Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

New British Airways business class lounge at New York JFK airport about to open

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There is good news for anyone heading to New York next week.  The fully refurbished British Airways Galleries Club lounge is about to open.

The lounge partly opened last week.  British Airways told me yesterday that the full space should be open at the ‘end of this week or early next week’.

British Airways Galleries Club lounge New York JFK

I have been promised a full set of photographs so keep an eye out on HfP.

The Galleries Club lounge can be accessed by anyone with a Club World ticket or who has a British Airways Silver card or oneworld equivalent.

I will be in New York in June and will do a full review then.  The image below is one of the mock-ups of how the new BA facilities will look.  There is a special BA website on the changes at JFK which you can read here.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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

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 £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 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

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.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

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 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 (168)

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

  • Boi says:

    want to visit USA this August. Any suggested itinerary that
    A. USA west coast 2 weeks
    B. west coast/hawaii multi centre 2 weeks
    C. Another combination
    Must include disney.
    3 kids: 7, 8 and 11 years.

    • BJ says:

      LA to include Disney and Universal studios. Drive up cast to San Francisco with one night stop en route to make more leisurely for the kids. Stopover with kids probably best in Santa Cruz as kids will like Boardwalk. 3 nights in San Francisco onwards to Tahoe where kids can cruise on the Lake and take cable car up the mountains, Circus Circus casino overnight in Reno. Head back south via giant redwoods and Yosemite national park. Go pony trekking in park for kids. California is awesome, just a few ideas.

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        Very good suggestions from BJ except WAY more than 1 night’s worth of stops between LA and SF, especially if doing just West Coast. Do not just blast up i5 because it’s easy and fast (it’s like thinking you’ve seen Western England because you drove the M5 and M6 :D).

        Santa Barbara (v. kid friendly), Morro Bay, Hearst Castle, Route 1. Big Sur, Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove and Monterrey (aquarium). Santa Cruz.

        • BJ says:

          Problem, as in most cases , is time. With a week going to be taken up with LA and SF alone the dilemma is to do the coast justice and spend a full week on it or try to get an overview by filling in more places like Yosemite and Tahoe. I tried to be mindful of keeping the kids entertained with changing activities in my suggestions.

        • Chris says:

          You sound informed sir!

          I’m doing 7 day fly-drive in late October LAX – SFO two adults (going with a mate, not the missus)

          Might you have other ideas (that are also allowed to include wine!) ?

          Is Yosemite (and/or north of San Francisco) viable for our timescale?

          Many thanks!

        • BJ says:

          @ Chris, if you are happy to skip LA you could do a great 7 day loop from San Francisco comprising the city, 17 mile drive, cut across to Yosemite, back north via San Joaquin Valley for wine, into Sacramento the Capitol and back to San Francisco. Depending how much time you wanted in each stop and how much driving per day you could detour as far as casinos at Tahoe or Reno for a night after San Joaquin Valley. I am suggesting latter as opposed to Napa because Napa takes you a different direction complicating the route. Check when Lodi grape festival is but I think you’ll be too late.

        • Chris says:

          Thanks BJ, but we fly into LAX ?

      • Anne says:

        Chris – I think you’ll struggle to do north of SF or Yosemite justice in 7 days from LA. Personally I’d make the most of the scenic coast route LA to SF and see the great places on the way – would personally recommend San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Cruz. And despite what I said above I’d leave a couple of nights to spend in SF at the end, it is a fascinating city.

        • BJ says:

          +1 I suppose I’d do 2 nights LA, 3 nights along the coast and 2 nights SF. If you base yourself someplace convenient for 2 nights along the coast a decent day trip to Yosemite is entirely possible and so worth it.

    • Anne says:

      We did San Diego – Long Beach – Anaheim – Las Vegas – San Francisco last year, all road trip apart from LAS to SFO which we flew to save time. Think it took us 18 days in total.

      Would definitely recommend San Diego, we loved it there and felt two nights wasn’t enough. Similarly we did three nights in Anaheim for Disneyland and could have easily filled another whole day – despite hitting the parks for two full days until midnight. Cars Land is just something else, the theming is amazing and Radiator Spirngs Racers is one of the best rides I’ve done anywhere in the world. We stayed at the Hotel Indigo Anaheim, which was a steal on IHG points and easy walking distance to the parks each day.

      We were disappointed in San Francisco this time around, they have a real issue with homelessness and drug use in the streets and the atmosphere wasn’t as we’d remembered. That said it’s always worth a visit.

      We didn’t go there this time but Monterey was a fabulous place when I visited before. Another recommendation would be the Jelly Belly factory near Fairfield, which is easily driveable to/from San Francisco. The factory tour is free and you get free samples!

      • Boi says:

        Wow, excellent suggestions. Thanks all

      • Doug M says:

        +1 on San Fran. The homelessness is overwhelming. The city has definitely lost some vibe too. Too many rich Silicon Valley types have changed the unique feeling it always had.

        • Lady London says:

          Portland seems has started going a bit that way too. Not what it was.

        • BJ says:

          It’s always been the case with major US cities that different ends of a street can be like different world’s. For example, Market Street in SF or pop out the wrong end of the station in DC. 30 years ago the States still felt like the happening place, more recently it just feels like most of it has been left behind with the those parts that haven’t being in denial.

      • Nando says:

        I agree and disagree with SF, yes there are some issues but it’s an amazing city with lots of very cultural things to see and do. To be honest though, every time I have visited, I have never stayed city centre. Mission is the closest I’ve stayed, Castro and Noe also close to city but far enough out. That is my top tip.

        My stays in San Fran include minimal time in the cbd city centre itself and enjoy the adorable surroundings around.

        • BJ says:

          My top tip, and only place I ever stay in SF, is the Chancellor Hotel on the corner of Union Square. Forget St Francis, just a few doors down, this place has the real SF spirit. Old and well worn it may be but it’s as comfortable as old clothes, staff are great, ambiance is breath of cookies and coffee available in the lobby round the clock, fantastic location, and last but not least the silliest gift ever at check in 🙂

        • AndyGWP says:

          Did you steal your rubber duck too? 😬😆

    • Kevin C says:

      It doesn’t sound if you will have time to go to Hawaii but if you do the Disney hotel Aulani has an excellent reputation.

      In LA, Anaheim is a long way from Universal City (Universal Studios) so bear that in mind. I think you can spend a lot longer at Disney than Universal but it depends what your kids are into.

      Other things for kids in LA: The Santa Monica Pier, cycling on Venice Beach, The Warner Bros tour.

  • r* says:

    Anyone know if a UK Amex Plat refunds the US Global Entry fee in the same way that the US Plat does?

  • Jonathan says:

    OT anyone know how to earn points topping up a Tax Free Childcare account besides BillHop?

    • John says:

      Not familiar with the service you’re talking about but curve might be an option, linked to a miles earning visa or mastercard. If you don’t already have it feel free to use my referral code DXLAX4MD to get £5 credit loaded on to it.

    • Louise says:


    • Alex W says:

      Revolut. Either bank transfer or revolut debit card works.

      • Jtz says:

        Is revolut a round about way to pay rent by loading from a visa card from curve?

        • Mark2 says:

          There is no need to use Curve. You can load direct except from Barclaycard.

  • Waddle says:

    What in HfP readers’ opinions is the best place to put MR points if I’m considering leaving Amex and not having a MR card for a few months?

    • Mark2 says:

      It depends on your current points holdings and your plans.

      • Waddle says:

        Ah yes of course. I collect Avios and HSBC Premier points. No hotels atm but not averse to building Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honours. I’m thinking KrisFlyer because I have been building towards flying in a premium Singapore Airlines cabin.

        • BJ says:

          If you do Marriott Bonvoy you would be transfer g from one convertible currency to another so that would be the smart move if you had no short term use for the points.

        • Shoestring says:

          Not so smart if you lose on the translation with a ‘middleman’. Which you do.

          I’d stick to Avios, I do like a nice stash sitting there. Burned 75K just this week so feeling slightly nervous.

        • BJ says:

          Depends if you think it is worth the risk to keep options open to use on difficult schemes such as LH. Despite all the complaints, my own view is that BAEC is still the best scheme around, especially for UK residents. It’s why I try to maintain at least a 2y cushion with avios at the expense of growing my M&M and FlyingBlue accounts.

  • Shoestring says:

    Here’s one I didn’t know:
    Do Nectar points ever expire?
    There’s no automatic expiry date for Nectar points. But if you don’t collect or spend any points for a year, we assume you no longer want to take part in the Nectar programme and close your account.

    —> you might as well link your Nectar card a/c to your Ebay a/c, which is points for free and stops expiry. I can’t bring myself to actively collect Nectar points – but I do buy things on Ebay – & I’d hate to see our Amex Nectar card accrued points disappear. Join your cards up as well if you have more than 1.

    • Shoestring says:

      Just downloaded the browser extension for a free 100 points on my wife’s a/c.

      Nectar keeps points earning separate on family (joined) cards! So my wife was at risk of seeing her a/c closed after 12 months. Losing half our Amex Nectar points.

      Very underhand. I guess I get all the Ebay points & since I keep both cards in my wallet that was down to me not bothering to collect Nectar points.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      I’m usualy pop into a Sainbury to get a few bits or a petrol and use my Nectar card. Handy having the tag on my keys. Wish I could do the same as Tesco and just have it on my phone.

  • Shoestring says:

    O/T so 14th April 2020 (Tuesday after Easter Monday) was showing as off peak yesterday – but not available to buy as 356 days away.

    Today you can buy it but it’s peak. 15th April is showing as off peak now, let’s see if it turns into peak at midnight.

    • BJ says:

      Thanks for pointing this out. I need to predict the July peak cut off dates so at least I know to take the availability calendar with a pinch of salt.

      • Shoestring says:

        Which July? 2019 should be pretty stable – but the calendar for 2020 isn’t published yet (is it?)

        I remember feeling pretty fed up because a year ago I got 4x Avios redemptions @ T-355 & paid peak Avios so +1000, yet a couple of weeks later they’d changed to off peak (1000 cheaper). I was going to follow it up with CS but forgot.

        • BJ says:

          July 2020. I was going to base my plans around what I could see on the available dates calendar during award searches but if I understood you right and discussions yesterday, it now seems that info may not be reliable.

    • meta says:

      Yes, all very strange. I had to do a return one-way for short-haul on 14/04/2020 from Paris today. I booked the tickets (money&avios taken) and didn’t get a confirmation email for several hours. Then got an email which showed that I redeemed 1600 On Business Points. For a second, I thought I might have been logged in to On Business, but at the moment my company does not have that many points. BA’s IT seems to be all over the place last few days.

    • Annabelle says:

      Didn’t seem to show off peak for Tuesday 14/4/20 in advance but only weds 15/4/20. I booked return flights for 14/4/20 this morning at 1am and it was peak as expected.

      • Shoestring says:

        Weds 15th 2020 is off peak, confirmed

        • Anna says:

          This is one instance where BA ignoring the north is a positive – my son’s school holidays next year stretch until April 27th so hopefully our return flights will fall into off peak!

  • signol says:

    Shame about the JNB cut, but as long as DUR isn’t affected (similar schedule on the other days of the week) it shouldn’t affect us too much.

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