Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

More thoughts on whether air miles should be banned to reduce climate change

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There was a big reaction to my piece on Tuesday about whether frequent flyer schemes should be banned because they encourage additional flying which exacerbates climate change.

Here are four interesting asides – three of which you should NOT take too seriously – from the last 24 hours:

I apologise to any HfP readers who live in Continental Europe and who watch Sky News.  As was posted in our comments yesterday:

“Sky News don’t fill the ad breaks with ads out here in Europe – you get some ads but also filler pieces and snips of ‘international’ news interest.  Twice an hour I’m getting Rob’s 5 second analysis of Frequent Flyer programs, it’s unrelenting.”

We can only hope that the reader who posted:

“You really need to work on your delivery when speaking. You sound like a chav. And surely your office is big enough for the camera to actually be in it?!?!”

…. isn’t in Continental Europe …. (and, no, our office is not big enough to take a full size TV camera, a lighting rig and leave the required gap between the lens and my face.)

I moderated a panel discussion at the Flybe leadership conference in Exeter on Tuesday.  During the Q&A, one member of the audience – who introduced herself as a 23-year old graduate trainee – asked myself and Flybe’s head of loyalty, who was on stage with me, whether we thought a loyalty scheme was the right thing to do given the environmental concerns.  The genie is out of the bottle.

The best comment I saw on this topic, which I repeated on stage at Flybe, came in an email from a reader.  He claimed that Avios and BAEC were a force for good against climate change.  British Airways business class is so dreadful that everyone would be taking more harmful indirect flights on Emirates, Etihad etc if it wasn’t for the lure of the tier points …..

The report that kicked off this debate was written by academics at Imperial College.  A comment posted on HfP on Tuesday said that Imperial College staff are not allowed to collect frequent flyer miles or hotel points when travelling on university business.  I have absolutely no confirmation if this is true or not, or whether it may have influenced their report 🙂  (EDIT: we now have the actual policy in the comments below. Miles collected whilst travelling on Imperial College business are “not for personal use” and should therefore be redeemed for future business travel.)

Comments (168)

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  • Lyn says:

    Re lounge access in MAD question. From Iberia’s web-site:

    Customers flying in the following Iberia service classes

    Business Plus Boarding card valid on the day for flights operated by the Iberia Group. If you have a connecting flight in a different service class, you can access both airports’ VIP lounge. The connecting flight must be a oneworld (***) flight.

    Business Class Boarding card valid on the day for flights operated by the Iberia Group. If you have a connecting flight in a different service class, you can only access the VIP lounge of the airport where you start your journey in Business class

  • memesweeper says:

    OT: Question about the new British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Card.

    I’m not seeing a progress bar towards 2,200 On Business Points for spending £3,000 — should I be concerned?

    I’m on track to hit the target in month one. It’s occurred to me I might want to wait to pass the threshold on 1 Jan to ensure the OB points hit in a new year … my thinking being that puts off expiry a little. A heavy spender with an active OB account who is considering this card might want to hold off till December to apply.

  • Jonas says:

    Did anyone notice that this statement is NOT TRUE?

    The IHG Rewards Club Premium Mastercard gives you a voucher for a free night at any IHG Rewards Club property when you reach £10,000 of spending per card year. You get this every year.

    You CANNOT use the free night at properties whos reward value is greater than 40,000 points

    I don’t remember seeing that and obviously neither has Rob
    Not impressed TBHO.

  • Geoff says:

    OT: Miles & More transfers to Heathrow rewards. Just tried to transfer some orphan miles, but the option has disappeared form the Rewards website. Guess it might be an IT thing. Anyone got any more info? Thanks

    • Toilet Paper Man says:

      also interested in this!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Could this be related to the legal action being undertaken in Germany about their value? Thats why they have suspended all hotel transfers

  • Benilyn says:

    OT: Overpaid into my Creation IHG account, how hard / how many questions will be raised if I call creation and ask them to BT the money to me?

  • lee says:

    Can someone in know confirm if Tesco are the only credit card company treating curve atm as cash advance? I have virgin money and halifax card


  • Boris says:

    Any advice appreciated

    Just had my 740am flight tomorrow from LGW to AMS cancelled.

    Booked on avios and only alternative they can get me on is an 1800 flight

    I called them and reason is “operational purposes”

    Are avios booking etc covered by that EU compensation.

    • jc says:

      Yes. “This Regulation shall not apply to passengers travelling free of charge or at a reduced fare not available directly or indirectly to the public. However, it shall apply to passengers having tickets issued under a frequent flyer programme or other commercial programme by an air carrier or tour operator.”

    • Shoestring says:

      yes, same as a cash ticket

      put your original flight details into ExpertFlyer tomorrow and give us the full report

      • Shoestring says:

        more advice: under duty of care they have to pay your food & drink (no booze) whilst you are delayed, so get yourself a couple of nice meals with receipts (£25 per meal)

        • Lady London says:

          *and that diuty of care is owed to you even if by some miracle BA does actually turn out to have a reason for the cancellation, that means they can escape from paying you compo under EU261 – which is not so likely.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I suspect you booked the first flight out for a reason and a 20:00 arrival might not fit your plans. Are you in or around LGW anyway tomorrow morning? Because I thought within 24hours it’s under airport control and you could do better getting to the airport and seeing if they can get you on an earlier flight.

      Or it doesn’t bother you in the slightest

      Either way enjoy spending the compensation on something nice 🙂

    • Rob says:

      That’s bull. BA is still selling cash tickets on the 08.25 from Heathrow. Admittedly the other flights until 6pm are sold out in Economy but Business is available. The 15.30 from City is also available in Economy.

    • N says:

      ADE is on hence busy flights

    • Lady London says:

      Yes. Compo 100% sure.
      Duty of care – your hotel costs and transport to/from hotel and food – also covered until the flight they replace it with.
      Personallly I would not have accepted an 1800 flight in lieu of a flight I had booked leaving at 07.40. If I;m leaving at 07.40 I would defintely have specific meetings and things to do during my day in AMS that leaving at 18.00 won;t let me do.

      If this is your case then KL is always flying to AMS and almost certainly has a flight departing at close to the same time – I’d tell BA you need that in order to fulfil the purpose of your trip and request to be ticketed onto it immediately.

      If you take a refund then no duty of care but you should still claim the compensation. Make sure you follow Shoestring’s advice and get the reason for the cancellation while it’s still available to see as you’ll be amazed what it can morph into (apparently) over the potentially long course of a claim with British Airways.

      “operational reasons” excuse – had that on early flights to AMS and GVA more than once before – it probably means flights were very sparsely loaded so they’ve cancelled.

  • Alex Sm says:

    Back to the original post topic, if I may…

    TBH, Rob – you ARE the least legible speaker of all the people who speak in this segment, especially to those who are, like myself, are non-native English speakers – but this doesn’t correlate in any way with that you are probably the smartest person of all these! And your view about the (negligible) FF impact on the environment is 100% valid, rational and non-sensational. They are barking at the wrong tree…

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