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.
September’s credit card update video
I go into more detail on some of this month’s updates in this video.
September’s credit card news
There are a couple of top offers this month for new Amex customers, which some existing cardholders can also nab, depending on which card they have right now.
BA Amex welcome bonus
Last month I shared with you the changes to the Amex British Airways cards due to begin 1 September. Well, to coincide with these changes, there are some boosted referral offers.
- British Airways American Express credit card: 10,000 Avios points if you spend £1,000 in the first three months
- British Airways American Express Premium Plus credit card: 40,000 Avios points if you spend £3,000 in the first three months
These points don’t have to be used for flights. You can swap them to Nectar points, with 250 Avios worth 400 Nectar. This means the bonuses above are worth £80 and £320 respectively (though the latter has a £250 fee). You’ll also earn Avios points for each pound you spend, so factor those in on top for that initial spend.
Once you’ve got the bonus on the Premium Plus card you can downgrade to the free card and get a pro-rate refund on the fee.
You’re eligible for the Premium Plus welcome bonus as long as you haven’t had one of the two BA Amex cards in the last 24 months – meaning it’s a rare chance for existing customers to nab a hefty bonus. The free card welcome offer follows the standard rules so existing cardholders can’t get the offer.
Other changes revealed to the cards include moving the long card number to the back of the card – potentially something we’ll see on the other Amex cards in the coming months and years.
American Express Platininum welcome bonus and dining offer
Another huge welcome bonus is for the Amex Platinum card. You’ll get 60,000 Amex Reward points if you spend £6,000 in six months. Convert these points to Avios and then to Nectar and they’re worth £480.
This is double the normal bonus, and the offer runs until 2 November 2021. You’ll also earn a point per £1 spent, so that’ll total another 6,000 points, or £48 in Nectar points, for that first £6k spent.
However, this card comes with a huge £575 annual fee! Even with the added family travel insurance and access to airport lounges, this cost means it won’t be the best option for most people. However, there are a few ways that could make it more appealing.
First, this welcome offer is available to anyone who has not held a Membership Rewards card in the last 24 months. So while this excludes anyone with the Gold Preferred Rewards or the Rewards cards, you can get it if you already have the Nectar, BA or Platinum Cashback cards.
Next, the bonus is applied to your account as soon as you hit the spending threshold. So if you cancel the card once you have spent £6,000 then the remaining fee will be refunded pro-rata. So that could reduce the fee by 50%, if not more.
Finally, there’s also an offer running at the moment which could be worth £200 – though there’s no guarantee new cardholders will get it. The deal gives you £200 credit to spend in some decent restaurants until December. Most are in London but there are options around the country. If you apply and the offer doesn’t show you could try calling Amex to see if they’ll add it. More details here.
So if you combine the offers (oh, and apply via a referral link or cashback site), you could potentially
- Earn £528 in Nectar points
- Earn £35 cashback from TopCashback
- Claim £200 restaurant credit
- Get a £287.50 (ish) fee refund if you cancel after six months
This would leave you with a profit of £475.50! And if you don’t get the restaurant credit, that’s still a very strong £275.50. However, that’s a lot of cash to have in Nectar points – here’s more on ways to spend them.
M&S Club Rewards launched
I didn’t have time to cover this new offer from Marks & Spencer Bank last month, but I’ve now looked in detail at the scheme. For £10 a month you’ll get extras such as money off vouchers to spend at M&S and free hot drinks each month. Overall I think it’s not going to be worth it for anyone who doesn’t shop regularly at Marks. Here’s my full review.
Mastercard to ditch magnetic stripes
The old way to pay from swiping your card is on its way out, with Mastercard announcing new cards won’t have to have the magnetic stripe from 2024. They’ll be phased out completely by 2033. This is down to the prevalence of PIN and contactless methods.
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. You’ll also find my list of the latest offers in the same article.
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 (September 2021)
- Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Card for the welcome bonus (read more)
- Amex Nectar for ongoing 1% cashback
- Barclaycard Rewards for 0.25% cashback and fee-free spending overseas
Listen to Cash Chats, Andy’s twice-weekly podcast. Episodes every Tuesday and Friday.