Bits: new Avios / Avis promo, South America bargains, flights to St Helena launched

News in brief:

New British Airways / Avis promotion

Until 30th June, you will earn 750 bonus Avios points when you rent a car for 2+ days from Avis.

This is on top of the standard minimum earning rate of 500 Avios per rental, meaning that you will earn at least 1,250 Avios with your car.  If you pay with a BA Amex you will also receive an extra 250 Avios.

The only snag is that you need to book before 30th April (although cancellable bookings also count for the offer so there is no risk in making a speculative booking) and book at least a Group C car.

Anyone who books a car via Avis using the BA deal before 30th April will also be entered into a free draw to win 50,000 Avios points.

Remember that one key benefit of the Avis / BA relationship is that you receive a free additional driver when you book via the dedicated site.  This can be a good saving – to be honest, I have never understood why adding a 2nd driver, which should make for safer driving as can split your time behind the wheel, attracts a premium price.

Avis 350

Decent Alitalia business class fares to Asia and South America

Alitalia has been running a sale this week, ending on Monday.  What caught my eye were the fares to South America and Asia in business class.

Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Tokyo, Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile are all £1,499 return.  This is for high season Autumn travel, between 12th September and 16th December.  Not many people will be able to commit that far ahead but these are decent fares, given that they are for London departures via Italy.  You won’t earn Avios however – if you wanted to get some British Airways tier points out of a trip to South America you would need to look at LAN, or of course BA.

Details çan be found here on

St Helena

Flights to St Helena launched

If you’re looking for a different holiday destination, you can now consider the tiny British Overseas Territory of St Helena!

In five weeks, Atlantic Star Airlines is launching direct flights from Luton to St Helena (via a refuelling stop in Banjul, Gambia).  The first flight departs on 22nd May although the next service is not until 5th June …. so unless you are planning a lengthy stay I’d recommend coming back via the Comair service to Johannesburg.  The only other route off the island is a five day boat trip to Cape Town.

Tickets will go on sale next week.  Services will be operated with a short-haul Boeing 737-800 under contract from TUIfly and will carry TUIfly flight numbers.  The launch of services coincides with the opening of St Helena’s airport on 21st May which will be conducted by Prince Edward.

Amex unveils £195 fee on the BA Premium Plus - plus increased sign-up bonuses
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  1. Genghis says:

    … or fly IB via MAD for South America

  2. Or use Amex 2 for 1, seems good availability in premium cabins

  3. £1300 to St Helena at the moment – i will await avios tickets i think…

    • For 11 hours on a charter 737.

      For once this one is all about the destination!

  4. You get another 250 avios on top when you pay with BA Amex card

  5. Simon Rothenberg says:

    Off topic, but what should I do with 29,000 expiring Miles and More miles? They expire end of June and I have no use for them on flights….

    • Hotels? Get the M&M credit card and stop them expiring, then get the balance up to enough for a one-way business redemption, long-haul?

    • Transfer to Heathrow Rewards or book a Hilton

  6. I’m guessing the cancellation fees mean you can’t just game this avis promo?
    More than 48hrs before travel: 20% of total booking value
    Less than 48hrs before travel: 100% of total booking value

    Also any ideas how you might earn the 10k it says is the max? It doesn’t give a formula, i.e. is it 700 points per day plus bonus?

    “A minimum of 1,250 Avios (made up of minimum 500 standard Avios plus 750 bonus Avios) will be awarded per qualifying rental, to a maximum of 10,000 Avios per rental.”

    • HayMow says:

      Looks like it would be via the 3 Avios per £1 spent => requires a pretty hefty / lengthy rental fee! …
      “6. Qualifying rentals will receive 750 bonus Avios in addition to the standard award of 3 Avios per £1 spent, with a minimum standard award of 500 Avios for 1-2 days rentals and minimum 700 Avios for 3+ day rentals.
      7. A minimum of 1,250 Avios (made up of minimum 500 standard Avios plus 750 bonus Avios) will be awarded per qualifying rental, to a maximum of 10,000 Avios per rental.”

  7. Actually Business Class tickets are cheaper with TAM for Brazil due to the weak Reais. I booked mine for £900 return. Not sure if the promotion is still available as I travelled last month.

  8. Richmond says:

    I’m still waiting for Avios from November Avis promotion. I should get min. 1700 but after 5 months got only 702, without any bonus.

    • Javier says:

      I suggest you contact Avis on Social Media. Dan and the team were really efficient when I had some issues with bonus Avios not posting on my account.

  9. As far as South American destinations and with a number of random dates in September/October, American Airlines quotes business class fares at around the £1500, leaving from either Gatwick/Heathrow/London City.

    Admittedly, I only checked Buenos Aires and Rio, but if I were to choose between Alitalia (No Avios/Tier Points) and American, I would think American as a better option (?). There are a number of flights via Miami, but from recent experience, I would opt for the JFK connection as some (maybe all?) MIA connections are still using old-style business class seats

    For exalple (Monday 19 September 2016 – Friday 30 September 2016)

    AA6229 (BA LCY-JFK), connecting to AA 973 to RIO – 7 hour layover at JFK may not suit everyone, but with clearing immigration at SNN, I’d consider heading out to Manhattan. Otherwise, can cut time spent at JFK by leaving from LHR

    AA 974 to JFK (early morning arrival at 6:10am on Oct 1st), spend the day in Manhattan.
    AA 106 to LHR (leaving 8:05pm)

    Total : £1512

    • Blackberryaddict says:

      I flew to South America last month on AA via Miami, and on both the LHR-MIA fligths I had the nbew seats on the 777-200 (ie the herringbone with some seats facing backwards.

      The MIA-SCL fligths I was on were on the (refurbished?) 767 aircraft with lie flat seats as well in some funky 1-2-1 configuration

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