Make no mistake about it – credit cards are the single fastest way to earn points to unlock free travel. But which credit card can make all the difference in how far you go, and how comfortably you do it. If you’re looking to travel more than ever and pay less – there’s a very compelling credit card combo in the UK. In fact, the more you use it – the more valuable it becomes.
The greatest danger in collecting points is one word: devaluation. Airlines and hotels can devalue their points at will, with no warning. Having points in one program which cannot be transferred out is dangerous. The American Express Platinum and Starwood Preferred Guest cards offer a blistering one-two punch, with two of the most valuable points programs, allowing cardholders to transfer their points with more than 25 different airlines. This protects cardmembers from the danger of any airlines and hotels changing their points game – and unlocks a few tricks too.
The Amex Platinum card comes with a steep £450 annual fee, but if you travel frequently, it can more than pay for itself. The most lucrative parts of the card are the:
- Fine Hotels And Resorts Free Nights + Perks
This program regularly offers 3rd or 4th night free at hotels around the world, potentially offering instant savings of hundreds. You could potentially cover the annual fee in one free night.
- Instant Elite Status With Airlines And Hotel Chains
Members receive instant Starwood (SPG) Gold Elite Status, Hilton Gold and Shangri La Golden Circle Jade. The Shangri La status unlocks a fast track to Star Alliance Gold Airline Status with just three flights!
- Special Airfare Deals via Platinum Travel Program
UK cardmembers haven’t traditionally had access to the special Amex Travel International Air Program, but Amex is expanding this to include the UK. Platinum cardmembers get instant access to fares up to hundreds lower than any other booking source, for business and first class tickets.
- Worldwide Airport VIP Lounge Access Via PriorityPass
PriorityPass grants airport VIP lounge access at over 1,000 airport lounges around the world, regardless of which airline you’re flying or cabin class. It makes you a free agent and allows you to buy the cheapest tickets, while still enjoying frequent traveler perks. It’s awesome.
- 30,000 Points Worth At Least £300.
30,000 Amex points can instantly unlock one way business class flights worth at least £1000, by transferring to an airline. But however you plan to use your points, they should be worth at least £300. This is a big chunk of the first year annual fee already covered.
- Delay Coverage Covering Expenses During Travel Issues.
When flight delays or lost baggage occur, the Platinum card is a savior. The delay coverage covers up to £500 in travel expenses such as hotels, clothes and necessities once delays reach over a certain amount.
- 1:1 Points Transfer to British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore, Etihad, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Air France Flying Blue and more.
Again – there’s safety here. Not all these programs will devalue their points. Some might, but if they do, you just transfer your points to wherever the best deal for what you need is. Each airline charges a different amount for similar flights – so having Amex points allows you to find sweet spots.
All your major travel benefits are taken care of with the Amex Platinum Card, but all the most clever points mastery for hotel stays and incredible flights come from this card. Starwood and Marriott have joined forces and 1 Starwood (SPG) point equals 3 Marriott points. In addition, 1 Starwood (SPG) point equals one airline mile with more than 25 airlines, and when you transfer 20,000 points you get 5,000 bonus points. This is true for every 20,000 block you transfer. This card unlocks the best uses of points available, with an annual fee of just £75.
- 10,000 Bonus Points + 1 Point Per £…
We value Starpoints higher than any other points currency. With 10,000 bonus points to start and 1 point per £, it’s the strongest earning card available in the UK. We say this because 1 point is valued at 2.2p per point, far higher than any other currency.
- 40,000 Points For First Class to America On Lufthansa
40,000 SPG points can unlock the best rates to try Lufthansa First Class. This is because SPG points can be transferred to airlines which no other program can transfer to.
- 35,000 Points For Etihad Apartment To Abu Dhabi
Same story! Just 35,000 SPG points for an apartment on a plane. This is the only card which can unlock these rates on airlines like Etihad.
- 15,000 Points For A Night At The Ritz Carlton
15,000 SPG points instantly convert to 45,000 Marriott Points, more than enough for a Ritz Carlton free night. You can also use far fewer points for other Marriott hotels.
- 5,000 Points For A Free Hotel Night
SPG offers free nights starting at just 5,000 points. Your sign up bonus alone could be worth 2 nights in a hotel. The Marriott and SPG program combined offer the largest and widest range of hotels in the world.
SPG points are more valuable than Amex points, but both are great. We’d recommend using the SPG card for a majority of spending. The primary purpose of Amex Platinum is to save you hundreds if not thousands on travel each year, with the free hotel nights, airline and hotel elite status, and the Platinum air travel savings. Plus – the PriorityPass membership is worth over £200. This duo in tandem will unlock the absolute best in travel for anyone, without needing to pledge allegiance to one airline or hotel.