Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: should you buy Waitrose gift cards today?, Amex MR and the Heathrow Rewards deal

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News in brief:

What happens to the Waitrose / Virgin Atlantic deal tomorrow?

For the last few weeks, the ability to earn 4 Virgin Flying Club miles for every £1 spent in-store at Waitrose has been a good earner for many Head for Points readers.  Details of the deal are here.

According to the Virgin website, the Waitrose deal will change tomorrow.  It isn’t clear how.  It could go away entirely or the rate could drop from 4 miles per £1 – which I personally see as over-generous, given that margins are paper-thin in grocery retailing – to something more sustainable.

The ‘ends 24th May’ deadline is not showing on the Waitrose page of the Virgin website.  It is only shown on a rotating banner on their shopping home page.

If you are nervous, you might want to pop into Waitrose today and buy a gift card for a few hundred pounds to cover your shopping for the next few weeks.  The gift card would also be valid in John Lewis.  I’ll let you know what happens to the offer after the 24th.

Cashing out Amex points via the Emirates / Heathrow Rewards promotion

I wrote yesterday about the new Heathrow Rewards offer, which is offering a 100% bonus this week when you cash out your points for Heathrow shopping vouchers.  You will get 2p per Heathrow Rewards point via a paper gift voucher valid at Heathrow for shopping, food or drink for 12 months.

I mentioned yesterday that, because you can convert Emirates Skywards miles into Heathrow Rewards (3:1 ratio, chunks of 6000 miles) this is a good way of emptying out any orphaned Emirates miles.

This could also be a way of using up any Amex Membership Rewards points you have.  Be clear that you can get better value than this elsewhere, but it is more valuable than redeeming Amex points for other gift cards.

This is how it works:

Transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to Emirates Skywards in chunks of 6,000 points (1:1, transfer is INSTANT)

Transfer Emirates Skywards miles to Heathrow Rewards in chunks of 6,000 miles (3:1, transfer is INSTANT)

Redeem Heathrow Rewards points before Monday for paper shopping voucher in chunks of 250 points

6,000 Amex points would get you 6,000 Emirates Skywards miles which would get you 2,000 Heathrow Rewards points which gets you a £40 Heathrow Airport shopping and restaurant voucher.

That is 0.66p per Amex Membership Rewards point.  You can do better than this in terms of ‘notional’ value (you should get double that if transferred to Avios and spent smartly) but if you just wanted to ‘dump’ your Amex points then this isn’t a bad route.  Because the transfers are both instant there is no risk of missing out.


best travel rewards credit cards

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – July 2024 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current 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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

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

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points for signing up and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

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

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel 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

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year Read our full review

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback Business Credit Card

1% cashback uncapped* on all your business spending (T&C apply) Read our full review

Comments (109)

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

  • Susan says:

    OT – finally got an achievable (I thought) IHG Accelerate target but I can’t download the APP (one of the requirements) because apparently it’s not compatible with my device (android). Any suggestions for a work around? Thanks

  • Crafty says:

    OT: Anyone still seeing bonus points offered to add a supp to an Amex Gold? I need to add myself, but will hang on a few days if this is likely to appear.

    • thehornets says:

      I just wrote them a message and asked them nicely. They were happy to oblige. 3,000 points iirc.

      • Joe says:

        I missed this. Was it only for Gold?

        • Alan says:

          BAPP had the same deal but for 3000 Avios

          • Joe says:

            I had a search online and it ended at the end of March 🙁 I’ll get in touch with them to see if they’ll still honour it.

          • Alan says:

            Always worth a go with Amex, very good CS.

          • Joe says:

            Quick update in case anyone else is wondering – they’re going to honour the bonus!

          • Alan says:

            Excellent result! Amex CS are fantastic, always worth a polite request to them in this sort of circumstance, glad it worked out for you!

  • Sally Graham says:

    Just checked the Virgin in store site and Waitrose now 1 mile per pound. Still worth doing as works with other rewards and cash back too, but I guess 4 per pound was too good to last!

  • Rob says:

    That’s certainly not the sort of change I was expecting!

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

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