Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: BA US Club World sale, Air Passenger Duty hiked, Surf Air moves to London City

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

News in brief:

British Airways launches US Club World Christmas sale

This has not been officially announced yet but the fares have been loaded into

Many US routes are showing at £1,500 (East Coast) to £1,650 (West Coast) return in Club World.

You must fly out between 25th December and 31st December.  The minimum stay is 3 days.

Book at here.

British Airways black Friday sale

Air Passenger Duty hiked in the budget

‘Premium rate’ Air Passenger Duty took another battering in the budget yesterday.  The biggest hit comes from April 2019 when – instead of increasing all bands – the entire increase is being absorbed by Premium Economy, Business and First Class passengers.  They will be paying an extra £16 per person.


Short-haul Economy: £13

Short-haul Business: £26

Long-haul Economy: £75

Long-haul Premium Economy and above: £150

From 1st April 2018:

Short-haul Economy: £13

Short-haul Business: £26

Long-haul Economy: £78

Long-haul Premium Economy and above: £156

From 1st April 2019:

Short-haul Economy: £13

Short-haul Business: £26

Long-haul Economy: £78

Long-haul Premium Economy and above: £172

Short-haul is defined as any flight under 2,000 miles.

Surf Air to fly from London City Airport

The American membership based private jet company Surf Air, which expanded to Europe earlier this year, has listened to their members and the press and is moving their London base from Luton to London City Airport.

From December, the daily Surf Air flight to Zurich will operate out of the City Airport Jet Centre using the First Class lounge which I reviewed here.  To be honest, I see this as a very positive move – both Rob and I have trialled private jet flights from Luton this year and we both felt that the trouble involved in getting to the airport outweighed many of the benefits.

A while ago Surf Air was offering a free private jet flight to top tier members of frequent flyer schemes.  I was informed that applications are now closed (although quite a few HFP readers are booked in to fly) and those who booked a flight from Luton can still fly from London City Airport.

My review of the Surf Air flight from Luton to Zurich is here.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Comments (94)

  • Mark says:


    If I was land to from Gatwick in Barcelona at 7.35pm what do you think my chances are off my collecting and leaving the airport and checking in for a 22.05pm emeriates flight to Vietnam. Possibly too tight ?

    • Lady London says:

      I wouldn’t even think of trying that. Too many things can go wrong particularly at the end of the day. Even if you didn’t have luggage to collect and re-check in to the next flight.

    • C77 says:

      If you’re flying an airline that uses Barcelona T3 then you stand a good chance of making the connection but ANY delay is going to have you clock watching and being unable to relax. BA tend to use contact gates but Vueling tend to do a lot of bus gates. This may have an effect on available time also. If you’re using an airline that uses Barcelona T1 I’d say forget it – not enough time. Barcelona to/from UK is always affected by French ATC strikes. Are you comfortable with such a short connection in a city that has this potential implication?
      If it were me, I’d be building in an overnight stay – just to be sure.

  • Alan says:

    Well at least limiting the change to long haul means BA can’t use it as an excuse to get rid of RFS!

    • Polly says:

      We can all breathe a sigh if relief then..good old RFS. Am sure Harry you are pleased no apd increase in Y…

  • Michael C says:

    Excuse the OT with only a very tangtial link to the BA Xmas offer!
    I need to be in BKK Easter w/end, but am free to fly anywhere in SEAsia/HKG etc. leaving a few days before & coming back a couple of week later. I currently see (in Business) Garuda for 1300 GBP and Finnair (not fantastic reviews?) for 1500. Oh, and Cathay 1100 on PE.
    -Based on other years, might there be other Dec/Jan sales on airlines that might cover my period?
    -Despite no Avios, Garuda business is now meant to be pretty good, right?

    • Rob says:

      Finnair is claiming to have a big Black Friday sale which in theory will preview today.

      BA has has good fares out of Amsterdam recently, I would do an ITA Matrix search and see what comes up.

      Or come to the HFP Christmas Party, win the raffle and you can book a free trip on Qatar!

  • Polly says:

    Michael..if you are not in a hurry to book l would wait on another Qatar sale in January. Usually one then. That would get you near ba silver and lots of avios plus 560 tier points. You would probably have to hop to Europe to depart like we often discuss on this site. Sounds like you are time positive and flexible. Probably pay between £800 to £950 return plus your positioning flight and eu overnight hotel (much advised) the night before your eu departure.

    • Michael C says:

      Polly, thanks a million for that: even with the extras, that sort of price would be fabulous.

      • JamesB says:

        Not sure what it is at the moment but TK were selling BKK in business from LHR for £1180 return over Easter about 1-2 months ago. There was also the opportunity to stopover in IST reducing APD.

  • s says:

    I heard Private jet APD is going up by only £47 is that correct??

  • Roger I* says:

    Add code DOUBLE at checkout for 10% off. (May require previous purchase so not guaranteed.)

    • the real harry1 says:

      DOUBLE takes off £4.35 for new customers

      might be worth waiting for £10 off for new customers to re-appear

  • John says:

    Dragonpass absolutely huge improvement on Airport Angel.

    It genuinely helps keep me loyal to the Barclays Travel Plus add on pack.

    Perhaps unusually I find that the insurance etc in the add on works well for me financially.

    But even if I shopped around and found marginally cheaper alternatives, the hassle free and very useful Dragonpass feature would probably keep me with Barclays.

    I’ve a suspicion that good loyalty programmes are supposed to work for the promoter as well as the customer.

    Incidentally Rob, I find that the list of available Dragonpass lounges is kept up to date on their website and app, and that they regularly cull substandard ones.

  • Graeme says:

    OT – last week I mentioned being declined by Amex for a BAPP which when I called they said was declined in error. Well, after being told to call back several times with no resolution, the card just turned up at the weekend. Then last night I received a ‘You were declined – did this upset you?’ questionnaire e-mail from Amex – so I let them know.

    As no-one at Amex can answer me – does anyone know if this is likely to impact my credit rating? I smell compensation Avios if it does….

    • Polly says:

      You must get sorted. Get a manager involved as you don’t want a decline card on your credit record. And you will get 1000s of me s compo!

    • Wivus says:

      Having the similar problem with the SPG card. In a ”he says/she says” loop. Neither Amex or Experian will tell me why. They both say it is down to the other to explain.

      Not had time to chase it properly but will this weekend.

      • YB says:

        Had the same decline for the SPG card recently, despite having a great credit score and various Amex cards in the past.

        • Rob says:

          This seems to have been an IT wobble. After having a lot of people I referred being refused, I have now had a run of acceptances which is back at the usual level.

        • Alan says:

          Interesting (and good to hear), Rob! Wonder if they applied some over-strict criteria without meaning too or just totally mucked things up?!

      • Graeme says:

        My rating is a couple of points off the maximum with Experian, so it wasn’t them – it was definitely a mistake on the Amex end, as they said.

      • xcalx says:

        Just got accepted online for SPG 7 month after cancelling. Was a bit nervous after reading of all the refusals of late. Very close to the Marriott TP. Now its time to decide United, AA, Alaskan or Singapore. One thing is for sure it will not be Avios.

    • johnny_c-l says:

      No idea if this will impact your credit rating; my guess is that other lenders would only see a search, but seeing a new account opened shortly after would imply you were accepted if they’re bothered to look into it.

      I was also declined for BAPP a couple of weeks ago and had the rejected Experian letter. When I rang Amex they said it was internal systems which stopped the application, and I suggested they take a credit limit increase they’d given me and put it on a new BAPP instead. Rang back a few days later and it had been approved with a credit limit 10x my request!