Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

1,000 free flights from Southend to Manchester, Glasgow and Dublin (with a catch)

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You may remember my day out at London Southend Airport last year.

I had decided it was about time I checked out London’s fifth (or sixth, see comments!) airport and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.  It is a fairly quick train ride from Liverpool Street or Stratford, the station is literally next to the terminal, the terminal itself is pleasantly free of passengers and there is even an executive lounge.

If you’ve never flown from it, here is an opportunity.


Flybe is launching flights to Manchester, Glasgow and Dublin on 29th October.  These will be operated by Stobart Air.

The new services to Manchester and Dublin will operate up to three times daily, with Glasgow up to twice daily from Sunday to Friday.  I had a quick look and fares are very reasonable.

Flights can be booked at here.  Remember that you will earn Avios on these flights because they are marketed by Flybe.  Full details of how to earn Avios with Flybe can be found here.

You will also be able to spend Avios on these services.

How do I get a free flight?

Flybe / Stobart Air is offering 1,000 free flights across these routes to passengers who currently fly from Heathrow or Gatwick to Manchester, Glasgow or Dublin.

The catch is that you need to have travelled on a flight to any of these destinations which departed 30 minutes late.

What does ’30 minutes late’ mean?

It isn’t fully clear.  The rules, as you will see below, say that your flight must have departed 30 minutes late.

In this case, it is easy to be creative.  Make a claim based on the ‘wheels up’ time rather than the time the plane left the gate.  Pretty much every flight from Heathrow doesn’t get to ‘wheels up’ within 30 minutes of the stated departure time ……

Stobart Air

How do I claim?

Here are the instructions:

“The offer is for passengers whose flights have been delayed 30 mins or more from London Heathrow or London Gatwick flying to either Manchester, Glasgow or Dublin, starting from Monday 14 August 2017.

The first 1000 eligible passengers who contact London Southend Airport will be able to claim a ticket and the offer will run until 30 September 2017. The flights will be from 29 October 2017.

Each qualifying passenger to email a copy of the boarding pass to [email protected] noting the time the flight eventually left.

Successful customers will be sent voucher codes to book the free flights in October.”

Full details are on the Southend Airport website here.  If you want to book a flight for cash for travel from 29th October, you can do so on the Flybe site.

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 (24)

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

  • martin says:

    Shame they’re limiting it to those two airports – my mother-in-law was flying with FR from STN the other week, and her flight was *fanfare* cancelled. Not the airline’s fault, but the service recovery was abysmal. A free BE flight might be a nice way to make up for it.

  • Roger I* says:

    Also available in London without a catch, well, you have to win. 😉

    Intended for Metro (London) readers. Does anybody actually read Metro? 😀

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

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