Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

A warning for British Airways Gold Guest List / GUF / GUF2 holders

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If you a high level member of the Executive Club you may, depending on your tier points, receive a ‘Gold Upgrade’ or ‘Gold Upgrade for Two’ voucher, generally known as a GUF1 / GUF2.  This lets you upgrade a cash or Avios British Airways ticket by one class.

Most GUF holders think that you need Avios availability in the higher class to use the voucher.  This is NOT true if you are upgrading a cash ticket.

What IS true is that, if you try to use your GUF on a cash ticket via ba.com, there MUST be Avios availability in the higher class.  However if you book via a travel agent then this is NOT the case.   Your GUF upgrade can be processed as long as CASH tickets are still available in the higher class in the cheaper ticket buckets.

Can I get into a British Airways lounge with a Gold card?

You can find out more on this travel agent website here which is one of the few agencies who actually know how to process a GUF.

If you want to upgrade a cash-bought Club World ticket to First Class, you need an ‘A’ class ticket available in First.  These are the cheap(er) non-refundable ones.

Now we get to the point …..

From 10th December, British Airways is withdrawing ‘A’ class availability on Dubai and Boston.  Only ‘F’ bucket First Class seats will be sold on those routes.  This is part of “a trial of new inventory buckets” – you can read more about it here.

It is likely that a travel agent will NOT be able to book a GUF into a cash bucket for Boston or Dubai after close of play on December 9th.  If you had been planning to use your GUF to travel in First on either of these routes you may want to move quickly.  Abu Dhabi remains a nearby alternative for Dubai of course.

This will also impact the ‘joker’ reward space opened up for Gold Guest List members since that also requires First Class to be showing ‘A’ bucket availability.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 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

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

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:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) 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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 30,000 points bonus, worth 30,000 Avios, until 4th February 2023 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 a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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 (174)

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

  • Shoestring says:

    Personally I think 300,000 Avios @1.07p/ point is a steal and very much a non-brainer if you don’t have much of a stash. It allows you to grab reward flights @T-355, for example – especially good if you are forced by kids to travel peak, eg school hols.

    Whilst it’s obviously silly to check the value of your reward flights closer to departure date, it’s also great fun. So our 4 Xmas/ New Year flights are now pricing up at £3300 return, that works out at (£3300 -£140 RFS)/60000 = 5.27p/ point of value 🙂

    None of the hassle of collecting points in dribs & drabs, you just make a simple clean payment – and whammo! you’ve got 300,000 Avios sitting in your account.

    • Anna says:

      +1 to all of that!

    • BJ says:

      All depends where you are going. It would be nonsense for Asia and even USA given cash fares in past three years. zig flexibility is required that could clinch it in these markets too though.

      • Stu N says:

        Cash Business fares have been good, cash F much less so. But cash J + ~30-40k Avios + Avios availability = extremely good value for F. Plus you earn TPs and Avios on the underlying cash fare….

    • Alex W says:

      @harry not necessarily a no brainer, not everyone has £3000 lying around, or you’d lose out on interest earnings on that cash.

      • Shoestring says:

        It’s the same price pro rata for 100,000 + 50,000 = 150K Avios

    • Lady London says:

      I looked at that and the numbers still didn’t really work for me. Cash fares where I would use them equated exactly to the cost of the avios at all price levels. There was no upside to having these extra avios on any route I would conceivably book them for.

      Plus there is my huge worry and suspicion about the potentially evil plans of British Airways that are as yet unannounced, that could kill the Avios programme entirely for me. It’s just not worth the risk for me till we know more about the upcoming changes.

      The only thing I didn’t think about was whether I would use Upgrade with Avios on any of my routes. Which I would agree is a marvellous use of Avios if you’re already buying up a bit on the cash fare so that you can take advantage of that. For others a sure good use though.

  • Dave says:

    Hugely O/T

    Looking at Eurostar plus onward travel in France via trainline.eu. The Eurostar prices are the same when booked separately, but booking the SNCF separately results in about a 60 euro uplift.

    Do you receive any sort of FT points for booking direct with Eurostar / is it worth it? (obviously not in this case)

    • Rob says:

      No, only Club Eurostar points.

    • Ben says:

      @Dave Booking direct with Eurostar is worthwhile because generally you get Club points on the whole value of the whole booking – including TGV, Thalys and similar connecting trains. The additional points are also qualifying for status, which can be useful for getting or retaining Carte Blanche.

      I say ‘generally’ because some uncommon fares, whilst sold together by Eurostar are technically split tickets, so the connecting train doesn’t qualify for points. In practice this has never happened to me and I’m not sure if their IT can track them anyway!

    • Lady London says:

      I think it varies according to where you are going and in which direction.

      Linking any other train journey with Eurostar has always worked out for expensive for me. In both directions. I always end up booking the Eurostar separately. That does lose you protection in case of train irrops though.

  • Alan says:

    Using the my last GUV2 next month, can’t see me getting another anytime soon but quite a devaluation if this spreads, I’ve used it for A class to/from Sydney!

  • Frankie says:

    OT but it is Bits. I’m flying one way London to Brisbane on Boxing Day Emirates economy. I’ve had an email offer to upgrade to business from Dubai to Brisbane leg (14 hours) for £746. Plane is 777-300ER and the seat is the lie angled flat seat. I’ve never been on a lie angle seats so wondering if anyone has any insight on the seat or thoughts on whether the upgrade is worth it as I am tempted. I can only find Emirates A380 biz reviews on here in fully flat non angled seats. Thanks in advance for any replies.

    • Mike says:

      I think BNE gets the new 77W biz layout.

      2 x 3 x 2 arrangement.

    • Steve says:

      I have flown both the old and new angled seats and whilst the hard product isnt fantastic, the soft product makes up for it. The complementary chauffeur drive from Brisbane is worth factoring in if it saves you a taxi fare. Dont forget to pay on Amex Gold if you have it, to earn 2x points on airline spend.

    • Alex W says:

      Also factor in any extra miles you’ll earn, assuming that you will get them for the higher class. If not then £746 sounds a bit steep for 1 leg.

    • Lady London says:

      What was the fare you originally paid for your current travel class?
      Gut feeling is it’s a bit on the steep side. I might have thought about it for £400-500 or so though.

      • frakie says:

        Hello. I paid £800 for the economy fare one way. The email offering the upgrade says no extra miles (from original ticket) and no lounge access and no extra luggage and no chauffeur. So just the cabin upgrade

  • Anna says:

    OT ish. Trying to open an IB plus account but it won’t accept my passport number and keeps telling me to contact the service centre. Anyone else had this issue?

    • Anna says:

      Cancel – I’ve now got an email welcoming me to Iberia Plus, even though all I got on the website was the message saying there was a problem with my passport number!

      • Mark2 says:

        Welcome to the Iberia website!

        • Shoestring says:

          Yep wait until you want to actually use Plustore of heaven forbid book a reward flight 🙂

          IB website is generally acknowledged to be a complete PITA.

        • Lady London says:

          PITA level of the Iberia website is only exceded by the PITA level of a great many of their telephone agents. A few are wonderful but the great majority seem unskilled and not customer friendly.

    • Anna says:

      Yes I’m starting to get that! It’s now saying I can’t buy avios under the promotion, do you have to have had an account for a certain amount of time to be able to do this? Would it also affect any I bought via Groupon?

      • Peter K says:

        Needs to be open for 90 days AND have had at least 1avios of activity to purchase avios from Iberia *direct*.

        Buying avios from Groupon and putting it in your Iberia account is allowed during the initial 90 day period and counts as the activity you need (but you still need to wait for 90 days to buy direct from Iberia or transfer into/out of Iberia via combine my avios).

        • Anna says:

          Thanks – needless to say it would have been helpful to get that message from Iberia! (However, I am half Spanish and am quite used to the monolithic bureaucracy and lack of clarity in many areas of operation!)

      • MD says:

        I can help with the second question at least. It won’t affect Groupon. I set up an Iberia Plus account just for that deal, bought a voucher the same day and the avios from Groupon posted within a couple of days.

      • marcw says:

        I think you need to earn at least 1 Avios before you are able to buy.

      • Lady London says:

        And for the thing you’re thinking of Anna if you start with Plusstore it can add a bit to what you receive apparently

  • Shane says:

    If, as seems likely, this ‘enhancement’ is eventually rolled out to all destinations, it will mean that GUFs will not be able to be used to upgrade from Business to First. I would imagine that currently a significant proportion of GUFs is currently used for just this purpose, so if this does come to pass, it would represent a serious devaluation of GUFs to BAEC’s theoretically most valuable members. It’s the jokers that keep me motivated to remain GGL. If they will no longer work on upgrades from Business to First, then I shall probably give up the struggle

    • Riku says:

      it is not just those with the GUF voucher. first class round the world tickets and the like book into A class, so unless something is done about that, those routes would not be available to people using those kind of tickets.

    • will says:

      Jokers really are the appeal of GGL for me too.

      I wonder if this means an end to First class avios to Boston/Dubai?

      Unless of course they do away with A and then make F available for GUF/Joker redemption, that would be great if that were the case. (I can’t be sure but that might have been a pig flying outside of the window just now)

      • Lady London says:

        Was the flying pig that you just saw, pink? In which case I think I might have seen that flying pig too! 🙂

  • shd says:

    “In First Class –BA is increasing the number of inventory buckets from five to six on BOS, which are available through all booking channels”

    What ARE they talking about here? Since when did First have FIVE inventory buckets?

    Rob, why are you saying they’re reducing the number of buckets when the linked doc at BA.com seems to be saying the exact opposite?

  • mike says:

    I’m also confused by this statement in the linked doc:

    //
    We will be maintaining semi-flex fares which will maintain the A-class fare basis code but will
    now be bookable in F (the only remaining RBD in First). The availability of these fares will depend on
    the availability in the Club World cabin, as will some of the new Fully Flexible fares which will have
    an F- Fare Basis Code. You will be able to continue to use existing Branded Fares entries to
    differentiate between these two products.
    //

    So an F fare code could mean a restricted First ticket or a fully-flexible one, and you’ll have to check the booking conditions to be sure?

    And how is that related to Club World availability?

    /confused

    • shd says:

      >> So an F fare code could mean a restricted First ticket or a fully-flexible one, and you’ll have to check the booking conditions to be sure?

      Some marketing genius has probably told BA’s management that being restricted to 26 fare buckets, one for each letter in the alphabet, isn’t nearly enough.

      Far better to fiddle with fare buckets than actually spend money fixing flaws in BA’s product.

      • mike says:

        Clearly:

        //
        In World Traveller – for those booking through BA’s direct channels or an NDC enabled
        connection, BA is increasing the number of inventory buckets from eleven to twenty-five.
        Nine of these inventory buckets remain available for booking through all channels.
        //

        TWENTY FIVE in WT alone…

        I note there’s 12 WT buckets (YBHKLMNSVQOG) in terms of alphabet codes, so I still don’t understand, but then I’m not a travel agent.

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