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MBNA Smart Rewards credit card cashback offers get slightly more interesting

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Back in November 2020, we covered the launch of MBNA Smart Rewards. This is a new in-store cashback scheme which pays out when you use your MBNA card in participating shops.

Many HfP readers have an MBNA credit card, primarily the (not available to the general public) Horizon card.

For the benefit of new readers, MBNA used to dominate the ‘air miles’ credit card market in the UK. At its peak, it issued cards for:

  • American
  • bmi British Midland (many versions!)
  • Emirates (x 2 versions)
  • Etihad
  • Lufthansa
  • United
  • Virgin Atlantic (x 2 versions)

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.

Most people who held one of these cards were offered something called the Horizon card. This is, frankly, an amazingly good piece of plastic:

  • It’s a Visa card
  • which gives 0.5% cashback
  • and which has no foreign exchange fees

You don’t earn any points, but for non-UK spending it is a great product.

When Smart Rewards launched, I thought it would make a great card even better. I was wrong. The selection of offers has been shockingly poor, at least given my purchasing patterns.

Current retailers on my list include such high profile retailers as GO Outdoors, Apex Hotels, shopDisney, Weird Fish, Q-Park, tails.com, Ann Summers and Mainline Menswear. I have earned a grand total of 31p cashback so far.

It seems that things may be picking up though. A HfP reader sent me the following screenshot of offers which appeared on his card this week:

MBNA Smart Rewards

I can only dream of such offers, but if you haven’t looked at your MBNA Smart Rewards options recently it may be worth checking again.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – November 2022 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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £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.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 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

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus 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:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

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

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

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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 credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

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