Meridiana is now officially Air Italy – and may become a useful Avios partner
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We have occasionally covered the weird story of Italian airline Meridiana on Head for Points. This was an airline based in Sardinia, owned by the Aga Khan and flying a decrepit fleet of planes to random destinations. It also used Avios as its loyalty currency, although you cannot transfer in or out of the Meridiana Club scheme.
Qatar Airways recently acquired a 49% stake in the airline. Qatar also happens to have a few spare aircraft at the moment due to the short-haul blockade in the Middle East. This is allowing it to support a nose to tail restructuring of Meridiana which will transform it beyond recognition within three years.
If we are lucky, it will fill the gap left by airberlin for an Avios-based carrier in central Europe.
On Monday, it was officially announced that Meridiana will be renamed Air Italy. The website is here.
Starting in April, it will be receiving:
20 x two cabin Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft
5 x Airbus A330
20 x Boeing 787
All of these aircraft are either currently owned by Qatar Airways or are in the course of being delivered.
This latter figure is especially eye catching. Meridiana currently runs the odd long-haul route but taking a fleet of 20 787s involves a massive commitment. I can only imagine that this plan assumes Alitalia being absorbed by a short haul airline and its long haul routes dropped, leaving a gap in the market.
The new airline will be based at Milan Malpensa, which at least makes more business sense than the current Palermo hub.
You can read more about the Air Italy launch on its website.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2023)
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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express 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 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 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 £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.
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
30,000 points and unbeatable 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 10,500 Avios.
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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.
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) 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.