Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

“How can I use my Avios to fly direct from regional airports?”

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Over Easter, I will be answering a number of the reader questions that were submitted via this article.  If you didn’t take part this time, don’t worry as I will be re-running this feature in the Summer.  Feel free to expand on or critique my answer using the Comments section below!

Today’s question is from Jim who asked:

“Hi, I’d like to know if it’s possible to use Avios to fly from regional airports where BA has no presence. For example, being based in East Anglia my closest option is Norwich and the next best is Stansted.  Getting to LHR or LGW is essentially a three-hour plus trip plus all the hassle of traveling so I`d much prefer to stay local.”

Sun-Air

Jim touches on an important issue for Avios collectors outside the M25.  British Airways does not run any regional flights to any destination except London, and there is a lot of wasted time flying Manchester – London – Berlin if you can get an easyJet flight direct instead.

Luckily, there are some options available.

Vueling offers flights from Cardiff and Edinburgh which can be booked via Iberia Plus, if you transfer your Avios points across using ‘Combine My Avios’.

Sun-Air runs a couple of services to Scandinavia from Manchester.  (The photo above is a Sun-Air flight, operated as a BA franchise in BA colours.)  Finnair also runs a Manchester-Helsinki service.  These can be booked via ba.com.

Since airberlin joined oneworld, you can also use Avios on their services.  I have mainly focussed on airberlin’s long-haul services on Head for Points, but they also fly from Manchester (EDIT: now cancelled, see Comments).

Aer Lingus flights from Ireland to the UK can also be booked – but only by telephone – as an Avios redemption, although once you’ve factored in the telephone booking fee and the full taxes it is unlikely to offer good value.

There are also some options for redeeming with avios.com airline partners.  These are Air Malta, Aurigny (the Channel Islands airline), Monarch and Flybe.  To redeem on any of these airlines, you need to move your Avios from ba.com to avios.com via ‘Combine My Avios’.  The only way to see what routes are available is to look on the relevant airlines website and then try to plug those routes into avios.com and see if any seats come up.

Air Malta flies from Manchester as well as London, click for details.

Be wary of redeeming for non-BA European flights, though.  They are not eligible for Reward Flight Saver (except Sun-Air) and so you need to pay full taxes and charges.  This may mean that you are getting poor value for your Avios.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2023)

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:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable 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 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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.

Comments (14)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Dannyrado says:

    I never knew about the monarch flights. I’ve done a quick search and it seems that they often only release one seat, and that the flights are actually the monarch charter one’s not the monarch scheduled from flymonarch. A guide would be very welcome, as this could prove very useful, especially for my mother who is forever saying “When can i spend my avios?” and is only interested in europe from MAN.

    • David says:

      You can get Monarch scheduled (ZB) flights from Avios.com. (If anything it was the Avro stuff that turned up less based upon what I have seen).

      The problem is that they rarely release seats later on, so the seats only (generally) tend to be there (I find) when the Monarch fares are also still cheap.
      I’d say you are looking at 0.5p of value per Avios point at best.

      But this is based upon only thouse I have looked at specifically, or encountered, as part of my own needs, rather than a propper look at it.

    • Rob says:

      Something on the way on Monarch plus the other partners, will be a couple of weeks as I start to regroup post 11 days in Dubai!

  • Gill says:

    I’ve been unable to find Air Berlin flights from Manchester, the AB website says that there are several flights per week but MAN isn’t an option on the destination or arrival dropdown.
    I was thinking of a week in Mombasa, if we could fly from Manchester it would be so much easier.
    Can you please point me to where I can find these flights? Thanks.

  • PT says:

    I can book Manchester – Tenerife (2 people) – Cost is 20,000 Avios + £80.50 taxes (per person).

    I have compared booking the same flight directly with Monarch and after using discount code I can get the flight for about £190 each. So you are paying 20,000 avios for £110.

    There is also ambiguity regarding whether this includes baggage. I think it does.

  • Sandgrounder says:

    AA fly to ORD and JFK direct from MAN, but finding reward seats is not easy.

  • Sandgrounder says:

    I’m pretty sure Air Berlin have cancelled their MAN service.

    • Rob says:

      Ah, sorry, if true. It is still on their route map on the website!

  • Shaun says:

    I know Raffles is due to write about air malta soon, but does anyone know how to get a flight to malta through avios? currently looking to book there and this would be very useful!

    Thanks

    • Rob says:

      Flights only available on avios.com NOT ba.com. You would need to move the Avios across to avios.com via ‘Combine My Avios’ (and open an account there if you don’t have one). Then a simple process of plugging in random rates and seeing what turns up. Only Economy, I think, at 20k Avios + £57 taxes return IIRC (not got my notes to hand).

  • Rasper says:

    You can also fly Dublin -> Madrid with Iberia, not sure if that helps anyone or not.

  • Shaun says:

    Thanks. Is there a reason why they dont advertise this?

    • rasper says:

      No idea tbh. I considered this an option and tweeted the avios team on twitter so that’s where I got my info from. Its 7500 avios, zone 1-> 2 if memorary serves

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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