Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Three things which I’d like British Airways Executive Club to copy

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It is sometimes the little things in a loyalty scheme which make the difference.  Here are three things I have come across in recent weeks which I thought other schemes could benefit from copying.

Etihad launched an exclusive Twitter account for Gold members

This is quite clever.  Everyone offers premium phone lines for their elite members but very few offer a dedicated Twitter team.  If you are Gold in Etihad Guest, you can now apply for access to @etihadpremium on Twitter.

They promise:

  • Five minute response times
  • Dedicated service
  • Retro mileage claims
  • Exclusive deals

Applying is cumbersome – for some reason, they insist on seeing a photocopy of your Etihad Guest membership card.  Once you have sent that in, they will follow you, you can follow them back and that opens up the direct messaging channel.

British Airways please note.

Redeeming your miles for duty free merchandise

When I flew SAS down to Toulouse recently (photo through my window below!), I flicked through the duty free catalogue.  What impressed me was that every product was available for miles as well as cash.  10,300 EuroBonus miles got you 200 Marlboro Gold.

The exchange rate, it has to be said, was poor – around 0.3 Eurocents per mile.  For some reason the rate is far worse than the 0.5 Eurocents per mile they use if you redeem miles to buy food and drink onboard.

It is still a good idea though.  Imagine how pleased your partner would be if he / she was idly looking through the catalogue, pointed out something they liked and then you said ‘no problem, let’s get it with my miles’.

I’m not sure how you can check the current balance of a mileage account inflight but clearly SAS has found a way.

Rolling over your tier points with Jumeirah Hotels – could BA do this?

I was looking into the small print of my Jumeirah Hotels Sirius account, as I am keen to ensure I spend enough this year to retain Silver status and therefore free breakfast on our family holidays.

Jumeirah tier points do not expire.  They roll over annually.  Even modest spenders would still find, after a few years, they would qualify for a year of Silver status.

This is a clever move, I think.  Two things would happen – either the guest would visit Jumeirah more in the year they had status to enjoy the benefits (a win) or they continue to only stay infrequently, in which case giving out the status has cost very little.

There is another twist with Jumeirah Sirius.  When you renew status, your tier points do not reset to zero.  They simply deduct what is required for the new tier.

Some of the other hotel schemes which are based around qualifying nights also let you roll over additional nights about your requalification threshold.

Imagine, if you earned 800 tier points with British Airways, only losing 600 when your Silver card was renewed.  You would have a head start of requalification next year and may even be tempted to push on for Gold.

This system has pros and cons.  The upside is that customers do not feel that tier points are ‘wasted’.  At present, a BA flyer who hits 600 for Silver but can never hit 1,500 for Gold sees his additional spend going nowhere in terms of tier points.  A rollover scheme stops that and may encourage more custom.

On the downside, someone who values Silver but not Gold may actually stop spending early!  If you were on 1,400 tier points, you may be tempted to stop flying BA until you are into your next membership year.  This would maximise your time as a Gold as you get all of your current year plus all of the next one – a maximum of 23 months.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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

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.

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 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.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

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 (23)

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

  • Susan says:

    If we’re in the land of fantasy – a zone-based redemption chart with no difference between own-metal and alliance partners, ridiculously easy mileage accrual for filling in quick surveys, amount of redeemed miles determined by the cabin class of single longest flight of a multi-flight itinerary and a guaranteed cheese toastie for all status holders. Oh if only such a scheme existed 😉

  • Jon says:

    OT: Amex offers now offer £5 off £10 purchase.

    • Jon says:

      Sorry iPhone cut off early:-

      £5 off £10 purchase at post office.

      • Lionel says:

        We’re a bit late to the party but still plenty of time to register.

        x3 here 🙂

  • Mike says:

    Agree with Philip and Elena re: Etihad Twitter account. I’m a Platinum (the old Gold Elite) and this is yet another marketing spin. They do reply but ask to send details. Any complaints….forget about any sensible response. Customer service but doesn’t exist. Too much marketing and too little substance!

    • Elena-MuslimTravelGirl says:

      Mike sounds about right with many things in the Middle East. I had high hopes for this but it doesn’t work in reality. I am happy however their award system is back on track.

      • Aeronaut says:

        Seems like in its newly reformed guise you’re more likely to get a better customer service response from Ryanair than the big three middle eastern airlines!

  • Riku says:

    The finnair award points to tier points system is really nice, if you’re a little short of reaching your renewal target you can use up some award points. It’s also good for those in countries where you are not supposed to use company earned points for private travel. You can convert them to higher status instead. Finnair limit how many award points you can convert though, you are allowed to convert max 50% of your renewal threshold.

  • Rupert says:

    And one thing they have copied – massive devaluation in premium dream of a Suite is looking shaky..

    Was: 55226
    Now: 87732

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

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