Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

When miles really matter

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For all the debates you can have about what miles are worth, you sometimes find yourself grateful that you have them at all.

I was up at 5am yesterday morning entertaining my wide-awake young son whilst the rest of the household slept.  Looking at my overnight emails, I saw one from a cousin in Canada.  Her sister’s daughter (who I was meant to be hosting in London next week, as part of an archetypal young persons tour of Europe) had had an accident in Venice and was now on her own in an Italian hospital.  Her mother obviously wanted to get over there as quickly as possible.

BA 747 retirement

The daughter had no travel insurance, however, since there is a Canada / EU medical treatment deal in place and she had few possessions with her worth stealing.  This meant her mother would not be covered for the extortionate cost of buying a last minute flight ticket from Canada to Italy. 

The cousin who had emailed me thought that I may be able to help, since she knew I had got my own Mum out to Canada earlier this year on a miles ticket, and that I had also booked some internal Air Canada flights on Aeroplan miles by trading some hotel points with a friend.

Within an hour, I was able to book her on the British Airways flight from Calgary yesterday evening, with a connection to Venice today.  I was even able to book her into Club World for the long haul, which will give her the chance to get some much needed rest on the way.  

Yes, there is still a slug of taxes and charges to be paid, but it will cost them a fraction of the money they would otherwise have had to spend.  I will write off the Avios, but I am not exactly short of them and it is hard to think of a better cause.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

50,000 points bonus until 2nd October – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

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