Last week, I wrote about Credit Cards that are tied to airlines and benefits. This week, we’re going to look at the non tied ones. As such there are two major issuers of such card (as MBNA seem to have withdrawn from this end of the market), American Express, and Lloyds TSB). There are other reward programmes such as Barclaycard Freedom which is comparatively complex and will not be covered here. Additionally, I’m not covering Tesco Clubcard (which can generate Avios or BA Miles).
Please note, this information does not constitute financial advice and you should always do your own research on top to ensure it’s right for your specific circumstances, and may impact on your credit score. So don’t blame me if you overspend on a card and they come hounding after you.
Those who are considering applying should bear in mind you’ll need to be resident in the UK to get one, and probably have reasonable banking references. So don’t moan at me if you’re in the USA wanting to apply for a UK American Express Charge Card. Because the answer will be no ;).
If you’ve got comments, fill them in down below, and I’ll try and answer them!
American Express Platinum Charge Card. Ok, lets go for the biggie first. Whilst it is an eyewatering £300 A YEAR, it does get you 40,000 Membership Reward points if you spend £1,500 in the first 3 months of having the card, with an earn rate of 1 point per £. Which depending if you’re dumping it into BA Miles/Avios or BMI Miles, is one hell of a lot. Considering it’s 1=1 on BMI miles (and 20,000 BMI miles a year is about.. £240), this is a heck of a saving. There are some major other things to consider with the Amex Plat card too – namely travel insurance, car hire insurance, Priority Pass Membership.. the works. It’s a good card, but you need to make sure you can take advantage of the card, otherwise £300 a year is a LOT of cash. Oh, and you need to earn £40,000 to apply.
A big note: Don’t confuse the Platinum Charge card with the Platinum Credit Card. You’ll only get these beanies on the Charge Card, and an insult from the credit card (so much so, I chopped mine up this year…)
American Express Gold Card Charge Card – The Gold Charge Card is the baby brother, with a bonus 20,000 points just by spending £1,000 on your Card over the first three months, and an earn rate of 1 point per £, and if you spend £15,000 or more a year, you’ll get an additional 7,500 bonus points on renewal . It’s £125 down to get the card a year. Whilst this card doesn’t have as many extras as the Platinum card, it’s still cheaper than buying 20,000 BMI Miles. Again, it’s a charge card, so make sure you can meet the repayments before applying for the plastic.
Llyods TSB Duo Credit Cards & Llyods TSB Due Premier Credit Cards – I’m going to take about these cards together. The basic premise is you’re issued with a MasterCard and an Amex branded card on one account. These generate Air Miles – or soon to be Avios points. The Duo’s have slight different earning rates each and need to be examined. If you’re collecting Air Miles in the UK, it could represent a good value earn, however with the main benefit of taxes and surcharges going away when the Airmiles programme merges into Avios…. there may be better ways of earning points. Speaking of earning, it starts 1 Airmile PER £10. If that turns from 1 Airmile to 1 Avios point, that is going to to sting.
One to put on the consider list, but one I personally wouldn’t go near…
NatWest YouPoints – Whilst it’s a Natwest World MasterCard, there is so little information on the NatWest site about the rewards (except some limited flights on EasyJet or Air Malta), I’m only mentioning it passing. A sign-up of 2,500 points and an earn rate of 1 point per £. Judging by how many points they’re not offering in the sample reward table, this looks like one to avoid.
Next week it’s the turn of Hotel Credit cards where I ask… are they worth it?