Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Last call for flight bargains in the British Airways Winter sale

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31st January is your last chance to book in the British Airways Winter sale. You can take a look at what is available via this special page of ba.com.

(It may or may not be a coincidence that the BA promotion above starts one day later on 1st February.)

Nashville, pictured below, is the star deal, with Club World return seats available for £1,376 in March.  New Orleans is also looking attractive with Club World fares as low as £1,541.

The Caribbean looks interesting – Kingston £1,214, Punta Cana £1,493, San Jose £1,494 and so on.

British Airways Winter sale

Don’t forget BA Holidays

As usual, don’t book a Club World flight before pricing it up via BA Holidays – see here.  Adding a hotel or car can often cost little more, and sometimes less, than the flight itself.  BA Holidays also lets you lock in your trip now by only paying a small deposit, with the balance only due five weeks before travel.

Don’t forget ‘part pay with Avios’

Sale flights are still valid for ‘part pay with Avios’.  How much you save now varies by route and by class, and the value per point tends to get worse the more you try to discount, but it is always worth taking a look at what is on offer for your particular ticket.

A Nashville Club World booking offered me:

  • £50 off for 6,250 Avios (0.80p per Avios)
  • £110 off for 16,000 Avios (0.69p)
  • £150 off for 24,750 Avios (0.61p)
  • £190 off for 34,000 Avios (0.56p)
  • £280 off for 55,000 Avios (0.51p)

There are also deals in Economy and short-haul Club Europe, including short break deals via BA Holidays.

As usual, travel dates are all over the place depending on whether you are travelling short haul or long haul, whether you are flying from Gatwick, City or Heathrow, and what travel class you are flying in.  In general you’ll find you can book up to either May / June 2019 or mid December 2019.

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 ba.com 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.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

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 (177)

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

  • Ben E says:

    FYI on the New Orleans flight… no lounge in New Orleans airport for a while yet. However, make sure they give you a voucher ($28pp, and they even gave us one for a lap infant!) and then spend it in the wine shop/bar in terminal. We got a couple of great bottles to take home plus two tubs of truffled popcorn.

  • Anna says:

    It seems that one of the Curve golden geese has flown – one door opens, another one closes 🙁

    • David says:

      Which goose did you have in mind?

      • Anna says:

        The one which transfers funds to the seaside town on the south coast. I took Rob’s article yesterday to mean this just couldn’t be done from the top up wallet but it seems all avenues are now closed.

        • Doug M says:

          You couldn’t expect it to last forever. Have you tried yourself? Curve pretty flaky at the best of times. I was always waiting for a charge on the paying card identifying it as cash anyway. Good one while it lasted if it has ended.

        • Doug M says:

          I just tried with a small amount and failed for me. Failed with an crashed page too rather than an properly handled error.

        • Anna says:

          Yes, just kept getting “page not found” message.” I wonder if it applies to other financial institutions, might need to seriously re-write my 5 year plan 😢

        • David says:

          Yep, I’ve just tried this in a few places not in a seaside town on the south coast. A popular finance company based in Bristol, and a credit card from a high street bank fond of horses – I get an error page on what looks like it should be the Mastercard Secure Code screen.
          🙁

        • BJ says:

          Thanks Anna, I got lucky then, that goose delivered me what will likely be my last Lloyds voucher in a few days in December. In a year of bad decisions and bad luck for me it looks like I finally did something right at the very end.

        • Rob says:

          Curve has ALWAYS had that rule.

        • Funtime says:

          My seaside goose laid earlier this morning as usual.

        • Doug M says:

          Rules 🙂

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Goose is very much still alive

        • Anna says:

          Thanks for the heads up, TGLoyalty, looks like the goose was (hopefully) just temporarily incapacitated earlier…

        • Nick_C says:

          Churchill described the Bletchley Park Codebreakers as “the geese that laid the golden eggs, and never cackled”

          Words we could all learn from!

        • Anna says:

          We’re being extremely cryptic compared with the bunch over on the Curve thread who have been discussing Fight Club at length!

        • Stuart says:

          We’re all about sharing over there…

        • Stuart says:

          We’re all about sharing over there…

          Besides, do you really think no one knows what all your “South Coast, Seaside town” and “Bristol investment company” really mean?

        • David says:

          I thought being slightly cryptic would stop Google picking up on it if people only try obvious search terms, but yes, I don’t doubt that most people reading this page will know what it means…

  • bosco says:

    I got £280 off for 42,000 avios. Happy with that.

    • Shoestring says:

      @bosco which route/ fare class is that? – pretty good rate

      • David says:

        0.66p per Avios, a “good rate”?! I never redeem for less than 1p…

      • bosco says:

        2 adults 2 kids, London – New York, American out BA back. Cash poor (!), Orphan Avios, snapped their hand off!

        We’re staying at the Park Hyatt! On points!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I would’ve bought 42k avios for that.

      I know everyone gets them through different route but there are always opportunity costs look for a 1p 0.8p at a min

  • AJ says:

    From another promo video on twitter, looks like BA will be showcasing the A350 (& potentially new club world)

  • Doug M says:

    Norwegian in more bother

    • Alan says:

      Any details? Have a flight with them in a week or so…

      • Shoestring says:

        google Norwegian Air launches rights issue after annual loss deepens

        • Shoestring says:

          Shares plummeted close to 30 per cent after the open in Oslo, reaching the lowest level since June 2012

          Told you they were a basket case 🙂

          • Rob says:

            Interesting. My wife knows Fredriksen and you occasionally see him wandering down Kings Road. He live around the corner from us – his house, fact fans, apparently has the biggest private garden in central London after Buckingham Palace.

        • Shoestring says:

          Sure in itself a positive move but just puts off the inevitable IMV

          horrendous cashflow & a basket case by any other name, if it weren’t for a couple of very deep pockets, they’d be long gone

          Brent crude is at $60, I saw this morning – fine while that lasts but $80+ & aviation fuel will also go up 33%, I suppose the good news might be OPEC decided not to fight shale oil on price

  • James says:

    If Qatar’s gimmick over a new advert is anything to go by, BA will be doing nothing of interest either.

    • Shoestring says:

      Saw the new Qatar ad on CNN last night – pretty good, I thought.

      Seems the brief was to avoid anything remotely redolent of Qatar (the country, the people) & Arabia & instead sort of Amercanify the airline like Singing In The Rain, I’ll see if I can YT it…

  • David C says:

    OT. Just attempting to transfer Avios from Iberia Plus to BAEC in usual way and find Avios account is now closed.
    Cant transfer Avios from Iberia to BA via Iberia website or BA website. However Avios transfer from BAEC to Iberia Plus is fine. Is there a way to transfer Iberia Plus to BAEC?

    • Chris says:

      Aer Lingus Aer Club works well

    • Stuart_f says:

      Use Aer Lingus as an intermediary.

      Iberia > AerClub > Executive Club

      • David says:

        Cheers. Just succeeded via Aer Lingus but had to alter my postcode on aer lingus website to get access to Avios.com otherwise it came up with an error at login. Must have picked up the fact that the old avios.com/BA account had same postcode….

        • Dawn says:

          David – or anyone who can help! = Did you manage to use your old Avios.com account number? Mine has now merged with BA and when I try and log onto Avios.com it’s closed. I tried opening with FlyBe and linking the Avios.com account using my account number but it says my account is closed. Any ideas how I can get access to the old Avios.com account again? Thank you

  • LewisB says:

    OT – I’ve been collecting avios for a while and churning amex Gold / BAPP for a while… but I’m completely clueless on hotels. I want to start collecting hotel points. Which scheme is best to focus on? My mind is telling me SPG because of the amex card (nice 9k referral to get too). I simply just want to redeem points on rooms for either just myself or a group of friends (3-4). Any advice would be appreciated. (trolled the site for an article but had no luck)

    • LewisB says:

      I should add I’m looking at redemptions in the US.

      • Peter K says:

        It depends on what you are looking for.

        Personally I like Hilton but they are harder to get points for in the UK (only via amex MR currently until new Hilton card arrives). You can get gold status via Amex platinum as well which gives a free continental breakfast.
        IHG hotels are often a but boring at the lower end but do the job. Usually the easiest to get points (IHG Mastercard plus they often have good bonus points deals).
        My experience of Marriott is more limited but they are okay to get points with via SPG card and MR points… But they are about to start peak pricing for reward stays which may make them unappealing.
        All the three will have lots of hotels in the US.

    • Pangolin says:

      I hope you mean you trawled the site instead of trolled it 😉

      TBH, everyone will have different opinions on this, as it depends on your travel patterns and what your priorities are in terms of getting benefits from the scheme.

      Here’s some simple and basic guidelines to get you started.

      1) For racking up points quickly – IHG & Hilton > Marriott
      2) For top-tier benefits – Marriott > Hilton > IHG
      3) For mid-tier benefits – Hilton > Marriott > IHG

      There’s also Accor but I don’t think they offer anything compelling now that Happy Mondays have bitten the dust. I’ve left out Hyatt as I think their footprint is too small to be of interest to UK-based travellers.

      Bear in mind also that for point (1) the value of points will differ between the schemes, with Hilton points being worth less than Marriott points, for instance.

      You’ll still need to do your own research though. What I did was to join all three and “road test” them to see how they stacked up. SPG used to be my #1 and Hilton my backup but now that Marriott have swallowed up SPG and made an almighty mess of things I’ve switched to Hilton as my main scheme (couldn’t stomach IHG because their status recognition is so pathetic).

      • Bonglim says:

        I think it depends how active you can be?
        The spg card is a big bonus for Marriott but who knows what the future holds for that card.
        THe best thing about Marriott scheme is the ability to book now and earn points later. Remember a lot of top Marriott hotels are going up in reward price soon so you might want to book the reward stay now. They are cancellable until quite close to the trip.

        • LewisB says:

          Thanks for all the advice. Have they published the off-peak/peak chart yet? From what I could gather the lower/mid range hotels would drop in with the new structure on off-peak days. But without the calendar it’s difficult to know if it was be similar to say BA’s calendar of if all weekends day class as peak etc.

        • LewisB says:

          I can’t reapply for the Amex Gold until July 1st and I’ve almost hit my 10k for BAPP before I cancel for a pro-rate refund. I was intending on spending on the SPG amex until July 1st. I could probably throw 8-10k on there between then. Seemed the easiest way to rack up a decent 75000 points with 2 referrals. I need to do research on how easily I could obtain IHG points without amex.

      • Rob says:

        Agree with the rankings above.

        • BJ says:

          Disagree with the order of Marriott and Hilton top tier benefit although it is definitely closer now than preSPG takeover. To rank Marriott above Hilton requires Bonvoy retains the best of SPG once the honeymoon is over and the dust settles. I just don’t see it being as good as SPG so at best I think it will likely be comparable to Hilton. My own personal experience of Marriott preserver was that it fell a long way short of my experience with Hilton.

      • Genghis says:

        Nice analysis.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Would add that IHG premium card is probably a great one to rack up points, a free night and some good benefits.

        I know everyone talks about breakfast but I’m actually more of a fan of the free platinum drinks. I’ve rarely used my breakfast benefit and found a better meal for cheaper locally but those two free drinks save me £10 and are always used.

        Lounge access is nice but the reality is if I’m with someone else we are out visiting the city we are in around happy afternoon tea or happy hour time.

        • LewisB says:

          Just took a look at the IHG Premium and I think that would be ideal for me. Putting the above all together I will probably still refer myself for the SPG and take the 20k avios for an easy 1k spend. Cancel that then open up the IHG Premium, this year I’ll identity be able to hit the 10k spend and the benefits are ideal for me. Not fussed with breakfast or lounge access for similar reasons to @TGLoyalty. Won’t be able to hit many of the Rewards.Faster. offer but if similar offers are available throughout the year I can easily see why IHG wins for accumulating points quickly. Availability seems better too compared to SPG (at least where and when I’ve been looking). Thanks everyone!

      • paulm says:

        On the subject of hotels, what value to people generally put on Marriott points ? Looking at a possible redemption and value is approx £0.5p/point. Good, bad or ok value ?

        • Shoestring says:

          headforpoints dot com/2018/04/07/marriott-rewards-review-3/

        • Genghis says:

          I go for 0.5p

          • Alan says:

            I had been 0.5p for SPG but dropped it to 0.4p (same as Hilton) given now merged with Marriott and properties/benefits not generally that great IMO.

        • Steve-B says:

          Yes, that’s my basis. I would say OK value. I’ve been getting 0.8p – 0.9p on Marriott redemptions more recently, although one of those properties is on a 5 for 4 deal.

        • Rob says:

          0.5p is my target base line, although you can do better at the moment as long as the super-luxe places are capped at 60k (soon to be 100k).

    • Jon Martin says:

      Not mentioned above, but if you mainly accrue Amex points and, like me, the chain serves your desired locations then Radisson have IMO the best earnings rate (and Rob’s analysis of Amex MR transfer options agrees with me).

      On the other hand their status benefits for mid tiers are basically pretty crappy (nothing like Hilton Gold’s breakfast). Like all these things what’s best for you will depend on how your own circumstances – there is no right answer.

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