Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: American drops Manchester-New York, Emirates launches 50% off economy reward sale

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

News in brief:

American Airlines to drop Manchester to New York

American Airlines has confirmed that it is dropping its seasonal Manchester to New York service.  It will not be returning in March for the launch of the Spring timetable, with the last flight departing in late October.

I have reported on this rumour before.  I suggested at the time that British Airways may take it over, since the airline has better brand recognition out of Manchester – let’s see if it happens.  Virgin Atlantic took over the Delta service between Manchester and Atlanta for the same reason.

Manchester area residents are not short of options to New York.  Virgin, United and Thomas Cook will all still fly it.  There is no longer a oneworld option for earning Avios or BA tier points, however.

American has confirmed that it will continue to fly to Chicago and Philadelphia from Manchester.  The Chicago service will be upgraded to a Boeing 787 next year.

Emirates Skywards launches economy reward sale

Emirates is currently running a redemption sale.  You can save 50% on the usual number of Skywards miles required for a redemption in Economy in Saver class.  Full details are here on the Emirates website.

Seats must be booked by 9th September for travel between 1st October and 30th November.  You must book a return flight to get the discount.  Note that Gatwick and Manchester flights are not included.

Unfortunately, just as World Traveller redemptions are generally a very poor use of Avios points, economy redemptions are generally a bad use of Skywards miles.  However …. this sale covers the start of the peak Winter travel period to Dubai, including October half term, so you may actually get some value.

I did a dummy Economy booking from Heathrow to Dubai for mid November.  The flight came out as 22,500 miles plus £283 of taxes and charges.

You can usually get cash tickets down to Dubai for around £350, so even at 50% off this would not be great value for your miles.  This time, reward flights may be better value if you travel over the school holidays and you see cash prices at £500.  Another upside would be if you needed the flexibility to cancel.

Remember that Emirates is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner and that your points will go across instantly once your accounts are linked.

All you need to know about the sale can be found on this page of the Emirates website.

How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards

How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards (October 2021)

Emirates Skywards does not have a UK credit card.  However, you can earn Emirates Skywards miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cardsThese are:

  • American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 30,000 Emirates Skywards miles. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with two free airport lounge passes. 30,000 points is a limited offer which ends on 9th November 2021.

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Emirates Skywards miles which is an attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Emirates Skywards mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.

Comments (50)

  • Jake says:

    Looks like a good offer for point collectors

    How often does this offer repeat? Once a year and every year?

    Also, are there offers to convert amex membership points to skyward miles?

    • Rob says:

      Never been a Skywards conversion promo apart from the launch one a couple of years ago.

      Emirates runs the 50% off every 12-18 months but, as the travel window is tight, it is less useful. When Virgin does its redemption sales, you can book for the full 11 month booking away and save.

      • lev441 says:

        Virgin haven’t done any redemption sales since the new pricing system set in in January… Do you think that is the end of them? I booked three flights using those sales last year..

      • Jake says:

        Very disappointed, I tried to make a booking using my skymiles (LON to DXB) outwards Eco Saver was 11k + cash and inwards Bus Saver was 45k points plus cash… when I went to checkout after entering my card details (I tried all options, different times, machines and cards) it always bumped it up to 65k points – the booking page and offer is deceptive!!

  • JamesB says:

    OT Bit: The amex offer for £100 off £1000 at trailfinders is back, use by 30/9.

    • Gavin says:

      Haven’t got it on my amex, which is just as well as have already paid the final deposit of the honeymoon!

      • JamesB says:

        I came unstuck too as I would have needed an October closing date to use. IIRC it was £200 last year. I’m also missing out on Hilton opportunities so looks like a bad quarter for me but will be at home during shop small for a change.

        • Genghis says:

          Doesn’t it work on Trailfinders gift cards? Or not worth the S75 risk?

          • johnny_c-l says:

            Could presumably bag the offer with the gift cards then part-pay for the holiday with a small amount on a credit card and the balance using the gift cards so you’re S75 covered too.

          • Genghis says:

            Good point

          • JamesB says:

            Thanks guys, I’ll give the giftcard option some thought. The downside would be being tied to trailfinders for a substantial sum.

          • Alan says:

            Definitely did last time – I pushed a purchase through for my folks, they were delighted at the saving! No expiry date on the TF gift vouchers either.

        • totaltool says:

          i have seen reference to shop small in several posts over the last few months but don’t know what it refers to. Can someone enlighten please?

          • Stu N says:

            Annual promotion by Amex that runs in Nov-Dec, gives you £5 back when you spend £10+ at small independent businesses. Has been unlimited in the past so you can generate a lot of benefit from it.

          • totaltool says:

            ok thanks will look for it

          • Genghis says:

            @totaltool – it’s a good idea to maximise the amount of Amex cards you hold around this time so benefit from the £5 back offer. Stocking up on xmas meat, cheeses, stamps , birthday cards for the year etc works well for me.

          • JamesB says:

            And MBNA amex cards have been eligible in the past too.

    • Kinkell says:

      @ JamesB Is this a targeted offer? Just checked all our cards …..not there. Could do with it ! Mind you, I benefitted last year when it was £200 off £1100 spend, x3!. Maybe that’s why we don’t have it this time.

      • JamesB says:

        It was on my dad’s PRG so he asked if I wanted to make use of it. I only have BA standard amex at the moment so obviously not on that.

  • pointsarb says:

    @ Genghis, I used it successfully twice on Trailfinders gift cards last year. Got £400 off a £2000 gift card spend (split over 2 txns).

  • Jonathan says:

    OT – Just spoken to MBNA regarding my Virgin Atlantic Black card.

    1) The 5000 bonus points for cancelling take up to 8 weeks to post from meeting the £1k spend which is only realised at statement time so in my case it could take 2 more statements (3 in total) before i get the points at which point i will have rolled over to another year.

    2) and most interestingly i asked when the Virgin Atlantic license agreement with Amex was due to expire and although she couldn’t give a definitive date she said it was January 2018 and more information will follower nearer the time. Spend whilst you can?

  • h1tvd says:

    O/T I have found a flight fare on ITA matrix, can’t seem to replicate the price on iberia. Its about £200 more expensive doing a multi-trip on Iberia. Is there a better way to do it to match the price?

    • Genghis says:

      Google flights?

      • h1tvd says:

        google flights has the same price as ITA matrix but I can’t get the same price via iberai, ba, expedia etc

        • Yan says:

          for complex itineraries from ITA try bookwithmatrix or ITA-Matrix-PowerTools

        • Genghis says:

          What happens when you click through to buy from google flights?

          • h1tvd says:

            it says call iberia to book, call british airways to book, book american online for over $2k lol.

  • RussellH says:

    For travelling from MAN to New York City, a friend of mine who does this once or twice a year swears that it is significantly quicker from PHL to downtown NYC than it is from JFK. Much quicker immigration in his experience, and a direct Amtrak link at PHL

    • Claire says:

      Now that’s something I’ve never thought of. We normally have to do MAN-LHR-JFK with BA. I’m quite happy as we use our 2-4-1 and go in First. I do miss BA at MAN terribly though.

    • Andy says:

      No way. You have to get the SEPTA line from PHL to 30th street station then change there for Amtrak. Whole trip will take about 2 hours and then the waiting times.

  • Simon says:

    BA has better brand recognition out of Manchester than AA? Could have fooled me!

    • Claire says:

      Agreed. They desperately need to get back in the game at MAN.

      • Colin JE says:

        The Man – Ord AA flights are very good value. Managed to get a business class return ticket for £1680 in November including two nights in a four star hotel in Chicago though BA holidays. The plain flight is £1400! From LHR I couldn’t even get a BA Premium Economy ticket for that.
        Virgin dropped its Chicago flights last year – a real shame, because they are head and shoulders better for Upper – but the AA fares are stonking and who wants to change to a regional carrier in the US, turning a 7 hour flight into a 10 hour+ journey?

        I just hope AA don’t do the same with their Chicago route out of Manchester. If they do, what are my rights if they drop a route I’m booked on?

  • totaltool says:

    O/T – last year about this time i got a hilton challenge fron silver to gold for four stays. Have found H gold to be very worth while but need some more stays to retain gold. Have silver anyway through HH visa. Does anyone know if its likely to happen again?

    • Genghis says:

      It’s happening now – see some recent articles. Alternatively it’s easy to get gold through £10k spend in calendar year on Hilton card / Amex Plat.

      • totaltool says:

        I thought those related to Marriott etc matching across than within Hilton but will have a look

        • Genghis says:

          Sorry – you do need to have something to match your Hilton status to with the current offer.

    • JamesB says:

      Is taking out amex platinum for a month not an option for you?

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.