Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Extra £100 off BA Holidays as Brexit bites – plus short haul BA sale deals

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The Brexit decision last Friday has had a disastrous toll on the travel industry.  It hasn’t fully filtered through into Stock Exchange announcements, although British Airways issued an immediate profits warning just in case and easyJet also warned a few days later.

However, I have spoken with various airline, rail and hotel executives this week as part of my usual stream of meetings.  The UK prognosis is, without exception, dire.  

The hotel groups have a little leeway due to Wimbledon, Henley and the Farnborough air show but that is it.  Bookings elsewhere are virtually dead, and hotels are seeing substantial cancellations of corporate bookings, especially functions, for the Autumn.

The upside, of course, is that we can expect to see some good deals coming our way in the next few weeks.

First out of the traps is British Airways.  The current sale has been running for a couple of weeks.  I covered the good ‘Part Pay With Avios’ deals here, which let you get 1p per Avios point if you use your points to bring down the cost of a cash flight.

I also took an initial look at the BA Holidays deals here.

Yesterday, British Airways cut the price of its BA Holidays packages by up to £100 for bookings by 5th July.  Whilst not massive extra discounts, you should remember that these prices were already very competitive.  New York, for example, starts at £1,372 per person for Club World flights plus 3 nights in a four star hotel, based on two sharing.  That is a futher £35 down on where it was, even though the increase in the $ should have seen the price go up.

You can see what else is available on the BA Holidays pages of here.

Good short haul sale deals – from £35 each way

When I originally covered the British Airways sale deals I didn’t mention short haul routes.  I should have because there are some good deals to be had.

The Low Fare Finder tool remains the best way to see what is available.

What is surprising is the number of destinations with one-way flights in Euro Traveller at £35 – £39 each way.  This is exceptionally cheap for British Airways, especially if you have lounge access via status.

£35 – £39 one way fares are available to Berlin, Basel, Dublin, Geneva, Inverness, Jersey, Krakow, Lyon, Menorca, Nice and Oslo.  Istanbul is astonishingly cheap at £45 each way on certain dates although the security issues there have obviously impacted demand.

If you are looking for cheap tier points, there are some good Club Europe opportunities too.  At £200 return or less you have:

  • Alicante
  • Amsterdam
  • Barcelona
  • Bergen (from £160 return in Club Europe)
  • Berlin
  • Billund
  • Bordeaux (here is our review of the new InterContinental Bordeaux hotel)
  • Brussels
  • Dusseldorf
  • Friedrichshafen
  • Geneva
  • Genoa
  • Gothenburg
  • Hamburg
  • Hannover
  • Jersey
  • Lyon
  • Paris
  • Pisa
  • Rome
  • Rotterdam
  • Seville
  • Stavanger
  • Stuttgart
  • Turin
  • Valencia
  • Venice
  • Verona
  • Vienna

You can see the months these fares are available via the Low Fare Finder.

Remember that you can combine these cheap short-haul flights with the special ‘Part Pay With Avios’ offer.  If you take Bergen as an example – which is a lovely town to visit, far prettier than Oslo – you can get the £160 cheapest return Club Europe fare down to £95 each by redeeming 7,500 Avios.

Istanbul, at £300 return in Club Europe, would generate 160 tier points – but that is easily beaten by Malta which is £222 return for 160 tier points from September.  A full list of Club Europe routes giving 160 tier points is here.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (April 2024)

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 £15,000 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.

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

40,000 bonus 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

Huge 30,000 points bonus until 12th May 2024 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 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 (81)

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

  • Pompeyyorkblues says:

    Strange!! I booked 6 nights in New York the day before brexit and it’s gone up from 1800 to 2800!! Same hotel same flights 110417×170417 Im well happy with that! Great timing by the looks of it…

  • harry says:

    O/T odd – all available offers on Amex Gold & BA cards have disappeared for us, apart from Eurostar (already reserved to card).

  • revlou says:

    Hi Raffles, (assuming the UK actually leaves the EU) what do your spidey senses tell you will happen with the EU interchange fee cap in UK?

    • Rob says:

      Very unlikely that will go, press would have a field day about customers getting legged over

    • Mr Dee says:

      The card companies are going to be the ones that benefit directly if the interchange fee was removed so I can’t see there being a big push for change at all, especially as its just been implemented more strictly.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      No chance.

  • terri says:

    I think BA has so downgraded its onboard shorthaul club europe product that its not worth the extra money if you already have lounge access + don’t need the tier points. Flew lhr to dus CE at end of Germany to Hkg trip. Returned on flybe to Bhx. Although no lounge from being silver i would chose flybe from my local airport over BA CE for shorthaul. Once on board apart from no inclusive snack there was little between flybe and CE except the price and I was home in half the time upon landing.

    • Mr Dee says:

      Agree I have flown club Europe and had the oldest seats I have seen, was shocked they still used the seats and could have at least upgraded something.

      • Mr Dee says:

        If you have lounge access it’s a pointless products a lot of the time.

  • Isodrac says:

    Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Cataclysmic, dire, outrageous. I can’t believe the economy hasn’t recovered in SEVEN days!

    • Bob says:

      I’m so glad we had these comment threads and The Sun to counterbalance the pro-Remain FT and The Economist. Because all opinions should be given the same weight, right?

    • Paul says:

      I would bet on it not having recovered in 7 years.

  • robman says:

    Annoyingly, I find that these 160 tier point sub £200 CW fares typically leave from Gatwick rather than Heathrow which is so much more convenient for me. Is there any easy way to establish when these BA sales are offering destinations that have their flights depart from Heathrow.

  • Michael says:

    Surely everything in the UK just got cheaper for people who earn Euro’s. Holidays in the UK got cheaper for a lot of people outside the UK. Just not the other way around.

    • Genghis says:

      Exactly. I don’t know the numbers but I guess most of BA’s business comes from people / companies earning GBP – hence the decline. Also IAG is LSE listed and accounts in GBP so currency translation losses.

    • Bob says:

      I don’t think the UK is a summer destination for Europeans to the same extent as Europe is for us…?

    • Mr Dee says:

      Its certainly not a summer destination, I believe only London would really attract the tourists as I can’t see any appeal for the beaches compared to Europe :/

      • CV3V says:

        I’d suggest Edinburgh is still rammed full of tourists, in August when the festival is on the residents of Edinburgh would find London to be comparatively peaceful.

        • Erico1875 says:

          Yes, I drove up the Mound/ Lawnmarket today. Absolutely heaving. Tourists spilling off the pavements.

      • xcalx says:

        “I believe only London would really attract the tourists”

        Ever been to York? Rammed with overseas tourists.

        • Bob says:

          i think pointing out that UK cities contain tourists is kind of missing the point – all of the EU cities will contain tourists too. But there wouldn’t be enough EU people flooding London/York/Wherever simultaneously to make up for UK people not going in the other direction. And that’s ignoring the fact they’d probably rather fly on their own national airlines if poss anyway.

          • xcalx says:

            “and that’s ignoring the fact they’d probably rather fly on their own national airlines if poss anyway.”

            I agree most people would prefer to fly their own National airlines , Unfortunately for the majority here that would mean a trip to London to do that.

        • Fenny says:

          But all the tourist airlines fly into London and it’s a bugger of a long and expensive way to anywhere north of Watford!

      • Simmo says:

        Come and see Oxford city center during the Summer!

        • ankomonkey says:

          Or Stratford-upon-Avon every day…

          • Gavin says:

            The U.K. Whistlestop tour is basically London-Stonehenge-Bath-Stratford upon Avon-Oxford-Bicester Village!

    • Aeronaut says:

      Though if continental Europeans think we hate them, then they might well not come.

      (Instead perhaps we can look forward to the more adventurous Trump supporters coming over to congratulate us on ‘how we got our freedom back’…)

      • Alan says:

        I’m not sure many Trump supporters will have a passport 😉

  • clarence says:

    Slightly OT. Being looking at the avios purchase offer on Iberia Plus but not being great at maths could someone please tell me how to wotrk out how much an avios point is costing me

    • Bob says:

      Use the app to convert €1800 euros and that’s the price of 150k avios. It’s currently a bit over £1507 – so just over 1p excluding credit card fees.

    • Genghis says:

      I think the cost is dependent on how many you buy.

      So take the cost in Euros, divide it by the current exchange rate (just take it from XE if you’re paying with an FX load free card or if not add on another 3% to get the GBP amount and then divide by how many avios you’re buying to get the ppa.

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

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