Holiday spending: use these credit cards for a cheaper break

These credit cards can be a great ally when trying to save money on your next holiday.

Love Money
Last updated:12 March 2018 - 12.17pm

If you want to guarantee a cheap getaway, it pays to play the long game.

In fact, by using the right credit card and spending in a strategic way, you could actually pay off a chunk of your holiday without dipping into your savings.

If you want free flights

Shave money off the cost of future flights with an Avios credit card.

The British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card comes with a 25,000 bonus Avios welcome offer if you spend £3,000 in your first three months of card membership.

What’s more, collect 1.5 Avios for virtually every £1 spent. Three Avios for every £1 spent with British Airways or BA Holidays.

The British Airways American Express Credit Card gives you 5,000 bonus Avios if you spend a smaller £1,000 in your first three months of card membership. Collect one Avios for virtually every £1 spent. There’s no annual fee.

One of the biggest perks of the card is the '2-4-1' companion voucher. This means that a companion can travel with you on the same flight in the same cabin if you spend at least £10,000 in one year.

You can even request supplementary cards for your family member so that your Avios balance so that you can rack up points even faster.

How far your spending could take you

To put things in context:

20,000 Avios bags you one return flight from London to Athens or other locations in Europe and Africa;

15,000 Avios is enough for one return flight from London to Rome or other destinations in Europe;

9,000 Avios gets you one return flight from London to Berlin or other European destinations.

Remember that you won't get an absolutely free flight: you still pay taxes and charges on top.

Let’s take a look at different monthly spends on the BA Premium Plus Credit Card.


Monthly Avios

Annual Avios

Companion voucher?

£500 a month





£1,000 a month

1,500 (plus 25,000 welcome bonus)



£1,500 a month

2,250 (plus 25,000 welcome bonus)



£2,000 a month

3,000 (plus 25,000 welcome bonus)



If you spend at least £1,000 a month, by the end of the year you’d have enough to travel to the likes of Athens, Rome, Barcelona, Nice and Abuja (Nigeria).

But even if you spend £500 you’ll be able to get a flight to Paris, Nuremburg (Germany) and Murcia (Spain).

Bear in mind that you can also make an Avios part payment to cut the cost of the flight itself.

Compare more Air Miles credit cards

If you can’t pay for your holiday up front

If you need to get away but don't have funds available immediately, 0% purchase cards are ideal because you can get interest-free spending for up to 31 months.

The Sainsbury’s 31-Month Purchase Credit Card also gives you Nectar points on your purchases – two points for every £1 spent on Sainsbury’s shopping and fuel and one point for every £5 spent elsewhere.

At the moment, you can earn 1,000 bonus points each time you spend £40 or more on Sainsbury’s shopping.

Do that up to 10 times in your first two months and earn up to 10,000 points. Note that this offer is only available to new customers who apply before 25 March 2018.  

Just make sure that you can meet at least the minimum repayment every month (at the very least) otherwise you will lose the 0% offer. Really though, you should aim to have the debt completely cleared before the 0% period expires.

Compare more 0% new purchase cards

If you want your holiday (or part of it) paid for

Even if your holiday is a little pricier than expected, you can use cashback to spend on future trips when you book flights, accommodation, or even car hire.

With the American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card, you can earn 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £100) for the first three months of card membership.

The Representative APR is 22.9%.

You’ll get the same 5% cashback on purchases with the Platinum Cashback Credit Card, but this time it’s up to a value of £125.

After that, you'll get 1% cashback if you spend less than £10,000 over the course of the year and 1.25% if you spend more than £10,000. The Representative APR is 28.2%.

Let’s have a look at cashback on the Platinum Cashback Credit Card.


Introductory cashback (first three months)

Annual cashback (after introductory period)


£500 a month




£1,000 a month




£1,500 a month




£2,000 a month




For the supermarket spenders, the Asda Cashback Credit Card and the Natwest/RBS Reward Credit Cards are a better shout.

With the former, you can get 1% on spends at Asda and 0.5% everywhere else. The Asda Cashback Plus Credit Card offers up 2% on Asda spends and 1% on all other purchases.

Just be aware the cashback rates on non-Asda spends on both cards will drop to 0.2% on Friday 13 April (how apt).

With RBS and NatWest you get 1% cashback at all supermarkets plus the banks’ MyRewards retailers including Caffè Nero, Currys PC World, Debenhams and PizzaExpress. Earn 0.5% cashback on all other spend.

Earn money back on your everyday spending: compare cashback credit cards

If you want to avoid hefty fees while abroad

One the main bugbears of spending abroad is the hefty fees you'll attract.

Thankfully, there are cards that charge minimal fees on overseas withdrawals and purchases. 

The Post Office Money Platinum Credit Card and Santander Zero Credit Card have no foreign usage charge and a Representative APR of 18.9%. The Virgin Money Travel Credit Card also has no usage charges but a 19.9% Representative APR.

If you want to combine your travel card with cashback, go for the Santander All in One Credit Card.

Not only will it bag you 0.5% cashback on all of your purchases with no limits or caps, it also gives you 0% on purchases for 30 months and 0% on balance transfers for 30 months with no balance transfer fee to pay.

Search for more cards are cheaper to use abroad