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 ……

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 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 from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (April 2024)

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

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

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

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable 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 10,500 Avios.

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

Huge 30,000 points bonus until 12th May 2024 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

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.

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

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (24)

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

  • Sam G says:

    Quite amusing as the Stobart operation this summer hasn’t had the most impressive reliability record!!

  • David says:

    Isn’t Southend London’s sixth airport, not fifth? After LHR, LCY, LGW, STN and LTN – or does Luton not count?

  • Nick says:

    Surely they’ll count ‘departed’ as the registered time (i.e. chocks off)? Which can be verified on flightstats/

    • Ian says:

      Yes, I’m pretty sure this would be the recognised (and verifiable) “departure time”.

  • DaveP says:

    ‘Wheels up’ sounds an interesting aspect to a delayed flight timing claim, Rob. We’ve all spent time (sometimes ages) taxiing to the point of take-off on the runway which has moved the plane well beyond the planned departure time. I guess it is down to what an airline defines as ‘departure’ – I would have thought it would be on starting moving away from the stand.
    Have you successfully made a claim on wheels up?

    • the real harry1 says:

      it’s not a compo claim, it’s a promotion

      • Rob says:

        To be honest, I doubt they are even going to verify your claim as long as you’ve got a boarding pass.

  • Kathy says:

    Glad to hear about flights to Manchester and Dublin! Could make it very interesting for me when Virgin offers from MAN are good and for ex-EU from DUB!

  • Will says:

    Think I’ll give this a try.
    Most one ways to Glasgow seem to be under 30 quid.
    Train fare from Liverpool Street is 16 quid by itself though. Can’t seem to find a way to get it any cheaper.

    • Nick says:

      £12.50 each way assuming you’re coming back within a month (£25 for a return ticket).

  • Dave Hammer says:

    What about the excellent friendly staff at the Train Station…lol

  • Joan says:

    When I click on the link to the app on my iPhone it says ITEM NOT AVAILABLE IN THE UK

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

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