Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Get FREE membership of the Zipcar car sharing club – but avoid the Avios deal

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I like car share club Zipcar.  We have a membership in London and there are about 15 cars within a 15-minute walk of our house.  The nearest, which is available 80% of the time, is literally 30 seconds away.  £6-£7 per hour for the car, plus £59.50 annual fee, is a lot cheaper and easier than owning a car.

(Long-term HFP readers may remember that, slightly bizarrely, I was interviewed for Management Today a couple of years ago about my use of Zipcar, Uber and Gett.  Terrible photograph.)


The process is very simple.  You book your car via the Zipcar app or on their website.

You initially unlock the car using a credit card-sized membership card or via your smartphone.  The keys are in the glovebox.  At the end of the rental, you reverse the process.

The first 60 miles driven per day are free with a charge from 25p per mile thereafter.  You do not pay for petrol, for insurance or for the London congestion charge.  Minor damage (scratches etc) is also not charged as you just return the car to a street parking bay and it isn’t examined by anyone.

If the petrol tank drops below 25% full, there is a fuel charge card in the car to allow you to fill it up without using your own money.

If you live in South London, you can even use a Zipcar for one-way trips using the new Zipcar Flex feature I wrote about a few months ago.  Full details of the areas covered are here.

You can find the nearest Zipcars to your house by using the tool on this page of their website.

A couple of years ago Zipcar got even better.  They teamed up with Avios, and suddenly I was earning 50 Avios every time I took out a car.  There is also a 1,000 Avios bonus for signing up and paying the £59.50 annual fee.

Zipcar has overhauled its membership fees

At some point recently, Zipcar has totally overhauled its membership package.  You can now join for FREE for a limited period if you are in London.  See here for details.

You have nothing to lose by signing up.  You never know when access to a car at short notice will come in useful.

There are actually three price plans now available as you can see on this page of their website.  These are their London prices:

FREE (limited offer) membership – pay from £8 per hour for the car, or

£6 per month – get a £6 monthly driving credit (expires if not used) and pay from £6 per hour for the car, or

£15 per month – get a £15 monthly driving credit (expires if not used) and pay from £5 per hour for the car

The £6 per month package is better value if you are sure you will use a car at least once per month.

The free option, however, is worth having as an ’emergency’ back-up even if you don’t plan to use Zipcar on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, the free membership is not available in Bristol, Maidstone, Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow or Edinburgh where Zipcar also operates.

Don’t sign up to the Avios offer

Unfortunately, the Avios offer via this British Airways / Zipcar sign-up page has not been adjusted to reflect the new Zipcar pricing scheme.

If you sign up via the BA link, you pay an annual fee of £60 but receive NO monthly driving credits.  This is a poor deal, to put it mildly, even though you will get 1,000 Avios for joining and 50 Avios per trip.

It is far better to take the £6 per month option via their new pricing scheme and receive £6 per month of driving credit.

I can only hope that the Avios offer is overhauled soon to match the current pricing plans offered to the general public.

The sign-up page is here if you want to give the free plan, or one of the other new plans, a go.  You never know when it might come in handy.

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 (37)

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

  • Chris says:

    To say they “operate” in Edinburgh is a little disingenuous. They have a car or two at the airport. Handy for members coming up from elsewhere I imagine, but rather useless if you live here. The main option here is Enterprise’s Car Club.

  • Nick M says:

    OT – What is the best way to get the Hertz “5 star” status that comes with Platinum Amex? – I already have an account set up, and the webpage just seems to take me round in circles

  • ADS says:

    i’m on a Streetcar Founder Member rate … which appears to be a combination of no annual fee, and prices form £6 per hour.

    But it’s fairly hard to find a £6 per hour car – not many Ford Fiestas out there, and that’s the weekday hourly rate. At weekends the cheapest rate is £8.50 per hour.

    On the upside, there are also a handful of Ford Fiestas where you only pay £3 per hour (£4 per hour at weekends), but you don’t get any free mileage – useful for short trips.

  • bill says:

    They have a couple of them on the top of my street but I still have my Provisional. Should past my test before October but then I think you need to have held a full license for a minimum of 12 months before you can use their cars

  • Andy says:

    Every time I have used them – in the US, haven’t used in UK – it worked out to be more than renting a car from hertz.
    I also would have had the hertz car for a full 28hrs (using the 4hr amex plat bonus).

    The zipcars I have used were also utterly filthy inside and out..

    Going to try car2go soon

  • Alex says:

    The photograph is not THAT terrible! At least you are holding a burgundy passport and not wearing a burgundy suit!

    • Rob says:

      But the guy took about 100 shots, they were not spoilt for choice!

      My track record on photo shoots is not good though. When I did the Daily Mail last year, they came to the office and took about 100 shots across four different locations, some of me, some of me and Anika. The only photo they used was one of me and my wife on holiday in Dubai which was the sole picture I had on my phone of both of us on holiday ….

      • Alex says:

        Oh 🙂 as someone who has been on both sides of this, I know, this could be annoying, but you should ask them to seek your approval before publishing – this is normal (unlike asking to see the article!)

  • will says:

    can’t get the website to work past the second page (after entering username and password for joining up), tried safari and chrome..

  • hotaeke says:

    Through AMEX Platinum, are you covered in the same way when using Zipcar as when using any of the legacy car rental companies (Hertz, Avis)?

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

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