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The Sunday Times Travel Magazine has closed

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The Sunday Times Travel Magazine has been closed down by News UK, presumably following a collapse in advertising revenue, according to Press Gazette.

The magazine will always have a place in the heart of Head for Points readers. This is because, back in 2016, it decided to offer 4,500 Avios to everyone who took out a £30 subscription. What could possible go wrong ….?

I often use this example when talking to companies who want to use loyalty points as incentives. The magazine thought it made sense to pay (at least) £45 for 4,500 Avios in return for a £30 subscription. Why? Because their modelling showed that the average subscriber stayed with the magazine for (I’m guessing now) five years.

There were many, many thousands of sign-ups from amongst the Head for Points readership, and I am pretty sure that the average subscription length was nearer 1.0 years ……

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

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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

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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 (67)

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

  • John says:

    You won’t have to get off in Brussels any more, but the train still waits there for 27 minutes while they make sure everyone on the Amsterdam-Brussels portion of the train has disembarked.

    • memesweeper says:

      Thanks for the heads up John, but I’ll still take the extra time on the train to snooze/work and avoid the airport if I can — this is great news.

      • RussellH says:

        I would guess that it typically takes 10-15 minutes to board a full train at Bruxelles Midi.
        I can imagine that there may well be crew change there too.

    • B Wood says:

      What a pain, you think it would be easier to just not sell that portion of the route for Eurostar.

      • RussellH says:

        Why should Eurostar have to turn away possibly €1000s of business just to accommodate Daily Mail / Express / Telegraph etc paranoia about immigration?

        • Bazza says:

          Is it just “paranoia”? I thought mass uncontrolled immigration was part of being a member of the EU. Is it not? Interesting….

          • RussellH says:

            That was not necessarily immigration (which to my mind is permanent), it was freedom of movement, meaning people are free to move back and forth, as we are (still) between Yorkshire and London.
            And yes, the right wing press IS paranoid. France takes around 10x as many asylum seekers as we do these days, and they still complain. They should be utterly ashamed of themselves.

        • cinereus says:

          +1 Russell H

      • John says:

        Well with COVID they also don’t want passengers boarding in Brussels to walk past the ones already on board

    • ADS says:

      Ah, I wondered why the time savings aren’t greater.

      Will Eurostar have separate carriages for Amsterdam – Brussels passengers only … or how will they ensure that they’ve all disembarked?

      • Nick says:

        I mean, it’s not as if they haven’t had practice with this for several years with a Lille stop on the existing Brussels trains. But yes, they limit intermediate passengers to the first or last carriage(s), and sweep through to make sure they all get off. Those boarding will likely be given those seats at that point too, as they’ll all be free.

  • Dubious says:

    I had problems cancelling my Sunday times subscription. Cancelled a number of times but they still kept coming..(and trying to bill). Maybe that’s why their modelling showed people staying so long…

    • Michael C says:

      Yep, also ended up on the phone to them…although a good dozen pals took advantage of the offer.
      There were actually some useful odds & ends in the mag, but the embedded advertising within each article was hysterical – casually referring to a great place they’d stayed which just happened to have a full-page advert somewhere else in the mag, etc.!

      • Phillip says:

        Interestingly, they are offering existing subscribers a switch over to the National Geographic travel magazine.

        • Phillip says:

          Scrap that – that’s the Lonely Times Travel magazine which was also discontinued a few months back.

    • Kit Brennan says:

      I had the same experience. I cancelled after a year and they continued to send me copies ever since.

      Around 2 years in they sent me an email claiming they had been sending me the magazines by mistake and would need to charge me for the unpaid months. When I replied pointing out it was completely illegal, they didn’t respond and didn’t charge, but kept sending me more magazines… 🤷‍♂️

      • Michael AC says:

        Exactly the same thing happened to me! I told them, in polite terms, to do one. Such a shady operation.

    • BJ says:

      ‘I’ had four subscriptions and had no problem with cancelling or billing any of them. A super promotion, magazines were passed around and quite a few people got to enjoy them.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I had a couple and exactly the same no issues cancelling and no follow up issues/claims for more £

        Though some more free issues would’ve been nice

    • Lady London says:

      Im pretty sure I ended up giving them 3 years’ money for 1 year, and only got the first ‘accidental continuation’ extra charge back, as pretty sure they got away with a 3rd year charge after it had already been cancelled for a year.

      I think ‘keep billing the card even if customer cancelled’ is a thing in the magazine subsciption industry. Guessing they increase their revenues by at least 20% this way as so many wont notice. The £30 debits people are seeing now for a magazine that’s closed definitely aren’t accidental.

      The real artists in inertia subscription selling are, of course, the mobile phone industry, but that’s another topic.

  • guesswho2000 says:

    The Sunday Times Travel Magazine offer was great, they even sent them to Australia at no extra cost. I imagine it cost them as much to mail them as I paid for the subscription over the year, never mind the SUB. Would love it if The Economist offers were that generous!

  • JA says:

    I enjoyed the magazine and am sorry to see it go. The annoying thing – in the last couple of days they have taken out the £30 dd.

    • A13 says:

      Same, took £30 off me yesterday and my sub stopped in November.. called them and theyre sending me a cheque (!).

      No mention on the phone of it closing though.

    • BP says:

      I also kept my subscription because my wife and I liked the magazine. They have also taken £30 from me.

      • Mark says:

        You could try asking your bank to reverse the direct debit. Technically the direct debit guarantee probably doesn’t cover though as it is not a change of amount, collection date or frequency.

      • Neil Murray says:

        Fuck them! And me, yesterday!

  • Dave Barron says:

    Interesting to read the experience of others when cancelling their subscription. I cancelled via email after 12 months and despite doing so they continued sending copies. Some months later they billed me for the copies I didn’t want so I rang up and they told me I hadn’t cancelled! Of course I had my cancellation email as proof and they said to forward them the original cancellation as proof as without it they didn’t believe me! Needless to say they finally conceded I had cancelled but no apology!!! An absolute and deliberate scam clearly based on others experiences so they deserved to cease trading.

  • Sharon says:

    So when will they be contacting subscribers to offer a part refund of the year – not heard a dicky bird from them about all this!

  • Peter K says:

    I personally thought it was all a ploy to gain more subscribers in the final year before it was sold off. Just before the end of the first year with all the Avios offer subscribers came to an end it was sold to another company IIRC.

  • krys_k says:

    I took out the subscription for the 4500 Avios (didn’t realise in was back in 2016, time flies!) but actually enjoyed the easy read and was happy to keep my subscription rolling. Maybe I was one of the few. For me a shame that it’s gone.

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

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