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The Economist back-pedals on the 12,000 free Avios promotion

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Back in November I wrote about a very generous promotion that The Economist was – and still is – offering in conjunction with Iberia Plus.

You will receive 12,000 Avios for taking out a £155 subscription to the magazine for one year.  Whilst this is not a bad deal on its own, it is an even better deal if you take up The Economist on the clause in their terms and conditions which allows you to cancel at any point for a pro-rata refund.

I first got wind of trouble last Monday when a reader told me that he was having difficulty getting the call centre to cancel his subscription.  Since the terms and conditions of the offer are very clear, I told the reader to keep pushing back as The Economist has NO CHOICE but to refund him.

I added a warning note to my original article at that time.

On Tuesday, another reader told me that he had successfully cancelled via email with no problems.  I thought the first reader had just hit a grumpy agent.

Yesterday, however, this clause started appearing on subscription confirmations:


The website for this offer has now been updated to include this information.

The terms and conditions were changed on January 16th.  If you ordered before that date, you will receive your refund.  If there is any push back from the magazine, push back yourself.  You are due your money.

If you applied on or after January 16th, you are now bound by these rules:


Unless specifically stated in any Subscription offer or promotion when you place your Subscription order, you have the right to cancel your Subscription at any time. Please note that if your Subscription includes a digital element, by placing your order you agree that we may start your Digital Subscription immediately and you acknowledge that you will lose your right to a refund in relation to any issues that have been published before you cancelled.

If you exercise your right to cancel, unless the terms of any Subscription offer or promotion state otherwise, we will reimburse all payments received from you, less a pro-rated amount for each issue delivered (if your Subscription contains a print element) or published (if your Subscription is a Digital Subscription only) before you cancelled.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (April 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:

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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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The Platinum Card from American Express

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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.

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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 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 (45)

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

  • Andy says:

    This is why we can’t have nice things – everyone jumps on the loopholes.

    Sure, it’s legal to jump on the loophole – we could argue that it’s their fault for not realising what would happen and we get a short term benefit. But the long term loss is greater – companies like the economist spot that things aren’t bringing them custom and roll back on their offers.

    I wonder if we’ll ever see an economist avios offer this generous again?

    • Thomas says:

      Not without airtight terms and conditions.
      Similarly Tesco with the bonus points on game pre orders.. That will likely change to full points only on collection and full payment when game comes in etc.

    • callum says:

      You’re seeing it right now… They got rid of the last one and replaced it with a non-cancellable version. If they were going to get rid of it they would have just scrapped the promotion outright now.

  • sandgrounder says:

    You should just keep the subscription and read the newspaper. With this deal, it is fantastic value! 🙂

  • pazza2000 says:

    Is the email cancellation template still available online?

  • Adam says:

    After my cancellation on the phone, it took 3-4 days to receive an email confirming then about another 5 days for the refund to hit my bank account.

  • Andy says:

    I ordered this deal in December and emailed to cancel a couple of weeks ago. They replied saying “Unfortunately we are currently unable to answer your enquiry at the moment as we are awaiting further information from the relevant department”. I then received a further email saying I couldn’t cancel it because “all subscriptions ordered through air mile websites are non refundable as stated in the terms and conditions when the order was placed”. I changed tactic and phoned them instead. They cancelled it immediately over the phone.

  • mark2 says:

    Those of you who have read the newspaper rather than cancelling after getting the flights may have read this article about ticket pricing anomalies:

    The article on Techdirt is here:

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

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