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.
August’s credit card update video
I go into more detail on some of this month’s updates in this video.
August credit card news
John Lewis credit cards to close 31 October
Back in May, John Lewis stopped taking new applications for its Partnership credit card ahead of moving from HSBC to NewDay as the card provider (this will happen at some point later this year). At the time existing cardholders were told there would be no immediate change and to carry on using the card as normal.
Well we now know part of what happens next – all Partnership cards will be closed at 6pm on 31 October 2022. This means they’ll stop working and you won’t be able to use them to pay. There’s a detailed FAQ on the John Lewis Finance site, but some of the key points worth noting are:
- You’ll need to change details to a different card for regular payments (e.g. subscriptions) or advance purchases that require a card as confirmation (e.g. car hire and train ticket collections)
- If you have less than 500 points and don’t apply for the new card you will lose the points
- Closing the card could either hurt or boost your credit score (confusing I know)
- There will be a full application and a credit check if you apply for the new card
Regarding the points – bear in mind that you earn five points for every £4 spent in John Lewis or Waitrose, but only 1 point for every £4 spent elsewhere. Assuming you’re already using a better cashback card at other retailers, let’s focus on whether you should keep using the card at the JL stores.
To earn 500 points (worth a £5 voucher), you’ll need to spend £400. If that is likely between now and the end of October you might think you’ll just carry on using it. But vouchers are issued in multiples of £5. So if you earn 550 points, there will be 50 points left over.
Even if you plan to apply for the new card, there’s no guarantee you’ll get it, so you could end up losing some of these “residual” points.
So I’d take a look at your current points balance (it’s easily available via the app or online banking) and work out what you need to spend to reach the next 500, or perhaps just over.
For me, with a balance of bang on 100 points, I’ll need to spend £320 in the next two and a half months. With supermarket shopping that should be OK. So I’ll keep doing that and then stop using it completely. Obviously I’ll check the app to make sure I’m not on 499 or similar!
But if you think the required spend is too realistic I’d suggest you cut your losses and wait until we have news of the new card. Hopefully you’ll be able to get the new card and it won’t be a problem.
Watch new videos every week on the Andy Clever Cash channel, plus a regular live Q&A
American Express Platinum and Green changes
For new applicants, the Amex Platinum is no longer a charge card but is now a credit card. The key difference is that a charge card must be paid off in full every month, whereas a credit card doesn’t. Though of course, as I’m always saying, you should always aim to clear the full balance, and having a cashback card and paying interest on it defeats the purpose. Technically the card also now has a credit limit, though apparently the charge card never allowed unlimited spending.
The card is also now covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. There’s also a limit to one supplementary card on the account, down from the previous five (one platinum and four gold or green).
There’s no change if you already have the card, though if you want you can apply for the new credit card version, subject to credit checks.
At the same time, American Express has ended the Green card, or sometimes just called the American Express card – though it was never a top pick so it’s no real loss.
New restaurant credit added for Platinum card users
Sticking with Platinum, there’s a big addition to credit offers available to new and existing card holders. You can now get £150 credit each year for dining at participating UK restaurants, and another £150 for overseas eating. This renews on 1 January and ends 31 December 2024, so potentially there’s £900 worth of free food available.
However it’s not as simple as eat and you get the money back. Though I think there are enough UK restaurants to mean you’ll use that full allowance, it’s going to be harder to get the overseas credit. Plus the fee for the card is still a huge £575 a year, so though this is a great offer, you are effectively still paying for the meals out. More details in my full analysis here.
Huge American Express Platinum welcome bonus
If you don’t already have the Platinum card, or haven’t had it or another Membership Rewards card in the last 24 months, then you are eligible for a formidable welcome bonus.
The points on offer have been boosted from the usual 30,000 to 60,000, and you’ll also get a £200 credit for travel spending. To trigger both rewards you need to spend £6,000 in six months. And again, there’s that huge fee to take into account.
However, if you don’t view this as a forever card and cancel it once you’ve got your bonuses, you can get the fee refunded pro-rata. And if you add on the £150 UK dining credit and £50 Harvey Nicks credit this year and again early next year you could be looking at a £880 profit – at least (as long as you are happy to convert the Amex points to Avios and then to Nectar). I’ve shared step-by-step how to stack all these offers.
Boosted Amex Platinum Offer
|Card||Reward type||Normal bonus||Boosted bonus||Offer ends|
|American Express Platinum credit card||Membership Rewards Points||30,000||60,000||25 October 2022|
|£200 Travel credit voucher|
Asda launches cashback credit card
Asda Money’s new cashback credit card seems decent at first glance, but isn’t so good when you look deeper. My full review gives more details, but here are the essentials.
There’s 1% back at Asda and 0.3% back elsewhere. There’s also the potential to boost points – or Asda Pounds – that you earn in other promotions as part of the supermarket’s new loyalty scheme which will be rolled out nationally this year.
However, there are some significant drawbacks. First, the minimum cashout of £10 worth of points. Second the cashback must be swapped for a voucher within 18 months. So it could be you don’t spend enough to generate a voucher.
The card can also be matched or beaten by other cardson other spending, so it’s a no from me.
Barclaycard contactless issues
MoneySavingExpert reported that contactless has stopped working for thousands of Barclaycard customers since March. If you’re affected you should have been contacted by Barclaycard, who will update you when it’s sorted. They also told MSE that there would be no compensation for the inconvenience.
It looks like the cards will still work contactlessly if added to a digital wallet, or you could look at the free version of Curve.
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 twice-weekly podcast. Episodes every Tuesday and Friday.