Earn a £60 gift card with the new MBNA card – but can you do better elsewhere?

Tom Wilson
6 September 2016

Shoppers can earn £60 in vouchers with a new cashback credit card that’s launched this week.  

Specialist card lender MBNA has partnered with shopping centre chain ‘intu’ to launch a new credit card that rewards spending with gift vouchers.

Unlike most reward or cashback cards, the gift vouchers are released in “chunks” once card holders hit set spending thresholds. So cardholders will get a £20 gift card if they spend £250 or more within the first three months. They’ll also get another £20 on top if they spend £3,000 within the first year, and a final £20 gift card if they spend £5,000 within the first year.

A spokesperson for MBNA says that after the first year, card holders will receive a £10 voucher once their annual spending surpasses £3,000, and another £10 once they have spent £5,000, and further offers are in the pipeline. 


All card spending will count towards the rewards, though the gift cards themselves can only be used at intu’s 14 UK retail outlets, which are used by about half of the country’s population. Its shopping outlets are as follows:

  • Braehead, Glasgow
  • Bromley, London
  • Chapelfield, Norwich
  • Derby, Derbyshire
  • Eldon  Square, Newcastle
  • Lakeside, Essex
  • Merry Hill, Birmingham
  • Metrocentre, Gateshead
  • Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
  • The Potteries, Stoke-on-Trent
  • The Trafford Centre, Greater Manchester
  • The Victoria Centre, London
  • Uxbridge, Greater London
  • Watford, Hertfordshire


However, the small print warns that people who go over their spending limit, or fall behind on their payments, will not qualify for the reward vouchers.

The intu credit card also offers 0% purchases and balance or money transfers for up to 12 months, though the actual interest-free period will depend on individual circumstances and could be less.

Balance transfers have a 2.99% fee (£89.70 on a £3,000 balance), while fees for money transfers are 4% (£120 when clearing a £3,000 overdraft).

Outside of the interest-free period, the card charges 16.9% APR representative and has no fees.


The card has a few other perks, including extra offers within intu centres, such as 30% off Pizza Express. It also includes a 12-month free Gourmet Society membership, which enables users to get discounts at cafes and restaurants including Café Rouge, La Tasca, Loch Fyne and Strada.  

Moneywise verdict

The intu credit card’s reward structure makes it very attractive at first, but the more you spend, the less generous it becomes.

If you hit the £250 threshold in the first three months, you’ll earn £20, effectively earning an 8% rebate on your spending, which you’ll struggle to beat elsewhere.

But if you don’t reach the £3,000 spending limit, that’s all you get, meaning spending of £2,999 only earns a paltry 0.7% reward. Even if you hit the £3,000 threshold, the effective cashback rate is just 1.3%.

You’ll need to spend £600 a month, every month to qualify for the full £60 voucher, and that will enable rewards at a rate of 1.2%.

All that’s before considering the rewards can only be used within these shopping centres, and the fact that you only get the vouchers for the first year.  

If you’re a heavy driver, you could do much better with the AA Fuelsave card, which pays 2% cashback on petrol and diesel, rising to 4% if you spend more than £500 a month.

Alternatively, the American Express Platinum Cashback Card pays 5% cashback on spending up to £2,500 for the first three months. After that, cashback is paid at 1% on spending up to £10,000 a year, rising to 1.25% if people spend any more. However, this card has a £25 annual fee, which needs to be taken into account.

The intu card’s 0% for 12 months balance transfers, money transfers, and purchases offer can all be beaten by other cards. Halifax, for example, has a 25-month fee free 0% balance transfer deal, while Virgin Money has a 32 month 0% money transfer card with a lower 1.69% fee. When it comes to purchases, Sainsbury’s Bank offers 0% for a longer 27 months.  

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