Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

It’s bye-bye to Air Passenger Duty on long-haul Avios redemptions from certain UK cities

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As I wrote yesterday, a selection of Flybe flights are now available for redemption using Avios points on

I was probably a little harsh in that article on the value you can get from these redemptions – it seems I picked a bad example.  Readers were happy to show me Flybe flights priced at up to €360 which were available for 4,500 Avios points.

Flybe flies to a number of small airports in the UK where the Air Passenger Duty regime does not apply

Flybe London City

To quote from the Flybe website here:

The UK is the most taxed aviation market in the world, with the possible exception of Chad

The following [Flybe] departure airports are already exempt from APD : 

Benbecula, Barra, Campbeltown, Guernsey, Islay, Inverness, Jersey, Kirkwall, Sumburgh, Stornoway, Tiree and Wick

The following routes are already exempt from APD:

London Stansted – Dundee

London Gatwick – Newquay

The ability to avoid APD applies to any flight which connects to a flight from one of the airports above.  This leads to some impressive savings.

Let’s take the Cathay Pacific flight from Manchester to Hong Kong.

A one-way business class redemption on that route costs 60,000 Avios + £187.

(By the way, Cathay Pacific is offering EIGHT business class seats for redemption on that route on some flights.)

However, if you book Inverness – Manchester – Hong Kong, the cost changes to 64,500 Avios + £70.  A saving of £117 may not be enough to make it worthwhile buying a one-way ticket to Inverness to start your trip, but if you live in Scotland it certainly looks attractive.  Similar deals are available via London if you fly down from Inverness and connect to a Heathrow or Gatwick flight.

Here is another example:

Heathrow to New York in Club World, one-way, costs 40,000 Avios + £351.

However, if you book Newquay – Gatwick and Heathrow – New York, the trip costs 44,500 Avios + £222.  You save £129 per person.

So, some good news if you live in Cornwall or northern Scotland.  The impact of the Avios changes has just been sharply reduced.  Other HfP readers with time of their hands will also be able to make modest savings if they fly to Inverness or Newquay to start their redemption.

(PS.  You only ‘lose’ the APD on the Newquay to Gatwick route.  If you use Flybe to fly from Newquay to Manchester or Stansted, full APD will be charged.)

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2024)

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.

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

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 (37)

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

  • jack the hobo says:

    chad is more expensive for short haul, but not long haul!
    the UK (and heathrow particularly) has the highest passenger taxes in the world!

  • Jordan D says:

    Just a ruddy shame that Flybe are suspending their LCY-INV service.

    Doubly so, as I actually needed to get to Inverness for a wedding in September …

  • Richard says:

    A minor point, but does anyone know *why* the Newquay-Gatwick route is exempt? I can’t find anything by Googling. Some specific tax break given to keep that route alive, perhaps?

    I really dislike Newquay – it’s a rubbish airport, and it pioneered the last-minute surprise £5 fee you have to pay to pass through security. At a time when airlines were being made to display all-inclusive prices, I was disappointed they were allowed to get away with that.

  • jack the hobo says:

    this concept anyways is pretty old, you could have always started in dublin or take the eurostar to BRU ot PAR. the real question is, is there anyway to combine the APD savings, AND ALSO not pay BA YQ? like is there anyway to book these on AA’s website? or does air Berlin fly from any of these airports? or do any star alliance members fly from there, allowing you to book a flight from the UK with no YQ, or APD?

    • Rob says:

      This difference here is that a decent % of readers actually live within striking distance of Newquay or Inverness without having to get on a plane!

      • Adam says:

        Potentially that is me so i am very interested in this option. Do you book all legs of yor journey online via avios or do you have to call up?

        • Rob says:

          If it needs more than two flights then you’d need to call BA to book after first checking availability leg by leg online. Anything which is just Flybe and 1 onward flight should be possible online if you can persuade to spit it out.

  • Peter Taysum says:

    Interesting to note Flying Blue emailed me to say they don’t charge for connecting flights to their hubs in Paris and Amsterdam…

  • oyster says:

    I assume we ‘re only talking where stopovers are less than 24 hrs?

  • Rob says:

    Does the zero APD on these routes only apply to BA booked flights? IE. Would it be possible to book Newquay to Gatwick and then use Virgin to get to LA?

    I currently live in Cornwall so this is promising for me.

    I have however just checked cash prices to LA from NQY with the cheapest price coming up on BA as around £700 for Economy. However on third party websites i can get Dublin to LA return for under £400 and that’s on BA metal.

    Is this strange? I’m never really sure if I’m doing the booking correctly..

    • Rob says:

      You would need to compare Newquay to LA and then the price of the same London to LA flight to see if there was any price difference or not.

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