Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

If you ever needed proof that this hobby was worth pursuing ….

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If you ever try to discuss miles and points with your friends, you may find their eyes glaze over, or they grumble that ‘it’s all too complicated’ or something similar ….

Next time the subject comes up, send them a link to this post.

The pictures below are from Etihad‘s First Class service, as operated on the London to Abu Dhabi route:

Etihad 1


Etihad 2


Etihad 3


Etihad 4

And here is the impressive bit:

You can fly this (one way) to Abu Dhabi, for free*, simply by getting the free American Airlines credit card with the current 35,000 miles bonus that I wrote about on Saturday.

Etihad even let you use their free chauffeur service on redemption flights which will pick you up and take you to Heathrow (max 150 mile journey) and take you wherever you want from Abu Dhabi (even to Dubai).  The Etihad website says that this is available for ‘Etihad Guest redemptions’ but it appears to be OK for redemptions via American Airlines as well.

Not bad for getting a free credit card!  In fact, it is the most generous sign-up deal I have ever seen for a free airline card.  And if an Etihad First Class trip doesn’t persuade people that miles and points is a great hobby, then there really is no hope for them!

(* Taxes and surcharges WILL, unfortunately, apply!)

(PS.  You will need to come back to London, of course.  But if you have no other miles, some airlines do sell cheap one-way economy fares to the UK from Dubai or Abu Dhabi for roughly £235.  It won’t be as pleasant as Etihad First Class, though …..)

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – April 2024 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current 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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

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

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

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

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

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

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

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

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback Business Credit Card

1% cashback uncapped* on all your business spending (T&C apply) Read our full review

Comments (24)

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

  • rasper says:

    Sorry if this seems a lazy question but I don’t know how to find out:

    Would the points costs for the ethiad redemptions shown above be any higher for departures from Dublin? And would taxes be significantly different?

    • Rob says:

      Yes, because there is no large departure tax from Dublin. Same is true of Paris, Amsterdam etc, wherever Etihad flies.

      • rasper says:

        Is it still in the same pricing zone?

        • Rob says:

          I linked to the AA chart in another reply (on ipad so can’t do it again) – AA treats all of Europe as the same zone!

  • AB says:

    Ive just booked this one way – Abu Dhabi to London (to avoid the uk departure taxes etc) it costs me 40,000 AAdvantage miles + 14.20 GBP + 5.00 GBP telephone booking fee

    booked London to Dubai, using 17,500 United Mileage Plus miles + 169.0 USD

  • AB says:

    PS – gained all of my AA miles from flying, not cc’s

  • Rasper says:

    Now here’s another question…how do I use AA miles for an ethiad flight? I was playing on the AA website but could never find any availability?

  • AB says:

    @Rasper Best bet is to call American Airlines directly. I was told if you go to etihads website, and search award travel that youd be able to then call AA and book it, however i found it a bit complicated, so just called and let them help me. The first date i wanted only a 2am flight was available, so they offered me Qantas first from Dubai, but decided to leave the next day on Etihad.

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

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