Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Save on BA short-haul flights by throwing in a car or hotel!

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Reader Theo recently emailed me to explain how he had saved a decent amount on a weekend break in Rome by adding a car to his booking via  Similar savings can be made by throwing in a hotel.

The key point is this – you don’t need to collect the car, you don’t need to stay in the hotel.  Nothing bad will happen to you.  British Airways will certainly not cancel your flight home.

The reason this works is that BA has a separate ticket class which can only be accessed when it is packaged with a car or hotel.  If the price gap between this ‘secret’ ticket class and the cheapest tickets offered to the public is big enough, large savings can be made.

Here is an example.  I didn’t ‘fix’ these results by picking the best example I could fine – this is the first one I tried.  Note that I did this experiment on the March 10th so these prices may not be available now.

Flight only, British Airways to Rome, 8th to 10th May:   £501 for two people

Screenshot below.  The flight price is high but I have picked the perfect Friday AM / Sunday PM economy flights to maximise your weekend away.  Note that the same flights are used in all of the examples below.

Flight only 2

Same flights but add in the smallest car which you do not bother to collect:  £412 for two people, saving £89

Car and flight 2

You also receive 824 bonus Avios when you take this option, on top of the usual Avios earned.

Same flights but add in the cheapest hotel which you do not bother to use:  £487 for two people, saving £14

Hotel 2

You also receive 974 bonus Avios when you take this option, on top of the usual Avios earned.  You could even stay in the hotel if you wanted – or, of course, pay a little extra and get somewhere smarter or more central.

An extra bonus!

The £501 cash price I quoted for this trip in the first example was based on ‘hand baggage only’ fares.  As well as no suitcase, these fares no longer allow you to select a seat.

If you book a ‘flight and car’ or ‘flight and hotel’ package, you are actually sold a standard flight ticket which includes luggage.  If you have British Airways status, this ticket would also allow you free seat selection which you cannot now get with ‘hand baggage only’ fares.

The lesson is clear – next time you book a short-haul flight on, make sure you compare the price with a car or a hotel included.  You might actually save money!

how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee 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.

If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (37)

  • flood says:

    The Mrs and I jumped on about half a dozen long weekend packages using BA flight + hotel over the last 18 months or so. Some very good value to be had. Only niggle is regarding the “bonus” avios that BA advertise prominently with these packages: I’m yet to have these post automatically. They require numerous emails and/or calls and much frustration. In my experience if you don’t chase, you will not receive these bonus avios. Would be interested to hear if others have had a similar or different experience

  • Fenny says:

    That’s lovely as long as you’re flying with someone else. All of BA’s holiday deals seem to be priced for 2 people. I’ve yet to find any way of getting the same price for one person, as the hotel bill is halved in the per person comparison to make it look better.

    • Irons1980 says:

      You just select a flight for 1 person – hotel rooms are usually charged on a per room basis, not a per person anyway

      • Fenny says:

        I tried various combinations of hotel and car hire, but none of the flights are any cheaper for a single person. Single person flight £122. Single person flight plus car hire £188.

        Yes, rooms are charged per room, so the headline rate of £X pp means that it’s more if you’re a single traveler, as the room charge is split in half.

        • Irons1980 says:

          I think the point is that on occasion it’s cheaper – for example, I have had return flights to Amsterdam coming in at £300+ but when booking with a hotel coming in at around £250 or at least the same price as the flight alone (thus saving me the hotel night)

          It doesn’t always work – it’s best to try it when flights are coming in particularly high for a destination you are interested in, especially midweek for business trips.

  • Thunderbirds says:

    This feature of BA ticket classes has been around for some time. In fact when making a booking like this in Club Europe + Car to Malaga or Gibraltar it was possible (Winter 2013/2014) to end up with ~12,500 Avios (with Silver) for £285 which was nice earner for Tier and Avios. The change to 2 Avios per £ (rather than a straight 5,000) and Silver downgrade from end of April just shows how much the develauation has been.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, that flat bonus on 5,000 Avios for any BA Holiday booking was a good one – albeit rather too generous!

      • Thunderbirds says:

        I agree it was generous, but the devaluation of the holiday bonus is what pushed me to switch to Monarch on those routes. Monarch Gold still gives extra legroom seats free. Again a long way from when Monarch Gold used to have extra legroom, preferential check-in and boarding, meal, lounge access and newspapers included. No longer, but usually a lot cheaper than BA for those not needing a connection. How things change.