Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: HEx and Airbnb cashback deals, buy Etihad miles, AA Heathrow slots

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

News in brief:

£10 back on £50 Heathrow Express spend and 2% back on Airbnb

A new cashback deal has appeared on many American Express accounts offering £10 back on £50 Heathrow Express spend.

It isn’t clear if this is cumulative.  These deals often pay out for cumulative spend but the rules are not clear on this occasion.  To see if you are targetted, look in the ‘Offers’ section on your online American Express account.

Remember that Heathrow Express is better value than it was due to the new Advanced Purchase fares and the fact that children travel free.  Full details of how to get the best Heathrow Express deals are in this article.  If you are paying full price for tickets, make sure you book via this link to earn Avios points on top.  The deal runs to 23rd July.

Airbnb has launched a similar deal although it is less generous.

Assuming that you can register for the offer on your account, you will see that you get 2% cashback on all Airbnb transactions until 19th July.  This would stack with the free £30 Airbnb credit that you can get by using our refer-a-friend link here.

Heathrow Express

You can now buy Etihad miles

Etihad Guest has introduced the ability to buy miles.

The link to buy is here.

The cost is a flat 2 US cents per mile.  The annual cap is 100,000 miles with a maximum single transaction of 60,000 miles.

This gives you another option if you are looking to accumulate enough miles to try out the A380 Business Class Studio (review) or First Class Apartment (review).

With Etihad currently offering 15,000 miles on its free credit card and also being an Amex Membership Rewards transfer partner (the free Amex Gold would get you 20,000 Etihad miles), there is an opportunity to run up some miles fairly quickly.

Remember, though, that you should not buy more than 75% of the miles you need.  Etihad has a very generous ‘part cash part miles’ option and will sell you the final 25% you need for just over 0.5p per mile, as I explained here.

American Airlines

American Airlines behind SAS’s slot sale

Via Business Traveller, American Airlines has confirmed that it was behind the $75m purchase of two Heathrow slot pairs recently.

The seller was Scandinavian airline SAS.   The airline has retained the right to use the slots for three years so it may be some time before AA launches any additional services.

Given the BA / AA / Finnair / Iberia joint venture with governs transatlantic flights, this is a slightly surprising purchase.  Any revenue that AA earns from these new flights will be shared with IAG and Finnair which must have made the economics of the purchase look tricky.

Meanwhile, I would expect that Etihad remains on the lookout for a way of boosting its three existing Heathrow services, and it remains possible that Emirates would be interested in slots to move over its Gatwick services to pick up more high margin premium traffic.

Comments (82)

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

  • Louise says:

    OT – did the Gold to Plat upgrade, now online account doesn’t show the offers i had saved under the gold card (boots and hilton) Anyone know if I can still use them on the Gold card and offer will still come off?

    • JamesB says:

      If they do not reappear in a few days best call Louise. Might be best to do now though as Hilton offer ends next Monday.

      • Louise says:

        i might do the boots spend as a test tomorrow and will report back, i was going to spend £20 in boots anyway

      • Louise says:

        i might do a spend as a test tomorrow and will report back, i was going to spend £20 in boots anyway

    • PJS says:

      I did the Gold-Platinum upgrade via the 20k link last Thursday afternoon.
      Supp card was upgraded that evening!!! My main card was upgraded online on Friday.
      Both cards arrived Saturday morning with the offers reappearing that afternoon.
      The MR points were the last thing to be moved across and they appeared on Sunday.
      So I think your account will be sorted very soon!
      In the meantime I was told by Amex CS that even if the online account shows the Platinum card with no saved offers, they are still valid on the Gold card(as are the MR points) which can be used until activating the new card.

    • Crafty says:

      It’s a different card so I think they are gone unfortunately.

      • Roger says:

        Not true, different card number but same account.
        Any saved offer on PRGC will be carried over to Platinum card.

        However, you may need to get in touch with Amex CS just in case your offer is not showing as redeemed.

  • Chelseafi says:

    O/T looking for a 2 night midweek spa break, up to 2 hour drive from west London, want nice Spa, hotel grounds for walks, good food. Budget £800 for 2, 2 Nights, spa & evening meal, any recommendations? Thanks

  • the real harry1 says:

    The total deficit in FTSE 100 pension schemes was estimated to be £105bn at the end of September, with eight companies – most notably British Airways owner International Airlines Group – having pension liabilities bigger than their equity market value.

    • Jimmy says:

      and people wonder why BoB and the like was introduced….

  • Crafty says:

    OT: We like to stay one night in a UK hotel for our anniversary. Did the Gotham in Manchester last year on rewards, which was fantastic. Can anyone recommend redemption sweet spots for genuine quality hotels? Hilton, IHG or Club Carlson.

    • JamesB says:

      Dunblane Hydro might fit the bill, not even an expensive redemption and there have been reports of good status recognition.

      • Alan says:

        Location is nice, upgrades are very variable – it can be a surprisingly busy property at times! As Diamond I’ve had nothing a few times, normally can get a family room if you ask at reception. Conversely my folks are Gold (via Amex Plat) and got a recent upgrade to top-floor suits with stunning views! Breakfast is reasonable (although their OJ never tastes right!)

  • Talay says:

    I am 58k miles short on Etihad for the next redemption and using the cash part pay option, I am being asked to pay £412 in lieu of the miles.

    I make that 0.71p per mile ($0.0091)

    So if I buy 58k for $0.02 per mile, that comes to $1160 = £892 or more than twice the fee to “buy” the miles from Etihad in the booking process.

    Bad deal at $0.02 I think. Bad at $0.01 even.

    • JamesB says:

      Don’t know where you are flying to/from or in which class but I recommend you carefully evaluate if it might be better to cash out your Etihad miles and put the money towards a miles-earning revenue ticket. In the current era of low cost premium fares I believe many are being unwittingly conned by FFP.

      • Talay says:

        Let’s look at the maths of that suggestion.

        Routing LHR-BKK is around 217k miles ATM, less if Etihad have a sale on.

        If I cash out 210k at 0.4p I get £840 which is madness as I’d need double that to buy another fare.

  • Talay says:

    OT re American Airlines miles and 40% off

    Max 150k miles is $2655 = £2042 or £2103 if you pay 3% FX fees.

    How much is Etihad LHR-BKK on American Airlines miles ?

    • Roger says:

      Shouldn’t you have bought SPG points two days ago?

      I bought 30K SPG points for £585 using AMEX card. Already had 10K SPG. If I was to convert this 40K SPG to AA, I will end up with 62.5K AA miles (40K becomes 50K and add 25% bonus for hotel points conversion.
      Similarly if you were to buy across two accounts​ SPG points I reckon you could be much better off even getting Marriott travel packages which also includes bonus miles for AA.

  • Mrs_Fussy says:

    Totally OT but would anyone know BA’s policy regarding upgrading an avios booking using at
    Cash at the airport. We recently upgraded our avios CW ticket to F by paying ££. Do we receive any tier points ?

  • Roger I says:

    Harry, I took out the Radio Times subscription you mentioned on 1.5.17, even though it looked to be too good to be true – £49.99 RT subscription + £50 John Lewis GC for £49.99. 🙂

    The website was suspiciously clear of exclusions or T+Cs. At face value, it’s a continuing offer when paid by direct debit: RT sub + JL GC every six months. I’d be surprised and delighted if this were to be the case.

    I’m debating with myself whether to calendarise a d/d cancellation or just plough on expecting the best. What do you think?

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

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.