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The best reward credit cards UK

The best reward credit cards UK

You can get free flights, save money on your supermarket shop and more with the best reward credit cards.

lovemoney staff

Banking and Borrowing

lovemoney staff
Updated on 10 January 2023

Reward credit cards can be a handy way to earn hundreds of pounds worth of perks when you use them for everyday spending.

There are a lot of different types of reward credit cards on the market, so you should choose wisely to make sure you earn benefits that are valuable to you.

For example, you can get free air miles or extra loyalty points to use at your favourite supermarket.

It’s worth stressing that reward cards are ideal for those who are confident that they can pay off the full amount every month to avoid paying interest, which can be higher compared to other credit cards.

You generally don’t get an interest-free period, so it’s vital you pay back what you owe in full every month.

In this article, we’ll reveal what types of reward cards are available on the market and what you should expect.

Interested in cashback credit cards? Check out our guide to the best cashback credit cards.

Flexible reward schemes

Some credit card providers offer points that can be converted into frequent flyer points, or allow you to use your card at various retailers.

American Express offers generous points bonuses, but these have been cut on its cards in recent years, while the interest rate has been hiked on most cards.

But they still have a big advantage as you can use your points with American Express at a range of places, instead of specific airlines, hotels, or supermarkets, plus you can usually get bonus points if you refer a friend.

American Express Nectar

As the name implies, the American Express Nectar Credit Card (representative APR 32.6%) can help you build up Nectar points.

You earn two Nectar points for virtually every £1 you spend, which increases to at least three points when you shop at Nectar partners with your credit card and loyalty card.

What’s more, spend £2,000 in your first three months with the card and you’ll pocket a bonus 20,000 Nectar points.

The card costs £25 a year, but American Express currently waives the fee for the first year.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold 

You can get 20,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 with the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card in your first three months of membership.

Membership Rewards points can be converted to air miles for various airlines or used to pay for goods or services.

You can earn one Membership Reward point for every £1 you spend on purchases, two points for every £1 you spend directly with airlines or in a foreign currency and three for every £1 you spend at American Express Travel.

The annual fee is an eye-watering £160 (representative APR 70.1%), but this is waived for the first year so make sure you cancel before the year is up.

You'll get four complimentary airport lounge visits per year with this card, plus up to £10 cashback per month via an exclusive Deliveroo offer – find out more here.

Cardholders can also get 2,500 Membership Rewards points for every £5,000 of eligible spending up to five times a year or up to 12,500 points for spending £25,000.

There is also a fee-free version of this card: the American Express Rewards Credit Card.

It has 10,000 Membership Rewards points on offer if you spend £2,000 in the first three months of card ownership and has an APR of 27.2%.

You can earn one Membership Reward point for every £1 you spend on purchases. 

Food on a flight. (Image: Shutterstock)

Airline and hotel reward cards

If you travel regularly, there are plenty of reward credit cards that will help you earn free flights, cabin upgrades or hotel stays. 

You can find out more about airline frequent flyer schemes here.

Barclaycard Avios

With the fee-free Barclaycard Avios card (representative APR 25.9%), you can collect 5,000 Avios points if you spend £1,000 in the first three months of owning the card.

You can collect one Avios point for every £1 spent on eligible purchases, plus if you spend £20,000 within a year, you’ll get a British Airways cabin upgrade voucher.

On top of this, you can get up to five months of Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Fitness+, Apple News+ and Apple Arcade for free, but make sure this card is right for you first.

Barclaycard Avios Plus

With Barclaycard Avios Plus (representative APR 75%), you’ll get 25,000 Avios points but you’ll have to spend £3,000 in the first three months of card ownership. This card has a fee of £20 a month.

You can earn 1.5 Avios points for every £1 spent on eligible purchases, get access to airport lounges at a discounted rate, plus you only need to spend £10,000 within 12 months to get a British Airways cabin upgrade voucher.

You can get also up to five months of Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+ and Apple Arcade for free.

British Airways American Express

The fee-free British Airways American Express Credit Card (representative APR 27.2%) offers 5,000 bonus Avios points when you spend £1,000 within your first three months of owning the card.

This credit card allows you to earn one Avios point for every £1 you spend and when you spend £12,000 or more within a membership year, you get a complimentary companion voucher or a 50% discount on the Avios price you pay if travelling solo.

For very high spenders, there is the British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card (representative APR 106%).

It has a higher earn rate (1.5 Avios points per £1) and a higher bonus (25,000 bonus Avios points if you spend £3,000 in the first three months), but it also has a very high annual fee of £250.

You can earn three Avios points for every £1 you spend with British Airways or BA Holidays, plus you’ll only have to spend £10,000 in a year to get a companion voucher or a 50% discount on the Avios price you pay if travelling solo.

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

 With the fee-free Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card (representative APR 22.9%), you can earn 0.75 Virgin points for every £1 you spend plus 1.5 points for every £1 you spend with Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Holidays.

You'll get a complimentary companion voucher or upgrade when you spend £20,000 or more within a year.

If you're a very high spender, the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card (representative APR 63.9%) has a big welcome bonus (15,000 bonus points when you make a purchase within the first three months of card ownership) and a higher earn rate (1.5 points per £1).

On top of this, you only have to spend £10,000 in a year to unlock exclusive benefits.

You'll also get three points for every £1 you spend with Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Holidays, but the card has a steep £160 annual fee.

Supermarket reward cards

Some supermarkets and shops offer credit cards that allow you to build up points that can be exchanged for money off your shop or rewards, usually at the same place.

Bear in mind that a cashback card could offer better value in the long term.

Asda Money Select Credit Card

With the Asda Money Select Credit Card (representative APR 34.9%), you’ll get 1% of your Asda shopping spend back in ‘Asda pounds’ but only 0.3% on spending elsewhere.

You can convert Asda pounds into money-off vouchers via the Asda Rewards app – these vouchers can then be used online and in-store.

At the time of writing, you can also get £20 back in Asda Pounds if you open an account before 28 February and spend at least £5 in your first two months of card ownership.

Earn cashback at Asda without a credit card: join the Asda Rewards loyalty scheme.

John Lewis and Waitrose Partnership Card

The John Lewis and Waitrose Partnership Card (representative APR 21.9%) has recently been relaunched.

You’ll still earn five points for every £4 spent at John Lewis and Waitrose and one point for every £4 spent elsewhere, as well as get a £5 voucher for every 500 points you collect.

The credit card offers 0% interest on new purchases for the first six months and when you apply for a new card, you get triple points for the first 90 days on eligible purchases at John Lewis and Waitrose.

Groceries in a supermarket trolley. (Image: Shutterstock)

M&S Shopping Plus Offer Mastercard

With the M&S Shopping Plus Offer Credit Card (representative APR 23.9%), you'll get 0% on purchases for 21 months and 0% on balance transfers for 18 months. The latter is available for 90 days from account opening, but a 2.99% fee applies (or a minimum of £5). 

You’ll earn one M&S point for every £1 you spend in-store or for every £5 you spend elsewhere. You can earn extra points if you’re an M&S Club Rewards customer, but it costs £10 a month to be a member.

The best UK supermarket loyalty schemes

Sainsbury’s Nectar Credit Card

If you frequently shop at Sainsbury’s, you might like Sainsbury's Nectar Card (representative APR 20.9%), but you have to be a Nectar member to apply. 

You can avoid interest on your spending for six months and also get six months interest-free on balance transfers (a 3% fee applies, min £3).

You can collect up to three Nectar points per £2 you spend on Sainsbury's shopping or at Argos, Habitat or Tu Clothing when you use your credit card and swipe your Nectar card. You can collect one Nectar point for every £5 you spend elsewhere.

On top of this, you'll get 8,000 bonus points when you use your credit card to spend at least £400 at Sainsbury's, Argos, Habitat or Tu Clothing in the first two months of card ownership.

It’s worth flagging that you might get the same bonus points offer with other Sainsbury’s credit cards.

Tesco Bank Purchases Card

The Tesco Bank Purchases Card (representative APR 22.9%) gives you 0% interest on purchases for up to 14 months.

When you use this credit card, you can get five Clubcard points for every £4 you spend in Tesco (or on Tesco fuel) and one Clubcard point for every £8 you spend elsewhere.

A final word of warning

Finally, remember, if you’re using a rewards credit card, always ensure you pay off your bill in full each month to avoid being hit with a hefty interest charge, which will wipe out the rewards you’ve managed to build up.

An easy way to do this is to set up a Direct Debit that pays off the balance in full every month, provided you can afford this. 

Prefer cashback? Take a look at The best cashback credit cards.

If you would rather earn cashback through your current account, check out the best bank accounts for cashback.

Still not found the right card for you? View our complete guide to credit cards to see all your options.

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