May 2023’s credit card & BNPL news & round-up

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.

May’s credit card & BNPL update video

I go into more detail on some of this month’s updates in this video.

May’s credit card & BNPL news

Increased Barclaycard Avios Plus bonus: Worth £300 profit

Until 30 May 2023 you can get double the welcome points on the Barclaycard Avios credit cards.

There are two cards: the Avios Plus and Avios. The former will get you more ongoing and bonus points but has an annual fee. The latter is free. My full review of both cards is here.

Right on to the offer itself. You can only have one Barclaycard, so existing cardholders will miss out on this offer.

If you’ve previously had either of these cards you need to wait 24 months before you can get the welcome deal again (and since these cards haven’t been around that long it won’t apply to anyone this time). If you’ve had any other Barclaycard you need to have closed it at least 6 months ago.

If you meet that criteria, do make sure you check your eligibility with Barclaycard first to find out your chances of acceptance.

Assuming you then get the card, both bonuses require a minimum spend in the first three months, the details are in the table below.

CardFeeBonus RequirementNormal bonusBoosted bonus
Barclaycard Avios£0Spend £1,000 in first three months5,00010,000
Barclaycard Avios Plus£20 a monthSpend £3,000 in first three months25,00050,000

Now, you might be thinking, why bother with Avios, even if there are so many. And for the most part, I agree. They lock you into a handful of airlines and you need a huge number of points to use them for the best deals on flights. I’d usually prefer to shop around and pay for flights with cash, and earn cashback or other points from my spending.

But the good news is, as regular readers will know, you can swap your Avios points into Nectar points. The conversion rate is 300 Avios to 450 Nectar, with every Nectar point worth 0.5p at Sainsbury’s, Argos and eBay. The trick I use is to divide the Avios total by 150, and that gives you the value in pence of your Avios points.

So what does this mean for the deal above? Well you’ll not only earn the bonus, you’ll earn as you spend, so you need to factor in 1,000 extra for the for the free card, and 4,500 for the paid card. The table breaks it down:

CardPoints per £1 spentBoosted bonusAdditional points from spendingTotal points earned in three months (approx)Total value as Nectar points
Barclaycard Avios110,0001,00011,000£73.33
Barclaycard Avios Plus1.550,0004,50054,500£363.33

If you factor in the fee, and cancel or change your Barclaycard once the bonus is paid, the profit on the Avios Plus card will be around £300. Though remember you’ll have the full £363ish in Nectar points as the fee will come out separately.

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ increased bonus

Another boosted welcome deal is via the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card. You’ll still get 15,000 points when you first use the card. And until June 13 there are 15,000 extra points on offer if you spend £3,000 in 90 days. Alongside the 1.5 points per £1 spent it means you’ll have a total of 34,500 points.

To be eligible you can’t have had either of the Virgin Atlantic credit cards in the last six months. There’s an annual fee of £160.

ardFeeRequirementNormal bonusBoosted bonusAdditional points from spending
Virgin Atlantic Reward+£160 a yearSpend £3,000 in first 90 days15,00030,0004,500

These Virgin Points don’t have to be used for flights. Options include trading 19,000 points for 12 bottles of wine, while 200 would get you a Greggs sausage roll.

So let’s use these to get a rough monetary value for the points. The bottles of Virgin Wine cost between £8.99 and £12.99 each, so if we say £11 as average that’s £132 for the case. And using that value means 34,500 points are worth £239.68.

Of course, just because Virgin says 12 wines are worth £132, it doesn’t mean you’d always pay that, especially if you took advantage of supermarket offers. If you instead gave the Virgin bottles a nominal value of £8, then the total points would value would reduce to £174.32.

As for the sausage rolls, in most Greggs one will cost you £1.20. So that would give your 34,500 points a value of £207. Of course you’re not going to buy 1,500 sausage rolls…

There are other ways to redeem the points, and you’ll want to check they’re things you want. You can see the Virgin Red Points list here.

But don’t forget to factor in the £160 annual fee. That won’t be refunded if you cancel the card so it’ll make a big dent in any profit you make.

In previous updates

Check out my previous credit card updates to read about the following:

  • Amex Platinum welcome offer
  • Avios to Nectar value drop
  • Asda’s credit card

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:

Andy’s Top Three Credit Cards (May 2023)

  • Amex Platinum for the welcome bonus (read more)
  • Amex Nectar for ongoing 1% cashback in Nectar points (read more)
  • Barclaycard Rewards for 0.25% cashback and fee-free spending overseas if you don’t want a Chase current account

Our podcast

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