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THE BEST UK Credit Cards with Airmiles (How to Earn Air miles in the UK)

UPDATE JUNE 2021. Alright, folks. You’re from the UK and you’re fed up watching American’s travel hacking and upgrading to Business Class for ‘free’ all the time. But it’s almost impossible if you’re a Brit? Not true! I’m going to simply explain the 5 BEST Uk credit cards with airmiles here.

best credit cards for airmiles UK
best credit cards for airmiles UK

How Do Air Miles Work?

Firstly, if you literally have no clue how do air miles work check out THIS POST first. It explains how you can earn air miles, how to ‘travel hack’ to allow you earn points/air miles, that in turn will allow you to fly business class for free.

There are just 6 Quality Credit Cards in the UK to Earn Air Miles

Firstly, collecting air miles in the UK is much harder than in the US. In the US they can ‘churn’ credit cards. Each time they sign up for a new credit card, they can get like 50k air miles (enough for one business class upgrade!). We can’t do that. But we can still earn enough for business class flights every year or 2, and that’s better than nothing.

UK credit cards to use for air miles

Don’t get overly confused. Basically, you need 2 of these. So 1 Amex, and 1 Virgin.

Use THIS LINK for between 1-5000 extra sign-up bonus points for each card. And if you want to choose a different card but still want the extra referral bonus miles, click in the top left-hand corner where it says “View all cards with a referral offer

*There are also cheaper versions of these 2 cards, I explain below.

CARDYEARLY FEEAIRMILES SIGN-UP BONUSOTHER
AMEX PLATINUM BUSINESS£59540,000 points (+5,000 EXTRA MILES IF YOU USE MY LINK)TWO Priority Pass (!!) & Insurance
AMEX PLATINUM£57530,000 points (+5,000 EXTRA MILES IF YOU USE MY LINK)Priority Pass & Insurance
British Air AMEX PREMIUM+£19525,000 points & 1 companion voucher (+5,000 EXTRA MILES IF YOU USE MY LINK)Travel insurance
AMEX Preferred Rewards GOLD£140 (£0 in first year)25,000 points (+5,000 EXTRA MILES IF YOU USE MY LINK)2 one-use lounge passes
AMEX NectarFREE20,000 Avios (+21,000 with MY LINK)You can collect sign-up bonus, then collect ANOTHER Amex sign-up bonus after!
VIRGIN REWARD+£16015,000 points & 1 companion flight or upgrade
best credit card for airmiles uk
best credit card for airmiles uk

The Best UK Credit Cards for Air miles & Points in Detail

You can see from the table above, the 6 credit cards that are best for air miles and rewards in the UK. But of course, they have other little perks too. So I’ll explain them in a little more detail below.

American Express Platinum Business

The most expensive yearly free of all UK credit card with air miles/points. And also the best. Why choose the

Who is this card for?

People who fly regularly and therefore get the benefit of airport lounge access almost anywhere in the world, even if you’re flying economy! And of course, anyone who spends a lot on their cards every month, 1,000GBP+.

SIGN-UP BONUS

40,000* points as long as you spend £6k in the first 3 months. 45,000 points if you use my link.

Why Choose it?

Pros and cons

PROS:

1) Largest Sign Up Bonus in the UK Credit Card Market. 40,000* points as long as you spend £6k in the first 3 months, so time it right.

*You get 45,000 points if you use MY LINK HERE. An extra 5,000 points for free! (Those points are worth almost 600GBP alone, even more if used to upgrade business class to first class).

2) 1 complimentary platinum card for someone. This means they get all the perks you get. INCLUDING A SECOND FREE UNLIMITED PRIORITY PASS (Valued at £339 alone!).

3) Comprehensive worldwide Travel insurance

4) Access to the gleaming, luxurious Centurion Lounges. Amex’s top-notch private lounges across the US, and Buenos Aires (EZE), Mexico City, Mexico (MEX), Monterrey (MTY), Toluca (TLC), Hong Kong (HKG), New Delhi (DEL), Sydney (SYD), Melbourne (MEL).

IF YOU LIVE IN ONE OF THESE CITIES, THE PLATINUM CARD IS GREAT VALUE. Simple as that.

5) The Times and The Sunday Times Digital Subscription (£312)

6) onefinestay £150 credit

7) It may be a little egotistical but the Platinum Amex is a solid, high-end metal card. It’s beautiful. Honestly. (I also thought this was stupid, then I got it, and now I don’t want to give it up!).

CONS:

1) Expensive. 595GBP is pricey. No getting around that. But if you’re going to get a priority pass @ £330 anyway (which you should!), then it’s easily worth the price.

Earning Points

1 point for every £1. But you get 2 points for £1 spent on flights, hotel, travel etc (if booked through American Express travel).

But you don’t own a business, can you still get it?

Maybe you’re starting a business, or plan to start one. It’s not American Express’s job to check if you have a business registered in this country or another country.

Why is it the best UK card for points in the UK?

It’s the one I personally use because you get 2 priority passes. I keep one, and give one to my mum (best gift EVER!). Also, Priority Pass through your Amex allows you to bring a guest into the airport lounges with you, if you buy your Priority Pass direct, you don’t get that. Amazing. That means you can have 4 people in the lounge with you from this one card! Luxury lounges can often be up to $80 a visit, that’s $320 value in one visit. Insane.

The travel insurance is great. You get £300 if your bag is delayed for example!

The card itself is beautiful! And of course, above all, 40,000 sign up points (45,000 if you use my referral link!).

Finally, Amex points can be used with all 3 of the alliances, and also with Emirates. Perfect.

Credit Card or Charge Card?!

The Amex Platinum UK cards are ‘charge cards’, not credit cards. That means you pay the full balance back each month.

American Express Platinum

Uk credit cards with airmiles

Who Is This Card For?

Frequent flyers who need a Priority Pass, but don’t feel comfortable telling Amex that it’s for business, and prefers to keep it personal.

Annual Fee £575

SIGN-UP BONUS

30,000 points (if you spend £4k in 3 months). 35,000 if you use my link.

Why Choose It?

PROS:

1) Priority Pass (only 1, not 2 like the business card)

2) Worldwide Travel Insurance

3) Sexy metal card (very cool, but certainly not worth 575 quid!)

4) 30k points (35k points with my link) sign-up bonus. Those miles are worth about 400GBP anyway!

CONS:

1) Expensive at £575. Better to get business platinum for 20 quid extra and get the second Priority Pass, if eligible.

Earning Points

1 point for every £1. But you get 2 points for £1 spent on flights, hotel, travel etc (if booked through American Express travel).

Credit Card or Charge Card?!

The Amex Platinum UK cards are ‘charge cards’, not credit cards. That means you pay the full balance back each month.

British Airways American Express Credit Premium Plus Card*

Uk credit cards with airmiles

Who Is This Card For?

People who want to fly with their partner or friend once a year for free with the companion pass. As opposed to Platinum where you save the points for your own upgrades.

Annual Fee £195

SIGN-UP BONUS

25,000 points (if you spend £3k in 3 months). 30,000 points if you use my link.

Why Choose It?

PROS:

1) Without doubt, the main reason for using this card is the companion pass. If you spend £10,000 on your card in the year, when you book a British Airways flight, on ANY class, with points you get one FREE set beside you. Serious, serious value.

2) 25000 points (30k with my link) is great value for 195 yearly fee. Those points are worth about 200GBP anyway!

3) Great travel insurance for delay etc.

CONS:

1) Collect Avios points, not Amex points. So it’s better to use them just with British Airways so you can avail of the companion voucher. Amex points can be used with almost any airline, Avios points can be used within1 alliance.

Earning Points

Earns 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent on purchases

**CHEAPER VERSION OF BRITISH AIRWAYS AMEX:

There is another BA Amex with 0 annual fee. You get 5,000 air miles rather than 25k when you sign up. And you have to spend £20,000 rather than £10k to qualify for the Companion Voucher.

Remember, the best thing about the BA Amex IS THE COMPANION VOUCHER! So only sign up for this cheaper card if you’re sure you’ll spend £20k and get your voucher. Otherwise, get the higher fee card (£195 per year) that only requires £10k spend for the voucher.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Who Is This Card For?

People who are new to collecting air miles, and want to dip their toe in the water. No annual fee in your first year, but still 20,000 sign-up points available. It’s the best beginner deal in the UK for Credit Cards and air miles.

Annual Fee £0 in 1st year, £140 2nd year.

SIGN-UP BONUS

20,000 points (when you spend £3k in first 3 months)

Why Choose It?

PROS:

1) Free in your first year

2) 20k sign-up points with no initial annual fee (worth up to 200GBP alone)

3) 2 Free airport lounge passes (often can be worth up to $80 each)

CONS:

1) If you sign up, and love Amex (which you will), then you lose access to the sign-up bonus for Platinum if you choose to upgrade.

Earning Points

1 point for every £1, 2 points for any airline purchase

AMERICAN EXPRESS NECTAR CARD

Who is this card for?

EVERY new person to the points game. It’s FREE. And you get 20,000 Nectar points (21,000 if you use my link) when you sign up and spend 2kGBP in the first 2 months.

“Who the hell wants Nectar points when I’m trying to upgrade to Business Class for free?!”

Good question but you can now collect Nectar points and transfer them to British Airways AVIOS points (400 Nectar = 250 Avios).

Annual Fee £0 in 1st year, £140 2nd year.

SIGN-UP BONUS

20,000 NECTAR points (when you spend £2k in first 2 months)

Why Choose It?

PROS:

1) FREE CARD

2) 20k sign-up points with no initial annual fee (worth up to 200GBP alone)

3) Getting this card DOESN’T AFFECT FUTURE AMEX SIGN-UP BONUSES! Because this card gives tou Nectar points, you can still collect the welcome bonus, cancel it and then STIL move on to AMEX British Airways or Platinum.

CONS:

1) None.

Earning Points

1 point for every £1, 3 points for 1 spend in Sainsburys

SIGN-UP HERE

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card*

Uk credit cards with airmiles
Uk credit cards with airmiles

Who Is This Card For?

Everyone! Everyone who wants to earn and collect air miles with a UK credit card should have 1 Amex (either Platinum, Gold, or BA Amex) plus 1 Virgin Mastercard. Why? Not everywhere will take an Amex, so you won’t earn points. With this, you can earn points with EVERY transaction.

Annual Fee £160

SIGN-UP BONUS

15,000 points (if you use the card even once in the first 3 months)

Why Choose It?

PROS:

1) Companion or upgrade voucher. If you spent your 10k in the year, you get issued with a voucher than you can use to bring a companion with you for free. Or upgrade yourself one level. Pretty epic!

2) Not everywhere accepts Amex, so having a MasterCard means you’ll always have an option to use a card, and therefore never miss an opportunity to earn points.

CONS:

1) Points with Virgin Mastercard aren’t usable in any alliance.

Earning Points

1.5 Virgin Points for every £1 spent

**CHEAPER VERSION OF VIRGIN ATLANTIC MASTERCARD:

There is another Virgin Mastercard with 0 annual fee. You get no air miles rather when you sign up. If you spend £20,000 then you qualify for a Companion Voucher. You earn .75 for 1GBP spend on the free card.

air miles credit card uk
Uk credit cards with airmiles

The BEST credit card for collecting points in the UK

The best card, in my opinion, is the Amex business platinum. Why? It’s the most expensive I know but you get TWO unlimited Priority Passes (one for you, plus an amazing gift for your mum, dad, gf etc). AND on top of that you can bring 1 guest into the lounge. Unlimited Priority passes (with NO guest access) cost £339. So 2 of them is £678 value! Then you get 40,000 miles (+5,000 more with my link!), that’s almost enough for one business class upgrade. So there’s nearly £1,000 value there if you use it on Emirates business for example. Then travel insurance, purchase insurance. It’s the best.

If £595 is too much though, and you want a cheaper card, then I’d go with the British Air Premium+ (£195 per year). The travel companion voucher is AMAZING value. If you use points to book yourself business, you get a friend free. That’s £1k+ value right there. Plus travel insurance for free. Great deal.

3rd choice is Amex Preferred Gold. Free in the first year, so that’s essentially 25,000 miles for free when you sign up! And 2 lounge passes. Pretty great.

Best UK Credit Card for Air Miles for Beginners?

I’d still be pushed to say Platinum because I LOVE the free Priority Pass! But if you don’t want to spend 500+quid on a credit card, and you want a ‘free’ card with the chance to earn miles. Take the Gold American Express. 25k points (30,000 with my link!) and get started!

air miles credit card uk
Uk credit cards with airmiles

My thoughts on collecting air miles in the UK

It’s not as good as the US, that’s true. But if you want to fly business class once every year or two, then you may as well take the opportunity. You need to use a credit card anyway, so at least this way you get rewarded with absolute luxury now and again. I’m addicted now, so be careful! And message me when you fly business the first time.

Final tip? Emirates A380 business class has the stand-up bar. Use your points for that upgrade!

what are air miles
what are air miles? They are points that you save up with credit card spend, and by flying with airlines, then you ‘spend’ them on upgrades!

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