Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: 50% bonus miles with Kaligo, see Sunny Afternoon and earn Avios, BA cancellation fees

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News in brief:

50% bonus Virgin miles when you book hotels via

Online hotel booking site, which gives airline miles on every booking, is offering 50% bonus Virgin miles on every booking made by 30th June see here.  Your stay must be completed by 31st December.

There is no small print – both new and existing customers can take part and there is no minimum spend.

Remember that you will NOT earn hotel points or receive status benefits when you book via, so this option is best used for non-chain hotels.  Compare prices before you book as can vary sharply from hotel to hotel versus booking direct.

The special link for the Virgin Atlantic offer is here.

Kaligo Virgin Atlantic

See ‘Sunny Afternoon’ for half price AND earn Avios

A few weeks ago my wife and I went to see ‘Sunny Afternoon’, the musical based on the story of The Kinks, as the guests of new Avios partner – and a good night out it was too.  It won the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Musical so you don’t need to take my word for it.

‘Sunny Afternoon’ is LOVEtheatre’s ‘Musical of the Month’ and they have an exclusive offer of £34.50 for top price tickets, valid any day of the week.  Cheaper seats can be bought from £10.

Details are here.  You will also earn 3 Avios per £1 when you book this or any other show via LOVEtheatre.

Sunny Afternoon Avios Lovetheatre

British Airways changes cancellation fees (in your favour)

As part of the move to its new check-in system, British Airways announced a change in cancellation fees on semi-flexible tickets last month.  It moved from being a charge per ticket to a charge per segment.

This led to some ludicrous situations where expensive semi-flexible tickets were effectively non-refundable because of the fee.  A semi-flexible ticket from Dusseldorf to New York became €300 per segment, so the cancellation fee was €1,200.

Effective immediately, all published cancellation fees have been halved for semi-flexible tickets.  This means that, in the example above, cancellation would now only be €600.  For a standard return flight of two segments, the fee is now reduced to the original level before the changes took place.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2022)

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

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £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 UK’s most valuable card perk – the 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.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

50,000 points bonus until 2nd October – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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 sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits 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 (35)

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

  • Bruce says:

    It’s not per segment, it’s per fare component. There is a difference. Your flight from Amsterdam to London to New York would have 2 segments, but if it’s a through fare from Amsterdam to New York, it’s just one fare component. Hence a return ticket, again using a through fare, would have 4 segments (AMS-LHR-JFK-LHR-AMS), and 2 fare components (AMS-NYC, NYC-AMS). So 2 cancellation penalties. Now if the fare was broken at London, and your ticket was calculated using separate fares AMS-LHR, LHR-NYC, NYC-LHR, LHR-AMS, then you would be assessed 4 penalities. The combined sum of each individual penalty per fare component, which in this case would be the same as the number of segments.

  • harry says:

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    To enter this great competition please email with the subject line ‘HP EliteBook’ along with your name, Flying Club membership number and answer to the below question by 30 June 2016:
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  • Tilly71 says:

    if you turn off auto convert in your clubcard account for VA miles redemptions after getting your 1000mile bonus, if you turn it back on just before the next Q end, do you get another bonus or do you need to leave auto convert off for a while?

    • mark2 says:

      I have just turned mine off after receiving the fourth bonus and will turn it back on at the very beginning of the next quarter. This gives me flexibility although I might actually go via Virgin (to Hilton) this quarter.

  • harry says:

    O/T I suppose there might be one upside for points hounds: the interchange cap might disappear! It’s only a regulation, not a law, so it doesn’t figure in UK legislation.

    • Steve says:

      This is an interesting point, hope you are right.

      • Raffles says:

        That won’t happen. Who is going to unpick consumer friendly legislation? In any event, it is an FCA regulation and doesn’t need to be legislated to be binding on regulated firms.

        • Oyster says:

          In what way is the interchange cap vonsumer friendly? The price of goods has not gone down at all.

          More consumers have lost out than have gained.

          It’s surely retail friendly rather than customer friendly.

          • Rob says:

            That is a simplistic view though. On that basis shops should reprice each time petrol, electricity, rent etc changes. In reality you look at all your costs every 6 months then decide, if they are up overall, to raise prices.

            Changes prices also costs money (new catalogues, staff time, relabelling) – firms try to avoid doing it.

          • whiskerxx says:

            Most retailers revel in it

    • Mr Dee says:

      Perhaps in the distant future there maybe changes but I can’t see anything being done anytime soon, the only people who really benefits are going to be the credit card companies who will make larger margins at the cost of the retailer.

      Sadly for us the interchange fee reduction is actually of benefit to the retailers so they are not likely to welcome any higher fee changes now that they have been reduced.

  • Michael says:

    O/T – BA Credit Card Fee: I booked 3 domestic flights yesterday – one BA, one Easyjet and one Ryanair – chosen because of routes and times.
    HOW can BA justify a £5 credit card fee? The flight cost £66 so £5 in fees seems absurd…best of all I used the BA Amex which offers no discounted fee. As a comparison, Easyjet’s cc fee was about 50p and Ryanair was 74p.
    This fee cannot be reflective of the fees BA are charged. Other airlines adjusted their cc fees over a year ago, how is BA still getting away this?
    p.s. before anyone comments I realise no one forced me to book BA or pay with a cc

    • Rob says:

      Different fare system. Virgin is 1.5% but that means £45 on a £3k booking – hardly fair either.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      I bought two adult MAN-LHR tickets yesterday. I part-paid with Avios and ended up with a final bill of £68. BA wanted £10 off me to use a cc. I declined.

      I then booked an all Avios LHR-MAN and was not charged to use a cc to pay the tax etc.


      • harry says:

        1. Next time, you might remember you live in Ukraine, which is free

        2. No CC fee for Avios tickets

        • Mr Dee says:

          The fee does seem over the top and an expensive way of earning some points, they will probably won’t adjust anytime soon.

          Interesting Ukraine is free of charges!

          • Brian W says:

            I’ve been moving home for quite a while now when booking on BA flights and usually live in Ukraine also, however, I have been known to live in Uzbekistan equally fee free as well.

            I could be wrong on this front but I think everywhere but the United Kingdom is credit card fee free!

          • Michael says:

            All very interesting. I guess I’m perplexed as to why BA can continue to charge these extortionate fees when the budget airlines were forced to lower their fees to reflect the actual costs to them. I’m moving to the Ukraine.

  • James67 says:

    OT Bit: My SPG transfer to my BA account credited this morning complete with the 35% bonus, whisch was applied to the 5k bonus too as usual.

    • Matthew says:

      That’s correct, as SPG adds the bonus 5k their side before sending it to BA. This happens with all of their transfers irrespective of a particular airline running a specific promotion.

      • James67 says:

        Just commented for the benefit of those asking earlier this week if 35% bonus would post immediately.

        • Leo says:

          Cheers James67 – I was glad of the confirmation. I’ve got 25K Star points to send over to BA and was thinking of doing it in 2 batches, 20K to get the extra 5K and then 5K separately. I think the minimum you can transfer without status is 2500. Happy to be corrected.

  • lucinda says:

    O/t: feature in this weekend’s FT money on “how to make your air miles stretch much further”.
    Seems a poorly researched and basic article, no mention of Rob unfortunately, and just a few edge case anecdotes quoted by some odd eccentrics!

    • Rob says:

      Was on the website earlier in the week, not sure who wrote it but clearly they did no research. I know everyone mentioned in it I think.

      • Genghis says:

        I read it this morning. I thought it was poorly written – chopping and changing between different alliances which have fundamentally different rules – and very badly researched with a number of inaccuracies – mileage runs to Hawaii on Oneworld? Erm, more of a tier point run. No mention that Amex Gold is free for first year. Raffles – I’m surprised as the authority on UK points collecting you weren’t asked to not only contribute but to be a guest writer

        • Rob says:

          The article was ‘placed’ I believe, ie given to the FT as a package. All the people quoted are friends of each other. One who claims to be a passenger is actually a blogger. Article may even have been written by a PR firm and given to the FT.

  • worldisyouroyster says:

    hi Raffles, any comment on the British Airways profit warning ?

    • Rob says:

      Wait until BA is told they have to give up most of their EU flights due to the need for bilateral agreements route by route. It will end the 3rd runway debate anyway.

      • harry says:

        BA has more than 1 European licence…

      • mark2 says:

        Won’t the EU airlines want to fly to UK?

        • Tilly71 says:

          No, everyone in the world suddenly won’t want to sell to us, fly to us or even talk to us!
          Overnight, according to some we have fallen off this planet with no return.
          We’re all doomed! (Sigh)…

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