Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

British Airways launches flights from London Heathrow to Preveza and Bastia

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British Airways has announced two new Summer routes to Preveza (Greece) and Bastia (Corsica) starting from May 2019.

Flights to Preveza will be operating on Wednesdays and Sundays starting on 26th May, departing London Heathrow at 08:20 on Wednesdays (arriving 13:45) and 11:25 on Sundays (arriving 16:50) and returning from Preveza at 14:45 on Wednesdays (arriving 16:10). This seasonal flight will be operated until 29th September.

British Airways A320

Starting on 25th May there will also be a once weekly flight from Heathrow to Bastia. This flight will be operating on Saturdays leaving Heathrow at 07:40 (arriving 11:00) and returning from Bastia at 11:50 (landing at 13:10). The last flight of the season will be on 28th September.

As new routes, London Heathrow to Preveza and Bastia are wide open for Avios availability and bookable as of now.

To maximise your miles when paying, your best bet is the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card which earns double Avios (3 per £1) when you book at or via BA Holidays.  You do not get double Avios if you book with the free British Airways American Express card.  Another option is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold which offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.

On the downside, British Airways has announced that flights to Murcia will not resume next Summer.  There has also been an unannounced cut in the weekend services from Manchester to Ibiza, which drop from four weekly flights to just one.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 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.

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 £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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) 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

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points 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 (144)

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

  • Kip says:

    O/T – Aegean is currently running a 50% bonus when you buy miles.
    The maximum is 75k (50k + 25k) = €1250.
    Looks expensive but might be suitable for a top-up at the lower end of the scale.

    • Prins Polo says:

      Do purchased miles count towards A3 *G status? I have a vague recollection they used to at some point in the past.

      • Kip says:

        You can purchase up to 1000 tier miles (for Blue – it might be more for Silver/Gold) that will count towards status but the bonus is only on reward miles which don’t count.

  • Tom S says:

    Good news about HR to Asia Miles transfers. Do you know Rob if there are any upcoming Avios ones too?

  • Sandgrounder says:

    OT- Visiting my first Best Western tonight. I have joined BW Rewards and was status matched to the ‘Diamond Select’ top tier (honest claim by me, but no proof requested!). I have heard mixed reviews on recognition, does anyone have experience they would like to share? Should I push hard if refused or is it useless and all I will get is pee in my kettle?

    • FlyingChris says:

      My only BW stay (with Diamond through a status match) was in Orlando & got upgraded from a base room to a huge family suite, which was unexpected as it was a cheap-as-chips 3rd party Hotwire booking. Presume milage is extremely hotel dependant.

      • Tom H says:

        Stayed in a few BW in Canada and the US as diamond, and always been very well treated and upgraded to the best available suite in the place which has been nice. One stay in the UK, Yorkshire somewhere and not so great no recognition other than I think a drink voucher.

    • Trickster says:

      Stayed in the best western in garmisch partenkirchen, Germany in July. Excellent hotel. No officially diamond recognition, due to it being a BW premier and making the booking through However I think they upgraded us to a slightly better room with a good mountain view, plus points tracked despite being a 3rd party booking which was a nice surprise.

  • Shoestring says:

    Heathrow tests face scanners to cut check-in time by a third
    PRESENTING a passport at the airport could become a thing of the past, as Heathrow is testing facial recognition technology that means documents no longer need to be scanned at check-in.
    The technology is being fully introduced next year and is expected to reduce the time it takes to go from check-in to take-off by up to a third.
    At present passengers need to present different forms of ID such as boarding cards as well as their passports to show that they are authorised to travel. The option of using facial recognition technology means that a passenger will go through a scanner at the airport which will enable the details of their flight to be checked on a system. When a passenger has travelled from the airport once, their details will be stored so they are recognised on future trips.
    Heathrow said that by using facial recognition at check-in, bag drops, security lanes and boarding gates, the need to present a passport would eventually be unnecessary. Passengers will still need to carry their passports to present on arrival at their destination.
    The airport has invested £50million in the project, which is part of a wider programme of investment to reduce the amount of time passengers spend in airports.
    Jonathan Coen, Heathrow customer relations and service director, said: “As our passenger numbers continue to grow, we must look for innovative ways to make it easier and quicker for them to travel through Heathrow with choice, whilst keeping our airport secure.
    “Biometrics are key to helping us do that, and we are really excited about the biggest roll-out of this equipment at any UK airport.”

    • Lumma says:

      Haven’t they been doing something like this on domestics? I remember getting my photo taken at security when flying on a domestic to Newcastle in August.

      Also what happens when you haven’t shown anyone your passport, you get to immigration at the destination and you’ve realise you never had it on you?

      • Shoestring says:

        I think some countries would let you in if they could get sighting of your passport, ie you scanned it & saved it online, leaving you to head for the Embassy pronto to get replacement!

        Everybody should do this (scan & save online) as a matter of course in any event.

      • Andrew says:

        I always carry it in case the policy changes, but I’ve never shown a Passport to travel on a domestic BA flight from Heathrow or Edinburgh.

      • John says:

        Biometrics on domestics is a different matter to what is being discussed. In UK airports, domestic and international flights leave from the same airside gate areas. However, at LHR, LGW and MAN, passengers are able to transit internationally without entering the UK.

        Therefore, someone flying e.g. CAI-LHR-JFK will pass through security when transiting at LHR, but they don’t go through immigration (passport control). Someone flying LHR-EDI could be departing from the adjacent gate. Passengers could swap/steal boarding passes and then someone who did not enter the UK properly could fly the domestic flight and walk out of the airport without going through immigration.

        Thus, a facial photo of domestic (and DUB) passengers is captured before they enter airside, which confirms that they were already in the UK before going airside. At airports other than LHR, LGW and MAN, everyone going airside is already inside the UK so this problem doesn’t arise.

        The article Harry posted is about showing your passport once, after which your biometrics will be recorded, and then this photo would be used to pass through check-in, security and boarding on future flights both domestic and international.

    • Bootlace says:

      Most biometric security systems struggle in the real world. With facial recognition, even in lab conditions, the rate of false positives is way too high to trust as real security.
      In practice most pilot projects end up using biometrics as a quick and dirty filter, with humans reviewing a percentage of the results.

      • JohnT says:

        Flying into Oakland – the US immigration use BOTH – ie you had to use the biometrics first to print a voucher, you then had to queue for an official to look again at the documents! Fortunately were at front of queue. IS this common now?

    • John says:

      I have passports of 3 countries and the one I use depends on which country I’m flying to, so that the airline knows I’m allowed to enter.

      I have problems 50% of the time when using the e-gates to enter the UK, although (using my British passport) the e-gates in other EU/EEA countries work 100% of the time.

      I don’t have high hopes that this is going to go smoothly, someone is going to get confused when I enter my Australian passport on API and Heathrow biometrics matches me to my British one…. I suppose it won’t matter when flying to the EU/EEA after March, since all my passports will become just as good as each other 🙂

  • VJ says:

    I wonder is Amex Amazon connect code ‘AMEX16SWP’ is reported to be working for accounts that has used this offer last year.

    I don’t see code works any more for with on a my Amazon account (I used this offer last year).

    • Shoestring says:

      No they stopped people double dipping – I got 5x family a/cs to work twice but they cancelled the 6th a/c’s order (on purpose, as items were in stock) – I tried again on the 6th & no joy getting the code accepted again.

      Still good for first-timers, though – £15 off £25 @ Amazon

  • Optimus Prime says:

    OT – I have 9k Hilton Honors points expiring by end of this month. My wife has 2.5k.

    We don’t have the Hilton Barclaycard. Is there any way to keep them alive? I have Amex MR points so I guess I could transfer the minimum.

    My wife doesn’t have any Amex MR points. I guess she could by some points or just let them expire since it’s a small amount?


    • Rob says:

      Pool them and transfer 10k into 1k airline miles.

    • The Original Nick says:

      You can now pool your points together for free to save losing your Wife’s points.

      • Optimus Prime says:

        I have just submitted a request to combiner our accounts. It says it can take up to 10 business days. That would be past our points expiry date.

        Do they really take that long to merge them?

        • Genghis says:

          Takea a day or two from experience. Note I was able to transfer my MR points to my HH and my wife’s HH (same surname) accounts earlier this year.

        • Optimus Prime says:

          Thanks @Genghis. We don’t have the same surname so I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best 😀

        • John says:

          I think you chose the wrong option – you don’t want to combine or merge anything. You can only combine two of your own accounts (which would have been opened by mistake, since multiple accounts are not allowed).

          As Rob and Nick said, you need to “pool” your points.

          This involves the recipient account submitting any email address (which you have access to) in the Pool Points form. Then log out of Hilton, wait 5 minutes, and click the link in the email; log into the donor account and this brings you to a page where you enter the number of points you want to transfer (9000 or 2000).

          This usually takes around 24 hours, after which one of your accounts will have at least 11000 points, you can then as Rob suggests transfer them to airline miles, or use it to make a booking at a 10000 points hotel or points&money at any hotel.

          Which direction you want to pool the points depends on whose airline account you want the miles to go to, or whose name you want the hotel stay to be in. Pooling points doesn’t count as activity.

        • John says:

          Also any accounts which have been open for 90 days can be used for pooling, the names don’t matter.

    • Lady London says:

      I used the Hilton shopping portal for a tiny purchase (allowing a few weeks before expiry to allow t he points to credit). This seems to have kept my points alive another year.

      Not sure why I’m bothering though. Award costs for a lot of hotels seem to have snuck upwards in the past year or so. Hilton seems ok for recognition, less for free nights so far as I can tell.

  • Kipto says:

    O/T five nights for the price of four with SPG/Marriott. I am staying at the Essex House in New York in April. I have made use of the free fifth night even though I won’t be staying a fifth night as my flight back from JFK is the evening of the fifth night and I will be leaving the hotel mid afternoon. I read of early departure charges but there don’t appear to be any details. As I have Gold status with Marriott/SPG I have 2pm checkout anyway “ subject to availability” plus I will be paying a resort fee of $25 for the fifth night which I won’t be staying in. Am I safe to check out of the hotel mid afternoon after my fourth night without incurring early departure fees. ?

  • Ott141 says:


    Does anyone know if an automated ‘rewards night availability’ search engine exists for Marriott/SPG properties? I’m thinking something like BAredemption which pulls availability periodically and notifies?

    Trying to redeem points at a specific property but only cash rate available at the moment…manually checking is a drawn out process…anyone come across something like this?



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

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