 1st June. It isn’t a very good cashback card, so I recommend looking for something else.

This article discusses the best credit card replacements for the Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card.

Singapore Airlines is offering Star Alliance status if you transfer American Express points

This is one of the more intriguing offers we’ve seen in recent months. Singapore Airlines is giving out status points to people who transfer points from partners, including HSBC and American Express in the UK.

This means that if you move enough points across, Star Alliance Gold status could be yours. You can find out more about getting Singapore Airlines status from points transfers in this article.

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 April and early May:

Amex cuts the payout on its Platinum Cashback credit cards

Curve Card launches cashback rewards

Share up to 74,000 points per card referring your friends to Amex

How to buy a car with an American Express card

Save on flights and hotels with a new £50 American Express Travel cashback credit

Why our Capital on Tap Visa promo may work even if you can’t spend £5,000

NEW: Earn bonus points adding someone to your Marriott, Nectar or ARCC Amex card

Your questions on our 29,900 points Capital on Tap Visa offer answered

NEW: Get a bonus worth 29,900 Avios or £299 with Capital on Tap’s Business Rewards Visa

Four credit cards worth keeping just for their benefits, even if you don’t use them

Which Virgin Atlantic card should replace your Lloyds Avios Rewards Mastercard?

NEW: Is Clubcard Pay an easy way of earning Virgin Points or other rewards?

What benefits come with the Amazon Business American Express cards?

EXCLUSIVE: American Express Shop Small to return in June, tweaked

Get bonus Membership Rewards points at Sainsbury’s

Which is the best American Express cashback credit card?

Get Star Alliance Gold and Virgin Clubhouse access by transferring your Amex points

NEW: get a £25 gift card and pay no annual fee for a year with Amazon Business American Express card

Are the best UK cashback credit cards a good alternative to miles and points cards?

An interesting Amex Membership Rewards / KrisFlyer arbitrage has opened up

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 (19)

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

  • Lloyd says:

    Any news or even rumours about either a higher sign up bonus coming up with the VA plus card or the IHG Mastercard premium opening its doors again?

    • Rob says:

      No. Virgin Money accounts came out this week and losses (bad debt) are lower than forecast so we may see some new customer acquisition activity.

  • FCP says:

    Any news on the miles and more replacement card?

  • Justin says:

    I added the BAPP to my collection a week after the referral bonus started. Met the intro spend and points were added straight away! For those who are referred, the intro bonus trackers does not reflect the additional bonus points you’ll get I.e. it showed I would get 25k but got the full 30k bonus.

    Also, does anyone know when the last transfer bonus of MR to Avios was in the UK and at what the best transfer rate has been? I’m currently saving my leftover MR to hopefully get a transfer boost!

    • Rhys says:

      We haven’t had one for years

      • Justin says:

        That’s a shame to hear, especially after the Avios Bonus boost the US just had. I certainly won’t hold my breath then but will hold out until closer to the time I’ll need Avios…. hopefully by the time I need them, there will have been a bonus.

        • Rhys says:

          You might be waiting a long time!

        • Genghis says:

          You should keep points in convertible currencies for as long as possible. 1 MR converts to 1 avios but 1MR = 1 avios + the option value.

  • Mark says:

    Just a warning for anyone waiting for their 100,000 platinum points. If you’ve made the spend and don’t intend to spend anymore and are awaiting the points I suggest a chat with Amex. I’d spent about 13k on my card and queried where my bonus was. They said they only had £9400 spend recorded! They had to adjust it manually!

    • CarpalTravel says:

      Thanks for the warning, did they give any reason for the discrepancy? Had the “normal” points tracked and show as 13k+?

      • Rob says:

        That is very weird, never seen this before with Amex.

        • Benilyn says:

          Rob this has happened with all my Amex biz cards, the first few days (maybe a week) of spend does not track on the SUP tracker (personal tracks immediately). So all those who have just hit the bare minimum, need to go back to their Points Summary page and see the initial spend that was added as “Adjustment Points”, and that’s an indication of spend that has not been added to SUP tracker. They fob you off with the 3 month thing, so I just spent more to trigger.

  • Alex says:

    Any suggestion on the part of AMEX the current higher referral offer may be extended by at least a week? My 2 years window for a MR card doesn’t expire until the week of May 17 🙁

  • Robert says:

    Any more hints at why we should wait to get the Marriott Bonvoy card rather than using an increased referral bonus now?

    • Rob says:

      You can’t get an increased referral bonus on Bonvoy.

  • Robert says:

    The increased referral from another card, I mean. I think Rhys hinted in an recent thread that it’s worth holding off getting a Bonvoy card as something for new holders only was coming down the line…

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

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