Heathrow Airport Parking

Airline Reward Credit Cards

Page updated: 6th of November 2018

This page contains the a comprehensive and regularly updated guide to the credit and charge cards offering air miles loyalty points.

Cards featured here include:

If you wish to check your credit score before applying for any of the cards listed, Experian lets you view your credit score for free every month.

Top Tip

The Curve Card offers an excellent, cost effective way to spend on a Visa or Mastercard reward credit card abroad. Rather than the card being charge in the local currency resulting in a ~3% transaction fee, purchases made in foreign currencies using Curve are charge to your card in pound stirling at the Mastercard wholesale exchange rate with curve adding a lower 1% transaction fee (ie. 1p per pound spend). Since some of the card listed have a points per pound spend value above 1p, spending abroad with curve can still result in a net gain. More information about the Curve Card can be found here.

It should be noted that by discussing credit and charge cards on this site, we are in effect, acting as a credit broker. Canis Media Ltd, trading as Expert with Points, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA FRN 792662) to act as a credit broker.

This is a journalistic website, as such, we merely describe different travel related credit card options available to you; it is your responsibility to determine whether these products are suitable for your financial circumstances. Nothing on Expert with Points should be seen as constituting financial advice. Recommendations given, for any financial products, are based on the benefits and perks they offer.

American Express

Preferred Rewards Gold Card

  • Impressive 20,000 points signup bonus (increased to 22,000 if referred by an existing card member or using the link on this page)
  • No card fee in the first year.

Annual fee: free for first year, then £140 Earn rate: 1 point per £1 - Apply

The representative APR is 57.6% variable, based on an annual fee of £140 and assumed credit limit of £1,200. The purchase rate is 22.9% variable.

Sign-up bonus: 20,000 Membership Rewards points (20,000 Avios) when you spend £2,000 in the first three months. 22,000 Membership Rewards points (22,000 Avios) if you are referred by an existing cardholder, or sign-up with this link.

Eligibility: You will not get the bonus if you have held a Platinum, Gold or Green Amex charge card or the American Express Rewards credit cards in the last six months.

Eligibility: You will be eligible if you hold any other AMEX issued card (i.e. BA, SPG, Nectar, cashback etc.).

On-going benefits include: Double points on all airline and foreign spend, double points on all spending on the Amex Travel website, 10% Hertz discount, US$75 in-hotel credit with 350 selected hotels worldwide, two free airport lounge passes each year. You receive an annual bonus of 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points if you spent £15,000 in the previous year.

Apply Here

The American Express Gold Rewards card offers an impressive sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Reward Points when you spend £2,000 in the first three months. This is equivalent to a £100 amazon gift card, however better value can be found by transferring points into other reward schemes. Membership Reward points can be converted into most major airline mileage schemes including Avios and Virgin Atlantic at a 1:1 rate. Combined with the waivered card fee during the first year (usually £140) makes this card a must have for any serious miles points collector.

Membership Rewards points can also be transferred into three hotel schemes: Starwood Preferred Guest (2 Membership Rewards points = 1 starpoint) Hilton Honors (1 Membership Rewards point = 2 Hilton Honors points) and Club Carlson (1 Membership Rewards point = 3 Gold Points).

You can get an even higher bonus of 22,000 Membership Rewards points if you are referred by an existing American Express Platinum or Gold cardholder. My referal code can be found here.

The other great benefits of this card include:

  • Earn rate: 1 point per £1
  • a bonus 10,000 Membership Rewards points after each year of Cardmembership when you spend at least £15,000 within the 12 month period of your Card anniversary. This benefit increase the points earning of this card to 1.67 points per pound spent for the first £15,000.
  • Supplementary cards can be added to your account - their spending counts towards the £15,000 'target' for the bonus points
  • Membership to Lounge Club - providing two complimentary lounge visits per year (subsequent visits cost £15 per person) at over 500 airport lounges around the world.
  • Access to "The Hotel Collection" by American Express. Enjoy a room upgrade (where available) and a US$75 hotel credit when you stay two consecutive nights at over 500 hotels worldwide including Hilton Hotels, Intercontinental and Hyatt Hotels when you book online via American Express Travel.
  • An often skipped over benefit from this card is the additional points earnt when spending directly at airlines or in foreign currency (2 points per pound spend). Whilst this card does have a FX fee of 2.9% the additional points can sometimes be justified. Addition points can also be earnt on bookings made directly through American Express Travel (3 points per pound).

After the first year the £140 fee kicks in however, you can cancel at anytime for a pro-rata fee refund

Conclusion

The sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points (22,000 if you use my referral link below) is one of the most generous incentive available. I strongly recommend signing up and giving the card a try, if only for the first free year.

Apply Here

  • This card usually has a £140 annual fee, but this is waived in year one.
  • Reward points can be transferred into several airline schemes including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Finnair, Iberia, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Singapore Airlines - you can see the full list on the Membership Rewards site.
  • The card is an American Express, which isn't as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard so be aware of that when you apply.

Conclusion

The sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points (22,000 if you use my referral link below) is one of the most generous incentive available. I strongly recommend signing up and giving the card a try, if only for the first free year.

Apply Here

American Express

The American Express Platinum Credit Card

  • Impressive 30,000 points signup bonus (increased to 35,000 if referred by an AMEX Gold / Platinum Card holder).
  • Earn 1 point per £1 (equivalent to 1 Avios per £1).
  • Complementary airport lounge access through Priority Pass.
  • Permanent status in various hotel schemes.
  • Travel & Car hire insurance for yourself and your family.
  • £450 annual card fee.

Annual fee: £450   Earn rate: 1 point per £1   -   Apply

Sign-up bonus: 30,000 Membership Rewards points (30,000 Avios) when you spend £2,000 in the first three months. 35,000 Membership Rewards points (35,000 Avios) if you you sign up with with a referral link. Mine can be found here - select "charge cards" in the "Not the right card for you?" box at the bottom of the page.

An increased sign up bonus of up to 42,000 points can be achieved by applying for the Preferred Rewards Gold card and then upgrade it to a Platinum card after you trigger signup bonus (20,000 Gold signup bonus + 2,000 if referred + 20,000 for upgrading) More details can be found here.

Eligibility: You will not get the bonus if you have held a Platinum, Gold** or Green Amex charge card or the American Express Rewards credit cards in the last six months.

Eligibility: You will be eligible if you hold any other AMEX issued card (i.e. BA, SPG, Nectar, cashback etc.). There is no credit facility on this card so the balance must be cleared in full each month.

On-going benefits include: Permanent status in various hotel schemes, airport lounge access through Priority Pass, travel insurance for yourself and your family, full car hire insurance, access to the exclusive hotel booking scheme: ‘Fine Hotels & Resorts’ which offers additional benefits on stays.

**You can upgrade from the gold charge card, earning 20,000 points. More details can be found here.


Apply Here

The American Express Platinum card offers an impressive sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Reward Points when you spend £2,000 in the first three months. This is equivalent to a £150 amazon gift card, however better value can be found by transferring points into other reward schemes. Membership Reward points can be converted into most major airline mileage schemes including Avios and Virgin Atlantic at a 1:1 rate. Although some will find the £450 signup fee off putting, many will feel the additional perks offered this card, including: lounge access, travel insurance, car hire insurance and permanent hotel status more than covers the cost. Most holders of this card would agree however, that with no spending perks, this is a card to leave at home with day-to-day spending being made on a different rewards card.

Membership Rewards points can also be transferred into three hotel schemes: Starwood Preferred Guest (2 Membership Rewards points = 1 starpoint) Hilton Honors (1 Membership Rewards point = 2 Hilton Honors points) and Club Carlson (1 Membership Rewards point = 3 Gold Points).

You can get an even higher bonus of 35,000 Membership Rewards points if you you sign up with with a referral link. Mine can be found here - select "charge cards" in the "Not the right card for you?" box at the bottom of the page.

An increased sign up bonus of up to 42,000 points can be achieved by applying for the Preferred Rewards Gold card and then upgrade it to a Platinum card after you trigger signup bonus (20,000 Gold signup bonus + 2,000 if referred + 20,000 for upgrading) More details can be found here.


The other great benefits of this card include:

  • Earn rate: 1 point per £1
  • Supplementary cards can be added to your account.
  • Membership to Priority Pass - providing complimentary airport lounge at over 1000 airport lounges around the world.
  • Instant hotel status including:
    • Gold in Starwood Preferred Guest
    • Gold in Club Carlson
    • Gold in Hilton Honors
    • Jade in Shangri-La Golden Circle
    • Gold in Melia Rewards
  • Access to "Fine Hotels & Resorts" by American Express. Enjoy noon check-in (when available), Room upgrade on arrival (when available), daily breakfast for two people, in-room wifi, guaranteed 4pm late checkout and an additional special benefit unique to each property such as a $100 food and beverage credit.
  • Eurostar lounge access in London, Paris and Brussels no matter what class you travel.
  • Travel insurance for you and your family. It is important to read the terms of this carefully as some aspects require you to have paid with the card.
  • Full car hire insurance without the need to spend on the card.

You can cancel at any time for a pro-rata fee refund.

Conclusion

The sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points (35,000 if referred) is one of the most generous incentive available. However, whether the £450 card fee represents value for money depend on how many of the perks you are likely to use.

With no spending perks, most people leave this card at home and use a different American Express card such as the BA credit card or the Preferred Rewards Gold card, for their day-to-day spending

Apply Here

  • This card has a £450 annual fee.
  • Charge cards allow you to spend on them, but require you to pay them off in full at the end of every month.
  • As there is no credit facility, no interest is charged. However there is a £12 fee and a default on your credit file, should you fail to fully repay.
  • Reward points can be transferred into several airline schemes including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Finnair, Iberia, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Singapore Airlines - you can see the full list on the Membership Rewards site.
  • Some aspects of the travel insurance require you to have spent using the card. However this tends to be where the insurance would overlap with other American Express cards!
  • The card is an American Express, which isn't as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard so be aware of that when you apply.

Conclusion

The sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points (35,000 if referred) is one of the most generous incentive available. However, whether the £450 card fee represents value for money depend on how many of the perks you are likely to use.

With no spending perks, most people leave this card at home and use a different American Express card such as the BA credit card or the Preferred Rewards Gold card, for their day-to-day spending

Apply Here

American Express

British Airways American Express® Premium Plus Card

  • Impressive 25,000 Avios points signup bonus (increased to 26,000 if referred by an existing Card holder or use the link on this page) when you spend £3,000 in the first 3 months of card membership.
  • Get 2-for-1 travel with a Companion Voucher when you spend £10,000 each year.

Annual fee: £195 per year Earn rate: 1.5 Avios per £1 - Apply

The representative APR is 76.0% variable, based on an annual fee of £195 and assumed credit limit of £1,200. The purchase rate is 22.9% variable.

Sign-up bonus: 25,000 Avios points when you spend £3,000 in the first three months. 26,000 Avios points if you are referred by an existing cardholder or sign-up with this link.

Eligibility: You will not get the bonus if you have held a BA American Express issued card in the last six months.

Eligibility: You will be eligible if you hold any other AMEX issued card (i.e. Charge Cards, SPG, Nectar, cashback etc.).

Receive a companion voucher each year you spend £10,000. This is possibly the most valuable perk of any reward card as it can save as many as 150,000 Avios points when making a long-haul redemption, in a premium cabin!

Apply Here

The American Express British Airways Premium card offers an impressive sign-up bonus of 25,000 Avios points when you spend £3,000 in the first three months. Combined with the free companion ticket each year you spend £10,000, makes this card one of the most valuable reward credit cards going!

You can get an even higher bonus of 26,000 Avios if you are referred by an existing cardholder or sign-up with this link.

The other great benefits of this card include:

  • Earn rate: 1.5 point per £1 (3 Avios per £1 spent with British Airways or BA holidays).
  • Travel accident and Travel inconvenience insurance.

Whilst the card does have a high fee (£195 per year) which can be off-putting, especially for those who are not used to paying a card fee. I cannot stress how good the companion ticket is. This 2-for-1 on your Avios redemption can easily save as many as 150,000 Avios points, when utilised on a long-haul premium cabin redemption. Those unsure about such a high card fee should take comfort from the fact that Amex offers a pro-rata fee refund, allowing you to cancel the card at anytime.

Conclusion

The sign-up bonus of 25,000 Avios points (26,000 if using the link on this page) is one of the most generous incentives available. Coupled with the companion ticket (upon spending £10,000), offering 2-for-1 Avios redemptions more than justifies the high card fee. I strongly recommend signing up and giving the card a try.

Apply Here

  • This is one of the higher card fees at £195 per year.
  • Amex do offer a pro-rata fee refund should you decide to cancel part way through the year.
  • The companion ticket more than justifies the high cost of this card.
  • The card is an American Express, which isn't as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard so be aware of that when you apply.

Conclusion

The sign-up bonus of 25,000 Avios points (26,000 if using the link on this page) is one of the most generous incentives available. Coupled with the companion ticket (upon spending £10,000), offering 2-for-1 Avios redemptions more than justifies the high card fee. I strongly recommend signing up and giving the card a try.

Apply Here

American Express

British Airways American Express® Credit Card

  • 5,000 Avios welcome Bonus (6,000 if referred by an existing cardholder or use the referral link below) No annual fee.
  • Get 2-for-1 travel with a Companion Voucher when you spend £20,000 each year (valid for 12 months).

No Annual Fee Earn rate: 1 Avios per £1 - Apply

The representative APR is 22.9% variable, based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200.

Sign-up bonus: 5,000 Avios points when you spend £1,000 in the first three months. 6,000 Avios if you sign-up with a referral link. Mine can be found here - scroll down the page and select the blue "British Airways American Express Credit Card" in the "Not the right Card for you?" box.

Eligibility: You will not get the bonus if you have held a BA American Express issued card in the last six months.

Eligibility: You will be eligible if you hold any other AMEX issued card (i.e. Charge Cards, SPG, Nectar, cashback etc.).

Receive a companion voucher each year you spend £20,000. Beware that unlike the Premium Plus Card, this is only valid for 12 months!

Apply Here

The American Express British Airways card offers a sign-up bonus of 5,000 Avios points when you spend £1,000 in the first three months. Combined with the free companion ticket each year you spend £20,000, makes a tempting offer for anyone put off the the high card fee of the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card. You can get an even higher bonus of 6,000 Avios if you sign-up with a referral link. Mine can be found here - scroll down the page and select the blue "British Airways American Express Credit Card" in the "Not the right Card for you?" box.

The other great benefits of this card include:

  • Earn rate: 1 point per £1
  • Travel accident and Travel inconvenience insurance.

Like the Premium Plus card, the 2-for-1 companion voucher is the best perk from this card, provided you are able to spend the required £20,000 (you can get your partner or close family member a supplementary card to help achieve this). This 2-for-1 on your Avios redemption can easily save as many as 150,000 Avios points, when utilised on a long-haul premium cabin redemption. It should be noted that it is only valid for 12 months from issue, with this card.

In my opinion, if you are able to spend £20,000 a year on this card, you and your close travelling companion would be best both getting the Premium Plus card. That way you would each receive a 2-for-1 voucher with a longer validity of 24 months from issue.

Conclusion

The sign-up bonus of 5,000 Avios points (6,000 if referred) is mediocre compared to other cards available. The companion ticket is a good perk however, it has a high (£20,000) yearly spend to trigger receiving it, and a validity of only 12 months, meaning you may struggle to get the best value redemption for your ticket - premium class reward seats sell out fast! If you really hate the idea of a card fee, then the Amex Gold card is probably best. This has no fee in the first year and offers a 20,000 point sign up bonus.

Apply Here

  • No Card fee.
  • The companion ticket however this is only valid for 12 months from issue.
  • The card is an American Express, which isn't as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard so be aware of that when you apply.

Conclusion

The sign-up bonus of 5,000 Avios points (6,000 if I referred) is mediocre compared to other cards available. The companion ticket is a good perk however, it has a high (£20,000) yearly spend to trigger receiving it, and a validity of only 12 months, meaning you may struggle to get the best value redemption for your ticket - premium class reward seats sell out fast! If you really hate the idea of a card fee, then the Amex Gold card is probably best. This has no fee in the first year and offers a 20,000 point sign up bonus.

Apply Here

Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card

  • 5,000 Flying Club miles with your first card purchase in the first three months.
  • Earn 0.75 Flying Club miles for every £1 spent on card purchases.
  • Spend £20,000 in a year to unlock exclusive benefits, like companion flights or upgrades

No Annual fee Earn rate: 0.75 Flying Club Miles per £1 - Apply

The representative APR is 22.9% variable, based on assumed credit limit of £1,200. The purchase rate is 22.9% variable.

Sign-up bonus: 5,000 Flying Club Miles with your first purchase during the first three months.

Eligibility: You will be both eligible for the card and get the bonus regardless of whether you have the closed MBNA card.

Receive either:

  • A 2-4-1 companion voucher after spending £20,000 in a year. Note that unlike BA you need to be Flying Club Gold to use it in Upper Class and Flying Club Silver to use it in Premium (Premium Economy). Base level ‘Red’ members can only use it in Economy.
  • Or you can choose instead, to upgrade a return Economy redemption flight to Premium Economy. With the voucher being valid for two years and this option being available to all members, a couple could also benefit if they earned two vouchers in consecutive years or each had their own credit card.

Cardholders get free access to Virgin Money lounges around the UK

Apply Here

Interestingly Virgin has decided make these cards extremely aesthetically pleasing. All information (Name, Number etc.) is printed on the back of this card which also has red edging to really make it stand out.

The perks of this card are as follows:

  • No annual fee.
  • 5,000 miles with your first purchase (within 90 days of card opening).
  • 0.75 Virgin Flying Club miles per £1 spent (valued at about 0.75p).
  • Double miles on online or call centre bookings with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays.
  • Unlimited free access to Virgin Money lounges across the UK.
  • Spend £20,000 in a card year and select either a 2-4-1 companion voucher or an upgrade voucher. Gold and Silver status members also get the option of Virgin Clubhouse lounge passes.

The reward is triggered as soon as you hit the £20,000 spend within a card year.

All Flying Club members can claim one of the following:

  • A 2-4-1 voucher, valid for two years, for a Virgin Flying Club redemption in Economy.
  • An upgrade to Premium when you book an Economy reward flight (requires reward availability in Premium).

Flying Club members with Silver status can claim one of the following:

  • A 2-4-1 voucher, valid for two years, for a Virgin Flying Club redemption in Premium or Economy.
  • A return upgrade to Premium when you book an Economy reward flight (requires reward availability in Premium).
  • A Virgin Clubhouse lounge pass for Heathrow or Gatwick (requires a same-day Virgin Atlantic flight).

Flying Club members with Gold status can claim one of the following:

  • A 2-4-1 voucher, valid for two years, for a Virgin Flying Club redemption in Upper Class, Premium or Economy.
  • A return upgrade to Premium when you book an Economy reward flight (requires reward availability in Premium).
  • Two Virgin Clubhouse lounge passes for Heathrow or Gatwick (require same-day Virgin Atlantic flights)

As with the BA companion ticket, the taxes and charges are due on 2-4-1 seats. Vouchers are valid for two years and you must fly the outbound leg of your trip before the expiry date.

Conclusion

For day-to-day earning, this card would be a no-brainer, the earning rate of the card is better than any other free MasterCard or Visa credit card currently on the market.

The limitation on the Virgin Atlantic routes however, does mean that even frequent flyers could struggle to get Gold status. As such the restriction on the companion ticket appear, at first, to be fairly lousy. Personally however, I feel it makes sense from Virgins perspective as people invested in this card will actively try and fly Virgin Atlantic. Virgin has recently confirmed that when using the 2-4-1 voucher, the flight does not need to originate in the UK. Using the ticket for your return flight (by booking it separately) can drastically lower the taxes and fees to make even an economy redemption "value for money".

For me, the option to claim an upgrade voucher (rather than a 2-4-1) is what differentiates this product in the market. I can think of countless examples of when single friends have been frustrated at travel offers and deals predominantly targeting couples. With the days numbered for the TSB Avios card (which also offers an upgrade voucher), it is great to see another entrance into this niche.

Apply Here

  • No Card fee.
  • With economy redemptions often the worst value, due to the high taxes and fees. The limitations placed on the companion ticket mean that ‘Red’ status members would be better to use the upgrade voucher.

Conclusion

For day-to-day earning, this card would be a no-brainer, the earning rate of the card is better than any other free MasterCard or Visa credit card currently on the market.

The limitation on the Virgin Atlantic routes however, does mean that even frequent flyers could struggle to get Gold status. As such the restriction on the companion ticket appear, at first, to be fairly lousy. Personally however, I feel it makes sense from Virgins perspective as people invested in this card will actively try and fly Virgin Atlantic. Virgin has recently confirmed that when using the 2-4-1 voucher, the flight does not need to originate in the UK. Using the ticket for your return flight (by booking it separately) can drastically lower the taxes and fees to make even an economy redemption "value for money".

For me, the option to claim an upgrade voucher (rather than a 2-4-1) is what differentiates this product in the market. I can think of countless examples of when single friends have been frustrated at travel offers and deals predominantly targeting couples. With the days numbered for the TSB Avios card (which also offers an upgrade voucher), it is great to see another entrance into this niche.

Apply Here

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card

  • 15,000 Flying Club miles with your first card purchase in the first three months.
  • Earn 1.5 Flying Club miles for every £1 spent on card purchases.
  • Spend £10,000 in a year to unlock exclusive benefits, like companion flights or upgrades
  • Free global wi-fi access via Boingo

Annual fee £160 Earn rate: 1.5 Flying Club Miles per £1 - Apply

The representative APR is 63.9% variable, based an annual fee of £160 and an assumed credit limit of £1,200. The purchase rate is 22.9% variable.

Sign-up bonus: 15,000 Flying Club Miles on your first purchase during the first three months.

Eligibility: You will be both eligible for the card and get the bonus regardless of whether you have the closed MBNA card.

Receive either:

  • A 2-4-1 companion voucher after spending £20,000 in a year. Note that unlike BA you need to be Flying Club Gold to use it in Upper Class and Flying Club Silver to use it in Premium (Premium Economy). Base level ‘Red’ members can only use it in Economy.
  • Or you can choose instead, to upgrade a return Economy redemption flight to Premium Economy. With the voucher being valid for two years and this option being available to all members, a couple could also benefit if they earned two vouchers in consecutive years or each had their own credit card.

Cardholders get free access to Virgin Money lounges around the UK

Apply Here

Interestingly Virgin has decided make these cards extremely aesthetically pleasing. All information (Name, Number etc.) is printed on the back of this card which also has red edging to really make it stand out.

The perks of this card are as follows:

  • 15,000 miles with your first purchase (within 90 days of card opening).
  • 1.5 Virgin Flying Club miles per £1 spent (valued at about 1.5p).
  • Double miles on online or call centre bookings with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays.
  • Unlimited free access to Virgin Money lounges across the UK.
  • Free global wi-fi access via Boingo.
  • Spend £10,000 in a card year and select either a 2-4-1 companion voucher or an upgrade voucher. Gold and Silver status members also get the option of Virgin Clubhouse lounge passes.

The reward is triggered as soon as you hit the £20,000 spend within a card year.

All Flying Club members can claim one of the following:

  • A 2-4-1 voucher, valid for two years, for a Virgin Flying Club redemption in Economy.
  • An upgrade to Premium when you book an Economy reward flight (requires reward availability in Premium).

Flying Club members with Silver status can claim one of the following:

  • A 2-4-1 voucher, valid for two years, for a Virgin Flying Club redemption in Premium or Economy.
  • A return upgrade to Premium when you book an Economy reward flight (requires reward availability in Premium).
  • A Virgin Clubhouse lounge pass for Heathrow or Gatwick (requires a same-day Virgin Atlantic flight).

Flying Club members with Gold status can claim one of the following:

  • A 2-4-1 voucher, valid for two years, for a Virgin Flying Club redemption in Upper Class, Premium or Economy.
  • A return upgrade to Premium when you book an Economy reward flight (requires reward availability in Premium).
  • Two Virgin Clubhouse lounge passes for Heathrow or Gatwick (require same-day Virgin Atlantic flights)

As with the BA companion ticket, the taxes and charges are due on 2-4-1 seats. Vouchers are valid for two years and you must fly the outbound leg of your trip before the expiry date.

Conclusion

For day-to-day earning, this card would be a no-brainer, the earning rate of the card is better than any other premium MasterCard or Visa credit card currently on the market (equivalent to 1.5% cashback). This coupled with the 15,000 mile sign-up bonus, certainly makes for a tempting card.

The limitation on the Virgin Atlantic routes however, does mean that even frequent flyers could struggle to get Gold status. As such the restriction on the companion ticket appear, at first, to be fairly lousy. Personally however, I feel it makes sense from Virgins perspective as people invested in this card will actively try and fly Virgin Atlantic. Virgin has recently confirmed that when using the 2-4-1 voucher, the flight does not need to originate in the UK. Using the ticket for your return flight (by booking it separately) can drastically lower the taxes and fees to make even an economy redemption "value for money".

For me, the option to claim an upgrade voucher (rather than a 2-4-1) is what differentiates this product in the market. I can think of countless examples of when single friends have been frustrated at travel offers and deals predominantly targeting couples. With the days numbered for the TSB Avios card (which also offers an upgrade voucher), it is great to see another entrance into this niche.

Apply Here

  • £160 annual fee
  • With economy redemptions often the worst value, due to the high taxes and fees. The limitations placed on the companion ticket mean that ‘Red’ status members would be better to use the upgrade voucher.
  • Virgin will allow you to also apply for the free credit card and collect the 5000 bonus points albeit not at the same time.

Conclusion

For day-to-day earning, this card would be a no-brainer, the earning rate of the card is better than any other premium MasterCard or Visa credit card currently on the market (equivalent to 1.5% cashback). This coupled with the 15,000 mile sign-up bonus, certainly makes for a tempting card.

The limitation on the Virgin Atlantic routes however, does mean that even frequent flyers could struggle to get Gold status. As such the restriction on the companion ticket appear, at first, to be fairly lousy. Personally however, I feel it makes sense from Virgins perspective as people invested in this card will actively try and fly Virgin Atlantic. Virgin has recently confirmed that when using the 2-4-1 voucher, the flight does not need to originate in the UK. Using the ticket for your return flight (by booking it separately) can drastically lower the taxes and fees to make even an economy redemption "value for money".

For me, the option to claim an upgrade voucher (rather than a 2-4-1) is what differentiates this product in the market. I can think of countless examples of when single friends have been frustrated at travel offers and deals predominantly targeting couples. With the days numbered for the TSB Avios card (which also offers an upgrade voucher), it is great to see another entrance into this niche.

Apply Here

American Express

The American Express Rewards Credit Card

  • No annual fee.
  • Earn 1 point per £1 (equivalent to 1 Avios per £1).
  • Card comes in 3 flavours offering either: 10,000 points signup bonus, 5,000 points signup bonus with a reduced interest rate, or 0% APR on purchases for 18 months.

No Annual Fee - Earn rate: 1 point per £1

The representative APR is 22.9% variable, based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200.

Eligibility: You will not get the bonus if you have held a Platinum, Gold or Green Amex charge card or the American Express Rewards credit cards in the last six months. Eligibility: You will be eligible if you hold any other AMEX issued card (i.e. BA, SPG, Nectar, cashback etc.).

The Card comes in the following three flavours:

  • Earn 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend £1,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership. Apply
  • Low interest rate and earn 5,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend £500 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership. Apply
  • Enjoy 0% for 18 months on purchases. Apply

This card is great for anyone against paying a card fee, or wishing to cancel their Gold / Platinum or Green charge card whilst keeping their reward points active.

As American Express Rewards points can be transferred to several different airmile and hotel reward programs, this card provides a better offer that the free BA American Express - for anyone who would not make the £20,000 annual spend, to trigger the companion ticket.

As with other American Express issued cards, you also get their world class service, with travel accident insurance up to £150,000 and emergency help 24/7 anywhere in the world. Refund Protection on eligible items. If the UK retailer won't refund the eligible item, up to a maximum of £200. Purchase Protection. If you bought it on your Card and it's stolen or damaged within 90 days, American Express will replace or repair it, or refund you up to £2,500 per eligible item.

Conclusion

If you are put off by the high card fees on the other cards issued by American Express, then this is definitely a card worth considering. The card earns 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spend. These can be transferred to a wide range of Airmile and hotel reward schemes at a 1:1 rate.

  • No card fee.
  • Reward points can be transferred into several airline schemes including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Finnair, Iberia, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Singapore Airlines - you can see the full list on the Membership Rewards site.
  • The card is an American Express, which isn't as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard so be aware of that when you apply.

Conclusion

If you are put off by the high card fees on the other cards issued by American Express, then this is definitely a card worth considering. The card earns 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spend. These can be transferred to a wide range of Airmile and hotel reward schemes at a 1:1 rate.



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Ross Slater

Dr Ross Slater

Ross is Expert with Points' main contributor. Sharing his knowledge of various travel reward schemes, to help your travelling go further.

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