Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Great deal: book £1,050 British Airways Club World business class flights to Durban

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As part of its occasional ‘Dream Tickets’ promotions, British Airways is running a 2-4-1 offer on Club World tickets to Durban.

Full details are on here.  You must:

book by 1st March

travel between 1st April – 31st May or 1st July – 31st August

both passengers must travel together at all time

The cost will be £2,099 for two tickets which is EXCELLENT value, albeit that you are heading into Winter.  Availability is limited so there is no guarantee you will see seats at that price for your chosen dates.

You can use ‘part pay with Avios’ to reduce the cost further but you’re getting well under 1p per point so I don’t recommend it.

If your ultimate destination is Cape Town or Johannesburg, remember that you can redeem Avios for direct Comair flights from Durban to both cities.  Full ‘Dream Tickets’ details are on this page.

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 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.


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 (173)

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

  • BJ says:

    I have always found this Marriott ‘starting with your second stay’ thing extremely annoying. I wish they would end it as it actively discourages me from using their promotions in favour of Hilton or IHG who reward me for every stay including the first.

  • zark says:

    The annual limit for Hilton points purchase is 80,000 for 800$. With 100% bonus this is 160,000 points, not 320,000.

    • TheSkintTraveller says:

      Maybe Rob meant over two people who can pool or transfer HH points.

      • John says:

        Up to 10 people can pool points (shortcut to account closure if the accounts appear just to be opened for pooling) and unlimited numbers of people can pay to transfer points so giving figures for 2 people doesn’t make sense.

    • BJ says:

      Sometimes Hilton doubles the allowance so that either applies here or Rob might have cut and pasted an earlier article, where it did, in error.

    • James says:

      They have allowed the purchase of 160k with double points bonus at least once before.

      So buying 320k on one account has certainly been possible in the past.

  • Alex W says:

    Can Lloyds upgrade voucher be used on BA flights operated by Comair?

  • Craig says:


    Is anyone still waiting for their VA 10k miles from the original Virgin life insurance promo? My miles still haven’t landed so I’ll be chasing. Glad I saved a copy of the terms on signing up before they raised the bar.

    • Shoestring says:

      I’ve got screenshots as well. Are you sure you have paid 6 months’ contributions [+ up to 60 days on top have passed]?

      Promo started June so eg first payment end June would mean 6th payment end December + 60 days = end February at the earliest.

    • Allycat says:

      Have you checked your activity statement for activity date back in June 2018 ? When mine posted (right on time) I was confused as I couldn’t see them at the top of the statement. They were lower down under more recent flights and credit card activity, with an activity date of June 2018 (when the life insurance was taken out) and transaction date of Jan 2019 (when they posted)

  • Anna says:

    Buying points also works at the bottom end as well – if you’re staying in one of the (admittedly few remaining) 10,000 point hotels which charge around £100 per night, buying points brings it down to around £38 per night at current rates.

    • BJ says:

      Agreed. Had a great 5 night stay at Hampton Newport a couple of years ago when it was 5k I think. A cheap base to explore the wider area and even interesting stuff to see close by like the wetlands and Roman remains and exhibits. A no brainer to buy points for a stay here on Six Nations weekends when hotels in Cardiff are sky high. Likewise Hampton Newcastle for Magic Weekend even though it is now 20k/night, rates can be about £250.

      • Genghis says:

        @BJ would you recommend Hampton or Staybridge Suites (if you’ve ever stayed there) in Newcastle?

        • BJ says:

          If arriving by train Hampton as next to the station. Car parking is an issue, need to use public parking or hope you can grab a free space in surrounding streets. Personally I like Staybridge Suites better. It has parking, is convenient to the river, better breakfast and obviously better rooms. In good condition when we were there last spring. We had a problem with VAT on booking but an email sorted it out quickly, they were very apologetic, got the best suite in the house, free drinks and snacks. I think it was RussellH who had similar VAT problems at Staybridge in Birmingham, cannot recall how that story ended.

        • Genghis says:

          Thanks BJ. Staybridge Suites it is. I know Newcastle well but never stayed at either hotel.

        • RussellH says:

          Yes, it was me that had an issue with VAT at Staybridge Birmingham a few years ago. Headline price did not include VAT, so the price for the night jumped 20% as I clicked the confirm button.
          I took it up with the manager afterwards who assured me that as Staybridge “positions itself” as a long-stay (30 nights+ => 5% VAT IIRC) brand, it was entitled to display VAT excl. prices, even on a single night. I do not remember any apology, just ‘that is the way things are’.

          As to Newcastle, we have stayed (on points or cash+points) at the Hampton many times, though not since the points price went up from 10 000 last year. Given that we always arrive in Newcastle at Central station, the location of the Hampton is unbeatable. We have stayed at the Indigo too, which is only about 300 yards further from the station, and it is nicer. But there is much less chance of seeing people arrested on a Saturday night from your room at the Indigo, cf. Hampton.
          Indigo have also, for some reason, always given us breakfast on room only bookings – IT glitch??
          Never tried Staybridge in Newcastle, too expensive, and the location is inconvenient from our point of view.

        • Lady London says:

          Stay bridge’s reason for evading the requirement to display their pricing with VAT included does sound rather weak. An analysis of their guests’ stays, presence of children and method of payment would put paid to that.

          This feels dishonest of them so perhaps the VAT man will be along soon

        • BJ says:

          @Russell, thanks for tip on Indigo, may try next time. We usually take the car hence Staybridge but still have £55of LNER vouchers from Nectar promo so may add to it and go First for breakfast, stay the night and back First again at dinner time giving us two full days.

          @Lady London, not sure about Russell but in my case the ratevinfo stated VAT was included but then it was added on top after booking. May be wrong but I thought all advertised rates in UK have to include VAT.

    • Paul says:

      How do you screen Hilton hotels by daily points needed to redeem please? I have a status match target and am a couple short with a short window to meet so fimdimg 10k per night options would be a great help!

  • xcalx says:

    OT Do Curve increase limits if asked. I have a £9000 spend this week and would have liked to get the Lloyds voucher. I am a Light user of curb £2000 pd £5000 pw. Also is the Lloyds voucher per calendar year or anniversary dates.


    • xcalx says:


      • Neil says:

        Lloyds voucher is per anniversary dates and if you already have £50k from Curve, good luck getting more. Don’t forget Curve using a rolling 365 day system before payments are wiped out. Not sure about the new metal card

    • Genghis says:

      Yes but YMMV
      Lloyd’s voucher is per anniversary year

      • James says:

        Hi Genghis, can we still earn the Lloyds upgrade voucher for the £7k spend ?
        Do you know the cutoff date ?

        I for some reason thought it had already been stopped even for existing card holders..


        • Alan says:

          Cut off is whatever your personal card anniversary is (you’ll see from when annual fee charged). Existing cardholders haven’t been informed of any change yet so business as usual.

    • Grant Stevenson says:

      If you are light user of Curve and don’t have a ‘varied spend pattern’, which seems to translate as daily use for all purchases, then don’t bank on getting your limits increased on first request.

  • Barry cutters says:

    Ot – I see a few comments about Lloyd’s upgrade voucher. Am I right in thinking that this card is closed to new applicants.
    If so I’m a bit stuck on which card to get next, I have platinum Amex and wish to keep it for insurance benefits , I have just cancelled the ba premium card too, I have spent 15k ish in the IHG premium madtercard and still have 7 months to wait before I get the free night voucher . Spent around 13k on thr virgin premium card and see no need to cancel as it’s a good earninng Non Amex to have. And I can’t find anything to replace it with .
    Any ideas ?

    • BJ says:

      Yes, closed unfortunately. You could still apply via the branch for a while but I am sure closed now too.

    • Anna says:

      Worth getting SPG while it’s still there. OH & I both got it recently, with sign up bonus plus some MR points transfer we should manage 2 nights next in a Cat 6 hotel which we’ve only ever looked wistfully at as it’s generally over $1k per night!

    • Barry cutters says:

      Thanks Peter.
      I’m already spire and easily hit the points threshold to retain in first 1/3 of year.
      Currently sitting on 1.3m IHG points and I can’t burn them as fast I can earn.
      Think I’m just going to keep splitting spend between Amex plat and MasterCard from virgin .
      May look at the spr card again as Anna suggests as this is something Iv never done .

      • Crafty says:

        Having now enjoyed the majority of our 3 month trip across Asia, I would now consider Marriott points by FAR the best of the hotel currencies if you want to stay in nice hotels. So many great choices compared to even Hilton (my 2nd choice for currency).

  • AndyK says:

    O/T Looking to rent a car in Japan for a few days in May. Any advise?

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