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

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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 (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 (40)

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

  • Hugh says:

    Thanks for this, i start my “extreme” run on Wednesday via HEL.
    Though I’m going JFK-LAX, which is 3 class, so only get 140 TP, total of 1360 –

    • Danksy says:

      Tell us more Hugh!

      • Hugh says:

        well my routing is AMS-HEL-LHR-LCY-JFK-LAX-HNL, and back

        got the routing from a mix of flyertalk and ita matrix

        Elected to go via JFK-LAX being as its the new A321 Transcon on AA – with the lie flat seats
        if you look on flyer talk BAEC there’s a live report on a tier point run to Hawaii going on a tthe moment

    • Alan says:

      I think that’s a good move. I did DUB-PHL-PHX-HNL-LAX-CLT-DUB with US (for £1,600) but US domestic first was appalling, I think you’re much better going for that nice business class option on your JFK-LAX flight, even at less TPs.

    • Col A-B says:

      Yes Hugh tell us all about it please!

  • Danksy says:

    Haha…love it!

  • FIRSTclstraveller says:

    I hope Will is ok and not stranded in Hawaii, his blog seemed to stop in June for some reason!

  • Erico1875 says:

    I wish there was a button to put first post first order
    These upside down blogs involving trip reports are hard to read in the default format.

  • Brian says:

    He seems to have come back via Amsterdam, rather than Brussels…

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    Can you break the journey on these tickets?

    We have family moving to the Phoenix area – and the CX card expiring later this year! – so this could be an option!

  • Cheshire Pete says:

    I got a slightly better return £/Tier point wise earlier this year with AA This scenario works out at £1.33 per tier point.

    On my YUPP AA 1st class return when I was in LAX had short break to Florida MCO. £498 return for 420 Tier points. £1.19 per tier point. Amazing service on that route as we’ll.

    Also did a number of shorter hops YUPP £125 for 60 Tier points. That’s £2.08 per tier point. But in the 3 weeks earned 3 of them plus Florida trip was 600 tier points for total £875. Not bad as my year had just reset so attained Silver in 3 weeks from reset! For total of £1.45 per tier point.

    • Col A-B says:


      • Cheshire Pete says:

        Special upgraded fare class to 1st with AA. Arguably the cheapest way to quickly earn tier points in One World. Best used internal flights over 2000-2500 miles. (210 tier points) Check this in the BA tier point calculator. You must book direct with AA to get full First class points.

  • Serrano says:

    Can someone let me know how to book these flights for ridiculuously cheap prices? (ie £1800) Only LCY-JFK-LCY would cost over 5000 any given day. What am I missing?

    • Alan says:

      You need to leave ex-EU rather than ex-UK 😀 BRU/AMS/LUX/DUB all reasonable options to consider.

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

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