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Bits: SWISS sale, Star Alliance Heathrow Express upgrade, use Avios for Lapland

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News in brief:

Decent SWISS sale out of Italy

SWISS business class and, in particular, first class has an excellent reputation.  I was one of the last people to redeem for Swiss First – here is my review – before they changed the rules and restricted to it Miles & More Gold and HON members.

Fares are available to pretty much everywhere except the US.  Bangkok, Delhi, Bombay, Hong Kong, Jo’burg, São Paulo, Singapore etc are included.

Two people must travel together.  You can fly from any Italian airport served by SWISS and open jaw tickets work, so you can fly back to a different Italian city if you want.

A typical return fare is €1,299 per person from Italy to Bangkok in Business.  First Class is an impressive, given the quality of the SWISS product, €2,500 per person.  Other destinations are a little higher but not much.  Johannesburg looks especially good at this level.

You must buy by 22nd May and fly before 28th February 2018.  Remember that you need to search for a price for two people on the SWISS website here.

Heathrow Express

Free Heathrow Express upgrade for Star Alliance Gold

I haven’t mentioned this for ages, so I wanted to remind you that if you have Star Gold status via any of the frequent flyer schemes in the Star Alliance, you can still claim a free First Class upgrade on Heathrow Express.

Note that in theory you must be travelling on a full-fare Standard Class ticket.  In reality, it seems that most train stuff neither know or care if you took advantage of a discount promotion when buying.


Finnair launching UK services to Lapland

If you’ve ever had a secret wish to visit Lapland, Finnair can make your dream come true this winter.  Even better, you can use Avios to make it happen.  This is an opportunity to try winter activities such as ice fishing, seeing the Northern Lights, skiing, husky safaris and reindeer sleigh rides.

The airline has announced a new route between London Gatwick and Kittilä.  This is in addition to the previously announced Gatwick to Ivalo service.

Flights will operate weekly between 12th December and 20th March.

An economy return to Kittilä will cost 20,000 Avios plus £96 tax – this feels a little pricey so do compare cash prices.  Business class is not available.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 2022)

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

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

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

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 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, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa 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 and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits 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.

(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 (71)

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

  • Jon says:

    Again, probably a simple question!
    Will be cancelling my Amex soon, but want to have another reward/cash back earning card for 2017. I like the look of the Lloyds Choice rewards credit card (Amex and Mastercard double pack), but wanted to ask- if I’m accepted for the Lloyds cards, given one of the pack is an Amex (but not issued directly by Amex), will this affect the 6 month cooling off period for the 20k bonus for my Amex preferred rewards card when I reapply? Thanks again!

    • Rob says:

      No, it makes no difference as this card is not directly issued by Amex.

    • Genghis says:

      Won’t affect anything regarding Amex directly issued cards. The rule with Amex is that you can’t have held a card earning the same reward currency in the last 6 months in order to get a bonus.
      For example, if you want an Amex Gold (PRG) bonus, you can’t have held a MR earning card (Amex Gold / Plat) in the last 6 months (but holding a BAPP (avios earning) or SPG (SPG points earning) does not play a part).

  • Wally1976 says:

    OT – anyone got any thoughts on the best way to book a CW return flight for 1 person using a Lloyds upgrade voucher where the flights need to be booked at midnight T-355? I’m guessing it’s going to be something like using my Avios stash to book both legs online when they become available then ringing to get the voucher applied?? Anyone tried this? Thanks.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, that’s how I did it. It took them a while to sort out – they ended up just removing the voucher from my account and refunding the appropriate amount of Avios. They had to leave the flights as 2 one-ways (which was fine – there wasn’t really a taxes/fees benefit from having them as a return anyway).

      • Kathy says:

        I ended up booking LHR-HKG and then SYD-LHR with the voucher and then HKG-AKL on Cathay separately.

        Cue people telling me I should have just held out for the Qatar sale and booked the £1500 return Stockhold to Auckland!

        • Kathy says:


          Damn, never notice my typos until after I’ve hit submit!

          On a side note, I do wonder if those cheap J fares are starting to stop people redeeming for Avios to Sydney – for April 2018 there’s flights available in business across almost an entire week plus a few peak dates. Nothing on the return SYD-LHR though, so maybe it’s just that people don’t fly out to Oz directly after Easter?

      • Wally1976 says:

        Thanks Kathy; good to know that this is possible 🙂

  • the real harry1 says:

    FWIW you can input Accorhotels membership number on Europcar booking page now (always used to be hit & miss, asking them to do it when you got the car) – along with umpteen other FF progs (not BA or Iberia)

    not expecting to get many points for a 1 day booking 🙂

  • Lamb says:

    If you were able to get the flights. Can anyone recommend areas & any good cabins/ hotels to book with for a few nights? Can you book the trips direct or through a hotel if you book the flights to Lapland seperately?

    • ankomonkey says:

      We spent a week in Levi earlier this year. We booked our flights on the Norwegian website and our hotel directly with the hotel. Many are on Expedia/, but availability is often scarce at peak times. Most people are on packages.

    • Louise says:

      booked our log cabin in saariselka through
      booked all trips separately too.

      • Lamb says:

        Thank you, did you book the trips in advance or once in resort?

  • the real harry1 says:

    Thousands of passengers who had anticipated payouts of up to €600 (£510) for flight delays caused by bird strikes have been told they have no right to compensation.

    • the real harry1 says:

      heh heh I want a Raffles voucher

      A night at Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris2
      As you already frequently spend in one of the world’s finest department store, you may also be well acquainted with one of the world’s finest hotels, Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris. After all, they have a lot in common. The opulence, luxury, and of course, clientele.

      Harrods and Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris have joined together to extend a truly unique invitation to you: in any year when you spend over £40,000 on your Card, you can redeem 40,000 Harrods Rewards points for a special night’s stay in one of Le Royal Monceau – Raffles’ sumptuous double rooms.

      To find out more or to claim your Le Royal Monceau – Raffles voucher, please call the Harrods Rewards Team on +44 (0) 207 893 8408 within 6 months of spending £40,000 on your Card. Please note, only one voucher can be issued to an account within a Card anniversary year.

      • Genghis says:

        Wow. £40k is a big ask. I don’t think we’d manage that one (without giving up all the other cards)

      • James says:

        40K spend for ONE night!?

    • Rob says:

      They’ve had this for years. It is rubbish – high fee and 1% back at 1 point per £1.

  • Simon says:

    Bit of help on Star Alliance: I am due to take some European and international flights in the next few months and BA is annoyingly expensive vs Some star alliances airlines
    As I have an amex plat I was wondering between SAS and SQ which is the best earning carrier.

    • Rob says:

      Totally depends on which airlines you will fly and the exact fare class (ie D, R, I etc) you will be in. There is no one size fits all answer. Where you prefer to redeem to will also have an impact.

    • Lady London says:

      Where to credit dot com

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

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