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.
October’s credit card & BNPL update video
I go into more detail on some of this month’s updates in this video.
October’s credit card & BNPL news
Big Amex fee changes
If you have or open certain Amex credit cards, the fees have now gone up. Here’s what you’ll pay:
- Amex Platinum: £650 (was £575)
- Amex Preferred Reward Gold: £195 (was £160) / First year is still free
- Amex Nectar: £30 (was £25) / First year is still free
- Amex Marriot Bonvoy: £95 (was £75)
- Amex Harrods: £195 (was £160)
- Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Business: £195 (was £175) / First year is still free
Other cards haven’t changed. I’ve written in more detail about what this means for existing card holders here.
Amex pro-rata refund end paused
American Express has temporarly delayed the implementation of the new rules on fee refunds when you cancel part way through a year. These were due to start on 2 October, but now won’t begin until an as yet unannounced date after 29 February 2024.
This means you can still cancel your Amex at any point and get a pro-rata refund on the fee. I’ve covered the forthcoming changes in detail in my Amex fee refund changes: what is means for you article
PayPal now works with Curve
For those of you still using Curve (I stopped a while ago when the features were limited), you can now add PayPal as one of your payment options.
At first I thought this might be a way to add Amex, but it only works with Mastercard (even Visa cards are excluded). You can also connect to any current account which would get around the Visa issue.
It’s also unlikely that it will help you get around the “fronting” charge of 1.5% when you use Curve’s debit card to use an underlying credit card for places that wouldn’t usually accept a credit card (or have a charge for it).
Potentially you can use it to get around the card limitations on the free Curve – though it would be a faff. You’d have to pay with a different card linked to Curve, then before switching a payment to PayPal on Curve you’d need to change the selected card within the PayPal app. Probably not worth it.
You might also be able to connect any business debit and credit cards to your PayPal account (or even connect a PayPal Business account) to Curve, which can’t be added direct to the free Curve account.
It’s worth noting that you’ll also lose PayPal’s own Purchase Protection. Instead you’ll be covered by Curve’s own Customer Protection policies. Personally I think you’d be better paying direct with your payment card and getting access to either Section 75 or Chargeback.
Of course this is a brand new feature, so it could well change – I’ll let you know if it does.
Lloyds launch World Elite cashback card
There’s a new credit card from Lloyds bank that offers up to 1% cashback and travel features – but you’ll pay for it. The World Elite Mastercard will:
- 0.5% cashback on purchases up to a £15,000 annual spend
- 1% cashback on spending above this (resets every 12 months)
- Priority Pass membership (access to participating airport lounges)
- Airport fast track (where it’s offered) so you can skip security queues
To get this you’ll pay £15 a month, so £180 a year. I don’t think that’s worth it. For a start you can beat those cashback rates with Chase’s debit card and a number of Amex cards.
So you’re really just paying for the airport features. This is far cheaper than buying the full Priority Pass direct (at £419 a year), especially since an additional Lloyds cardholder will get their own access too. So huge savings.
But you’ve got to ask yourself if you really need them? Unless you are travelling all the time, you can probably make do with pay as you go lounge passes, costing between £20 and £40 most of the time. You’ll pay the lower amounts if you book in advance.
Or you could get the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold credit card which gives you four Priority Pass visits and is free in the first year. It’s £195 in year two.
But for regular travellers it might be worth a look purely to make waiting at the airport less stressful. I’d still look elsewhere for the cashback though.
October’s credit card special offers
Amex Boosts Platinum welcome offer
Despite (or more likely because) of the annual fee increase to £650, Amex has offered the biggest ever welcome deal on the Platinum credit card.
As long as you’ve not had the Gold, Rewards or Platinum card in the last two years you’ll be eligible for the bonus. It’s worth 75,000 bonus points if you spend (a huge) £10,000 in six months, which along with the 10,000 points earned from the spending itself could be worth £557 when converted to Nectar points via Avios. Factor in £80 cashback when you apply and it almost covers the fee.
Then you can take advantage of other offers, such as £300 restaurant credit and £150 Harvey Nicholls credit to get a profit close to £450. And you’ll get free worldwide travel insurance and airport lounge access on top.
It’s a limited-time offer, that runs only until 9 January 2024. Here’s more on how to stack each element of the deal.
Amex Gold bonus also increased
Alternatively you could look at the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold credit card, which is also temporarily boosted. Combined with cashback this could offer you a profit of up to £247.
However you’ll need to spend £3,000 in three months, and you can’t have had any Amex in your name in the last two years. Offer ends 9 January 2024. More details here.
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 (October 2023)
Listen to Cash Chats, Andy’s award-winning podcast. Episodes every Tuesday.