The latest news to help you get the most from your credit card.
Here’s my monthly update sharing changes for leading UK credit cards, as well as some of the relevant articles you might have missed on the blog.
April’s credit card & BNPL update video
I go into more detail on some of this month’s updates in this video.
April’s credit card & BNPL news
Increased American Express Platinum welcome offer returns
Until 13 June 2023 new applicants for the Amex Platinum credit card will get 60,000 Amex Reward Points – double the usual amount. There’s also £200 credit to spend at Amex Travel. To get these offers you need to spend £6,000 in six months.
You’ll be eligible if you haven’t had any of these cards in your name in the last 24 months (not including if you had a supplementary card):
- Preferred Rewards Gold
There is a huge £575 annual fee (paid upfront), but you can cancel the card once you have received and used/transferred your bonus points and credit. That will give you a pro rata refund on the fee.
It’s possible that if you time your application for late June, transfer your earned points to Nectar (via Avios) and claim other credits this could be worth £815. I’ve explained how to maximise the offer in detail here.
Amex Marriot boost not worth it
There’s also another increased welcome deal from American Express right now. It’s for the Marriot Bonvoy Amex card and you’ll get 40,000 Marriot points (double the normal offer) and a free night when you spend £3,000 in the first three months.
You can only get this if you haven’t had any Amex cards in your name in the last two years. The card also has a £75 annual fee.
Unless you stay at Marriot hotels all the time and spend a fair whack on your card each year, I don’t see the point in this, even ith the boosted points and free night.
I think you’re better off starting with the Amex Nectar or Amex Platinum Cashback cards as your first card, then later taking advantage of boosted Platinum and British Airways offers if you want a second and / or third bonus.
If you are closing one of the paid-for Amex cards that earn Reward points (the Platinum and the Gold) and are opening an alternative (and cheaper) one to keep those points alive, make sure that the Reward accounts are linked. If they aren’t linked you’ll lose the points on the closed account.
It should happen by default, but I found when cancelling my Platinum card that it was separate from my (free) Reward card. This was likely because I had the now unavailable Platinum “charge card” rather than credit card, but it’s worth checking.
Incidentally, while cancelling I was offered 35,000 Amex Reward points to keep the card. I was tempted to take the offer and cancel later in the year, using those points to cover the continuation of the card fee. But ultimately I decided against it.
Amex brings back £250 United offer
Some American Express cardholders will see a decent £250 back when you spend £500 with United deal on their cards. I used a similar offer last year, saving it to both my and my wife’s supplementary card, saving us a combined £500 in total on our flights to the USA.
10% back on UK eating out with Amex
Another Amex offer worth looking at will save you 10% when you eat out until 3 July at a decent selection of restaurants including Honest Burger and Yo! Sushi. It won’t be on every card but take a look and save it before spending. More here.
*Stop the press*: New Barclaycard Avois bonus boost
18/4/23 – I’ve added this into this article, but I’ll cover it in more depth next month. You can get 50,000 rather than 25,000 Avios points when you spend £3,000 in three months on the Barclaycard Avios Plus credit card. Details here.
Barclaycard Avios Plus extras with current account
If you have both the Barclaycard Avios Plus and Barclays Premier current account with Avios Rewards you’ll get “Dual rewards”. This is a £5 credit every month to your current account and four airport lounge passes.
However, if you have Avios Rewards with Barclays you can’t access Blue Rewards, which right now offers 5.12% interest on savings up to £5,000.
Swap Barclaycard Avios upgrade voucher for points
It’s been reported by Head For Points that if you trigger the upgrade voucher on either of the Barclaycard Avios card you’ll now have the option to instead choose 7,000 Avios points.
Converted to Nectar points this works out as £46.67 – which isn’t great compared to the value if you used it to get a higher class flight. Of course if you’re using either card as a Mastercard alternative to Amex rather than to earn Avios for flights, that won’t matter.
Barclaycard adds (high) limit to cashback
If you have the Barclaycard Rewards card, my top pick as an Amex alternative as it’s fee-free overseas, you’ll soon be capped in how much spending you can earn cashback on during each statement period.
From June 2023 it’ll be four times your credit limit. So if you have a £1,200 limit, that means you’ll only earn 0.25% back on the first £4,800 spent. If you have a higher credit limit, it’ll obviously be higher still. Since a statement period is monthly, that shouldn’t be an issue for most people.
Zilch could impact your credit report
Earlier this year, Buy Now Pay Later firm Zilch began reporting usage to all three credit reference agencies (CRA). And unlike the information provided by Klarna and LayBuy (who also report to some CRAs), missed payments to Zilch will be used by lenders when they assess your file.
This is a move ahead of forthcoming regulations on BNPL which will probably require credit checks on applications. However that might not even happen until later this or even next year as the consultation on the proposals only finished this week.
Klarna introduces late fees
Sticking with BNPL, if you miss a payment on Klarna you’ll now get hit with a fee of £5 or 25% of the order if it’s under £20. This can happen a maximum of twice, meaning you could pay a total of £10.
You’ve seven days from the due date to make the payment before the late fee is added. Other BNPL services like Clearpay ad Laybuy already charge late fees.
Remember, there are a number of risks spending via BNPL, so make sure you understand it before using it.
Yonder offer £50 dining credit
New Yonder cardholders can get 1 month free and a £50 credit to use at restaurants. It sounds good, but I’d be careful about using it beyond this.
First, the credit and ongoing points you earn can currently only be spent in participating London restaurants. And most have minimum points thresholds to use and different cash redemption values.
For example, you’ll need 2,150 points to claim £50 at Bao. Since you earn 1 point per £1 spent, that’s £2,150 you’ll need to rack up before being able to use them. Though that reflects a decent 2.3% ish back on spending.
And bigger still is the £15 a month charge, which will wipe out all your points. Though this fee includes travel insurance, that can easily be sourced for less elsewhere, so I can’t see anyone being better off with this over a Chase 1% debit card.
Where it is interesting is they base their decision not on your credit score alone. They’ll also use open banking. This means they’ll look at your current account and assess your spending behaviour. So it’s an option for those without a UK credit file wanting to build one up. However, payments will be reported to Experian, so make sure you don’t miss any.
John Lewis Partnership 3x points extended
The offer to get triple points in the first 90 days at Waitrose and John Lewis is still running for new customers. That’s the equivalent of 4.25% back. At other retailers it still works out at 0.25%. More details on my credit card offer page.
This month’s best credit cards
As always when talking about credit cards the best credit card for you will depend on your credit report and why you need one. Make sure you read my rules for having and applying for a credit card.
But assuming you’ve got a great credit report, don’t need one to clear existing debts and will clear the balance completely each month, these are my top picks:
Listen to Cash Chats, Andy’s award-winning podcast. Episodes every Tuesday.