News in brief:
British Airways offering a free Nice-Monaco helicopter transfer
I think I’ve only ever been in a helicopter twice, and one of those times was to transfer from Nice Airport to Monaco. This was a corporate jolly, I wasn’t spending my own money.
British Airways has teamed up with the Monaco tourist authority to offer free return helicopter transfers with a ‘flight and hotel’ booking of just two nights during the Winter season (1 November to 31 December). For the rest of the year, you need to book a minimum of 5 nights hotel stay. You also get a free transfer from the heliport to your hotel and free tickets for certain Monaco attractions.
This is a really good deal in November. I found 2 nights at The Fairmont plus economy flights plus helicopter transfers for just £432 for two people (ie £216 each) for the first weekend in November. Note the small print re the transfers, especially the operating hours of the helicopter.
Holiday Inn Heathrow becomes a Leonardo hotel
There were, as of Sunday, three Holiday Inn hotels at Heathrow. The Holiday Inn London Heathrow – Aerial is the slightly odd circular building which is (in)famous for the single-bedded rooms you can receive if you are not careful when you book. The Holiday Inn London Heathrow M4 is the one people see from the motorway as they approach the airport.
The third option was the Holiday Inn London Heathrow, pictured below, on Bath Road.
As of yesterday, this property has been rebranded as a Leonardo Hotel, followings its acquisition by an Israeli group. There are already a handful of Leonardo properties across Europe but there are plans for a larger roll-out in the coming years.
This will be a bit of a loss for anyone chasing qualifying nights for IHG promotions. A new Holiday Inn, called Holiday Inn London Heathrow Terminal 5 (see here) has recently opened, but there is a large degree of poetic licence in the name given that it is in the village of Colnbrook. Even the IHG website describes it as being in Slough.
Avios to launch an app for Apple Watch
If you intend to be at the front of the queue to buy an Apple Watch when it launches on April 24th, Avios has you covered.
The Avios Watch app will “allow members of the Avios Travel Rewards Programme to easily see their total Avios balance, alert them when it increases, and help them understand the many ways in which they can spend their Avios.”
Not surprisingly, Avios claims that it is the first loyalty programme in Europe to launch an app for Apple Watch.
There is no word yet on what British Airways and British Airways Executive Club will be launching. In terms of practicality, I think BA has more to gain from Apple Watch than any of the Avios loyalty schemes.
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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
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.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.