Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: beat AwardWallet’s price hike, £1500 UK to Sydney or Melbourne flights still bookable

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News in brief:

Last chance to beat AwardWallet’s sharp price hike

There is only one miles and points tool that I use every day – and have done for a number of years – and that is AwardWallet.

AwardWallet allows you to store the log-in and password details for pretty much all of the loyalty programmes you are in. It isn’t just travel, either – Nectar, Boots Advantage, Tesco Clubcard, Harrods Rewards …. they cover over 680 programmes from across the world.

Across their entire membership, they are tracking over 93 BILLION miles and points.

You can store programmes for various different people inside one AwardWallet account. When I log in, I see over over 60 different accounts across my family.

You can sit and back and do nothing with AwardWallet if that is how you want to play it. Once a week, AwardWallet will automatically log in to each of your programmes and update your balance. It will then send you a weekly email with all of your balance changes.

For the more obsessive, like myself, you can log in to AwardWallet and simply click ‘Update’. AwardWallet goes off and updates all of your ‘active’ balances immediately (it takes 3-4 minutes to check my active ones). On a PC you can leave it running in another window.  Even faster is the impressive app.

If you are not already a member of AwardWallet, you can sign up for free here.

From 1st February, AwardWallet will be increasing the charge for its premium service from $10 per year to $30 per year.  Premium members get the expiry date of their points tracked and email warnings sent out if miles are heading towards expiry.  The app also runs faster as it searches for multiple results in parallel rather than one scheme at a time.

If you upgrade to AwardWallet Plus before 1st February you will be grandfathered onto the ‘$10 per year’ plan for life.

If you have a free AwardWallet subscription I would recommend paying $10 to upgrade to Plus NOW.  You may or may not find the added benefits useful but you have a year to decide before your next $10 is due and you will have secured yourself grandfather rights to the $10 fee.

For clarity, if you are currently on Plus due to redeeming a free code then you will NOT be grandfathered onto the $10 plan.  You need to pay $10 before 1st February to push out the expiry of your current Plus membership by 12 months.  You don’t lose anything as they simply add 12 months to whenever your trial period was due to end.


Malaysia Airlines £1500 Sydney / Melbourne deal still available

The Qatar Airways sale may finally be over, but the other exceptional UK travel deal at the moment is still bookable until 31st January.

Via Expedia, you can book London to Sydney or Melbourne in Malaysia Airlines business class for just £1,500 return.

To get this price you MUST book a ‘flight and hotel’ package.  If you select the cheapest hostel option for just one night (select ‘I only want a hotel for part of my trip’) it will cost exactly £1,507 for one person to Sydney.  You do not need to stay in the hostel and your return flight will not be cancelled if you don’t turn up.

Remember that Malaysia Airlines is a oneworld alliance member so your flights earn Avios and British Airways tier points.  Australia would be 600 tier points return (140 + 160 + 160 + 140) which is a BA Silver card, albeit you’d still need to have flown 4 BA flights in your current card year before you were upgraded.

Between London and Kuala Lumpur you will get an A380, with an A330 onwards on most routes.  The A330 business class seat is the latest version and has some very attractive solo window seats as the seating plan on this page of the Malaysia website shows.

Bangkok, Phuket and Bali are also available for around £1,100 return.  You may want to try other Asian destinations too.

Pop over to Expedia and have a play around.  It is VERY easy to find dates later in the year.  You must travel by 26th November 2017.

best credit card to use when buying flights

How to maximise your miles when paying for flights (July 2024)

Some UK credit cards offer special bonuses when used for buying flights. If you spend a lot on airline tickets, using one of these cards could sharply increase the credit card points you earn.

Booking flights on any airline?

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold earns double points (2 Membership Rewards points per £1) when used to buy flights directly from an airline website.

The card comes with a sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points. These would convert to 20,000 Avios or various other airline or hotel programmes. The standard earning rate is 1 point per £1.

You can apply here.

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

Buying flights on British Airways?

The British Airways Premium Plus American Express card earns double Avios (3 Avios per £1) when used at

The card comes with a sign-up bonus of 30,000 Avios. The standard earning rate is 1.5 Avios per £1.

You do not earn bonus Avios if you pay for BA flights on the free British Airways American Express card or either of the Barclaycard Avios Mastercards.

You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

30,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

Buying flights on Virgin Atlantic?

Both the free Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard and the annual fee Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard earn double Virgin Points when used at

This means 1.5 Virgin Points per £1 on the free card and 3 Virgin Points per £1 on the paid card.

There is a sign-up bonus of 3,000 Virgin Points on the free card and 18,000 Virgin Points on the paid card.

You can apply for either of the cards here.

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

3,000 bonus points, no fee and 1 point for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

18,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Comments (81)

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

  • Leo_C says:

    I logged in to pay Award Wallet as advised with my Amex card but they did not take any money is that right?

  • krys_k says:

    OT – looking at Club Europe ticket to Berlin. If I buy with cash and upgrade with avios costs me £180 and 3000 avios which I’m happy with. Is there a better way of buying this ticket e.g. Quid Co rather than going straight into BA site (I know I can get the same ticket for £50, but it’s around 13,000 avios more and I’d like to save the avios for flight to us).

    • Rob says:

      Note that a ‘straight’ Avios redemption would be cancellable. If you buy a cash ticket and upgrade it then you are bound by the rules of the cash ticket which probably isn’t refundable. That said, in your scenario I would do the latter if you are hoarding the Avios for something bigger.

      • Lumma says:

        Raffles, if you upgrade with Avios in this way, what happens with regards to tier points and avios earned? Do you get nothing, the economy points or business class?

  • Marc says:

    O/T: regarding IHG Accelerate, when do the bonus points usually post? After you’ve completed the tasks or once the promotions ends, somewhere in April? Thank you!

    • Rob says:

      You get the points task by task as they are completed and the lump sum as soon as you hit the required number of tasks.

      • Wally1976 says:

        I completed a stay last Monday (9th) and no Accelerate points have posted yet. How long should I allow and what’s the best way to contact them to chase up? (This is my first time doing Accelerate). Thanks

        • Wally1976 says:

          The room was booked in the flash sale if that makes any difference.

          • Rob says:

            Flash Sale rooms said, in the small print, they qualified for points – as long as you got the base points OK you will get the Accelerate credit.

        • Rob says:

          It tends to go in waves. I wouldn’t worry until it was, say, 3 weeks overdue.

          • Wally1976 says:

            Thanks Rob, logged on this morning and Accelerate points are showing 🙂

        • Crafty says:

          Anyone have the link to the specific Accelerate promotion page where it shows your tasks and your status? Have spent 10 minutes clicking fruitlessly around the site and app. Accelerate is listed under “Offer status” but only shows the start and end dates without any useful information.

  • rams1981 says:

    OT as I mentioned yesterday I redeemed my IHG free night to stay in Paris. Does anyone who has stayed here have any experience as a Spire Elite as to any benefits I can expect?

    • Rob says:

      Where? Le Grand? They do give benefits to Spire / Platinum members because last time we stayed we had 2 rooms and my wife (Plat) got a welcome letter with a list of benefits inc 2pm check-out.

  • rams1981 says:

    In relation to this Malaysian price – makes me think twice about using a BA 2 for 1 to go to Sydney. 250k AVIOS + taxes vs £3000 return for 2 passengers. Cash fare wins surely?

    • Rob says:

      Cash ALWAYS win to Sydney. You can ALWAYS get a business class ticket for £1999ish with someone from Europe to Sydney – it might end up being China Southern from Amsterdam, I admit, but the fare WILL be there. Seems foolish to use Avios and I have always advised this.

      • rams1981 says:

        Yes I did recall you saying this and it was only went to a dummy go to get seats last night (which I could have got actually) and the price came up it made me realise you’re definitely right.

      • Graeme says:

        Is there not a way of somehow utilising the Air China first class/75k FC miles flight and then another redemption from Beijing to Sydney etc?

  • Tom says:

    Thank you Rob, I’ve used the MH deal to get my partner and I, plus his parents, out to Bali for 10 nights, in business class with MH, good connections in KL, staying in a villa with a private pool in a very highly rated (on TripAdvisor) 4* Ubud hotel. For £1300 per person. On the exact dates we needed to travel. Very happy with that!

    • Brendan says:

      Where did you find this?!

    • Anon says:

      Rob – slightly O/T how do I book on MAL using Avios

      Looking at DPS-KUL one way

      I know AirAsia have a cash fare but think it goes into KLIA2, I’ll be connecting to BA LHR..

      TIA 🙂

      • Genghis says:

        Just use BA to book. There seems lots of availability. 10k in Y + £45.20, 20k in J + £53.20.

      • Axel Heyst says:

        Traveloka will give you other cheaper flight options starting around £40 with most airlines including some baggage. MAL is usually around £60 so not worth burning the Avios

        • Anon says:

          Thanks folks, looking far ahead so will have to wait until MAL Flights become bookable 🙂

  • the real harry1 says:

    O/T Holiday Extras 15% statement credit, stacks with the best discount you can find, already on many Amex Amex cards, now also on non-Amex cards (eg MBNA)

  • Laurence Dalby says:

    Does anyone know when these MH offers end?

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

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