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Welcome bonuses sure are nice. But once you get them, you need the motivation to keep the card long-term, especially if there’s an annual fee payable each year.

So, what are the best cards that will provide the maximum value for years and not just months?

In general, you’ll want to look for cards that offer more than 1 point per pound spent on everyday purchases in order to maximise the rewards you’re getting. Here are our picks of the best:

1. The British Airways American Express Premium Plus Credit Card From Amex UK

We talk about this card a lot here at TPG UK, and that’s because it’s probably the best all-around offer available right now.

There’s a 25,000-point Avios welcome bonus, as well as an ongoing earning rate of 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent on normal purchases, with twice this rate for purchases directly with British Airways or BA Holidays. And then there’s also that very valuable 2-4-1 Companion Voucher, which can be the single most valuable perk of any credit card currently available in the UK.

If you were to spend, say, £2,000 per month on this card with, say 10% of this with British Airways directly, over the course of two years you would earn almost 60,000 Avios. Plus, you’ll get the valuable Companion Voucher every year. You could redeem both together for a return Club World redemption for two people from London to somewhere like Tel Aviv, Israel, or Amman, Jordan, off-peak.

You can read a full review of this card here.

British Airways A321 business class as used on Amman route. (Photo by Daniel Ross/The Points Guy)

2. Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card

As well as an amazing sign-up bonus of 30,000 Flying Club miles until 30 June 2019, this card also offers an impressive 1.5 miles per £1 spent on everyday purchases, with double this earn rate for spend with Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Holidays directly.

This is one of the highest everyday earn rates for a non-American Express card in the UK, which is excellent considering Mastercard has higher acceptance rates than American Express from retailers.

Using the same year-long spend example as above, if you were to spend, say, £2,000 per month on this card with, say 10% of this with Virgin Atlantic directly, over the course of the year you would earn almost 70,000 miles which is enough for two people return off-peak from London to New York or Boston in premium economy flying Virgin Atlantic.

You can read our full review of the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card here.

Virgin Atlantic A330 premium economy. (Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

Bottom Line

Overall, when looking at a credit card, it’s important to not get caught up in an attractive welcome bonus. Sure, that’s nice. But, you’ll want to also make sure it’s poised to give you bonus points on everyday spend throughout the year. Both the premium BA and Virgin Atlantic cobranded credit cards allow you to do just that, helping you work your way toward nearly free travel.

Featured Image by Josh Gribben / The Points Guy.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.