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.

  • Michael Jennings says:

    OT: Something slightly amusing happened to me last week.

    I stayed Friday night (12-13th October) at the Holiday Inn Prague Airport, which cost 15,000 IHG points. My flight was late, which meant I didn’t check in until about 2am. Everything was perfectly fine with the hotel. However, when I look at my IHG account now, I have been refunded the 15,000 points. In my stays history, the stay is shown as 0 nights – 13th October to 13th October, and costing 0 points. I haven’t been treated as a no show or charged a no-show fee, but I have seemingly had a reward stay of 0 nights.

    Anyone else had anything like this happen? People must check into hotels after midnight all the time, particularly at airport hotels, so I can’t imagine this happens every time anyone does.

    • Rob says:

      BEWARE. This is what IHG rules say: if you ‘no show’ on a points night, you get your points back BUT your credit card is charged the fully flexible room rate for that night.

      It happened to me once – I wrote about it but, as I didn’t name the hotel, I can’t find the article. I forgot to cancel a redemption for my brother and, at 9am, I got a Amex notification on my iPhone showing a £200 room charge going through. I quickly realised what had happened, called the hotel and had a row over what constituted ‘check-in’. They agreed that as long as I turned up before 11am (check-out time) I could officially check-in and I’d get my £200 back.

      So I threw the kids in a taxi (wife was out), dashed to Camden, checked in, nicked the room toiletries and then we hit the market for a bit!

      • Russ says:

        A points Warrior!

      • Michael Jennings says:

        Yes, I understand that this is what is supposed to happen, but in my case only half of it has. The points have been refunded, but nothing has been charged to my credit card. I haven’t received any e-mail or notification telling me that I am going to be charged, either, and the night is shown in my past stays on the IHG website (but with the same day for check-in and check-out). Perhaps they were half way through the process of marking me as a no show when I walked in the door.
        I’ll keep watching my credit card, obviously.

        • Lyn says:

          IHG sometimes correct their own points mistakes later, even months later. Presumably the hotel will realise at some stage that they haven’t been paid by IHG for the stay, so IHG may stilll deduct the points from your account.

    • Alex W says:

      Rob, after an overnight flight I need to check in to IC Bangkok around 7am. I have booked paid nights before and after. Do you think this will be ok and should I still get 2 nights credit?

      • Rob says:

        Yes, will be fine BUT let them know in advance as they decide you will be a no-show and give your room away if full or if someone turns up at 2am without anywhere to stay.

    • Lady London says:

      I wouldn;t call 2am a no show.
      One hotel I use regularly told me they consider it a no show if you haven’t turned up by 8am unless you’ve called them.

      If you did this on the first night of your reservation I guess all the nights of your reservation could get flushed?

  • JPa says:

    OT: Just checking again if anyone has the link to upgrade the BA free card to the BA Premium for 10000 avios, either from the amex account page, app or from an email. I can’t see it on my account and no luck with google or asking amex on chat. Thanks

    • Benylin says:

      No such thing afaik

      • JPa says:

        It was mentioned in a number of posts yesterday, but nobody posted the link.

        • Shoestring says:

          Whereas people ringing Amex CS get no joy these days if they ask for cardmember offers to be added, there are reports of people seeing success when they ask for a card upgrade offer.

  • Optimus Prime says:

    Another OT…

    When using Priority Pass at Gatwick Granary Store – do you get £15 credit for a guest too or only PP cardholders do?

    • Optimus Prime says:

      I meant Grain Store….

    • New Card says:

      £15 per person including guests. Just be careful when you sign their machine that they’ve inputted the right number of guests…

    • Matt says:

      Was there with my wife recently, managed to use self plus guest on my priority pass card and one use on hers to cover the whole bill. The waitress went to ask someone but came back saying that was fine.

  • Billy says:

    Hope to use Preveza flights next year. Parga, nearby, is stunning.

  • Alex says:

    OT Have seen the answer in the comments before but can remember which article. Had Amex Gold upgraded to Plat after 4 months, no fee charged. Coming up to original Gold anniversary which I believe will trigger Plat fee to be charged. Is this retrospective ie for the 8 months I’ve had Plat + a further 4 rather than for a further 12 months? Thanks in advance.

  • Nick says:

    Withdrawing cash in the EU:

    Best to use starling, curve or Revolut. I have all 3.

    And for Norma card purchases?

    • Genghis says:

      For me:

      Cash withdrawals = starling. No monthly limits, no charge but no rewards, fully flat (Curve is 1% + £2 if underlying card non-EUR IIRC) and Revolut is 2% charge after £200 pcm)

      Purchases = Revolut (no charge during the week and benefit of underlying card top up points). Weekend is 0.5% charge in EUR but you can earn that back on underlying card points. Curve has now charged charges but I’ve no limit. Starling not for purchases in EUR. I used in South Korea and HK recently though when Revolut’s weekend surcharging is prohibitive.

      • rams1981 says:

        How is starling topped up?

      • KevMc says:

        You can topup via a straight old-fashioned bank transfer (unlimited) from your existing account, or top up in the app using a ‘Debit Card’ (up to £250/day)

      • RakishDriver says:

        Isn’t curve zero FX charge now up to a certain £ amount ?
        Provided you withdraw during the week, hit that withdrawal limit before charges hit, then switch to starling as suggested (only recently became their customer) – at least you bank some points.

      • MD says:

        Sorry Genghis maybe I’m missing something here. If you’re happy to use Starling for cash withdrawals, why wouldn’t you also use it for purchases? OK it’s a debit card so no credit card protection, but you obv don’t mind that if you’re using Revolut instead.

        • Genghis says:

          Starling = no limit or charge on cash withdrawals but no reward. No reward on purchases
          Revolut = limits and charges on cash withdrawals. Rewards on purchases from underlying card.

        • MD says:

          Oh I see, rewards from topping up using a credit card. Knew I was forgetting something. Cheers G.

    • Delbert says:

      “And for Norma card purchases?”

      That for me would be my Halifax Clarity card. Starling is okay for cash withdrawals but the topping up and withdrawal limits are strange and quite low.

      • Lumma says:

        Starling for cash withdrawals, I took a small overdraft that they offered when I set up the account which allows me to withdraw cash and then I send the money from the notification straight across to avoid any interest charges

    • Dimitri says:

      Fair enough. However, why they keep it for old customers and not offer it for new ones?

      I remember reading that it was cancelled for most customers and I am surprised I am one of the lucky ones!

  • Nick says:

    As a follow on to the stansted escape lounge, I’ve heard that’s it’s almost impossible to gain entry in the early mornings.

    What about prior to a 5pm departure?

    I will of course report back

    • Michael Jennings says:

      The thing that annoys me about the Stansted Escape Lounge is that it closes at 8.30pm, when the last flight normally departs around midnight. Yes, it is true that there are relatively few flights after 8.30pm, but there are some. Also, there are often a few flights that have been delayed. If my flight is delayed – that’s when I most want a lounge.

      • Lady London says:

        +1. They’re not interested in serving the stragglers I expect. they are open for the good hours not to provide a service.

        Not sure if Stansted could be lobbied to require opening times up to 1 hour before the last flight? else we could really really do with another lounge under different ownership at Stansted and I’m sure it would make money

        The only airport I dislike more than Stansted and Luton is Berlin Schoenefeld. Just about OK landside if not too crowded, but rubbish at all times from the point you start going through the xrays.

    • Lady London says:

      I’ve always got in at 4.30am.
      Much after that though, and I see people being turned away.
      Large parties that book there can close off lots of the lounge. Even at that hour. They seem to reserve tables hours before the people who booked them will arrive.
      Without a lounge I don’t think I’d have the strength to use Stansted airport. IMV it’s a hellhole that only exceeded in hellishness by Luton.

  • Paul says:


    Any advantage of using Marriott APP Check-in?
    Staying at JWM Singapore.

    • Genghis says:

      None IMO. Much better dealing with people face-to-face.

    • Rob says:

      Not until the day they convince us that you won’t get a better upgrade at the desk (which you usually will).

    • fivebobbill says:

      Stayed here for one night on points in Feb this year after disembarking from cruise ship, super hotel!! I’m a Marriott Gold, so at the time was in line for lounge access/breakfast/late check out etc. Didn’t do online check in, but upgrade was showing in the app the night before.
      Did a “walk off with luggage” from ship, so arrived at the hotel just just after 8am, couldn’t do enough, wonderful check-in desk experience then shown to the “lounge” to enjoy breakfast. Just over half an hour later someone from the front desk arrived up and presented me with my room key! Made our way up before 9am to be greeted by our suitcases in a suite overlooking the city/Clarke Quay area, marvellous! Hotel right next to Raffles and a short walk into town.
      Late flight home next day, so given a 6pm checkout, then some food and a few aperitifs in the lounge again before taxi to airport… even gave us both a free arm and hands massage over afternoon tea in that lounge!
      With the early check in and late departure we spent almost 2 full days there and never it cost me a penny.
      You’ll love the place, wish I was going back tomorrow…

      • Mr Marriott says:

        “I’m a Marriott Gold, so at the time….”

        ….except now, everything has changed.

        Thus the majority of what you mention would not be on offer to a mere ‘Gold’ today (or at least, certainly not guaranteed)

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

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