Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How to book low cost flights on Avios points to Montreal with Aer Lingus

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We told you last week that Aer Lingus is launching Montreal and Minneapolis for Summer 2019.

What I didn’t spot at the time is that Aer Lingus is NOT fudging Avios pricing to Montreal.

This is what I mean.  Dublin to Boston is 2,993 miles.  This was a generally agreed fact at Aer Lingus when it was a British Airways Executive Club partner.

However, when Aer Lingus launched its Avios programme 18 months ago, Boston mysteriously moved.  Aer Lingus suddenly decided that it was over 3,000 miles from Dublin.  This meant that the cost of an Avios redemption in Business Class on a peak date jumped from 75,000 Avios to 120,000 Avios.

Aer Lingus new livery

Dublin to Montreal is 2,973 miles.  And, for once, Aer Lingus is not disputing this fact.

Montreal, which starts on 9th August 2019, is correctly pricing up in the cheaper Avios Zone 4.  This means that an Economy redemption using Avios is just 10,000 Avios each way off-peak and 12,500 Avios each way peak.  Taxes will vary depending on whether you book on (£188 return) or with BA via the telephone (should be under £100).

A Business Class redemption to Montreal will be just 31,250 Avios each-way off-peak and 37,500 Avios each-way peak.  That said, Aer Lingus only usually makes one Business Class seat available and even that isn’t yet showing for Montreal.  You can book Economy redemptions however.

You can read more about the new Montreal and Minneapolis routes on the Aer Lingus site here.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 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

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.

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 (184)

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

  • HELP HIM says:

    Hello Rob
    “I’m completely new to the world of points. I have just transferred 421,000 Amex points gathered over 24 years to BA Avios to book a trip to the USA for my wife’s 70th birthday.
    I’m travelling on 02.10.18 BAXXX to New York, currently booked in as Economy. There appears to be no availability in premium Economy or Business class which how we’d like to travel.
    We are travelling in the US and then returning to have six days in Washington before flying back on BAXXX Business Class to Heathrow.”

    This is so sad.???? But you can still help him Rob,you know you can……..

    • Genghis says:

      Option to delay the trip (wouldn’t be as special as not burthday) / go elsewhere if no other non-refundable bookings have been made?

      I remember earning a measly amount of points too before discovering HfP. Now I’ll easily earn that amount in a year. Thanks Rob.

      • Anna says:


        I’d be inclined to cancel and re-book if possible and have 2 birthdays!

      • BJ says:

        Although not wise, I see this as being far from a disaster so long as no nonrefundable hotels or cars booked as you say. I hope Rob sent them the links to avios sweet spots and low tax redemptions. A pity Air Berlin is gone but even if their dates are fixed they could potentially do some ‘damage’ by switching to Aer Lingus, doing ex Inverness or Jersey departures, considering Iberia or Finnair to get added value with breaks in UK or Europe. I am guessing they are retired so probably time to spare. If so, they could still even turn this into a RTW adventure with careful plans to combine their avios with cheap one way sectors.

      • Sinewaves says:

        Interested to know how you would earn that many in a year? (Genuine question)

        • BJ says:

          It was 24 years. You could earn that many avios in a day with the recent IB promotion.

        • swhostring says:

          Plenty of ways but remember the Plat referrals = 18K x5, his ‘n hers so 180K plus the points the referee gets would be another 150K-odd, add on 2x 90K for IB promo a couple of months ago & you have your 500K without breaking out in a sweat. Xmas Saver could add on another 200K if that works out.

        • Genghis says:

          Fingers crossed. All in at 2 x £360

        • Genghis says:

          Wot ‘arry said. Amex is a key part of my earning.

        • Matt says:

          Xmas Saver?

        • Max says:

          But the T&C says the Xmas voucher can’t be used on partner or for miles. Are you betting on them being no different than normal voucher?

        • Graham Walsh says:

          Max the T&Cs say Avios. That is my interpretation and that others are possibe

        • KevMc says:

          The T’s and C’s actually state:

          Christmas savers top-up vouchers cannot be used on Clubcard partners or converted into Airmiles/BA miles.

          However, there was a workaround strategy posted in the comments section a while ago, which I believe a few people reported as having worked. I for one will be trying it out x2 this year.

        • BJ says:

          What are you guys hoping, that T&C will be wrong and they will be issued as standard clubcard vouchers? Unless they have changed, the T&C refer to air miles and clubcard partners not avios.

          What is the fallback position? I hate shopping at Tesco, can they be used for petrol?

        • Graham Walsh says:

          Off to search the comments for the workaround. Oh hang on 😉 If someone wants to email me that would be appreciated.

        • BJ says:

          @Harry, forgot all about that one, will toast you with a glass of wine if it works 🙂 Question is, did you ever find that peach at Tesco I mentioned?

        • swhostring says:

          @Graham_Walsh you don’t make it easy, not on Twit and not got that Outlook thingy installed

        • swhostring says:

          OK for fuel (not Esso) & GCs

        • Genghis says:

          @TRH Good find. I don’t fancy carting TVs around…

        • Louise says:

          Never done Xmas saver but might have to this year, seeing as tho there is zero extra points promos going on!
          I think I remember the workaround that was posted before!

        • Graham Walsh says:

          swhostring, email is firstname dot lastname at

    • VK says:

      Rob, book his tickets. You have millions of miles and many more to come. 24 yrs of his ‘savings’ have gone down the drain. Gift these guys a good holiday. It’s almost Christmas anyway!

  • secret squirrel ???? says:

    Can believe people save for so long for a pathetic amount of points.

    Just booked all my flights after getting 900,000 avios for under £2,000 from the IB promo.
    Cheap as chips ????

    • BlueHorizonuk says:

      Not really a fair comment. Just because we know about ways to maximise our returns on points earning doesn’t mean a ‘typical’ person on the street does.

    • Richard G says:

      Still gutted I was away when that was going on. lol

    • jarvester says:

      Care to ellaborate how did you manage 900k points with IB promo? Did you use 10 different F&Fs accounts? Thanks

      • Rob says:

        That would seem the logical answer!

        • jarvester says:

          It would – but the cynic in me thinks there may be more creative answers to the question. I opened a new IB account on my partner’s name for the promo and got heavily scrutinised until points were finally awarded, so curious to know how Richard managed with 10 different accounts. Also, it’s my understanding that Iberia charges a pretty hefty fee for transferring Avios between accounts so would also be keen to know a bit more about how to best use almost a million points that are potentially sitting in 10 different accounts, as the booking strategy would take a fair bit of planning. Everyday is a school day!

    • Evan says:

      You are not one of the good guys are you. Karma my friend.

  • Dave says:

    Looking at using IHG points at David intercontinental TA.
    If we book a decent room for 1 night then use points for subsequent nights will they let us keep same room.? Or would they move us to basic room.

    • Genghis says:

      Whatever you do don’t stay at the Indigo as rather isolated. I booked it for one night after coming back to TA before an early morning flight. It was Shabbat and finding decent grub was v v difficult.

      • sunguy says:

        The Indigo is not all that isolated – its about a 10-15min walk to the port with many options….though I do prefer to stay at the Carlton on the beach!

        During Shabbat, Moses (the burger place) tends to open – Ive never found an issue for eating on a Saturday daytime or Friday evening…..even Makom Shel Basar in Neve Zedek opens 12-12 on a Friday and Saturday.

    • Paul says:

      I am planning a similar trip. Can’t believe how expensive hotels are generally and how bad most reviews are also. Crowne Plaza in Jerusalem constantly gets marked down. AirBNB not much better and my research to date has resulted in almost no replies from either hotels or Airbnb. The latter, when they have responded have hiked prices, made ludicrous minimum stay requirements ( not previously advertised). Beginning to think I should avoid Israel and head straight to Jordan where responses have been better even if prices similarly high.

      • Genghis says:

        I stayed at CP Jerusalem last year by myself paying IIRC £68/night and got me some Accelerate targets. I negotiated guaranteed lounge access in advance. It’s a tired hotel, however. Lounge wasn’t bad (decent sandwiches at lunch, a simple and reasonable hot dinner offering (so saved a few shekels) and OK breakfast; had breakfast in main dining room one morning for free as lounge hadn’t opened up in time). I think I gave 3* on TA. I wouldn’t take my wife there,

      • John says:

        I don’t care for the politics of the area but the possibility of invasive security measures at Israeli airports (even though probably quite justified under the circumstances)I just puts off from going there completely.

        • Dave says:

          I have no issues with visiting TA.
          I know most hotels are not world class but the David Intercontinental is pretty good from when i stayed there a few years ago.
          Just wondering if purchasing points are worth it as dont want the standard basic room

        • Chris says:

          See also: North America

    • Graham Walsh says:

      I used points+cash to stay there last year. I booked the basic room and got upgraded to a balcony room with a view of the sea. Wasn’t the biggest room as had 3 beds. Third one was a fold up one.

      Just be aware breakfast is $40 per person. I complained and said I would struggle to eat $40 per day and then they also wanted $40 per child (my 6 and 4-year-olds). Complained via twitter and the manager rang me and they offered me lounge access at a silly price per day as they don’t really recognise your IHG status. I was Spire or Spire Elite. I ended up going shopping and having breakfast in the room, kids preferred it whilst watching ivrit cartoons.

    • Sarah says:

      We did this and they let us keep same room but suppose it depends on the person checking you in.

  • GabeS says:

    Upgraded last night from Gold Amex to Platinum
    Got a “your request is being processed” email
    Is this usual?I always get an instant decision,how long that it take to get a response?
    Any experiences appreciated

    • Anna says:

      I think that’s normal. My OH always gets that message despite earning 3 times what I do as a (currently) part time employee, and I nearly always get accepted instantly. Go figure!

    • CV3V says:

      was it an Gold credit card, or Gold charge card? Gold credit cards cant be upgraded, if the charge card, then the message isnt a big deal.

  • Wivus says:

    Rob, do I recall reading you stayed in China for a short time on the 144 hour visa allowance? Looking at doing this soon en-route to Vietnam but cannot find the details exactly. Appears you do not need to do anything until either checking in or boarding the aeroplane and telling the crew??? Seems strange to me and worried I will get there an be turfed out.

    • Tony says:

      Did this a couple of years back, BA onto CX a couple of days later at Beijing.

      BA visa check desk in T5 was clueless (we were HBO) but on arrival in PEK all went fine. You could always take a print out from TIMATIC along with you.

    • Ahop says:

      Also take print outs of any hotel reservations and make sure not to filter into the main immigration queue. Just before this is a specific 144 hour counter you need to stop at first.

      • Wivus says:

        Thanks Ahop.

      • Lumma says:

        When I did this a couple of years ago there was a desk marked 72 hour travel without visa on the outbound but I had to go to the diplomatic passport desk on the return. Queuing at the normal line they’ll just send you away.

        On the outbound I had a 13 hour layover and they let me in just by showing my boarding pass for the next flight so I didn’t need to explain my intentions in Paris (where I departed from). Coming home from Sydney they asked me at check-in if I was planning on using the transfer without visa (as I’d booked a couple of days in Beijing intentionally)

        • MrM says:

          Did this last month in Beijing, the desk is still there. Assuming the OP is going there, a few tips:
          1. Don’t fill out the card they give you on the plane. Transit without visa has a different, longer form.
          2. Once you disembark, go and get your finger prints scanned on the automatic machines.
          3. After this, do NOT go through the body temperature scanning lanes into the main immigration area. There is a desk to the side you need to go to receive the correct form. Once you fill this out, that desk will review and stamp your passport.
          4. Once you’ve got the stamp head through the body temperature scanning lanes into the main immigration area and enter as normal.

          If all is successful you will have 2 stamps in your passport: one for transit without visa and one for main immigration entry.

    • AncientSquash says:

      A friend of mine has done this recently (April this year) – I had a multi-entry visa so didn’t require it. The rules sometimes change without much notice (eg new cities / mini-regions being added) but any Google search should pull up the latest position. The 144 hours visa free exemption is only applicable in certain cities – like Shanghai – and there are restrictions on where else in China you can travel to. The airline checking you in for your China bound flight will ask for your onward itinerary to the third country before letting you board but the decision to ultimately let you into the country / city will be made by the immigration officer. You don’t need to do anything until you actually check in. There is a dedicated channel for these types of entry in the airport and it usually takes a bit longer than normal visas but there shouldn’t be any issue so long as you have the appropriate documentation / evidence of onward flights.

      • Chris says:

        I assume there’s no hassle with departing one european country e.g. France and returning to another e.g. Holland. Can imagine someone thinking it not the ‘spirit’ of the regs even if following them literally. Any experiences?

        • Andy says:

          That’s perfectly okay. For example, one way on AF and the other way on KL works perfectly.

      • Andy says:

        Apart from Timatic, the definitive resource for 24/72/144 hours transit without visa in China is the flyertalk thread. Almost all other sources (embassies, travel agents, airlines etc etc) tend to have mistakes, omissions and ignore some of the nuances of the scheme.

    • the_real_a says:

      I have done this 3 times in the last 12 months. My advice is know the rules and confidently state them to the check in agent when they ask in bewilderment “you dont have a visa?”. You are probably the one and only customer thats traveling like this! Having said that, i had zero real issues, but do have your travel itineraries printed out on paper. They will be checked.

      • Tariq says:

        Agreed, flew F with BA to Shanghai last week, when doing online check in, it stated that the check in desk would need to see my Visa at bag drop… made me question myself. Went through F wing at T5, as you say the check in agent had no idea and checked with someone else who confirmed the visa free arrangement. Had to show our onward flight info (SQ to SIN booked via VS with miles).

        Agree with the above, don’t bother completing the immigration card distributed on the aircraft, and make sure you find and queue in the lane marked ‘144 hour visa free entry’ after completing the relevant card in that area. For us, the queue was a lot shorter than standard immigration (3 people ahead of us rather than hundreds), although only 1 desk open rather than 10ish.

        We were processed quickly and efficiently and they did thoroughly check our onward itinerary.

        Another tip, hardly anywhere in China takes credit cards, so ensure you get cash early. In PVG there were signposts to ATMs on upper floors which we should have heeded, but instead proceeded straight to the metro station expecting the ticket machine to accept Mastercard… and had to use the expensive bureau de change in that area (no other ATMs anywhere to be found).

  • Fm says:

    Looking to book some flights to Montreal for June next year, unfortunately before these ones have started! Are there any other good Avios options available?

  • Lee says:

    400,000 Amex points. Wow.

    Clearly spends an awful lot on his cards, therefore surely can afford to pay for the flights in cash.

    I only dream at getting this sort of amount. Even with decent spending.

    Will take years to acure.

    There is no short cut these days to that amount.

    £500 to Children in need if they can convince me otherwise.

  • Jake Mcloughlin says:

    O/T. Are points (Amex or BA) on credit card spend awarded on amount spent on card or the amount on the monthly statement at month end?

    I.e if I pay off my balance inter-month will I be awarded points on all spend or only on my balance on monthly statement?

    I have a very low credit limit and want to spend more while also getting points for all!

    • Alan says:

      They’re awarded per transaction so no issue paying off partway through a month.

    • RussellH says:

      Minor detail – note that points on Gold (or presumably other colours) Amex are 1 point per £, so a transaction of £2.95 gets just 2 MR points. However., BA Amex rounds to the nearest £1, so when buying your New European today at £2.50 you should use your BA Amex as you get 3 avios, while you would only get 2 MR points.
      To quote the Red white + blue supermarket, ‘every little helps’

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