Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

If you missed my interview on CNBC on Wednesday

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I am assuming that the majority of Head for Points readers were in front of the TV and watching CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’ at 6.30am on Wednesday.

Just in case you weren’t, you missed me talking about the current state of the frequent flyer business.

If you are reading this via our Thursday morning email, the video below probably won’t work. You need to click: for part 1 and for part 2.

For everyone else, you can watch the segement in two parts here:

and here:

PS. I didn’t ask to be called ‘CEO’ on the caption! My suggestion was ‘Editor’ ….

Comments (67)

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

  • Genghis says:

    Why the video of the private jet at end?

  • Peter Taysum says:

    I was up at 05:00 to make sure I didn’t miss it 😉

  • Daz says:

    In my short time collecting avios I have only ever done one long haul (Calgary) on BA metal, and I wasn’t all that impressed by CW.

    As a family I’ve alway used avios for CE in order to preposition us for a business class long haul (Gulf carrier) out of another European country. I would probably never pay for CE, but with avios the benefits of extra baggage and lounge access makes the whole thing add up.

    The avios for CE to get to the Xmas markets in Munich is also a bonus as hotels are extremely expensive in the Altstadt in December.

  • Tilly71 says:

    Next stop Hollywood Rob..

  • Andy S says:

    Am I alone in thinking its a swiz that you still have to pay taxes and fees when redeeming avios, sometimes as much as half the cash fare (thus halving the value of the redemption) ?
    when cashing in your nectar points on sainsburys shopping they don’t ask you to additionally pay the VAT with cash !

    • Daz says:

      Ahh but! Let’s dissect my example above: If I booked 3 x rtn CE seats to Munich in Dec, it would’ve came to just under £1000.00. With avios it’s 46000 + £50 each and that’s not bad;

      I did grumble when I had to pay £500.00 for CW though.

      • Genghis says:

        If you would have paid the £1k for the CE seats then you got a decent ‘deal’. I wouldn’t pay that though.

      • Rob says:

        You are very likely to get 1p per point on a Club Europe redemption.

        More importantly, you STILL, in 2016, cannot buy cheap Club Europe tickets if you don’t stay away for a Saturday night. Avios are invaluable in that scenario, in the same way they are great for one-way long-haul flights where you generally can’t buy them cheaply.

        • Nick Haley says:

          Last-minute Berlin trip this weekend to see a best buddy – CW only thing that’s available on Avios – had to use cash and avios – 11200 + £120. BUT when you compare that to the price, last minute, of CW in Cash (£685) – can we ever moan ? (685-120=565… 565/11200=a value of 5p a point!)

        • Lady London says:

          BA claimed a long while ago they’d dropped the “Saturday night rule” but that never really seems to have stuck. Most return flights are rather cheaper if you include a Saturday night away.

          • JAXBA says:

            To Europe, most fares don’t have a minimum stay at all, while some have a 1-3 day minimum. In random fare displays I just checked to BER and PSA, only about 9% of the fares still had the Saturday night rule.

            To the rest of the world however, Saturday night stay minimums are regular. Shorthaul, not so much.

        • Jovanna says:

          Use multicity – enter the details of where you want to fly to and from as your first leg (on the flight / route you intend to take) then enter the second leg on a throwaway route Vueling fly (e.g. CDG – LGW). Select ‘business’. This will throw up CE fares for the outbound leg, at a much more reasonable price, and somewhere in the inbound leg options there will be a flight in economy on Vueling, which unfortunately you miss.

    • harry says:

      RFS (Europe) is pretty good value, no particular complaints even when – rarely – the fees would have been lower than £17.50, ie coming back.

      But your point is valid enough for LH, which is why people generally think the value comes elsewhere than pure economy redemptions.

      However, swiz implies BA are complicit whereas I think most of it is explained by taxes/ fees. Hence advantages of ex-EU!

      • Lady London says:

        No it’s a swiz.

        BA (and Lufthansa)’s so-called charges, that they try to imply are taxes and airport charges, are breathtaking.

        • harry says:

          Is that true for RFS (Europe) redemptions, though – my point?

          Hard to argue that £17.50 is a swiz out of LHR. That leaves BA a fair bit out of pocket in taxes & airport fees, surely?

          • Rob says:

            It does. Heathrow charges are well above £17.50 for a start and the APD is, what, £13?

          • Lady London says:

            RFS is the only bright spot and pretty much only out of the UK especially LHR. Without it the program would look very poor.

            My comment was focused on Long Haul when the brass neck of BA and Lufthansa as to what they imply is taxes and airport charges is breathtaking.

    • mark2 says:

      I would call it annoying.
      I have just booked two First class tickets out to Seattle and back from Vancouver at a cost of c£550 each plus £150 for BAPP card. Of course I have foregone other rewards and paid a few hundred pounds along the way.
      This is my own free choice and I am very happy with it.
      It would be good if the charges could be paid in Avios though.

  • Chris says:

    Well done Rob! Great opportunity & good profile for the site.

    The angle of CNBC was a little odd (points are only worthwhile for corporate premium cabin travelers) but I guess it’s to be expected. Sort of the the equivalent of trying to convince a non-collector that miles & points are worth the effort.

    I travel very occasionally on business but the vast majority of my miles come from other means – mainly credit cards & almost exclusively through things featured on HFP. Never really find myself short on miles for a RFS or even long-haul premium cabin redemption with a 241. Main issue is getting time off work to go!

    • Lady London says:

      Then you are exactly the sort of traveller that air miles programs were invented for, so that where the traveller had discretion then the airline offering miles would be chosen for the business traveller to direct the company’s budget too.

      As soon as air miles programs became commonplace it was amazing how many corporate travellers would enter into extended discussions about why it was essential for them to have fully flexible tickets costing 10x the amount a cheaper ticket that could be thrown away if business plans changed would have cost and those arguments continue today. Air Miles programs have been a raging success for the airlines. They have done just what the airlines wanted them to.

  • Gulz says:

    Great job there Rob. But I must admit, you did sound a bit like a BA spokesman. Went straight for BA when asked for best how to take advantage of airmiles. Virgin definitely offers better product and value compared to BA… just that it doesn’t fly as many routes!

    • dps says:

      Thanks Rob for making HFP required reading! As for the CNBC piece, I agree with your emphasis on the benefits of RFS and – since most viewers probably associate “Air Miles” primarily with BA – understand why you highlighted BA. However, when it comes to longhaul, VS has a better product in all cabins, their Miles are easier and cheaper to redeem; and most of all they value my business.

      • Rob says:

        That is probably the first time I have ever been accused of being a BA spokesman 🙂

        • Harry Holden says:

          Well… the first caption they put up after they have displayed your name states:
          BA… “Business class quality always improving”

          I’m not sure many HFP readers would agree with that statement. It would appear that whoever was typing that was not listening very carefully.

          • Rob says:

            I gave them some notes in advance but the interview went off script. They made the captions from those notes.

            What I said in the notes, and would have said if they had asked the question I wanted them to ask, was that – whilst the price of miles seats does tend to go up – the quality of what you get these days (looking across oneworld as a whole) is light years ahead of what you got 10 years ago in business class.

    • Nick says:

      Is that why Rob has, since day one of his site starting up directed his readers to cheaper ways of flying J and F using their Avios with different carriers than BA. I’ve flown no end of long haul in J including my family with minimal taxes on other carriers than BA. In FACT, I’ve not flown BA in J or F using my Avios. And I don’t plan on doing it either. BA, RFS around Europe yes but that’s it.

    • Graeme says:

      But Avios are easier to earn, and therefore better for many of us.

      • Nick says:

        Exactly my point but I’d sooner redeem my Avios not on BA long haul because of their high taxes. So Europe RFS on BA and that’s it using my Avios.. Long haul redeeming Avios id sooner travel another OW carrier with less taxes. And a better product especially flying CX or Aer lingus..

  • Leif says:

    CEO sounds good to me 🙂

    • Rob says:

      Anika and I both have title-free business cards and it will be staying that way!

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