Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: beat Gatwick ‘buy on board’ with The Grain Store, new BA strike dates announced

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

News in brief:

Beat ‘buy on board’ with your Priority Pass

Last week I wrote about how The Grain Store bar and cafe in Gatwick South had joined Priority Pass and Lounge Club.  Flash your card and you receive £15 per person – depending on how many free guests you get with your Priority Pass – of free stuff.

One of our readers popped in last week and noted that The Grain Store does a good takeaway service.  Bakery products (which they can toast for you), yoghurts, fresh fruit, decent coffee (La Marzocca machines) and soft drinks.  This can all be paid for by flashing a Priority Pass.

No need to worry about British Airways ‘buy on board’ any longer!  Here are a couple of pictures of what is available (click to enlarge):




New British Airways strike dates announced

Another British Airways cabin crew strike will take place later this week from 17th to 20th February.

This only impacts selected flights from Heathrow – all other airports are unaffected.  BA is guaranteeing that everyone will fly on the day they are booked although passengers may be transferred onto a different flight.  A number of charter aircraft are also being brought in.

I have a London-bound short-haul on Sunday but I am not hugely concerned, to be honest – apart from the fact that I may lose our 1A / 1C / 1D / 1F seating …..

You may even be better off thanks to the strike, as the charter aircraft are giving out free food and drink in economy!  No buy on board here.

Full details of BA’s plans for the strike can be found on this page of  Contingency plans will be published on that page today, Tuesday.

British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (94)

  • James6y says:

    OT: I have a very perplexing problem with the IHG android app I hope somebody may be familiar with and able to help me to fix as I have googled the issue without success. I’m unable to use the app at all as it keeps reloading a full screen view of my membership card, even after closing the card, the app or following a reinstall.

    • Peter K says:

      Try using portrait rather than landscape. On my wife’s android phone in landscape it shows the card, in portrait the app.

      • James6y says:

        Thanks Peter, gave it a shot but no joy.

      • James67 says:

        Great stuff Peter, thanks very much. Experimented with that a little more and discovered that if I keep the phone level or at a very shallow angle the card disappears and the app become useable. Given I no longer use IHG much I can live with that.

        • Peter K says:

          Glad I could help at least a little 🙂

        • Alan says:

          If you lock it in portrait mode that might do the trick? I normally have my phone in that mode anyway unless I need it in landscape for something!

  • Jo says:

    Flying at 0850 from City tomorrow… I know you still get free food from City but does anyone know what you would get on a short haul flight to Edinburgh at that time of day?

    • Genghis says:

      I believe the breakfast (full English or the fruits in yoghurt) is served till 0930

      • Jo says:

        Great 😉

      • Joe says:

        Genghis – you are a font of all knowledge! (Do you have time for a day job?!)

        Q : on BA Long haul, in F, if departure is at 2pm, what meals are provided (dinner and breakfast on arrival only?)

        Not lunch first or anything in between?


        • Genghis says:

          It’s a slow day today reading papers for the Audit Committee for the national charity I sit on.
          Anyway… it depends where you’re going and how long the flight times are. By the sounds of it you’re heading to Asia so it’ll be a lunch/dinner combo and then breakfast. There’s always snacks in between if you’re hungry and don’t forget to ask for the chocs. However, going to Asia you’ll want at least 6 hours sleep or so…

          • jimmy says:


            An approx 11hr flight I believe. I’ll be delighted if I manage 6hrs sleep! (hopefully comatose post LPGS and JW Blue)

            what snacks are usually available in-between dinner/breakfast? and the chocolate, is that the selection box with fancy inking on top of each individual choc? (have seen a pic of some previously I think)

            Thank you!

            Many thanks!

  • rams1981 says:

    OT Amex points. What do people find to be the best value transfer? Do you normally have a use in mind? If looking to churn a card you need to always have a home for them. I’m fairly Avios rich so not sure when to send other than Virgin to help maintain IHG status. Any ideas?

    • Genghis says:

      I’m boring and always transfer to avios as I can always find a home for them. Next time will look to transfer a few to Eurostar Frequent Traveller as I only need a few more for a redemption and to use up a Eurostar compo voucher (so trip to Paris at Xmas I guess) and also SPG if I’m struggling to reach the 90k requirement for the package.

      Transferring to Virgin at 1:1 and then onto IHG at 1:1 means you’ll only get 0.4-0.5p per Amex point for larger transfers, though could make sense for smaller transfers to hit 25k Spire bonus. If your target is to retain Spire Elite (and you cannot do this through other means), prob best to transfer some spend to the IHG card – two IHGs / £which would be the equivalent of 2 Amex / £ if you were going to transfer. Hope this makes sense. Bear in mind also that we’re only in Feb and you have another 10 months to retain your Spire Elite status.

      OT. I know Spire Elite doesn’t really count for much but I think it certainly helped me wangle 10k IHGs on Sat as compo for having to endure a cold shower at a HIX. Only paid £39 for the stay on a quasi mattress run for Q1 accelerate.

  • Genghis says:

    OT. I have a two night stay at an IHG hotel 15-17 April.
    I have an accelerate target of 5 IHG nights and it says in the T&Cs “Number of bonus points listed above will be awarded after the required number of qualifying room nights have been consumed by the member at any IHG brand hotels between 1 January 2017 and 15 April 2017 (both dates inclusive)”
    Will my night of 15 April count towards accelerate?

    • Rob says:

      First night will, I think. That is generally how these things work.

    • James6y says:

      It will not count if IHG count the promotion days the same way as they did last quarter. I almost got caught out by it because last quarter it was a departure from the norm in previous accelerates where check in on the last day definitely counted.

      • Genghis says:

        Thanks guys. I’ve emailed IHG to clarify the position. Happy to report back.

    • Alex W says:

      A data point – I did a stay checking in 31 Jan checking out 1 Feb and it counted for the “stay once in Jan” bonus.

    • Pid says:

      Does any one know if an Ambassador Weekend Certificate booking will count towards accelerate? Need to use one and wondering if it will either count as my weekend stay or whether it can be booked alongside two other nights to count as a 4 night stay.

  • rams1981 says:

    thanks both. @genghis good point re the value of the IHG transfer being lower.

  • BlueHorizonUK says:

    IHG Flash Sale. 100% on purchased points.

    • Genghis says:

      Till 17 Feb. 0.46p / IHG. Still a bit pricy for speculative purchases IMO but if you have stays coming up, could be worth it after doing the maths.

      • Lady London says:

        I did the maths. The price to buy the points vs. regular cash pricing of hotels I tried was well over just forking over the cash. This was even with the 100% bonus on points purchased.

        • Rob says:

          Yes, the fall in the £ has made it tricky – as has the increase in the number of hotels at 60k points. It might still make sense in $ or pegged $ countries.

  • Peter K says:

    Has anyone booked a pre-paid Hilton stay with the £50 off £250 stay and had the Amex credit? Planning on spending £500 but don’t want to risk not getting it on the two cards…Thanks.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Shouldn’t be an issue unless they ‘do you a favour’ and don’t charge straight away, believe thats why they talk about checkout, you are guaranteed to be charged at checkout.

      • the real harry1 says:

        yep the Amex statement credits seem bullet-proof

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Yep they always seem to pay out.

          Even if they look like they make be doing you a favour just get in touch with the hotel and ask them to process the payment and you’ll be sorted

  • Brian W says:


    @Alan – Reporting back re stay at Hilton Gatwick last week booked using the £50 off £200 Amex deal via Amex Travel. Got my Gold card # added to the booking upon check in and was upgraded and given free breakfast as per Hilton Gold benefits. Booking showed in my account as points pending until yesterday when they posted as zero despite me charging dinner to room and paying at checkout so they obviously class Amex Travel as a 3rd party agent. Don’t think the 2k points per night deal will post either for this stay. Worth a try though……employer paying so I’ve not exactly lost out on the deal.

    • jimmy says:

      Correct, for the Hilton pre-paid options, they often use Tourico – thus 3rd party

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.