Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What do we know about the launch of the Aer Lingus A321LR aircraft?

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Aer Lingus has confirmed its first A321LR route.

Aer Lingus is about to receive the first of 14 single aisle A321LR aircraft.  Whilst these look like standard European short haul planes, they have been adapted to have the capacity to fly transatlantic.  They are ideal for Aer Lingus which sees them as a way of being able to launch flights to smaller US East Coast cities which could not justify an A330.

Aer Lingus A321LR business class seat

The first plane has now appeared in the timetable from 1st July.  It will operate between Dublin and Hartford, in Connecticut.

I would expect to see the aircraft being rostered for some European flights during June to allow pilots and crew to get familiar with it.  It will have fully flat seats in Business Class as you can see from the image above.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2024)

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 £15,000 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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points 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

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 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 (129)

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

  • BrightonReader says:

    Being a bit thick at the moment but am considering springing for the IHG ambassador programme.

    Does it apply to existing bookings I have already made and to all,the subsidiaries brands such as Holiday Inn, Indigo and Kimpton?

    • David says:


      Unfortunately, it only applies to Intercontinental Hotels.

      Although having the platinum status may help with some perks at the other properties like Holiday Inn etc. these are not guaranteed. IHG aren’t known for their generous elite benefits unlike say Hyatt for example. This makes the Ambassador program pretty worth while for most people. Myself included!

      Hope this helps/

      • Sandra says:

        I’d say with both Spure/Ambassador we get benefits 50/50 in Crowne Plaza/Hol Inn etc. What does need looking at is the free night/reward booking system as you can only book a basic room in the booking system with them. Just booked 3 nights in IC Budapest, 2 nights Club Executive with Amb. Certificate which they upgraded immediately to the next level of room and 3rd with free night voucher. In order not to have to move room on 3rd day there followed a trail of emails from the hotel, we had to pay a supplement to move the free room up 2 levels and then they upgraded us (room only) to the same level as first 2 nights and then we had to pay a supplement for 3rd day Club lounge access so the ‘free’ night has actually cost us €120! The 3 nights in total still work out cheaper but bearing in mind you can’t get an advance rate with the Amb. Certificate probably not a whole lot cheaper than booking and paying in advance.

        • Alex Sm says:

          Was it worth a hassle and money? I would just move a room tbh.

          Also, it seems that the trick with “sandwich booking” described here many times no longer works. Perhaps, hotels also read HFP!

        • Shoestring says:

          Sandwich more likely to work in USA and poorer countries…

      • Sandra says:

        It was worth it as a special occasion this time but as you say sandwich bookings don’t work as well these days and it also depends how generous hotels are. With rewards/fee nights combined with other bookings it would be better PR for them if the reward nights/free night are at the same level as paid rooms on a 1:1 basis or something.

    • Matt says:

      It will apply to your existing bookings. Ambassador status only impacts intercontinental stays. You’ll need IHG status for the other properties.

      • BrightonReader says:

        Ok,thanks. I’m currently gold elite so not sure if the platinum benefits I would get via paying for Ambassadors would make it worthwhile for me.

        I don’t think I’ve ever stayed at an actual Intercontinental Hotel!

        • Brian S says:

          If you wanted Platinum status you can get it for £99 a year with the IHG premium credit card.

          That’s on top of the 20,000 points you get for signing up.

        • Bosco says:

          This is not the loyalty program you are looking for, move along.

        • Memesweeper says:

          As a Spire Elite and a regular in IHGs on business I’d say the status is very rarely useful. If you get it anyway via IHG Credit Card spend, or staying a large number of nights with them, great, enjoy, but not worth buying (or mattress running) to achieve IMO.

  • Roger says:

    OT – Can anyone convince me not to donwngrade back from Curve Metal to Curve Blue?
    Amex Platinum covers my requirements like Insurance, Airport Lounge etc.

    If downgrade is widely recommended, would you leave it until last day (28 days cooling off period) or downgrade now.
    Travelling to North America next weekend for a week, so would like to have physical card with me, which may not arrive before that. Assume I can continue to use old metal card until activated new blue card in the App.

    • John says:

      Keep it until you’re back, your existing card is still working right? (with a visa/MC at least)
      Cash withdrawals not working for some people so bring another card if you need ATMs

    • Grant says:

      Long term aside, the additional fee free FX ATM withdrawals on Metal will be worth it for your trip to the US next week.

      Beyond that, and unless that is a regular occurrence, I can’t see the attraction myself if you already have AMEX Plat.

      • Roger says:

        According to E-mail,
        “Please note that if your subscription is cancelled, your Curve Metal card will be blocked and no longer usable”.

        So I will need to be careful in terms of when to downgrade my subscription

    • Ian M says:

      Seems no point keeping it. I’ll be cancelling mine. I also have Amex Plat. I took out the Curve Metal for 2 reasons; Amex support and higher annual spend limits.

      Amex support lasted about 48hrs and turns out he increased spend limits were simply a lie by Curve. Add those 2 points to the fact that there customer service is beyond dreadful and there’s no reason to give Curve a single penny.

  • Roger says:

    Harry, what the s your source for Marriott Amex card launch?

    • Shoestring says:

      1. Themselves (horse’s mouth) – USA – no more SPG after 12/13 Feb as co-brand Amex will —>Bonvoy
      2. No global marketing head honcho will let important markets do their own thing when you have a massive re-branding such as Bonvoy, if UK SPG Amex lasts a bit longer than 13 Feb, that’s only because they’re running down the old co-brand contract (or can’t get a new one) – but in both scenarios, time is running out fast for SPG

      • Peter K says:

        So basically, no solid source but an educated guess.

        • RakishDriver says:

          if we’re guessing now; I reckon we got around a year of SPG amex. If the uk card was launched in 2010, 10 yr contract..?

        • Rob says:

          The fact that the UK Costco Amex survives, despite Amex US and Costco having the biggest bust-up in credit card history (well, not quite but you get the point), means that you can’t read anything into anything.

          What IS clear is that none of the Amex co-brand cards (BA, SPG, Nectar etc) are likely to survive beyond their current contracts now they are interchange fee capped.

        • Russ says:

          I’d of thought Amex dropping co-branded cards would actually be a good thing for point collectors as Mastercard/Visa is more widely accepted than Amex.

          • Rob says:

            You would see rewards dropping to under 0.5p per £1 vs 1p now on a free Amex.

    • Doug M says:

      What Marriott Amex?

  • Graeme says:

    Anyone else still waiting on the last Avis/BA offer before Christmas of 5,000 Avios posting?? Is there a timeframe?? I never have had any of these offers post easily! Hoping the Avis/virgin offer works better!!

  • Alan says:

    Rob – aren’t you missing the bit though where they can now ‘buy out’ the guaranteed upgrade or 4pm checkout for only 10k points now or a spa voucher, etc? Quite a downgrade if that starts becoming common practice…

    • BJ says:

      Or quite an upgrade depending on priorities and needs.

      • John says:

        Given that Rob previously stressed that a benefit which is provided 99.9% of the time is not “guaranteed”, this should count as a downgrade in his book.

        Many hotels are already giving the compo instead of providing the late checkout and upgrade. The new T&Cs are just formalising an existing practice (but some hotels would have previously compensated you more if they couldn’t honour the upgrade).

        These apply per stay, and since it is unknown for me to ever stay more than 2 nights at the same property, I would rather have the points than the upgrade – but people who value upgrades, especially those with long stays, will be disappointed in the future.

      • Rob says:

        This article was about reward stays so I felt it was less of an issue. I think ‘buying out’ 4pm check-outs will be rare because cleaners can’t clean all the rooms at the same time anyway. Giving late check-outs to some guests literally costs the hotel nothing, all that happens is that those rooms go to the bottom of the cleaning rota. It’s only an issue if you have a room category with only a couple of rooms in it I reckon.

      • Alan says:

        Haha yes – make sure to always request late check-out even if not required and hope they can’t honour it 😛

  • RakishDriver says:

    O/T Curve wallet topups have posted this morning on my Amex. Took a while.

  • BJ says:

    OT: When booking Martiott points stay now and ordering the ecertificate later when points are available, which rate do we pay? The category rate now or the category rate at time of getting the ecertificate? I think it is the latter but just want to confirm please.

    • Lee says:

      always the one when you booked

      • Peter K says:

        Except last year when it wasn’t so don’t count on that being the case.

        • BJ says:

          Thanks Peter, I’ll try it anyway and if it works it is a bonus. If not, I’ll reconsidee other options.

      • BJ says:

        Thanks Lee, I’ll go ahead and book some now then before new category increases on 5 March.

    • Rob says:

      In theory you pay what you lock in now. Some people had issues after the August scheme merger but I got the impression it was just an IT screw up. Happy to be proved wrong on this though.

      • BJ says:

        Hope so, it’s potentially huge with category 8 coming next month.

        • BJ says:

          Called today, CSA said rate at time of booking applies even it hotels move up categories.

  • Nick C says:

    Is it now the case that you can take your feee weekend night in isolation rather than as part of a 2 night package (one paid)? Ts and Cs seem to suggest that?

    • Claire says:

      Is this the Ambassador free night? Or am I reading at cross purposes? I never used my free night very last year as the paid night I had to tag on to get it was too expensive to justify.

      • Nick C says:

        Yes I was referring to the ambassador free night. The current Ts and Cs make it clear that you must include a paid night but the new Ts and Cs are silent on it, unless i’ve missed it? Would make quite a difference.

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