Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

I bought an iPhone and this is what I learned ….

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A couple of weeks ago, I finally dragged myself into the 21st century by purchasing an iPhone.  This replaced the Nokia 8800 that I have been carrying around for the last six years or so.

(Don’t knock my Nokia!  Asda Mobile Recycling is paying me £209 for it!)

Clubcard Passbook

Despite having had an iPad since Day 1, setting up an iPhone has still been a bit of a faff at times.  This is what I have discovered so far which related to HfP – feel free to comment below if there are any travel apps you recommend I try. (EDIT: there are now some great tips in the Comments, so you should definitely read them!)

The BA / Passbook collaboration is great.  You can check in online and save your boarding pass directly into Passbook.  This will show even if the phone is locked.  You no longer need a paper boarding pass for BA flights.

Amex has just launched a new Passbook feature which shows your balance and last transaction without a log-in.  The main Amex iPhone app is more useful, though, especially as it lets you easily activate new offers to your card.

IHG and SPG, amongst others, can also be added to Passbook.  I haven’t had a stay yet to try them out though.

You can add your Tesco Clubcard to Passbook (see image above).  This requires a ‘hack’ via this website.  If you don’t want to do that for some reason, the official Tesco Grocery app also displays your Clubcard.  I think it only works on manned tills, however.

AwardWallet works just as well as the iPad version.  As long as you upgrade to the £2.99 ‘Plus’ version, or have donated via the desktop version, the app will check all of your miles and points balances – 46 in my case – in around 30 seconds!

WordPress for iPhone is not as terrible as I had expected.  I’ll never be writing new posts on it, but it allows me to reply to your comments on the move.

Hailo is FANTASTIC.  It is one of the things I was most keen to try.  Whilst we only live 60 seconds walk from a taxi-filled main road, dragging the kids up there makes it feel a lot longer.  Two clicks on the Hailo app and we have a taxi outside our door within a couple of minutes, with the bill charged to my credit card.  I even get a childish bit of fun watching the taxi move towards the house on the map!

The avios.com app is a good way of checking BA reward flight availability, in the absence of a BAEC app.

The ability to tether is cool.  This may end up being the main benefit of my iPhone.  My iPad is a ‘wi-fi only’ model.  With one swipe I can turn my iPhone into a portable wi-fi hotspot so I can use my iPad anywhere.  (Vodafone is happy to support tethering, check with other operators.)  It will also allow us to keep online at home during Sky’s occasional broadband outages and at my wi-fi-less parents.

I haven’t had time to road test the Uber app, Google Maps, CityMaps2Go, AllSubway or Tripadvisor yet, but I will try to get round to it.

Please do let me know of any good travel or miles and points apps that you’ve come across.

Comments (82)

  • Jonathan Shapiro says:

    I’d add Genius Scan to the essential travel list.

    No more carting around expense receipts for me. I scan them when I get them. Genius Scan crops them automatically and I then send them via Dropbox to the expenses folder on my Mac.

    It’s a simple app but incredibly useful for me.

  • Pszczolka says:

    Raffles, could you do a post for each mobile phone operating system about this? I think it’d be incredibly helpful (especially as I have a Nokia, which I love, but I’m not great at searching for useful apps and there isn’t a ton online about what’s good…)

    • Rob says:

      As I am only familiar with iOS, I’m not sure what I could do in the way of an Android, Blackberry etc post except to say ‘please post here if you have any good apps’. A lot of iOS apps are also OK for other operating systems anyway.

  • Loic says:

    City mapper is very useful to give you the quickest route when using the public transport in London or NYC

  • Ian says:

    Has anyone tried to add the Tesco Clubcard account to AwardWallet? It shows me as having more than £1000 value in Clubcard vouchers when I have less than £50..Do you notice any discrepancies?

    • Raffles says:

      Has always worked OK for me, shows correct numbers for both points and unspent vouchers.

      • Ian says:

        I’ve switch on the automatic transfer from Tesco to Virgin Miles at the moment and it seems that AwardWallet is counting the miles as cash!

      • AndrewM says:

        Hhhmmm – I signed up to Award Wallet on your advice and it generally seems great. However, it only shows the Tesco Clubcard Points earned this quarter, not the unspent balance that is (hopefully!) still sitting in my account.

        • Rob says:

          Someone odd happened in the last couple of days and it has stopped showing the unspent balance. Tesco has changed the way it does account security, so I don’t know if this is a permanent change or if AW just needs to recode.

  • Cristian says:

    It looks like AwardWallet no longer supports United Miles

    “Unfortunately United Airlines forced us to stop supporting their loyalty programs.”

    • Alan says:

      It’s been like that for a good few months now, although you can set it up to scrape the details from the monthly email they send you – not quite as good but better than not having them listed at all.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, they have fallen out with the US airlines. Albeit that they paid American a few thousand dollars and suddenly AA’s concerns disappeared and it was accessible again.

  • Phillip says:

    Beware of Heathrow Rewards on passbook! I have had no end of problems with shops at T5 accepting it! The systems don’t accept it – yet no issue with the card!

  • Matthew says:

    Amex have a £15 credit offer for HAILO on at the mo, limited to 500 sign ups though.

  • Steve says:

    All this mention of flying apps or hotel apps or taxi apps, but not one mention of Angry Birds!