Three of the Best Rewards Cards for Travellers

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If you’re a frequent traveller – whether it’s for business, pleasure, or both –  you probably fly a lot. And if you are flying a lot, there are significant savings to be made by collecting air miles or airline points.

Avios points are one of the main options when it comes to collecting airline points. Alongside your reward credit card, you can also collect points through schemes like the Tesco Clubcard or Shell Drivers Club, maximising your opportunities to earn. Avios Points can be redeemed with 37 different airlines (view the full list here) and flight redemptions start at just 4,500 Avios, which will get you a one-way ticket in Economy to somewhere like Amsterdam or Paris, while long-haul Economy redemptions start at 20,000 Avios. Premium Economy seats cost 1.5x the Economy points, Business Class is 2x and First Class is 3x. But it’s worth noting that redeeming for long-haul Business Class or First Class flights will generally get you the highest ‘pence per Avios’ value, and that long-haul Economy flights are generally the poorest value due to the taxes imposed.

Read More:  Could you fly business class for less than economy? Check out the TTG4L 90 day Challenge for some great travel hacks! 

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It’s not all about Avios, though, with some airlines offering their own credit cards earning points to be spent directly with them. Read on for three of the best rewards card options…

TSB Avios Credit Card

best uk cards for collecting Avios

One of the best cards for collecting Avios points is the TSB Avios Credit Card, which comes with both a MasterCard and an American Express Card to maximise your earning potential. The AmEx card earns more points, but the MasterCard is more universally accepted, so you have the best of both worlds! There’s also the TSB Premier Avios Credit Card which allows you to collect 25% more Avios and comes with a companion ticket benefit, but this comes with an annual fee of £50.

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  • Collect 1 Avios on almost every £1 you spend on the AmExCard and 1 Avios for every £5 of eligible spend on the MasterCard.
  • Collect double Avios on your eligible spend abroad.
  • 2,000 additional Avios on the first £500 spent on your card in the first 90 days (not including balance transfers).
  • 0% interest for up to 6 months on balances transferred within the first 90 days (3% fee applies).
  • Collect 1,500 bonus Avios for every whole £1,000 balance you transfer from a single provider.
  • No annual fee.

Representative 17.9% APR (variable). Based on you borrowing £1,200* over 12 months and a purchase rate of 17.95% p.a. (variable).*

Virgin Atlantic Credit Card

best uk cards for collecting air miles

If you prefer not to use Avios, then this is one of the top cards for frequent fliers with Virgin, letting you collect Flying Club Miles instead. The Virgin Atlantic White card comes with both an AmEx and a Visa card, similar to the above setup from TSB.

The Rewards Button

  • Collect 1 mile per £1 spent on the AmEx and 1 mile per £2 on the Visa.
  • Collect 2 Flying Club miles for every £1 spent direct with Virgin Atlantic, and via telephone with Virgin Holidays when using the AmEx, or 1 Flying Club mile for every £1 spent direct with Virgin Atlantic, and via telephone with Virgin Holidays when using the Visa. (Excludes Virgin Flightstore).
  • 3,000 bonus miles on your first card purchase with either card within 90 days of your account opening
  • 7,000 bonus miles when you spend a total of £1,000 within 90 days of your account opening and apply by 31 March 2015
  • Upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy when you spend £10,000 in a year on this card. (Up to two upgrades per year)
  • 0% on balance transfers for up to 6 months from the date your account is opened (2% handling fee, £3 min)
  • No annual fee

Representative example: 17.9%p.a. (variable) on card purchases. This is equivalent to 17.9%APR representative (variable) based on a credit limit of £1200.*

Emirates Skywards Credit Card

best uk cards for collecting air miles

The Emirates Skywards Credit Card Account allows you to collect Skywards Miles that can be redeemed for various rewards, including special flight offers, upgrades, and hotel stays. Again, this comes with two cards, an AmEx and a Visa.

The Rewards Button

  • Collect 1 mile per £1 spent on the AmEx and 1 mile per £2 on the Visa.
  • Collect 2 Miles for every £1 when you spend on the AmEx card directly with Emirates Airline, and 2 Miles for every £2 when you spend on the Visa directly with Emirates Airline.
  • 10,000 bonus miles when you apply by 12 April 2015 and spend £1,000 on card purchases within 90 days of your account opening.
  • 25% discount on purchase of Skywards Miles when made with the AmEx.
  • 10% discount on Emirates Holidays when purchased with the AmEx.
  • 0%p.a. on balance transfers for up to 6 months from account opening (2% handling fee, min £3). This offer applies to Balance Transfers made within the first 90 days.
  • 0%p.a. on money transfers for up to 6 months from account opening (2% handling fee, min £3). This offer applies to Money Transfers made within the first 90 days.

Representative example: 17.9%p.a. (variable) on card purchases. This is equivalent to 17.9%APR representative (variable) based on a credit limit of£1200.*

A few Things to Note

  • You’ll need a reasonable credit score to apply for one of these cards.
  • You’ll gain more if you have a companion or partner with whom you can share a card.
  • If you don’t repay in full every month by direct debit, the interest cost on a reward cards will most likely dwarf any gain you get.
  • Keep your eye open for miles sales –  which temporarily reduce the number of miles or points needed to fly somewhere.
  • Ensure you claim miles when you fly too.
  • With Avios, you can also earn points for spending in various places – see the Boost Your Avios guide from Money Saving Expert for more information.
  • Avoid cash withdrawals and balance transfers.

*Credit limits and interest rates will vary based on your individual circumstances.

Do you use air miles or airline points when you travel? Share your tips in the comments! 

About Emily Luxton

An award-winning writer and travel blogger on a mission to explore the world through deeper, more intelligent travel. Seeking out adventure, cultural exchanges, food experiences and more as she attempts to get to know the world. Lover of the great outdoors, sunsets, good food, and the odd bit of luxury!

4 Comments

  1. Totally agree re companion vouchers however all are not created equal. The BA one allows you to redeem both AVIOS and the voucher together for business class flights so you can get two business class flights long haul for around £1000. Rather disappointingly other companies only allow you to redeem the voucher with a paid fare meaning you would have to pay for a business class fare to redeem the voucher which means considerably more of an initial outlay!! That said credit cards are a brilliant way to ramp up those points particularly the ones with high sign up bonuses!! Happy travels.

  2. Interesting Views guys, thou you are limited to flight routes, Ie longhaul LHR etc. I have a Amex Nectar card & Sainsbury’s Master Card, to which I collect aprox 3500+ points per month or £17.50+ (Card balance paid in full each month)

    Ref: Only for Longhall flight (intercontiential) not local Europe flights..

    :Let them build up, only book seat sale fares, Thro Expedia & if price is same or better then airline direct, use only for the flight cost. Which can be anything from £50 to £150 P/P thou still have to pay taxes etc!!! Have managed to get X2 separate flights Business Class for pennys @ check in..

    I also have a flybe credit card, to which we have flew with them 3 times in last 12 months & for a budget airline. We were very impressed with quality & service. Cashed in the offer for spending & was very happy with last deal for New Year travels. Only issue with flybe credit card, if booking more than 1 person ie couple of more+ if u want to use the discount voucher, I had to book the flights per person. Which was a little issue!!!!.

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