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Adam Jolley

Review: Santander 123 cashback card


Santander has upgraded its interest-free 123 credit card so that it now offers cashback on flights and travel bookings.

Booking holiday

From 1 June Santander is offering 1% cashback if you use its 123 credit card when you spend with all major airlines, hotels and travel agents. 

The deal runs until 31 August so it could benefit people looking to book a last minute summer escape.

The 1% cashback rate means if you spend £3,000, you’ll earn £30 back – with the cashback credited to your account the following month.

Get something back

This may not sound like much, but when you combine this offer with the card’s other features, it could be worth considering.’s head of credit cards Nerys Lewis explains.

"The Santander 123 credit card can help a lot of people get something in return for their everyday spending,” she says.

"The rate of cashback is tiered: you can get 3% at petrol stations and on National Rail travel, 2% at department stores and 1% at supermarkets.

18 months 0% on purchases

"The 3% rate on fuel and train travel makes it a particularly good choice for commuters."

Since April, customers can also get 18 months 0% interest on purchases.

"This means you can pay for something upfront, such as a holiday, and then get a year and a half to pay it off without being charged interest," adds Lewis.

However, this card won’t be for everyone so it’s important to do your research before applying.

Are there any drawbacks?

As mentioned, you only get cashback in certain places, whereas there are other credit cards that give you cashback virtually everywhere.

So you have to be sure you’re going to use it in the right places.

The £24 annual fee is another potential drawback so do your sums first to make sure it’s worth it.

However, if you have a Santander 123 current account you don’t have to pay this fee for the first year.

Our verdict: 'A great card for commuters'

Lewis says: "If you’re a commuter and spend lots each month on petrol or rail travel, then there aren’t many better cashback cards out there.

"Along with the 18 months interest-free purchases offer – only matched by the Tesco credit card – and the summer travel spending deal, it is a really competitive card.

As with any cashback cards, you should ideally be in a position to pay off your bill in full each month to really reap the rewards.

Otherwise you will incur interest charges which could wipe out any cashback benefits.

Want a card to use on holiday?

The 123 credit card could be good choice to get a little extra back on your travel spending before you go away.

However, if you’re looking for a card to spend while you’re away you might want to consider a travel credit card instead.

These cards are designed to be used abroad, meaning they won’t charge you foreign currency fees - unlike most credit cards - when you use them overseas.

You can read more about travel credit cards in this article.


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