Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Why your tax money is funding 11 obscure new UK flights (but five will earn Avios!)

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Back in the Autumn statement, the Government announced a £7m plan to fund 11 new regional air routes that will start during 2016

The Regional Air Connectivity Fund – which, you would think, is the sort of thing which would have been scrapped rather than created during a period of spending cuts – is blowing investing taxpayers money in 11 new air routes.

In my experience, airlines are not short of a willingness to give new routes a try using their own money.  After all, as long as they have the aircraft, the fixed costs involved in starting a route are not huge.

These are the 11 routes which you will be financing for the first three years of their life:

Dundee to Amsterdam (Flybe) 

Derry to Dublin (Citywings)

Carlisle to Belfast (Stobart Air)

Carlisle to Dublin (Stobart Air)

Carlisle to Southend (Stobart Air)

Norwich to Exeter (Flybe)

Norwich to Newcastle (Linksair)

Oxford to Edinburgh (Linksair)

Southampton to Lyon (Flybe, rationale being ….?!)

Southampton to Munich (Flybe, ditto)

Newquay to Leeds-Bradford (Flybe)

Oxford to Edinburgh, two incredibly poor cities, will obviously benefit hugely from this subsidised connection.  In terms of pure genius, however, Carlisle to Southend must be the winner:

Who is flying the route?  Stobart Air

Who owns Southend Airport?  Stobart Air

Who owns Carlisle Airport?  Stobart Air

Triples all round, as Private Eye would say. You can further details on the website.

The vague relevance of this to HfP is, of course, that you will be able to earn and spend Avios points on Southampton to Lyon, Southampton to Munich, Norwich to Exeter, Dundee to Amsterdam and Newquay to Leeds-Bradford due to the tie-up between Avios and Flybe.


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 (86)

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

  • M says:

    OT: Changes @IHG’s Rewards Nights. Many hotels going up in points. Up to 60,000!

    List here.

  • James67 says:

    OT: IHG increases IC redemptions as Rob has been predicting but not as high as I expected, max 60k/night.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, tempted to agree. Full story tomorrow but you can see the list here.

      Plenty of other 5k rises, however, which make some properties look expensive at off peak times.

      • Leo says:

        What a surprise it’s the Brazilian hotels which have dropped given the current situation. Putting 10K on all the IC’s you’d ever want to go to will put people off weekend jaunts to Europe but I guess increases the Barclaycard certificate value in the face of the ability to do the “trick” at 0.4p per point.

        • Rob says:

          It is 13 out of 5,000 hotels which are 60,000 points. The snag is that I reckon 20%+ of my IHG stays have been in those 13 hotels!

      • James67 says:

        Just been through them, makes an interesting read and I look forward to your thoughts tomorrow. London takes a big hit again but interestingly no movement on HI Wembley.
        I expected ICs in key cities to hit 60 and 75k so I was pleasantly surprised. The nonsensical disparity between ICs and many HIEs and HIs that you often highlight still remains!

  • Tilly71 says:

    Slightly OT again (sorry), with the amex platinum upgrade offer for existing gold rewards card holders sent out recently, do you just press accept upgrade link and it processes your upgrade or do you need to go through a new application form again?

  • peter says:

    Im surprised there was no mention of a BHX-LON connection…i’m not sure how anyone exists right now without this more than essential link..

  • Filby says:

    When does Oxford to Edinburgh start? Will it still be cheaper to drive to LHR from my home in Oxford?

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

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