Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: £20 Pizza Express Amex cashback, more uses for Avios as Alaska buys Virgin America

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News in brief:

£20 Pizza Express cashback for all Amex-issued Amex cards

A few new American Express cashback deals have appeared – you can see what you have been targetted for by going to your online statement page for each card and clicking the ‘Offers’ tag.

The most useful one is £20 cashback on a £50 Pizza Express spend.  This is valid until the end of June, but you only get the cashback once per card.

It doesn’t even matter if you aren’t targetted for it.  This particular offer has crossed over to the Amex ‘cardmember offers’ website.  You can register any Amex-issued personal Amex card there irrespective of whether it shows on your statement page.

If you have a Lloyds, MBNA or Barclays Amex-branded card, you can register at the Amex Connect website.

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BA partner Alaska Airlines buys Virgin America

Alaska Airlines announced yesterday that it is buying Virgin America, the US regional airline which operates primarily on the West Coast.

I reviewed Virgin America in late 2014 and was impressed.  Even their safety videos were a substantial improvement on the usual turgid fare.

Alaska Airlines is a partner with British Airways Executive Club.  I wrote in this article how you can use your Avios points to redeem for their flights.

It is not yet fully clear what will happen to the Virgin America brand but Alaska is hinting that it will disappear, even if some elements of the Virgin service and approach live on.  The Elevate loyalty scheme seems likely to go, to be replaced by Mileage Plan.

Once the airline is fully integrated, which is likely to take two years because of the regulatory approvals needed, you should be able to redeem Avios for ex-Virgin America routes.  Until then, you will still be able to redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for Virgin America flights.


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 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

We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company 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.

(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 (76)

  • James says:

    OT – I am coming to (what I thought) was my first year of membership of Executive club, Which frustrated me because i am only 10 tier points from silver. However on closer inspection my BA app says Tier Point Collection Year Ends 8th April 2017.
    Why do I have OVER a year left??

    • Rob says:

      It seems to have rolled you over early.

      I would have done a day trip
      somewhere to get the 10 points. BA will give 1 week leeway if you call.

    • Polly says:

      Go to,jersey tomorrow! For lunch

  • jonnyfive says:

    Most Pizza Express restaurants stock gift cards. They will just process this as a £50 transaction in store so don’t see why this wouldn’t work. Will test tomorrow.

    • Tim says:

      I would be interested to know if the gift card purchase works in PE as I doubt my wife and I could consume £50 worth of food (less usual discount) especially as I don’t drink!

      • jonnyfive says:

        ok, tested this afternoon. Bought a £50 gift card in store at Baker St branch. AMEX email confirmation received 1 min later. 🙂

        • Genghis says:

          Thanks for head’s up. I did this today and email confirmation came as soon as I left the branch.

  • Tom says:

    Off topic, but Raffles said it would be OK to post it here.

    Looking for inspiration – I hope someone can help us. My wife and I would like to go to Las Vegas in September.

    We had been planning to use our flying club points to buy an economy ticket and upgrade to Premium both ways or upper class one way with virgin from LHR to LAX/LAS to make use of the UC lounge. However, the recent increase in points needed, and the fact we didn’t realise you can’t upgrade all economy fare tickets means we need to re-think.

    I’ve made a list of the points we have already. I think it’s fair to say our earnings potential between now and then are limited – maybe a few more avios points.

    Since looking around, we are thinking of using the Virgin points to get somewhere east coast USA (New York, Boston, maybe Chicago?) then use the avios or similar to get a domestic US reward flight.

    We normally fly economy so anything else would be a treat. We could then use the hotel points for a few nights as a stop off in America somewhere.

    We live in the midlands so travelling from Heathrow and back to Manchester/Birmingham via Ireland could also be an option.

    Would be interested in people’s thoughts and ideas. Thanks!

    BAEC 5k
    Avios 3k
    Emirates skywards 15k
    Virgin FC 30k each (60k ttl)

    Club Carlson 90k
    IHG 50k
    SPG 11k
    Heathrow Rewards 5k (convert to avios?)

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