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, 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 (December 2022)

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:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 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

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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.


    O/T Virgin Atlantic Credit Card sign up bonus might not be what you think it will be, at least it is not for me. I have had confirmation from them that I’ll get 5000 Bonus Miles with purchase made in first 90 days and 2000 miles for 3 months for £500 retail spend per month. This is neither what was advertised by VA on the date I applied nor what is being shown on this site.

  • Mark says:

    O/T word of warning regarding shop small. Just on the phone to Amex chasing why a credit hadn’t been applied (they are generally A LOT slower than last year) and was told that a shop that appeared on the map wasn’t included. Now escalating as a complaint as this whole offer is undermined if you don’t know if the credit will apply or not!

    • EwanG says:

      Agreed – if they are on the map as a participating retailer then Amex should honour it. Surely false advertising if they do not give you a goodwill credit equal to what you should have received. And there should be a feedback loop in Amex to update the map or at least remove the retailer pending verification.

      • Sussex bantam says:

        That’s just daft. Amex promoted the offer, the map is on their website and the retailer took your card. How are you supposed to know it’s not included ??

        • Shoestring says:

          More a case of the customer service staff being extremely unhelpful these days, in terms of not being willing to credit the Shop Small £5 when it doesn’t get triggered by buying something over £10 at a shop on the Amex map.

          I think they’re actually breaking consumer law – offering an inducement to purchase then not honouring their side of the deal.

        • Sussex Bantam says:

          It is essentially a breach of contract I’d guess. You fulfilled your side of the bargain – they now have to fulfill theirs.

          Whether you can be bothered to sue them for £5 is a different question of course..

        • Mark2 says:

          How about referring them to the Advertising Standards Authority?

  • Boi says:

    OT: has anyone been charged paying finance like transaction with curve linked to HH visa recently? I heard in comments that virgin are now charging. Is this right?

    • Louise says:

      Virgin haven’t charged me yet for my withdrawal on 4th!

    • Rich says:

      Made a cash withdrawal from Curve / Virgin on the 5th. It’s showing as a purchase.

  • Russ says:

    Sorry but another OT. Little while back there was a hotel mentioned in the Maldives which seemed to have HFPers stamp of approval. I’ve had a look through the comments and blown if I can find it. Any one remember the name? Cheers!

    • mike says:

      Conrad Maldives, seems to get a lot of oxygen on this site for some reason?

    • Tom1 says:

      There are two that spring to mind.
      Conrad and st Regis.
      Conrad gets more attention because the Hilton gold through amex platinum gets you breakfast and afternoon tea. The overall feeling is that the island itself is fantastic but the accommodation is now ageing.
      St Regis is newer but only Marriott platinum elite get free breakfast, and food looks expensive. But if you book before the end of this year, it’s available at 60k points per night if you can find availability. I think it goes up to 80k if you book in January.

      If you are paying with points, you can get 5 nights for 4 with both of them.

      triprep has done a great review of Conrad -if you Google I’m sure you will find.

      Depending on when you are intending to go, Hilton have a new Waldorf Astoria opening early next year, as well as a Curio collection that looks a little too commercial to me. Marriott have the Westin which opened a few weeks ago.

      • Rob says:

        JW Marriott coming soon too

      • Lee says:

        W is another option, booked 5 nights for Christmas with 240k points, upgraded to overwater villa with complimentary already.

    • Russ says:

      Thanks for your assistance everyone.

  • Lady London says:

    Re Accor you won’t get any bonus or points on a booking if you pay for all or even part of it using your Accor points.

    for some time now Accor will only give you one bonus or points offer at a time, on the same booking. If you have multiple extra point offers you have signed up for or qualified for on the same booking, Accor say they will only credit you whichever one of them would give you the highest number of points. So far as I’m aware that’s all they have been doing for some time now.

    Best to know upfront because Accor’s customer service doesn’t ever seem to resolve anything….

    • marcw says:

      On my recent stay, part payed with points, I have received points for the cash part.

      • Lady London says:

        good news. you might have got points for the cash part but for sure in the terms and conditions of every offer I’ve seen you won’t get any bonus points or special offers on any part of the booking if even part pay with points.

        • Andy says:

          Indeed, the past year or two if you part-pay with points you won’t earn any bonus points. Inconvenient for all those 3 x 2 night stays = 10,000 bonus points offers.

        • marcw says:

          Ah yes, that is true.

  • Aleks Nicole says:

    O/T but is anyone aware of any reward schemes that you can redeem against nights at the Shangri-La? I collect Virgin Miles/Avios and a number of others, but the only redemption I can find is on Kaligo which excludes the one hotel I’m searching for which is Shangri-La London!

    • Rob says:

      No, I don’t think so, sorry (obviously Shangri-La has Golden Circle but there are no transfer partners in that I know of).

    • Lady Londno says:

      If there were it would be SQ

  • TonTonT3 says:


    Silly question – anyone know how to track number of Amex referrals you’ve made? I have a Plat and I’m not sure if I’ve referred 5 of the 5 slots I have. The rewards points statement only goes back 3 or 6 months but I’ve had the card longer.

    Wouldn’t want to miss out on getting the points…



    • Shoestring says:

      I guess you could explore your MR points earning history and count up the +18,000 incidents this year.

    • SimonW says:

      Download the pdf statements – they go back much further. At end of those is a summary of MR points earned that period. Can easily see how many you have used up.

  • Simon says:

    Thank you! Couldn’t get it to work last time but have now. A good use of 2 points.

    • BlueHorizonuk says:

      What did you get, it seems very hit and miss as to what it works on. Worst Amazon promo ever.

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

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