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