Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: SWISS sale, Star Alliance HEx 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.

The link with the offers is here.

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 from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 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:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 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 – 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

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee 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.

If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

(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)

  • milgom says:

    The swiss ticket can also be openjaw in Asia. I booked a ticket FCO-HKG BKK-MXP which is a nice way to see different cities…

    They also don’t have date limit unlike the Qatar sales so it can be used for 2+ months stays.

  • Roger says:

    Any new Heathrow shopping offers?
    Considering buying Apple watch from T2

    • John says:

      save your money – they’re a passing fad (and now major players are no longer supporting their apps on Apple watches…simply because few were using the apps)

  • Prince Polo says:

    Flights to Kittila will be operating once a week on Tuesday evenings so unfortuantely equally unhelpful as flights to Are-Ostersund at 6am on Sundays and a bunch of thers.

    I went to Swedish Lapland this year for a long weekend (connecting in Stockholm) and loved it. Does anyone here have a list of direct flights from London/ UK to Lapland? When I landed in Kiruna, there were two SAS directs flights from the UK arriving at the same time (I think LGW and “Robin Hood”) but I believe these are only sold as package holidays as I couldn’t find them on the SAS website.

    Rob – is this an idea for an article?

    • ankomonkey says:

      Levi has Easyjet direct from BRS, but it’s an Inghams charter and can’t be booked on easyjet website.

  • Roger I says:

    Miles/points collectors may want to check .

    I checked LX MXP-JNB-MXP in J and F. In J, flights credit as P. P earns 100% credit in most FFPs, so no cabin bonus for most.. Miles & More credit is 100-125% depending on ‘tier’.

    F bookings MXP-JNB + v.v. are in A longhaul (325% in M+M, various in others) and J shorthaul (too many to summarise),

  • Keith says:

    O/T booked and picked up a hertz car but my profile was still set to decline all insurance from when I had a platinum card so was told I needed to buy CDW/theft on top for £200 which caught me a bit off guard and agreed to without thinking it through properly. Chances I can get them to refund this once I return car they have said they can do nothing?

    • Alan says:

      Low chance when you return it as you’ve already had the benefit of the enhanced cover, so can’t see them been keen on refunding. If you no longer have Plat then insurance4carhire and the likes are pretty cheap for future trips…

      • Keith says:

        Thanks the problem isn’t the excess this is the CDW which they charge for as still have £1000 excess. This is usually included as standard in UK and costs almost nothing but was excluded because of my profile…

    • Lady London says:

      Your chances are zero. There are many scams in car hire and this type of thing is one of them.

      You might take a look at questor (excellent service), Icarhireinsurance. Insurance4carhire, bettetsafe etc. Short trip or annual basis, inclusion of this type of cover is one of the things that can make an Amex worthwhile.

  • Vivian says:

    O/T received Avios yesterday from opening a LISA with Nutmeg at the beginning of the tax year.

  • JamesB says:

    There was a catch or something about the interest free on Etihad flights but I don’t recall what it was as it’s over two years since I had the cards. Regarding your BKK trips, BA CW exAMS selling for around £1250 if those are of any use to you.

  • Rob says:

    Yes, not a bad deal. I did an article the other week on the pros and cons of taking it out.