News

Fourteen of the best UK credit cards for air miles

17 Oct 2015 by GrahamSmith

There are a variety of credit card options consumers can use to earn air miles.

Some prefer bank cards in which points can be converted into miles, while others welcome credit cards from the airlines themselves.

Here, we'll explore a variety of options.


CREDIT CARDS

AMERICAN EXPRESS

The Preferred Rewards Gold Card

  • SIGN-UP BONUS - The American Express (Amex) Gold card offers 20,000 membership rewards points after spending only £2,000 in the first three months of membership. With American Express' offer of no fee for the first year, valued at £140, the two bonuses combined make it one of the best offers out there.
  • BENEFITS AND REWARDS: With this card you are able to transfer points to over 15 major frequent flyer and hotel programmes. You earn one membership rewards point for "virtually every £1 spent on your Card and two additional points for virtually every £1 spent with American Express Travel and one additional Membership Rewards point for virtually every £1 spent directly with airlines".
  • DETAILS: Annual fee after the first year is £140. americanexpress.com/uk


 The Platinum Card

  • SIGN-UP BONUS: You will receive a welcome bonus of 30,000 membership rewards points when spending £2,000 on your card within the first three months.
  • BENEFITS AND REWARDS: For virtually every £1 you can earn one membership rewards point. Keep in mind that points can be redeemed for air miles among other “products, vouchers, experiences, travel and hotel stays”.
  • DETAILS: The only setback is that the annual fee for this card is £450 and unlike the Gold Card, the first year is not free. americanexpress.com/uk


BANK CARDS

** Denotes membership that is one account but comes with two cards. The idea behind this concept is that with one account but two cards you can collect rewards points faster and in more places while using two cards that form the same account with one credit limit and one monthly statement. All your purchases will collect points that will be put into a single pool. The types of cards however do earn different points (ex: Visa vs Amex), so pay attention to that.


LLOYDS BANK
(** American Express and Mastercard)

Avios Rewards

  • SIGN-UP BONUS (ONGOING): After opening an account the Amex card will get you double Avios (British Airways' air miles) for the first six months with up to £2,500 available spending per month. (Does not apply to Mastercard).
  • BENEFITS AND REWARDS: When using the Amex card you will collect 1.25 Avios for every eligible £1 spent. With the Mastercard you can collect Avios at a rate of 1.25 for every eligible £5 spent. While abroad you will pay no foreign transaction fees and you will pay 0 per cent interest for the first 12 months from the account opening date.
  • DETAILS: Representative 23.7 per cent APR variable (if you don't qualify for the lowest you will get a higher APR of either 26.9 per cent or 31.1 per cent) based off of a £1,200 credit limit. Annual fee of £24. lloydsbank.com


Premier Avios Rewards

  • SIGN-UP BONUS (ONGOING): The same offer as the Avios Rewards account.
  • BENEFITS AND REWARDS: The Premier Avios Rewards Amex card lets you collect an enhanced 1.5 avios for every £1 while use of the Mastercard will collect Avios at the same rate but for every eligible £5 spent. One benefit to the Premier Rewards account is the ability to bring a companion on your next flight when you spend a minimum of £12,000 of eligible spend in one year. No foreign transaction fees and 0 per cent interest for the first 12 months.
  • DETAILS: Representative 52.1 per cent APR variable (or 56.3 per cent or 61.8 per cent for those that don't qualify for the lowest rate) based on a £1,200 credit limit. Annual fee of £140. lloydsbank.com


MBNA
(** American Express and Visa)

Virgin Atlantic White Credit Card

  • SIGN-UP BONUS: Only available until October 27, you can earn up to 10,000 bonus miles after spending a total of £1,000 (on either card) within the first 90 days of opening your account.
  • BENEFITS AND REWARDS: You will get 3,000 bonus miles on your first purchase, with either card, within the first 90 days of your account opening and can also receive an additional 7,000 bonus miles if you spend a total of £1,000 in the first 90 days. You will earn one Flying Club mile for everyday purchases at a rate of £1 spent with your Amex and 1 mile for every £2 spent with your Visa. You can also earn Flying Club miles when spending directly with Virgin Atlantic, two miles with your Amex per £1 and one mile with your Visa per £1. With the Amex card you can upgrade from economy to premium economy (up to two times per year) when you spend £10,000 in a year. In addition, when you spend £15,000 on your Amex in one year and have bought a qualifying fare flight you can receive a companion reward flight. You are permitted to have up to three free additional cardholders.
  • DETAILS: Representative 17.9 per cent APR variable based on a credit limit of £1,200. No annual fee. virgin-atlantic.com


Virgin Atlantic Black Credit Card

  • SIGN-UP BONUS: Until October 27, new members can earn up to 32,000 bonus miles when they spend a total of £3,000 on either black card within 90 days of opening an account.
  • BENEFITS AND REWARDS: With the use of either card you could receive 18,500 bonus miles for your first purchase within 90 days of opening your account. An additional 13,500 bonus miles can be earned when new account holders spend a total of £3,000 in 90 days. With the American Express card you will earn two Flying Club miles for every £1 spent on everyday purchases and with the Visa you will earn one mile for every £1 spent. When using your cards directly with Virgin Atlantic you will earn more miles - four for every £1 spent with your Amex and two miles for every £1 with your visa. As with the white card you can upgrade your seat and receive a companion reward flight when using your Amex. However, you only have to spend £5,000 for the upgrade and £7,500 for the companion flight within a year with the black card account.
  • DETAILS: Representative 52.0 per cent APR variable based on a credit limit of £1,200. There is an annual fee of £140. virgin-atlantic.com

 
Lufthansa Miles & More

  • SIGN-UP BONUS: When you make a card purchase within 90 days of opening your account you will earn up to 1,500 award miles.
  • BENEFITS AND REWARDS: When using your new cards for six months, your American Express will give you two award miles for every £1 spent and your Visa will award one mile for every £1 spent. You will have no expiration date on miles if you make at least one miles qualifying card purchase per month and have held the card for at least three months. You can add up to three additional cardholders.
  • DETAILS: Representative 16.9 per cent APR variable based on a £1,200 credit limit. No annual fee. mbna.co.uk


Emirates Skywards Credit Card Account

  • SIGN-UP BONUS: You must apply by November 30 and spend £1,000 on your card within 90 days to receive the welcome bonus of 12,000 Skywards miles. You will also receive 0 per cent on Emirates flight purchases for up to 12 months.
  • BENEFITS AND REWARDS: With your Amex card you will earn one mile for every £1 spent and two miles for every £1 spent at Emirates Airline. With your Visa card you will receive one mile for every £2 spent and two miles for every £2 you spend at Emirates Airline. You can add up to three cardholders to your account and will have a 25 per cent discount on the purchase of Skywards miles. You can spend your miles in a variety of ways with a variety of Emirates partners.
  • DETAILS: Representative 17.9 per cent APR variable based on a £1,200 credit limit. No annual fee. mbna.co.uk


Emirates Skywards Elite Credit Card Account

  • SIGN-UP BONUS: Again you must apply by November 30 and within 90 days have spent £2,000 to receive the welcome bonus of up to 25,000 Skywards miles and 0 per cent on Emirates flight purchases for 12 months.
  • BENEFITS AND REWARDS: With your Amex card you receive two miles for every £1 spent and four miles for every £1 spent at Emirates Airline. With your Visa card you will earn two miles for every £2 spent and four miles for every £2 spent at Emirates Airline. With the Elite card you can receive a companion reward ticket when you spend £15,000 on card purchases within one year and a £150 discount on the price of a first or business class ticket. You will also have business class check-in as an economy traveller.
  • DETAILS: Representative 54.9 APR variable based on a credit limit of £1,200. Annual fee of £150. mbna.co.uk


MBNA also offers an Etihad Guest Credit Card Account, a Mileage Plus Credit Card Account and MBNA/AAdvantage Credit Card Account. For more information, click here


TSB BANK
(** American Express and Mastercard)

Avios Credit Card

  • SIGN-UP BONUS: None available at this time.
  • BENEFITS AND REWARDS: You can collect one Avios on nearly every £1 you spend with your American Express and one Avios for every £5 of eligible spend on your Mastercard. You can also collect double Avios on eligible spending abroad. If you pay your balance in full and on time each month you can receive up to a 56-day interest free period on purchases.
  • DETAILS: Representative 17.9 per cent APR variable based on borrowing £1,200 over 12 months. tsb.co.uk


Premier Avios Credit Card

  • SIGN-UP BONUS: None available at this time.
  • BENEFITS AND REWARDS: With the Premier Avios card you can collect 25 per cent more than with the regular Avios card. If your eligible spend is over £15,000 on your cards in a year you will receive a companion ticket. With your Amex you will collect 1.25 Avios for every £1 and with your Mastercard you will receive 1.25 Avios for every £5. Double Avios is awarded on eligible spending abroad. The same 56-day interest free period is offered as with the Avios card.
  • DETAILS: Representative 23.7 per cent APR variable. Annual fee of £50. tsb.co.uk


AIRLINE CARDS

BRITISH AIRWAYS

American Express Credit Card

  • SIGN-UP BONUS: Within your first three months of card membership you can collect 9,000 Avios when you spend £1,000. The offer ends February 10, 2016.
  • BENEFITS AND REWARDS: You can collect one Avios for virtually every £1 spent and more Avios with additional free cards for family or friends. If you've spent £20,000 within a card anniversary year (the 12 month period that ends yearly on the anniversary of your account start date) you can redeem your Avios for a companion ticket on a British Airways flight.
  • DETAILS: Representative APR 22.9 per cent variable based on £1,200 assumed credit limit. No annual fee. britishairways.com


American Express Premium Plus Card

  • SIGN-UP BONUS: If you apply before February 10 you can collect 25,000 Avios when you spend £3,000 within the first three months of your membership.
  • BENEFITS AND REWARDS: For virtually every £1 you spend you can collect 1.5 Avios and for every £1 spent on British Airways flights and holidays you will earn three Avios. You can add additional cardholders for free and if you've spent £10,000 on your card within a card anniversary year you will receive a companion ticket for a British Airways flight.
  • DETAILS: Representative APR 60.7 per cent variable based on credit limit of £1,200. Annual fee of £150. britishairways.com


FLYBE

Flybe Credit Card

  • SIGN-UP BONUS: When you've spent £250 in six months of your account opening you will receive a welcoming gift of your first bonus return flight.
  • BENEFITS AND REWARDS: Flybe Credit Card's exclusive loyalty programme Spend & Fly does not operate on a point system, it's purely about the amount you spend and when you want to redeem your points. The best way to earn points is to use the card for all your everyday purchases, once you have spent £4,000 you will be eligible for your first reward.
  • DETAILS: Representative 18.9 APR variable based on £1,200 credit limit. flybe.com


OTHER

TESCO

Tesco Clubcard

  • SIGN-UP BONUS: Not available.
  • BENEFITS AND REWARDS: Every time you shop and scan your Clubcard you will collect points. Once you've reached 150 points you will start to receive vouchers along with your Clubcard statement. You can either spend your vouchers online, in-store, on fuel or can exchange them to get four times more value with a Clubcard boost. With the Clubcard boost you can get up to three times your voucher value to use on flights, hotels and other transport.
  • DETAILS: See online at tesco.com.


There are a vast amount of options when it comes to choosing the best credit card to earn air miles. Some offer bigger and better joining incentives, while others have a higher pound per item offer. We hope the details above will help find the best card for you.


Brooke Bumgarner

Loading comments...

Search Flight

See a whole year of Reward Seat Availability on one page at SeatSpy.com

Business Traveller April 2020 edition
Business Traveller April 2020 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below
Polls