UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 2021: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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 Card Offers’ menu above. Thank you.
With travel, at least domestically, and life in general hopefully getting back to some level of normality, we are bringing back the regular HfP features which were suspended last year.
Today 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.
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 May and early June?
One topic has been dominating the travel rewards credit card news in the last week – the substantial changes to the British Airways American Express cards.
What are the changes to the British Airways American Express credit cards?
I don’t want to go into the details again, but there are the five articles you should read if you missed them last week:
- From 1st September, new 2-4-1 vouchers earned with the free British Airways American Express credit card can ONLY be used for Economy flights. On the positive side, the amount of spending required is reduced to £12,000 from £20,000.
- The fee on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express credit card is increasing from £195 to £250
- 2-4-1 vouchers on the Premium Plus card issued after 1st September will have a VERY valuable new feature – they will book into I-class revenue seats as well as standard Avios seats. This makes it substantially more likely that you will be able to redeem Avios for Club World on the flight you want.
- You cannot combine a 2-4-1 companion voucher earned after 1st September 2021 with one earned before that date – this is problem for families of four who use two vouchers earned by the same person to do ‘1+3’ redemptions
- If you get a free or £30 British Airways Premium Plus Amex because of other American Express cards you have held in the past, the game is up – I have saved over £3,000 thanks to this deal
Amex launches a hugely generous targetted offer on the BA Accelerating Business credit card
If you received an email from American Express encouraging your small business to sign up for the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card, don’t delete it.
It is a hugely generous deal, with an additional bonus of 50,000 Avios for signing up.
Importantly, you qualify for the bonus irrespective of whatever other American Express cards you hold.
The Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card finally died
31st May was the last day to use your Lloyds Avios Rewards Mastercard.
With no sign of a pure-play Avios replacement Visa or Mastercard yet, this article looks at the best replacements for the Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card.
For most people, one of the two Virgin Atlantic Reward credit cards will be the most valuable alternative.
All Marriott Bonvoy American Express cardholders were offered 1,500 bonus points
It is, by far, not the most exciting credit card deal of the year, but if you have the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card in a drawer you may want to dig it out.
You will receive 500 bonus Bonvoy point each time you cumulatively spend £500, up to a total of 1,500 bonus points.
This takes you to 3 Bonvoy points per £1 for your £1,500 of spending. This was, of course, the standard earning rate on the card before it was cut in the 2020 card relaunch.
This article explains more, as well as highlighting the impressive 41 airline partners which Bonvoy has. For many of those 41 airlines, this credit card is the only way of earning miles from plastic in the UK.
Our full review of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express is here and you can apply here. The real benefit is the 15 elite night credits you receive each year.
B&Q will now accept American Express cards
The last major national retailer which did not accept American Express cards, B&Q, has folded.
Amex cards are now accepted in all stores – I don’t think they are valid online yet.
Full details about B&Q’s American Express move are in this article.
The Amex bonus for free BA American Express cardholders continues
In April 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
We ran an updated series on Barclays Avios Rewards
During May we updated most of our articles on Barclays Avios Rewards, for those interesting in signing up – and you can get 43,000 Avios in your first year.
Have a look here:
You can apply here.
Nectar launched in-store points earnings with Nectar Connect
Nectar has launched its own card-based in-store points earning scheme, called Nectar Connect.
Other people, notably British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, have tried their own versions of this but it hasn’t take off with retailers. Nectar is launching with a fairly wide selection so lets see if this is more successful.
All you do is link your credit and debit cards to a Nectar Connect account. Each time you use that payment card in a participating store, you will earn Nectar points. Simple.
Amex still has a 30,000 point bonus on the Dollar / Euro versions of the Platinum card
Finally, a reminder that Amex is still running a 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 over the last month:
I should also remind you that Amex Shop Small is now live, getting you £5 back on £15 purchases at participating retailers.
What are the best travel credit card sign-up deals for June?
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
10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
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
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee 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.
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
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
60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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.