How to choose a credit card that fits your lifestyle

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In many ways, choosing a credit card is a lot like choosing a new car – your selection needs to fit your lifestyle. There’s no point buying a flashy supercar if you have a young family in tow, while investing in a sizeable SUV makes little sense when you’re a single, young professional. However, although finding the right car can be a lengthy process, choosing a credit card to suit your lifestyle should be very straightforward.

Determine your needs

The first step towards choosing a suitable card is to determine your needs – this will help you to accurately identify the benefits that will best help you. If you frequently make trips abroad, enjoy heading to the theatre most weekends and like to indulge in the occasional shopping spree, your credit card needs will be very different to those with a quieter lifestyle.

Identifying your own particular requirements will help you to narrow down your choice of card considerably. For instance, if you’re a shopaholic then you’ll find credit cards with generous cashback offers very appealing, while cards offering Nectar points could be very beneficial if you’re a parent looking to stretch your monthly budget.

Consider repayments

Your choice of credit card should be influenced by how you intend to make repayments. If you plan to carry a balance from one month to the next, then a card with a low interest rate will be the best choice for you. However, if you’re looking to pay off your balance in full each month, then the interest rate may be less important than the potential rewards and benefits that could be on offer.

Think about additional rewards

Some credit cards offer rewards on top of their introductory offers and account initiatives. For example, American Express allows you to accumulate avios, earn complimentary hotel stays (Starpoints), take advantage of inclusive insurance deals, and enjoy comprehensive Refund and Purchase Protection schemes. Some Amex cards even come with the added benefit of preferred seating packages for a range of events across the UK, including the Summer Series at Somerset House and various performances at London’s National Theatre.

To learn more and find a card to fit your lifestyle, click here

Before applying for any american express card, be in touch for a referral which will earn you more bonus points than simply applying directly online!

Contact me on the Miles Mogul Facebook Page or on nickyjameskelvin [at] gmail.com

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FREE TRAVEL APPS FROM AMEX WORTH £15

shazam

Get the following apps completely free if you hold an Amex card. The deadline for downloading free is tomorrow (31 May 2014):

  • Shazam Encore (the £4.99 premium version)
  • Spark Camera (usually 69p)
  • Barefoot World Atlas (aimed at children, usually £2.99)
  • FlightTrack 5 (usually £2.99)
  • iTranslate Voice 2 (usually £1.49)
  • Weather HD (usually £1.99)

Visit the dedicated Amex handpicked website HERE for more details and to download.

Nicky

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A redemption! The culmination of furious miles collecting – saving six grand!

Utila, Honduras. Heading here on Iberia Business Class for 72 quid!

What is the point in obsessively collecting miles and points if you can’t use them? I made a large redemption yesterday and I am sharing the details in order to inspire you to spend some miles and prove that it is very possible to use them in a great way!

I managed to extract 5.5 pence of value out of each mile, which is an excellent return. This is of course based on the equivalent full cash price of the tickets which is somewhat arbitrary as I would never pay £4k for a business class flight to Guatemala!

My redemption did highlight the fantastic value offered by Iberia in business class due to their very low taxes. I should also mention that there was availability to Rio de Janeiro and Bogota (Colombia) for a discounted rate of just 37,500 avios and about £50 tax.

Route

Airline

Class

Miles Mogul Paid

Cash Price

Value per avios

Saving

London > Madrid

British Airways

Club Europe

£25 + 15,000 avios

£488

3p

£463

Madrid > Guatemala City

Iberia

Business Plus

£72 + 50,000 avios

£4,050

8p

£3,978

Roatan (Honduras) > Miami

American Airlines

Main Cabin Extra

£70 + 7,500 avios

£499

5.7p

£429

Miami > New York

American Airlines

Main Cabin Extra

£1 + 7,500 avios

£111

1.5p

£110

New York > London

British Airways

World Traveller Plus

£150 + 30,000

£1,165

3.4p

£1,015

£318 + 110,000 avios

£6,313

5.5p

£5,995

Please be in touch if you would like any help with your next redemption. I am considering offering this as a proper service – it would be great if you could let me know if this is something you would be interested in.

As always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog by entering your email below to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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ACT NOW – Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Gold Card Offer Expiring

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The offer of a free Marco Polo Gold Card when signing up to the Amex Platinum card expires on 31 March. For full details of the deal, see this post.

If you want to take advantage of this amazing benefit, you need to sign up NOW in order to get your Platinum card through in time to sign up for the Marco Polo Gold Card.

A fresh referral link is on the Miles Mogul facebook page. I am extremely grateful for each and every referral!

As always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog by entering your email below to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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Get money back for everything you buy online with TopCashBack

Following on from yesterday’s post, here is a bit more information on TopCashBack – in my opinion the best paying cashback site in the UK.

How does cash back work?

When purchasing anything online, click through to the retailers site from a cash back site like TopCashBack. The cashback site will offer a percentage cashback on any purchase you make after clicking through from the cashback site. This tracks in your cashback account, and once confirmed, can be paid out in various ways, but most simply, directly to you bank account FOR FREE!

How much cash back can I earn?

Some sites pay a cash amount, and some pay a percentage on your purchase. Remember, almost every retailer you can think of have an offer. I have included some popular retailers, and some stand out deals in the table below (correct as of 7.2.14):

Retailer Cashback
Expedia 12.6%
Apple store 3.15%
Amazon 6.3%
Ebookers.com 13.65%
Thetrainline 3.15%
Marks and Spencer 3.15%
Sky TV/Broadband £236.25 (up to £194.25 for existing customers)
TM Lewin 12.6%
Aviva home insurance £63.00
Heathrow Airport Parking 9.45%
Plusnet Broadband £105.00

Turning cashback into avios

There are various different ways of being paid your cashback. The most simple is a bank transfer directly to your bank account. You can also get vouchers with retailers like Amazon and M&S and topcashback will give you a 5% bonus!

You can also take advantage of this 5% bonus and get paid in Tesco Clubcard points. These can then be converted to Avios at a rate of 1:2.4!

An example:

You book a week in a hotel after clicking through to Expedia from topcashback. The total cost of the hotel is £396.82.

You receive 12.6% cash back for this purchase = £50.00.

You transfer to your Tesco Clubcard account (1p=1 point) so with the 5% bonus you now have 5500 Clubcard points.

You convert these to Avios (done quickly online or on the telephone) at a rate of 1:2.4. 13200 Avios lands in your BA Executive Club account!

How do I get 500 Clubcard points (1200 Avios) just for signing up?

It is completely free, you just need to sign up though my referral link by clicking here!

I get a small bonus, for which I am extremely grateful, and you get your free Avios/points which you otherwise won’t get!

Conclusion

I urge you all to sign up (here!) and use this for all your online purchases. My accounts have paid hundreds and hundreds of pounds which I would never have received!

As always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog by entering your email below to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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Free Lounge Access for a year, 35,000 points and MUCH MORE with Amex Platinum without paying the £450 fee!!

After a ridiculously long time away, I am returning to share a deal that I just successfully took advantage of myself that I don’t want anyone to miss out on.

The product is the American Express Platinum Charge Card.

An overview

The benefits are second to none, and the best part is that you keep most of the benefits, even after cancelling the card.

This is absolutely key, because Amex charge a hefty £450 annual fee for the card, BUT this is refunded pro-rata when you cancel the card. You may only need to keep the card for a month of so, so you can expect in this situation to only pay a total of £37.50. An absolutely fantastic deal!

When I cancelled my card yesterday after 5 weeks, Amex simply gave me a full refund. I kept the benefits and paid nothing.

What are the benefits?

I will focus here on the benefits you will get to keep even after cancelling the card.

Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club Gold Card

IMPORTANT: This is only available as a benefit until 31 March 2014. YOU MUST APPLY BEFORE THIS DATE.

This gives you “Sapphire Status” in the One World Alliance. So whenever you travel on airlines such as American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Iberia, Qatar and any other One World airline, even when travelling in economy, you will get the following perks:

· Free business class lounge access (plus 1 guest)

· Business class check-in

· Priority boarding

· Free seat selection at the time of booking for every passenger on the same booking (on British Airways you have to usually wait until 24 hrs before your flight)

· Free extra baggage allowance (2 x 32kg bags on British Airways)

Click here for full details on the Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Gold Card

Hotel Status

 

Set out in the table below are the cards and their related benefits that you will receive for three different hotel groups.

Group and status Brands Benefits Link for more info
Club Accor Platinum · Sofitel· Pullman

· Novotel

· Mercure

· Ibis

· Adagio

· Thalassa

· Free internet· Welcome drink

· Late check-out

· Early check-in

· Room upgrade

· Executive Lounge

Club Accor Platinum
Starwood Preferred Guest Gold · Westin· W Hotels

· Sheraton

· Four Points

· Le Meridien

· St Regis

· Aloft

· The Luxury Collection

· Element

· Late check-out· Room upgrade

· Welcome gift

Starwood Preferred Guest Gold
Club Carlson Gold · Radisson· Park Plaza

· Park Inn

· Country Inns & Suites

· Free Internet· Early check-in

· Late check-out

· Welcome gift

· Food and drink discounts

Club Carlson Gold

Car Hire Status

You will also gain status in Hertz and Avis. This gives you a number of benefits including free upgrades.

Sign-up bonus

American Express are offering a bonus of 30,000 Membership Reward points if you spend £2,000 in 3 months on the card. This is enough for 3 return flights in Europe, or a return flight to Tel Aviv if converted to Avios. For more information on what you can do with these points, click here. IMPORTANT: you will not receive this sign-up bonus if you have held the American Express Gold Charge Card, or the Platinum card within the last six months.

Referral bonus

If I refer you, Amex will give you 35,000 miles! This is a hefty increase. If you are eligible for the sign-up bonus, this is well worth it, and I will be extremely grateful for the small incentive Amex give me!

Cashback

If you are not eligible for the sign up bonus, I can still refer you, but as you will not get any bonus points yourself, you could go down the cashback route. Topcashback.co.uk are offering £52.50 cashback for signing up to the card. This is paid very quickly. If you then cancel the card quickly enough, you will not pay any of the £450 fee, and you will have made £52.50, and kept the benefits of the card.

If you decide to go down this route, PLEASE sign up to topcashback through my referral link: http://www.topcashback.co.uk/ref/nickykelvin

If you do, you will receive a bonus 500 Tesco Clubcard points!

I would recommend signing up for topcashback anyway, as you can make money on pretty much all your online purchases. This can be extremely rewarding, e.g. getting 10.5% back on Hotels.com could give you some serious spending money as a bonus on your next holiday! I will do a full blog post on this soon.

Your options:

Route A – for those who don’t have either the Amex Gold or Platinum charge card

1. Sign up through my referral link (here – on the Miles Mogul Facebook page or contact me for a referral email)

2. Sign up for all the benefits outlined above through Amex (this is very simple)

3. Spend £2,000 in 3 months on the card to get 35,000 (only if you use my referral link – otherwise 30,000)

4. Transfer your Membership Rewards points from Amex to your preferred programme (this will be British Airways Avios for most of my readers)

5. Cancel the Platinum Card and receive a pro-rated refund of the annual fee and keep the benefits.

Route B – for those who already have the Amex Gold card or don’t want to spend on the card

1. Sign up through my referral link (here – on the Miles Mogul Facebook page or contact me for a referral email), or through the topcashback referral link to get £52.50 and 500 tesco club card points (through this link only).

2. Sign up for all the benefits outlined above through Amex (this is very simple)

3. Cancel the Platinum Card and receive a pro-rated refund of the annual fee – in my case, after 5 weeks, they refunded the ENTIRE fee. I paid nothing.

 

As always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog by entering your email below to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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Last chance to nab CHEAP 25,000 Avios bonus

Apologies for the break in posting!

You should all be aware that on 29 July (Monday) the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card offer expires.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL DETAILS OF THE CARD AND OFFER.

Don’t forget to ask me for a referral if you are going to apply, (nickyjameskelvin at gmail dot com) you will get an extra 1,000 points.

A potential 25,000 avios bonus for spending £1k in 3 months is not to be missed!

Nicky

TOMORROW – LAST CHANCE TO BAG 35,000 MILE BONUS

Tomorrow (31 May 2013) is the last day of the 35,000 AAdvantage point bonus on the MBNA AAdvantage Amex+Visa.

I have gone into detail on this cards advantages, its bonus, using the bonus, and details for apply in this post from back in April.

I have taken this card myself, and find the freedom of having both an amex and a visa on the same account refreshing.

Remember, the AAdvantage miles you earn can be spent on any Oneworld airline, including British Airways.

For the bonus, apply through this link. Unfortunately, there are no referral treats for the Miles Mogul on this one!

As always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog by entering your email below to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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20,000 Starpoints (=25,000 Avios) bonus is back!

It is always a happy day when a credit card reinstates a huge bonus, and American Express have gone and brought back the 20,000 Starpoint bonus for their Starwood Preferred Guest (“SPG”) credit card. I took out this credit card a few months ago, but they withdrew the bonus before I had a chance to write about it on here.

spg

What are the benefits of the card?

  • A 20,000 Starpoint bonus (worth 25,000 avios when converted)
  • Earn 1 Starpoint for every £1 spent
  • Travel inconvenience insurance (covering flight cancellations and delayed baggage to relatively high amounts) and travel accident cover when you buy tickets on the card.
  • Refund/purchase protection.

How does the bonus work?

  • You must spend £1,000 in the first three months (a relatively modest target to hit)
  • Amex will credit 20,000 starpoints to your SPG account (apparently they set this up automatically, although I had to call them and give them a nudge)

How much will it cost?

  • There is an annual fee of £75
  • After three months, your bonus points will have been posted and you can cancel the card. You will then receive a pro-rated refund. If you do indeed cancel, you will end up paying around £20 overall.
  • It is possible to apply for the card through Quidco or Topcashback to receive a £15 cashback, so if you play this right, you can pay just £5 for your 25,000 avios. This is an insane deal!!

What are 20,000 Starpoints worth?

  • Airline Partners – When converting to an airline programe, they give you a 5,000 mile bonus, so you effectively have 25,000 miles plus whatever you have earned on top by spending on the card. Here are some airline partners where you can transfer your miles:

- British Airways

- Delta

- Qatar Airways

- Singapore Airlines

- Thai Airways

- United

- Virgin

- Etihad

- American Airlines (great to boost your AAdvantage miles hoard if you took up the AA MBNA card offer I wrote about a couple of weeks ago)

  • Hotel Rooms – you can redeem your points for hotel rooms under the SPG umbrella. These hotels include:

- Westin

- St Regis

- Sheraton

- Le Meridien

- W Hotels

- Four Points

  • There are various other options such as train trips, transferring to another member, giving to charity, unique experiences, and redeeming with partners such as amazon or iTunes.

Extra 1,000 Points!

To boost your hoard, if I refer you, SPG will give you an extra 1,000 starpoints. Please email me at nickyjameskelvin at gmail dot com to request a referral for your extra bonus points!

Conclusion

This is another fantastic offer that is not to be missed. I would recommend all of you taking out the card, spend the grand and then cancelling. This simple benefit will allow you to reap huge rewards! You’d have more than enough avios to upgrade to business class on a trip to New York! For more information, and to apply without a referral for extra points, click here.

Please be in touch to organise a referral and as always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog by entering your email below to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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FOURSQUARE UPDATE – “NEW” OFFER LAUNCHED

I have really taken my time with this one, apologies!

At the start of April, Foursquare launched a new offer in conjunction with American Express.

This month’s offer is as follows:

· Harrods – Spend £100 – Get £25 back

To learn how to make use of these offers click here to check out the original foursquare post for full details. This post explains exactly what you need to do.

This is not as generous as the last £25 for £50 offer, but it still effectively offers a 25% discount off everything in Harrods, including concessions and gift cards. A quarter off the price of an iPad for example is not to be sniffed at. I have utilised the discount to buy a pair of Oliver Peoples frames in the opticians downstairs (which is an unbranded David Clulow). You can also collect Harrods points on your purchases by asking for a loyalty card at the till.

As always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog by entering your email below to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!

Nicky

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