Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

11 good reasons to go back to Los Angeles this year

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

During the first two weeks of February, British Airways is running a special ‘Visit California’ offer to promote three key routes to the area – Los Angeles, San Francisco and – launching on 4th May – San Jose.

Rather than buy some advertising space on Head for Points, British Airways wanted us to work with them on three sponsored articles to highlight some of the new attractions the area has to offer.

Today we are looking at Los Angeles.  Looking at the BA Low Fare Finder tool, you can reach with British Airways for as little as £436 return in World Traveller and £910 in World Traveller Plus.

For Club World, as the BA sale has just finished, I recommend flying out of Dublin where you can get a BA Club World return for around £1,400 (€1,850) in August.  This compares to the lowest fare out of London of £3,300 at present which is unlikely to be attractive to the leisure market!

If you are using Avios, don’t forget that Aer Lingus (see here) and airberlin (see here) offer redemption options to the region which require minimal taxes and charges.

Los Angeles is a city in constant flux.  Whilst many Head for Points readers will have visited in the past, if you haven’t been for a few years there are a lot of new things to see.  This is especially true of Downtown which has been hugely transformed, taking it from a business only area to a place of leisure and culture.

Today I (‘I’ being Anika, and not Rob) have picked out some of the most interesting new sightseeing opportunities in Los Angeles – as well as some lesser known existing options – which I think would be of interest to HfP readers:

The Broad Museum

In 2015 LA’s new contemporary art museum the Broad opened its doors, to hold the vast personal collection of entrepreneur Eli Broad. The $140 million two storey building, designed by Zaha Hadid, holds nearly 2000 pieces of post war and contemporary art with a ‘veil-and-vault’ concept. The vault is holding the art archive, hovering in the heart of the building, the veil is covering the building, lifted at two corners where escalators take visitors to the gallery. Twisting stairs take the visitors back downstairs whilst getting a glance at the art archive inside the vault. General admission is free but online advance reservation is encouraged.

Grand Park

Just a short walk from the Broad you can find Grand Park. It only opened a few years ago giving Downtown LA a much appreciated green oasis. During lunchtime there are yoga classes, food trucks and sometimes lunch concerts. Dates and information can be found on their website.

Disney Concert Hall

In the evening the Disney Concert Hall invites with a wide range of entertainment. Theatre goers can enjoy contemporary plays at the REDCAT or watch the next generation of stage artists at quarterly new-work and work-in-progress showcases. If you are more of a music person the LA Phil which is in the same building offers abroad programme of classical, jazz and world music.

Open Air Cinema @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Famous dead people have turned quite a few cemeteries all over the world into pilgrimages. The Hollywood Forever Cemetery however has got a second reason why to visit it: outdoor cinema! If you fancy a good film surrounded by gravestones (and who doesn’t …..) this is the place to be. Find out more about screening times and how to get tickets on their website.

California ScienCenter

The newest attraction at the California ScienCenter is the space shuttle Endeavour. After its last space trip back in 2011, Endeavour now resides in California. Getting the spaceship to the museum has been a mission itself and the images and videos of the road trip from LAX are also part of the new exhibition in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion. Once the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center is completed (2017), Endeavour needs to go on one last short trip to reach its final destination. Admission to the museum is free but if you want to make sure to see Endeavour it is advised to book tickets($0) online.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

The name gives away what the Huntington is about. Founded by Henry E. Huntington in 1912, he used his passion for education, research and beauty to create a place where people can find just that. The library is one of the best research libraries in the world, the art collection includes some of the most important paintings of 18th- and 19th-century British and French art and the botanical garden is not only a beautiful oasis but also an education centre for children of all ages.

The Watts Towers Arts Center

The fact that an Italian immigrant built the 17 interconnected Watts Towers with the tallest one being 99 feet is pretty impressive. The fact that he built them over a period of 33 years only using hand tools is simply mind blowing. When Sabato Rodia was asked why he made the towers, he answered “I wanted to do something big and I did it.” Now that’s inspiration. Admission is $7 and includes a 30 minute tour.

Annenberg Community Beach House

This public pool is more than just a pool. Built in the 1920s for Hollywood star Marion Davis, the beach front estate has opened in 2009 as a community destination after a $27.5 million transformation. Unlike other similar places there is no membership fee and everyone is invited to come along. Besides the pool there are tennis courts, a football pitch and a cafe. Throughout the year the venue hosts different art exhibitions and various events. The website keeps you up to date with what’s happening.

The District

Hannah An left the family restaurant dynasty House of An to open her first own restaurant in 2015. Inspired by her Vietnamese heritage and her home county California, according to all reports she has interpreted traditional Vietnamese dishes in her own way.  The focus is on spices rather than MSG and caters for everyone from meat lover, fish eater to vegetarian or vegan.

The Bicycle Casino Hotel

You’ll need somewhere to stay on your trip.  The Bicycle Casino opened in 1984 and has had some controversial things happening in its rooms over the years, leading to it being run by the US government during the 1990s. Nevertheless, the Casino has become one of the main destinations for poker players and in 2015 opened a 99-room hotel including 29 luxury suites, the Bike Brewery restaurant, a pool deck, spa and 15,000 square feet of meeting space.

You can’t redeem any loyalty points to stay here but it is worth a look nonetheless.  The casino loyalty scheme is a different kind to the ones you are used to, giving you for example a free meal once you’ve played for three hours. If you love the odd game of poker, this is the hotel to stay at.

In a few days we will taking a look at new and niche attractions in San Francisco.

This article was supported by British Airways.  British Airways flights to Los Angeles currently start from £436 in World Traveller.  Full details of their California offers can be found here.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

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:

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.

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.

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 (16)

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

  • Danksy says:

    I’m going there tomorrow…some places I hadn’t heard of I’m going to look up! Thanks

  • Daniel says:

    This type of travel advice as paid articles are still great to read. I am going to Los Angeles and San Francisco this summer and any hints are always welcome.

    If Raffles can get more revenue from running the blog he can get more time/money to spend for exciting travels, and that is why the blog exists, great work!

  • Alice says:

    I think I’d rather go to Tehran.

    • Mark says:

      And it is a choice now, unless you want to go to all the hassle and expense if a US visa!

  • Dave B says:

    Wonder why the ‘Visit California’ promotion only mentions three routes instead of four, no mention of San Diego? It’s a nice place to visit.

    • Dave B says:

      Edit….in this article anyway. San Diego is mentioned on the BA article on their own website.

      • Rob says:

        We started off with San Diego and then BA decided to focus on just three cities. No idea why!

        • Fenny says:

          I’d rather fly to San Diego and take the train up to LA and back for a few days. It’s a lovely journey and San Diego is a beautiful place – with enough old warships for me to visit 🙂

          For me, the only reasons to visit LA are my friends. But as Chicago Fire doesn’t film in LA, I’d have to time my trip for when my buddy does her semi-annual writers’ trip to the set and go with her!

  • Oh! Matron! says:

    Please, please, please….. If you visit LA, please god visit the La Brea Tar Pits and George C. Page Museum. It’s a fantastic place, and amazing to see tar just oozing out of the ground, Sabre Tooth CATS, Dire Wolves and mammoths, etc. Well worth an afternoon

    As for the article…. I don’t mind this at all. You’re not a charity, so ignore the doubting Thomas’s who don’t seem to understand how the internet works.

  • Jamie says:

    Interesting – I try to avoid the US as I can’t stand going through their border control and I didn’t find LA very interesting when I visited a few years ago… Looks like I missed a few good places though!

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      I went through JFK earlier this year and was very surprised by how quick and pleasant it was.

      • Leo says:

        Took me 45 minutes exactly to get through in December at JFK – from joining queue. Miami the year before that was about a week.

        • Fenny says:

          I’ve spent over an hour getting through JFK, but the worst by far was Houston. Just getting through customs, after waiting at immigration then picking up bags, took nearly an hour.

      • Gavin says:

        JFK was about 20 minutes for me on Friday night. Also the most polite TSA agent I’ve ever had. Thought I’d flown to Canada by mistake!

  • Frankie McPolin says:

    Great article Anika. Really information and I fully support such sponsored articles and whatever needs to be done to keep this site going and developing. Those who moan have no doubt benefited a great deal from this site, probably both financially and aviosily. Unfortunately some people just have a ‘me me me, take take take’ attitude.

  • Howard says:

    I am sure someone will beat this but honestly I was 6 mins 15 seconds from leaving the plane (BA First) and going through Immigration at JFK. in April 2015.

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.