Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Read Ian’s tier-point run diary …. 1,390 British Airways tier points for Brussels to Hawaii

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

A couple of months ago I posted a link to Will’s online diary of his slightly crazy tier point run to reach British Airways Gold Guest List status in the quickest time possible.

It was a popular post, so I am pleased to also recommend this mini-blog from Head for Points reader Ian on his tier point run.  Because the posts are listed ‘latest first’ you need to start at the end and work forwards.

It shows how Ian earned 1,390 British Airways tier points – leaving him just short of Gold – and 36,574 Avios points from just one trip.

He booked a flight from Brussels to Hawaii, routed:

Heathrow – Brussels (separate ticket to the main trip)

Brussels – Heathrow

London City – New York JFK

New York JFK – Phoenix

Phoenix – Honolulu

… and back.

The clever thing here is that New York to Phoenix and Phoenix to Honolulu are both just over 2,000 miles.  This means that you earn long-haul tier points for the flight – 210 per leg if booked on a 2-class American Airlines flight under an AA flight code.

American Airlines domestic flights are often two class, sold as ‘Domestic First’ and standard.  If you book these flights with a BA flight code – most are BA codeshares and will sell you a BA-coded ticket – BA treats Domestic First as business class and gives you the appropriate miles for business. 

If you book these flights with an AA flight code – which usually means booking your entire trip on – BA treats Domestic First as First Class and gives you First Class miles and tier points.

The trip cost him £1,854 plus the positioning flight.

You obviously need to have a certain mentality to want to do this (!) but if you break up your trip effectively it can work well. 

I think there is actually a more extreme version of this routing possible, going Brussels to Helsinki to London, which adds an additional 80 tier points each way for the Helsinki sector.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 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

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

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 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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable 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 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

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

Comments (40)

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

  • Alfred Harding says:

    We own vacation rental property on Oahu and the Hurricane(s) turned out to be a non event. We had a guest flying in from California and it was nail biting time watching when their departure time and watching the weather. They arrived on Friday and it was sunny and beautiful.

    I have Bronze status and I would like to move up to Gold status. I already have lifetime platinum status on AA. From reading the posts, looks like this would work in reverse? Book on but put my BA FF# in instead of my AA #? Would that mean though that I would loose any perks that come with my AA status as AA will think I’m a BA flyer? Per heck, upgrades, 1st on, etc.

    • mac Clelland says:

      Just an update on AA/BA elite status. I phoned AA desk in the USA And paid £150 for a platinum challenge. One leg in BA world traveller plus to Asia got me the points required for AA PLATINUM which gives the equivalent of BA SILVER. I know that we have already mentioned above the soft landing in BAEC. But for somebody with a lot of travel coming up in a short time it is a worthwhile investment I think for the extra luggage and lounge access, etc.

      Now all I need is for a star alliance status match!

      • Rob says:

        Yes, I will try to remember to do something on the AA challenge once all the free Cathay Gold cards start to expire!

        • Col A-B says:

          Both me & my husband have had letters from CX extending the gold cards by 6 months – is that the general experience? We haven’t used them other than to gain lounge access, choose seats free & take some extra luggage.

  • Metty says:

    Having been a Gold for less than a month, I’m finding it to be way more worthwhile than I imagined.

    As a Gold, one’s interaction with BA via the Gold Exec Contact Number feels like getting through to the boss rather than the secretary (no offence to secretaries intended); my experience is that you’re speaking to an interactive person who is empowered to sort things out.

    My first contact was in a fairly annoyed state after BA had lost 3 of our 4 cases on the outbound sector of family hols to the USA; we were reunited with them all on the 4th day of holiday, but with several items missing. The suggested route was Amex Plat and their insurer AXA, who were nice enough but the claims procedure was too long winded for my jet lagged brain and online patience to cope with. I rang BA Gold where one person sorted everything very pragmatically so most of the loss was paid within 48hrs (by comparison the email complaint requesting some sort of compensation for e.g. screwing up our hols, distress to my 16yo who had all her birthday cards opened and contents ‘lost’ etc) has not been answered yet.

    Second contact was when fiddling with Xmas bookings home from Bangkok. I was sitting on 4 Club seats back from Chengdu then noticed 2 Club come up on BA10 direct back to Heathrow, so rang to get these and put the kids in economy. This time the human on the end of the phone asked if I was aware that I could put the kids in Club for double miles even though there was no Avios availability and then should BA release any Club seats just ring in and change the booking for the fee and get the extra Avios back. All very much like speaking to someone on this forum rather than BA. I guess I should have been aware of this aspect of Gold membership – I understood the economy guarantee – just hadn’t processed that Avios-wise it applied to any cabin.

    So far, Gold is exceeding my expectations!!

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.