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.

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.

We're working with Compare the Market* where you can find out what credit cards you are eligible for without harming your credit score. Click here to find out more or jump straight in and discover which credit cards you're likely to qualify for.

Woman using a reward credit card. (Image: Shutterstock)

Flexible reward schemes

Some credit card providers, including American Express, 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 over the last few years.

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.

American Express Nectar

The American Express Nectar Credit Card (representative APR 30%) 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.

Compare credit cards (Image: CTM)

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold 

You’ll get 20,000 bonus points when you spend £3,000 with the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card in your first three months of membership (this is easier said than done).  

At the time of writing, you can also get an extra 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend at least £15,000 within the 12 months of your card anniversary.

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 £140 (representative APR 60.1%), but this is waived for the first year so make sure you cancel before the year is up.

You'll also get two 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.

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 24.7%.

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

We're working with Compare the Market* where you can find out what credit cards you are eligible for without harming your credit score. Click here to find out more or jump straight in and discover which credit cards you're likely to qualify for.

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 23.9%), 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 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 72.4%), you’ll get a more generous bonus of 25,000 Avios points but you’ll have to spend £3,000 in the first three months of card ownership. Also, this card has a fee of £20 a month.

But you can earn 1.5 Avios points for every £1 spent on eligible purchases, 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+ and Apple Arcade for free.

British Airways American Express

The fee-free British Airways American Express Credit Card (representative APR 24.7%) 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.

For very high spenders, there is the British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card (representative APR 101.4%).

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.

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.

John Lewis and Waitrose Partnership Card

With the John Lewis and Waitrose Partnership Card (representative APR 18.9%), you’ll earn points to go towards John Lewis Partnership vouchers every time you spend. You can get your vouchers up to three times a year.

Every 500 points you earn is worth £5 in vouchers. You'll earn five points for every £4 you spend in-store or online at John Lewis and Waitrose and one point for every £4 you spend elsewhere.

M&S Rewards Offer Mastercard

The M&S Rewards Offer Credit Card (representative APR 19.9%) gives customers points to spend on M&S shopping. 100 points are worth £1 in M&S vouchers.

This card gives you 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. The latter is available for 90 days from account opening, but a 2.9% fee applies (or a minimum of £5). 

In your first year of card ownership, you'll earn two points for every £1 you spend in M&S (one point in subsequent years) and one point for every £5 you spend elsewhere.

If you’re an M&S Club Rewards customer (a £10 monthly fee applies), you’ll earn even more rewards points when you use your credit card.

Groceries in a supermarket trolley. (Image: Shutterstock)

M&S Shopping Plus Offer Mastercard

With the M&S Shopping Plus Offer Credit Card (representative APR 21.9%), you get 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 24 months. The latter is available for 90 days from account opening, but a 2.9% 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. Again, 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. 

Not only do you get to avoid interest on your spending for up to 17 months, but you’ll also get up to 17 months interest-free on balance transfers (3% fee, min £3), as well as the chance to collect Nectar points.

You can collect up to three Nectar points for every £1 you spend on Sainsbury's shopping or at Argos, Habitat or Tu Clothing when you use your credit card and swipe your Nectar card. Plus, you’ll 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 you might get the same bonus points offers with other Sainsbury’s credit cards.

We're working with Compare the Market* where you can find out what credit cards you are eligible for without harming your credit score. Click here to find out more or jump straight in and discover which credit cards you're likely to qualify for.

Tesco Bank Purchases Card

The Tesco Bank Purchases Card (representative APR 20.9%) gives you 0% interest on purchases for up to 23 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, providing 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.

*loveMONEY has teamed up with Compare the Market to provide credit card price comparison services. Compare the Market Limited acts as a credit broker, not a lender. To apply you must be a UK resident and aged 18 or over. Credit is subject to status and eligibility.

 

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