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First Direct offers new credit card customers boutique hotel stays to sign up

First Direct is giving away a night at a boutique hotel for two, to existing current account customers who open one of its credit cards. 

Some of the hotels on offer include a quirky glamping experience in a UFO-shaped pod or a stay in a Hobbit hole in Suffolk. 

Other freebies include a night at a Malmaison hotel in a converted prison worth up to £154, when This is Money checked. Should you apply? We take a look.

Would you open a credit card for a free stay in one of these? boutique hotels on offer include a hobbit hole, a converted prison or glamping in a UFO or hut at an old vicarage.

How to get your hands on the freebie 

To be eligible you must already have a First Account. The account is, however, one of This is Money’s favourites for its top of customer service featuring in our five of the best current accounts roundup.

The bank – which is part of HSBC – already offers freebies to new current account customers including free tech such as Bose speakers, an Amazon Alexa or £150 in Expedia vouchers to sign up.

You must have not held a credit card with the bank already, or have held one in the past six months.

And you must apply for either credit card by November 30.

There are some extra hoops you have to jump through once you have applied. If you open a gold card you must spend at least £1,500 within six months of account opening your card.

If you open a credit card you need to balance transfer over at least £1,500 worth of debt from an existing credit card. 

Once you qualify you will receive an email with instructions on how to claim the stay through the third party company First Direct offers the rewards through, TLC Marketing Ltd.

Are the credit cards any good?

First Direct’s credit card offers 27 months 0 per cent interest on balance transfers with a 2.29 per cent handling fee. It comes with an APR of 18.9 per cent.

This is six months short of the longest balance transfer deal on offer currently from Tesco Bank offering 33 months 0 per cent interest with a 2.69 per cent fee.

However it still appears in the top ten longest 0 per cent interest deals for transferring debt.

Remember to factor in the balance transfer fee, there are some deals offering longer 0 per cent interest deals that also include lower fees.

For example M&S Bank has a 0.99 per cent fee with 32 months 0 per cent interest. 

On a balance of £2,000 that’s a difference of £20 in fees and an extra five months 0 per cent interest.

The gold card comes with 17 months 0 per cent interest on purchases, after that interest is charges at 16.9 per cent APR.

Again this falls short of the best-buy deals. The market-leading purchase card – from Sainsbury’s Bank – currently gives 29 months, a year longer than First Direct.

This is Money’s verdict:

Freebies are a real bonus of course, but when it comes to credit cards customers should approach them with caution.

Get drawn in by the quirky boutique hotel stay and choose the wrong card and you can end up paying far more in interest and charges than the perk is worth.

This is particularly true of balance transfer deals. 

You will need to factor in the cost of transferring the balance to the card and ensure you clear the full amount before the deal ends otherwise interest will quickly build up on any debt remaining.

The same is true of 0 per cent interest deals on spending, while there are no upfront fees to consider, you do need to prioritise your repayment period.

If you have a big balance to pay off or you are making a large purchase and you want to spread the cost of repaying you should first consider the market-leading 0 per cent interest credit cards.

These will give you longer to clear the amount or offering cheaper fees.

You can read more about the top deals in our round up of the best balance transfer credit cards and out best cards for spending guides.




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