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Credit Card Freebies

£100 vouchers, free Europe flights etc

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Money Team

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Credit card freebies

Perform a legal smash and grab raid on a credit card company right now. There are tonnes of freebies available: flights around Europe, £100 gift vouchers and more.

Credit cards offer free gifts to new cardholders. Sign up for the card, spend what's needed, pay off in full, grab the freebie, and forget it!

The six golden rules

Credit cards are so lucrative, companies are often willing to pay £40-£80 to acquire a new customer: small potatoes compared to their potential profit from debts. This money materialises in a variety of ways: heavy advertising spends, introductory 0% offers, and free gifts or inducements to sign up for the card.

Before you get a freebie credit card, there are six things you need to know. Get this wrong and it can cost you large, so please read the following (even if you only have time to read and remember the headlines it should help protect your pocket).

  • Check it's worth grabbing the freebie

    These cards are only for you if you're not in debt, will repay in full every month and are super savvy with your credit.

    If you're happy with your current stock of cards, or never borrow, then there's no harm going for additional freebies. If you need new credit, then choosing a freebie card that also offers decent borrowing terms is sensible and easily doable. There's a simple rule of thumb to follow here:

    If I'm only going to be allowed a limited number of credit cards, is what I'm applying for important enough to use a card up for?

    If you don't want a freebie and instead want to be rewarded every time you spend, some cards pay up to 5% cashback on all spending on them. Pay them off in full each month so you're not charged interest, and you can make serious money. See the Cashback Cards guide.

  • Spend as little as possible to trigger the freebie

    Spend small, pay it allWhile cards offer freebies to newcomers, the gifts aren't actually doled out on application or acceptance. To trigger the freebie, most providers require you to spend on the card - for these just do enough of your normal spending on the card to meet the minimum requirement.

    Some cards don't set a minimum spend trigger. With these you can get the freebie provided ANY amount is spent on the card, though others specify a trigger amount. The challenge is to spend as little as possible.

    Happily, most supermarkets allow credit card payments for any amount. So buy chewing gum, chocolate or (for health-conscious MoneySavers) an apple, and hey presto - the freebie's yours.

  • Always repay the card in full otherwise the costs rocket

    With the vast majority of credit cards (including all these below), if you pay off the balance in full at the end of the month, you don't pay any interest. So for the freebie to be totally free, make sure you do this.

    For this reason, even if the card has a higher minimum spend freebie trigger, the same principle applies. Just do some of your normal spending on the card, ensure you repay in full at the end of the month, and you won't pay interest.

  • Space out credit card applications so you don't harm your credit score

    Pile of applesEach time you apply for a card, a search is added to your credit file. Lots of these in a short space of time will shoot down your credit score; the overall number of applications is less important than the frequency.

    Therefore if you're grabbing multiple freebies, after the first couple of applications, spread others out every few months. Other factors that count include total debts, repayment history and income.

    Every time you apply for credit it has an impact on your credit score – and thus your ability to get further new credit (see the boost your Credit Score guide). Yet if you've a good credit history there's no need to be unduly worried.

    Here's what Martin says about the impact of freebie cards on your credit:

    I wouldn't worry unduly about the credit score impact, providing you pick applications wisely and never bag a freebie just before needing credit elsewhere. This includes applying for a new mobile phone contract and car or home insurance, as well as loans, mortgages or credit cards for borrowing.

    There are no hard and fast rules, but many have successfully applied for 10 cards without a problem.

  • Cancel old and unused credit cardsCancel the card if you don't want to continue using it after you've got the freebie so it doesn't affect your credit score

    Once you've decided you're not going to use a card any more, cancel it. That means actually calling the card company and requesting the account is closed, not just cutting the card up. This is because having high available credit can affect your credit score, not just the amount of outstanding debt.

  • To protect your credit file, check you'll get the card before you apply

    The only way to know if you'll be accepted is to apply, but each application marks your credit file. Some cards let you do a pre-application check to work out whether to go ahead, or you can use our credit card eligibility calculator, which shows your odds of getting almost every top card so you can hone your choice to minimise applications.

    Quick questions

    How does the eligibility calculator work?

    Will credit scoring affect the deal I get and my credit limit?

Best Buys Travel freebies

Our top picks for cards which give you travel related freebies, including flights and air miles:

Gold Rewards

Big spending trigger, but two free short-haul BA flights

Amex Gold*

Get the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold* card and you'll get 20,000 free Rewards points when you spend £2,000 in the first 3 months. That's enough for two short-haul flights with BA. But watch out as after the first year there's a huge annual fee, so make sure you cancel the card to avoid paying this.

  • You must spend £2,000 in the first three months to get the 20,000 reward points.
  • The first year is free, but in the second year there's a £140 annual fee.
  • This is a charge card not a credit card, so you must repay it in full at the end of each month. If you don't you'll be charged £12.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE’s free tool)
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Representative variable rate: N/A (Charge card - fail to fully repay and get £12 fee)
  • Min spend trigger: £2,000 in first 3 months
  • Taxes included? No
  • Freebie: 20,000 Rewards points
  • Annual fee: £140 (waived in year 1)
  • Min household income: £20,000
Key questions

What can 20,000 pts get you? A short BA return flight, including trips to Paris, Milan and Berlin (you pay c.£35/person taxes) or one way for a longer journey, including Istanbul. Alternatively, £100 in gift cards for M&S, Homebase, House of Fraser, PC World and more (though vouchers sometimes sell out, so check what's available).

Alternatively, just add the points to your current stash. They can be converted into 13 frequent flyer programmes (including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic), or three hotel reward schemes, among other things.

Amex says you'll get the points as soon as you hit the spending trigger, but they can take up to a month to arrive in your Card member account.

How do CHARGE cards work? Charge cards allow you to spend on them, but require you to pay off in full at the end of EVERY month - set up a direct debit to ensure you don't forget. There's no interest charged, but there's a £12 fee - and a default on your credit file - if you fail to fully repay within 10 days of getting your statement.

You will need an income of £20,000+ to be considered for this product, and you will be credit scored. The charge card is accepted in all retailers that take Amex (see our Who takes Amex? forum discussion). One supplementary card (for a partner/friend) is provided free, though any more will cost £45.


Smaller spending trigger, for free European flight


Grab Flybe's credit card and once you've spent £250 in the first six months, you'll be sent a voucher for a return flight, which can be used on most of its UK & European routes. But we've heard it's hard finding flights to book with these vouchers due to poor availability so you'll need to be quite flexible with your destination and dates.

  • You can't use the free flight to fly to Spain or Portugal.
  • Taxes aren't included, so you'll have to pay these.
  • Make sure you repay IN FULL every month or you'll pay 18.9% rep APR interest.
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Representative variable rate: 18.9% APR Official APR Example
  • Min spend trigger: £250
  • Taxes included? No
  • Freebie: One free European flight voucher.
  • Min household income: N/A

Best Buys Vouchers, discounts and reward points

Some of the top freebies are on reward cards, which give you points everytime you spend that you can then convert into vouchers:


Bonus 20,000 Nectar points, worth £100

American Express*

Spend £2,000 on the Amex Nectar* card in the first three months, and you'll get 20,000 points. These are worth around £100 and can be spent on anything in the Nectar catalogue.

  • There's an annual £25 fee, but it's waived in the first year. Diarise when the year is up and cancel the card.
  • This is an American Express card, and is not as widely accepted compared to Mastercard or Visa - so bear this in mind when doing your spending.
  • You'll earn 2 Nectar points per £1 spent on the card, and 4 points per £1 spent in Nectar partner shops (Sainsbury's BP & more).
  • Some retailers give 1p per point, making this freebie worth £200 at theme parks Legoland, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park etc. (read Loyalty Schemes for ways to max these).
  • Make sure you repay IN FULL every month or you'll pay 19.9% interest.
Eligibility Calculator
(MSE’s free tool)
(at lender site)

Protect your credit score and check chances of getting card

Stats box
  • Representative variable rate: 19.9% (25% APR incl fee) Official APR Example
  • Min. Spend Trigger: £2,000 in 3 months
  • Freebie: 20,000 Nectar points
  • Annual fee: £25 (waived in year 1)
  • Min household income: £30,000

Find out when new freebies are available

Some of the other freebies available are mostly through bonus reward scheme points given on application. If you spot any more top freebies, discuss them.

Find out as soon as new freebies are available

In the past Caribbean flights, MP3 players and £50 shopping vouchers have been briefly offered, among other things. Yet they come and go quickly. To ensure you don't miss them, sign up to my free weekly Martin's Money Tips email, which includes all top MoneySaving freebies.

For other types of credit card benefits, including free extended warranties and ID fraud protection, see the Credit Card Perks guide.

Credit Card Freebies Q&A

  • Can you grab cashback on top?

  • If I open a card just for the freebie and cancel it will it harm my credit score?

  • What if I don't get the freebie after I got the card?

  • What if I want to transfer a balance onto the card?

  • Should I get PPI with the card?