Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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, 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.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 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.

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 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.

  • Louise says:

    OT – Amex Offer on my Platinum – 10% off at TFL
    Save to Card to get a 10% statement credit on pay as you go contactless payments made at TfL stations by 14/01/2019
    Offer only available to the first 60,000 Cardmembers who save the offer to their Card.

    • Rob Walker says:

      Yeah just saw that. Seems like an excellent deal. Just a shame I’m not London based and rarely visit!

    • C says:

      Don’t have this, which is a shame since I do contactless from zone 9-1 every day!

  • Rob Walker says:

    OT: I was once told that the payment due date on AMEX charge cards is somewhat ‘flexible’, and that as long as you make payment before your next statement is generated, nothing bad will happen.

    Does anyone have recent experience of doing this? I was actually told this by AMEX customer services, but as I was actually calling to ask about the direct debit on my SPG *credit* card, I didn’t have much confidence in him!

    • Voltron says:

      My “due” date is always 13/14 days after the plat charge statement, seems very short timeline compared to other providers

      • Rob Walker says:

        Yes, it’s always a much shorter period than even their own credit cards.

        • Lumma says:

          Maybe it’s similar to the direct debit date they use for their credit cards which I think is 2 weeks before the final due date. Suppose it comes in handy if the payment is rejected for any reason as you have time to rectify it without incurring any charges

    • Lady London says:

      Personally I wouldn’t do anything that could show up as a missed payment on an Amex charge card. It’s just not worth the risk if this type of “unpublicised” policy changes or gets audited.

  • John says:

    If my Iberia balance is currently negative due to the promotional Avios I transferred to BA will I be able to transfer anything I buy in this promo?

    • Anna says:

      It might just reduce your negative balance, why not buy the smallest amount first and see what happens?

    • Peter K says:

      I once had a negative balance in my account (about -100 IIRC). I could not use combine my avios (I tried to move points into the account to make it positive) until I had earned avios to make the amount a positive figure again via an outside source (eg Tesco transfer).

    • Lady London says:

      I am quite certain Iberia will swallow whatever Avios you put in there, up until the balance is positive again.

  • Andy says:

    OT but bits. I have 2200 accor points expiring at the start of January and no plans to use them. Are there any cheap ways to keep those points alive? I see their e-rewards programme gives 250 points with the first completed survey, but would they post in time to keep my balance alive?

    • Andy says:

      Forgot e-rewards is invitation only, so that option is out.

    • marcw says:

      Cheap europcar? Use them?

    • Alan says:

      They have their own opinion panel thing “Club opinions” It gives you points for completing surveys. It also extends the expiry date of your points. Given the small number fo points you earn from doing their surveys, the expiry extension is the most useful part of the whole thing.

      • Alan says:

        Totally agree – the number points they award is a pittance, esp given how long the surveys can take (or how often they screen you out half way through) but resetting expiry is definitely handy!

    • Peter K says:

      Not sure if it still works (I never did manage to get it to work first time round) but you used to be able to turn small amounts of Accor points into avios at Iberia.

      • Shoestring says:

        The auto convert trick of *any* amount of Accor points to IB Avios is still going strong, you need to be prepared to mess around a little to get it working, though

  • Liz says:

    OT Small Shop question – if the same Shop appears in two different towns can you use the same card in both shops and get both credits. They weren’t both listed last year but this year they are. It’s wines and spirits so would be good to get it in both as we can’t use the Magestic Wine offer up here over the border!

    • EwanG says:

      Liz. Yes. And to answer my own question from the other day, if a participating SS retailer has multiple branches but a branch is not shown on the map (through the map view of searching for the retailer name) you could still get the credit. Tested this out on Wednesday and received the email even though the branch I went to is not on the map at all, but other locations (including the city centre location) are.
      Good to hear -makes up for the Majestic loss!

      • Liz says:

        Great Ewan thanks. Tried one shop in Cupar today and will try again in St Andrews next week!

        • BJ says:

          Ewan/Liz, have you found any good chocolate shops? The usual suspects in Edinburgh do not appear to be on the map this year.

        • EwanG says:

          James, Coco still appears on the map. I will head there next week! Is that what you are referring to?? Not too far to some branches of Margiotta (mentioned in previous days by others), Vino and other off licenses – also good places for lunch / dinner!

        • BJ says:

          Yes, thanks Ewan, I have no idea what I am doing with the map, even when directly searching Coco it didn’t come up. I have not started this year yet do I better get a move on.

        • Liz says:

          The map is useless. I sat one night a few weeks ago and wrote out all the local towns and shops that we could visit over this 2 wks. I wrote down a fish shop in Arbroath. Went to the shop today and spent £30 and agreed to pay over 3 cards but it wouldn’t go through. Checked the map again when I got home and it’s not there now. It was definitely there a few weeks ago. Had to use my IHG card instead. Managed to use it in the Nickel and Dime for some bits and pieces today. It also didn’t appear again when I put in Arbroath but did when I put in Nickel and Dime. Strange things happening with the map.

          Not found any specific chocolate shops. Trying not to buy any! There was some chocolates in Luthvians in Cupar today which is a wine merchant but has a deli section as well. Lovely shop!

        • BJ says:

          Yes, it is the map that has discouraged me from even trying so far this year, and experiences like yours don’t help either. I will try Coco to stock up on Colombian chocolate, Margiotta and Dusit Thai. I don’t fancy chasing a whole load of missing transactions so I’ll not be overdoing it. Good luck with your tea and sail, it was rough out there today 🙂

          • Alan says:

            Indeed – I’ve just done a couple of Margiotta so far this year! Have done well with other Amex Offers though – am loving Morrison’s being on every purchase, planning quite a few more!!

        • Liz says:

          My experience has been ok so far except the one shop today. Done 22 transactions and only 4 I’ve not had emails for. Other Amex offers have all posted so far too.

        • BJ says:

          Ah, that sounds more encouraging Liz.

  • GRIMZ says:

    OT, Does anyone know how this will work:
    Booked flights today for me and my father on a BA 241 to Bangkok.
    I wanted to book this for me and my wife but we were recently married and I need to change the name. BA are doing this for me but the name change will take time.
    I will call up to change the name on the 241 once this has been done and pay the £35 fee but was there a better way of doing this?
    BA wouldn’t book the flights while I was awaiting the change of surname?

    • Louise says:

      Is she getting a new passport? i went away when married still on my maiden name

    • Alex W says:

      Could you just create her as a “new person” on your friends and family list?

      As long as the name on the passport matches the name on the ticket when she flies, there is no problem.

      NB if you weren’t aware you can cancel a ticket for free within 24 hrs of booking BUT award seats may not be available any more.

    • Anna says:

      If the 2 4 1 is being used for you and your father, why do you need to change the name on that?

      If you mean you’ve booked a separate ticket for your wife, I’m not sure name changes fall within the £35 change policy.

      • GRIMZ says:

        Sorry iv maybe not made myself clear. Its me and my wife that are going but I have booked the other ticket for my father until I get the name changed. (means the seat is secured and I don’t miss out)
        I hope I don’t have to pay £70 for cancelling both names and rebooking?

        • Shoestring says:

          Just out of interest, no criticism intended, why have you done it this way, GRIMZ? You could just have booked using your wife’s maiden name. Her name doesn’t somehow change (legally) because she got married to you. As far as anybody else is concerned, she might now be Mrs Grimz but legally she’s both Ms Maiden Name *AND* Mrs Grimz & I guess her passport is still Ms Maiden Name unless you feel like wasting money on a new unnecessary passport.

        • Mark2 says:

          I thought that I had read that it was not possible to change the name on an airline ticket. Hope I was misinformed.

          • Rob says:

            You can’t change the name. If you could, people would buy up cheap flights 11 months in advance and resell them 1 month in advance in order to pocket a massive profit.

        • Anna says:

          You can make minor changes with some airlines, if, for example, you spelled the name wrong on the booking (don’t laugh, my OH has actually done this!). Delta wanted £65 to amend one letter in my middle name so we just risked it and it was fine. But Rob is right, you can’t effectively change the person travelling. You’d have to cancel the whole booking, hope the seats reappear and re-book. And I think it will be £70 to cancel for 2 of you unless you do it within 24 hours.

        • Louise says:

          The thing to do would book your wife under maiden name and if she did get a new passport then change her name!
          Hopefully you are within 24 hrs?

        • Shoestring says:

          My wife has never bothered to change anything to be Mrs Shoestring on paper, she has just kept her maiden name for absolutely everything, work, passport, bank, bills, house deeds etc.

          Far easier that way, she says – & it’s certainly never remotely bothered me.

          I think she has 1 email address she uses with ‘my’ surname on – but that was probably just because she needed another name/ alias to remember & not confuse with her maiden name email addresses.

        • Anna says:

          Shoestring, that’s exactly like me. I hope you take advantage of her dual identity…

  • Dawn says:

    I’m about 3 weeks away from my Iberia account being 90 days old. Can I buy the Avios now, wait for the 3 weeks and then transfer to my BA account?

    • Shoestring says:


      • Shoestring says:

        ly not (sorry pressed send!)

        You can try buying the Avios but not sure it lets you until a/c 90 days old & you’ve earned more than 1 Avios

    • Anna says:

      As far as I can gather, you can buy the Groupon avios (it’s easier than I thought it would be after setting up my Iberia and Spanish Groupon accounts, let’s just hope they post now!), but not the Iberia bonus avios.

  • BOI says:

    OT: Any bonus to refer or join BAEC?

    • Peter K says:

      No. I’ve never known them to offer one.

    • marcw says:

      There are every now and again, but usually targeted to other countries (Germany and Italy I think were the last offers)

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.