Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Iberia increasing flights to Tokyo and upgrading the aircraft to a new A350

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Iberia is increasing seats on its Madrid to Tokyo Narita route next year, just in time for the Summer Olympics and the inevitable increase in tourists. It currently flies five times a week between the two cities.

From the 29th March 2020 it will replace the existing A330-200 service with its new A350-900 aircraft which we reviewed here. This will increase the size of the business cabin from 19 to 31 seats, as well as add 24 premium economy seats.

Iberia adding Japan flights

From 17th June, Iberia is adding an additional two daily Tokyo flights, making it a daily service.  These will operate on Tuesdays and Wednesdays outbound and Wednesday and Thursdays on the inbound.

If you are heading to the Olympics next year or simply want to visit Tokyo, flying via Madrid is a cheaper way of doing it.  If you want to learn how to redeem Avios points via Iberia Plus, to save a fortune on taxes and charges, take a look at this article in our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.

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 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 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

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.

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.

Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) 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 (70)

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

  • TripRep says:

    Very random OT…

    Anyone stayed at the Doubletree Moda in Istanbul? Considering it for a wknd cash stay in Oct/Nov
    Exec Lounge, rooftop bar and pool, awesome seaviews and reasonable €76/night for a twin (boys wknd)

    Grateful for other recommendations on where to stay (and what to see/eat/drink). Might even risk looking at the BA holiday sale…

  • MD says:

    OT as Bits

    FAO anyone who paid HMRC self assessment with an HSBC PWE via Curve – did your points for the HMRC transaction(s) post successfully? Mine didn’t. I split my payments across HSBC, IHG premium and Virgin Reward+. No problems with the latter two, but £6250 on the HSBC card appears to have generated no points on my latest statement (ironically the only major thing that did generate points were Revolut top ups, also for HMRC).

    I’m wondering if they might post next month, or if a £4K payment I had to make to the card during the month has confused the system. I’m also reluctant to ring them up and explain what Curve is…

    Thanks in advance.

    • MD says:

      And I should also state that the points from previous HMRC payments posted immediately with no problems.

      • 3742 says:

        HSBC points were granted normally when I last used the card with Curve, about two months ago. Wasn’t HMRC, but I doubt that would make a difference. I used it to make payments to another mastercard.

        • 3742 says:

          What about the timings, ie did the transaction itself show as a line item on the recent statement? If not that would explain it, whereas if it did then less clear-cut. Perhaps there is a window whereby a transaction can be added in the time leading up to the cut-off point, but the points then follow on the next statement.

          • MD says:

            Cheers, but HSBC points post normally for me using Curve all the time. It’s just these HMRC transactions that didn’t work. It isn’t a timing issue, as the HMRC transactions were between other payments which do appear to have earned points. I’m worried they somehow consider HMRC ineligible. T&Cs:

            4. The following items do not count as Eligible Spending: a. interest, fees, late payment charges or any other charges added to your statement;
            b. Cardholder Repayment Protector insurance premiums charged to your account;
            c. cash advances including foreign money and travellers cheque purchases;
            d. any balances from other credit or charge cards which are transferred to your card; or
            e. ATM withdrawals and gambling transactions

            But I can’t see how any of those apply. I believe Curve did change the way they report transactions since I last used it for HMRC.

        • Joseph Heenan says:

          In my experience if HSBC’s IT thinks you’ve gone over your limit then the transactions won’t earn points. This is mainly an issue if you make mid-month payments, as although the payments show against your available credit pretty quickly they take a few days to be posted onto your account.

          I believe if you take things a little slower all is fine and points will post fine.

  • Benylin says:

    OT: There was a scare before about Curve cash withdrawals showing up as cash withdrawals from credit cards on your “credit score”/lenders being able to see this pattern, regardless of if the credit card did not treat it as a cash advance.

    Is this true? With my curve limits capped out was thinking to move to cash withdrawals.

    • MD says:

      I’ve never seen anything show up on my credit reports, but only used it for £200 per month or so. Not sure what would happen if you were pushing the annual ATM limits, but wouldn’t you be paying fees on that much?

      • Benylin says:

        There aren’t any fees on certain cards for cash withdrawals via Curve.

        • MD says:

          Well aware of that, but you’re missing my point of their fair use policy.

    • the_real_a says:

      If a credit card levies a cash advance fee on a Curve transaction then its likely to also add a count to the “cash” marker in your credit reference file. Since plenty of credit cards now offer “fee free” money from Foreign transactions – and add the same marker – its questionable if this really has a negative effect in any material way. Over a three money period i had 42 (!) “Cash” markers and was still accepted for plenty of credit cards.

  • Tom1 says:

    I was hoping the IHG free luxury night cert (from earlier this year) would work with the Six Senses but sadly not.

    • Rob says:

      The free night certificates are blocked at Regent, the other new acquisition, so they could be doing the same here.

      • Tom1 says:

        Yes I noticed the regent Singapore was also blocked.

        Anyone have recommendations for Vietnam? Heading HCMC, hanoi, Da Nang and have Marriott, Hilton, IHG and Hyatt

        • BP says:

          IC Danang is outstanding. A must visit. Easily in the top 3 hotels I’ve ever visited and that includes chains such as Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, The Chedi….

          IC HCM not so great! Probably the worst IC I’ve ever visited. Nothing particularly wrong with it but felt more like a Hilton than an upscale IC.

          • Tom1 says:

            Thanks – danang looks a little isolated – is it a place you would do 2-3 nights then move on?

          • CV3V says:

            IC Nha Trang was superb, so good i changed a booking in HCM to stay at the IC which was ok but not what i hoped it would be – ‘upgraded’ to a higher floor but a room so small could hardly walk around all the furniture it had, great but expensive breakfast.

          • Rich says:

            Da Nang is a big beach resort. I’m sure it’s lovely if you like that sort of thing.

            Hoi An, 20 mins south, is a beautiful, if slightly Disneyfied, World Heritage site. If you were going to spend a few days, I would go for Hot An, unless you really just want a resort.

          • Tom1 says:

            Thanks all.
            Seems like a thumbs up for IC Danang and IC Nha Trang and not so much for HCMC.
            will look at using Hyatt points in HCMC.

        • memesweeper says:

          I stayed at the IC in Hanoi and was well treated. It’s not a perfect location nor a perfect hotel but central enough. It’s on a lake in the city centre which is a curious place for a hotel and makes you feel somewhat detached from the extremely busy city around you. My family absolutely loved it, real ‘luxury oasis’ feel.

          • BP says:

            We stayed 3 nights in Danang which was enough as it is isolated but super relaxing. Hoi An is a must see place. Ideally 2-3 nights. We stayed in The Royal hotel an Accor/Mgallery property which was very nice.

    • Neil Donoghue says:

      When does that certificate post again? Is it after I have paid the annual fee for the second year?

      • Peter K says:

        Yes, after the fee hits the statement. There is a HfP article on avoiding the fee while still getting the free night cert IIIRC, if you are not keeping the card.

  • Chelseafi says:

    OT I’ve parked at Gatwick official long stay car park south terminal and departing from south but due to BA strike now returning to North terminal, do I need to get train shuttle to south then bus transfer to car park or does the bus transfer go around to both north and south car parks? Thank you

  • xcalx says:

    OT I have a Marriott Travel Package downgraded from cat 6 to cat 4 which expires next May. I also have a Lloyds upgrade voucher that expires next May too.
    I can’t remember the use by rules for these 2 vouchers.
    Is the Marriott voucher Stay by expiry date or book by.
    same question for the Lloyds voucher.


    • Optimus Prime says:

      Book by for Lloyds.

    • ankomonkey says:

      Marriott is stay by, and it means check out by, so the stay must be 100% completed. That’s the official rule anyway. No idea how strictly it is enforced, but I wouldn’t risk it personally.

  • Lyn says:

    I think it is18 months. It will show the mile expiry date when you log in to your account.

  • Lyn says:

    It would be a useful way to keep United miles from expiring though, especially for small purchases if the earning rates aren’t good.

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

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