Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How would the HfP team spend 100,000 Avios?

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This article is sponsored by Barclaycard

A regular question that we get asked when we meet readers is “I’ve got xxxxx number Avios, what’s the best redemption I can get?” Our answer is usually the same – it depends. Your life, interests, travel companions and travel aspirations all make a huge difference to the answer to this question.

However, with the current offer from Barclays to get a guaranteed 100,000 Avios bonus when you take out the Barclaycard Avios Plus credit card (£20 monthly fee), and Premier current account with Barclays Avios Rewards (£12 monthly fee), it got the team chatting.

With the three of us leading quite different lives, we thought we’d share our personal thoughts on how we’d spend those 100,000 bonus Avios.

To take part in this offer, you will need to take out the two required products, or the one you don’t already have, by 30 November 2022 and keep them open for four months from the date you opened the last product.

Representative example for the Barclaycard Avios Plus credit card: 72.4% APR representative variable and a purchase rate of 23.9% variable with an assumed credit limit of £1,200. Monthly fee £20. T&C’s apply. Subject to application, financial circumstances and borrowing history.

Click here or the image below to find out more.

Rob

With 100,000 Avios to spend, I’d use mine on four Club Europe tickets to Marrakech for a long weekend with my family in February half term or Easter.

The flight duration of 3 hours 45 minutes and the Club Europe 2×2 seat formation, for a group of four, would justify Club Europe for this short-haul redemption.

With ‘Avios and cash’ redemptions, I follow my ‘1p rule’. You can read a guide to this here, but essentially it requires you to look at all of the pricing options on offer with ‘Avios and cash’ and assume an Avios is worth 1p.

You can then compare the value between the six options. In the Marrakech example below, the first ‘costs’ the user £2,036 and the last costs £1,532. Often the cheapest option is somewhere in the middle, but on this occasion, it’s actually the final option (86,000 Avios + £672) which handily also fits into my 100,000 Avios budget.

Sinead

I’ve not taken out a Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard yet and I don’t have Premier Banking with Barclays so I could potentially get a massive 150,000 Avios bonus with this offer. I’d love to splurge this on a decadent Club World flight to Miami and encourage a friend to take out both of the Barclay’s products so they could come with me.

(The 150,000 Avios award is possible by being a new customer to Barclays and a new customer to Barclaycard for both Avios products, as well as satisfying the applicable Welcome Bonus criteria to receive a 25,000 Avios award for each. Add to this the current 100,000 Avios award for taking out both products during the current promotional campaign which ends 30th November 2022).

Realistically though, I have a husband and a child and now can’t stay up later than 11pm so I’ll leave the partying in Miami to Rhys for the time being. Instead, I’d use the Avios in a way that Rob (and many readers) may despair of .… Nectar Hotels.

Nectar Hotels logo

This summer my family went to Domes of Corfu and we absolutely loved it (this was not a HfP trip but paid for by me). It’s the perfect place for us at this time in our life – great creche facilities, pool perfect for toddlers and tons of other families around so we didn’t feel like we were ruining someone else’s holiday. I’d love to go back next year.

The Avios-Nectar transfer rate has just changed to 300 Avios = 400 Nectar points (please see our full article on this here). That means the 150,000 Avios from the Barclays offer now gets me 200,000 Nectar points.

A week’s accommodation in May at Domes of Corfu starts from 187,000 Nectar points on Nectar Hotels, so I’m sorted. (I know I’ve cheated slightly by adding in the individual product bonuses to my pot whilst Rob and Rhys didn’t …..)

Whilst point for pound that Club World trip to Miami makes more sense, especially after the Nectar devaluation, I’d STILL personally use the 150,000 Avios on a week’s accommodation at Domes of Corfu. I do save points for savvy redemptions, but I also want to use them on trips that I know will make me and my family happy, regardless of the value.

Rhys

I’d keep it very simple. I am lucky enough to travel a lot for Head for Points and have been to some really interesting places. Therefore for my own travel, I like to spend time with family and friends.

I studied in the US and have a lot of friends across the pond still, so I’d use 100,000 Avios to visit them. I have friends in Baltimore that I’d like to see and you can fly direct from Heathrow to Baltimore in Club World for 50,000 miles each way (plus almost £1,000 in taxes and charges) on off peak dates.

Baltimore

Conclusion

There you have it – the good, the bad and the potentially ugly of Head for Points’ Avios redemption ideas.

The current offer with Barclays runs until 30th November 2022. You can find out more about the offer here.

(All suggested redemption options are a fair representation as at time of writing)

Comments (72)

  • Terry1968 says:

    I would transfer 100k over to Iberia to make the 102k Avios needed ( plus £200 in taxes) for a Madrid to Buenos Aires return . At this price I feel this is a genuine reward compared to BA’s rates.

    • JandeW says:

      I knew I’d got it wrong!! Just recently booked a Buenos Aires 2-4-1 on BA for next October, in CW for 175k Avios and £1644.72 in taxes!!! Should I (can I?) cancel the BA and rebook with Iberia, via Madrid? Our dates are flexible…

      • Gavin454 says:

        Yes, you can cancel and lose £35 fee per person. When I made a redemption to Lima via Madrid a while ago, the best way of doing it seemed to be to book the initial flight from London as a separate cash flight to Madrid, stay overnight, and then a one-way Avios redemption Madrid – Lima. For the return, I booked Lima – Madrid – London as an Avios redemption all on one ticket. All booked via Iberia.

        • JandeW says:

          Thanks Gavin. Living in Amsterdam, we shall probably book Amsterdam-Madrid-Buenos Aires-Madrid-Amsterdam. For the initially planned BA trip we were just going to come to London on a separate ticket.

      • Rob says:

        If Iberia has availability you can do it, yes. Find the seats first of course and then I would ring BA to do the cancellation (assuming you need the Avios back before you rebook) because a cancellation by phone should see the points become available again immediately.

      • Chas says:

        You wont be able to use your 241 on Iberia though.

        • JandeW says:

          Ah! If that is the case Chas, (no 241 on Iberia) then that snaffles the entire plan !!

          • john says:

            But.. if it’s 204,000 avios and £400 in cash (+£70 to cancel existing) vs 175k Avios + a 241 and £1644.72.. Can you get an additional 29,000 easily in place of your £1174 in cash, and still have a 241 left over for something else. Definitely worth considering, although you need to factor in positioning to/from Madrid.

    • cinereus says:

      This is the only answer that includes a sane level of fees and therefore is worth considering.

  • Joe says:

    I’d do loads of last min eurotraveller trips. Only thing where you’re not going to be absolutely reamed on taxes these days.

  • Richard says:

    I’d encourage anyone who’s tempted by this article to head over to the HfP forums, and see just how much of a horlicks Barclays are making of the application process. The short version is that if something goes wrong in the app – and a *lot* is going wrong in the app, Barclays themselves told me that – your records get stuck in a bad state, and the only way to fix it is to make an appointment to go to a branch. Of course Barclays have slashed their branch network, so the appointment you’ll be offered will be in several weeks’ time.

    The most concerning report is the recent post from someone whose identity verification was “lost” AFTER they’d opened an account and switched their salary in – so now they’re locked out of managing their account through the app until their branch appointment on… 23 January! Obviously I can’t verify that claim myself, but it’s consistent with my own experience – which is that the app told me it had successfully completed ID verification, then had “something go wrong”, then forgot that I’d been verified and told me I had to go to a branch.

    The Premier phone line gets answered very quickly, but that doesn’t mean they can do anything. They can send a message to a branch begging the branch to call you back, but in my case that hasn’t actually happened.

    All in all I think I’ve decided I value a working current account more than I value 100K Avios. It’s a real shame, because the offering did make sense to me in the long-term and if only they’d successfully onboarded me, I’d most likely have stayed for many years. Instead it’s gone the other way – I’ll probably cancel my existing Barclaycard now.

    • George K says:

      Do you really need an appointment for the ID check? Can’t you just show up with all the docs and wait for a personal banking agent?

      • Aw says:

        Incredibly, no. I turned up in a central London branch, at opening time, and was sent away and told to come back for an appointment in….February!

        • George K says:

          Thanks – we took a chance as my wife’s account was flagged and now have an appointment for early December… Better than nothing.

      • Richard says:

        The phone line did say I could just show up and see if they could “squeeze me in”, but suggested I might have to go back several times. Reports in the HfP forums suggest that you can succeed if you turn up and just insist on waiting till you’re seen, but that wait times can be very long (90 minutes has been quoted).

        The whole experience has made me realise how much they’ve gutted their branch network – the most convenient branch for me to go to is only open on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. And that’s in central London!

        All in all it’s the least “premier” experience I’ve ever had with a bank. And I say that as someone who’s been an HSBC customer in the past… which sets a pretty low bar.

        • OP says:

          Try the Tottenham Court Road branch, and go as soon as they open (any day except Wednesday) as their appointments don’t start until 30-60 mins after opening – this was the tip given to me and it worked. They were also incredibly helpful, friendly and called me to follow up once a few back office set up things had been completed.

          • Richard says:

            Thanks! That’s actually not far from my office, so I might give it a try (once I’ve got over the overwhelming sense of just not being bothered any more). I do get the feeling that a lot of this is down to the individual branch.

      • Hannah says:

        I just turned up and was seen by an absolutely delightful manager in my local branch – couldn’t have been more helpful. Appreciate I may have been lucky to have so little drama though!

    • CarpalTravel says:

      A good thing to highlight, I’d not checked.

      I’ve not had a lot of joy with premier banking previously, but that was with HSBC. They made an absolute dogs dinner of the setup (including staff in a branch actually lying to me and refusing to assist) and despite three requests, 18months on the account is still open, empty. At least that one isn’t costing me a monthly fee.

      Given that and the laughable mess Barclaycard made when launching the Avios Plus card, including charging me for a card they hadn’t even sent me, I find myself very wary of offer from these businesses with both sub-standard systems and customer services.

      If everything all goes smoothly then it is a great offer, an absolute PITA however if not. As well as calculating the £ cost of Avios, I now factor in the value to me of my time and effort. These days I am finding myself more and more choosy about which offers I pursue and this one doesn’t pass the faff test.

      • Mikeact says:

        I do feel that the app leaves a lot to be desired…I found it very frustrating first time round, especially trying to change login details etc. , when you know that the details you have entered are correct.

    • cinereus says:

      I’m still dealing with Barclays f*** ups seven months later. Have spent over 30 hours on the phone with them and still not sorted. Absolutely has not been worth it…

    • jj says:

      My journey so far.

      – Despite having the credit card, failed ID during online application.
      – A week later received letter telling me to go to a branch to prove my ID. No mention of appointments.
      – Turned up at branch. Told to book an appointment, but none available until December.
      – called Premier line and booked into another (small) branch.
      – Received call from branch, which has no facilities to open accounts. Booked into the first branch.
      – Turned up at branch. Told they weren’t expecting me and no appointments were available.
      – Drew on the entirety of my assertiveness resources whilst remaining iciliy polite.
      – Appointment with apologetic agent miraculously appeared. Account set up.

      So far, it’s all been a bit of a contrast with NatWest, where my personal Banker rings me for a cheerful chat a couple of times a year…

    • Gordon says:

      @Richard. Read my post on page one, I am afraid I do not agree with you regarding waiting weeks wait for an appointment in branch, That is misleading information, I do agree regarding the reduced number of staff in branches now, I live in Essex and popped into my local branch last Saturday (yes Saturday not a weekday) there were 3 branch assistants in the back comfy area, I did not have an appointment and I was seen in 10 mins, The young assistant sorted everything out from opening the premier banking to switching to the Barclays card avois plus from the free one in 30 mins.
      That’s without an appointment, I would urge anyone that thinks they will have an issue applying for the offer online, Go to your branch. I had my Barclaycard and my existing bank account under 2 profiles which I was unaware of that had to be merged, so that’s one reason I would recommend the human approach.

      • Richard says:

        I’m relaying exactly what Barclays told me on the phone about the appointments, so there’s nothing “misleading” about that. If you’re saying that Barclays misled *me*, well, that just reinforces the view that they can’t be trusted to operate my current account.

        To be clear – I’m sure there is a big silent majority whose applications went through with no problems at all. But there are enough people reporting bad experiences, both in this thread and on the forums, to show that it’s not just isolated cases.

        • Gordon says:

          Thousands of People are mislead everyday, Example The favourite one of BA CS staff telling people they need a BA Amex to pay your taxes etc for a companion voucher booking etc, But that would not prevent me from taking the flight?

          • Richard says:

            That’s a fair point. I guess I’m particularly sensitive about my current account because dysfunction there would touch so many areas of my life. If it was “just” a credit card, for example, I’d be much more willing to jump through the hoops to get it and then see what happened (but keep another card in my wallet just in case).

            Of course if I was planning to switch a “burner” current account and switch away again immediately after getting the bonus, then I’d feel differently about it. But I’m not! This is the sad irony for Barclays – the customers who’ll be most put off by shambolic treatment at this stage are the ones they actually want.

          • His Holyness says:

            My fathers Avios card got blocked for fraud (M&S transactions…) and he can’t make it the 40 miles to the nearest branch after the local ones (few mins walk) closed in recent weeks. He doesn’t drive. Unsurprisingly he wants it cancelled.

  • Peter says:

    I’m quite disappointed, I really expected some mind blowing quirky redemptions by our Gurus.. but these are basics. Before Nectar devaluation, I would have spent it on petrol at Sainsbury’s. Now.. looking for an idea!

    • Peter K says:

      But the article wasn’t about quirky, unusual ways to spend 100k Avios, it was what the team realistically would use them on.

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        Also Sinead’s redemption elegantly raises a very valid point that is often not given enough weight: the best use of miles and points is to redeem for something that you yourself really want; not necessarily the thing that would otherwise have cost the most.

      • Peter says:

        Sure, but this just proves the point that Avios could have a lot of power but.. we all just spend them on basics. I get that 100k Avios for family of 4 is not a lot, so maybe that’s why these examples are not that impressive – but for me that’s the reason why I read this website – for unusual ideas, and these can be only found in comments really.

  • babyg says:

    @Rob, probably the least inspiring use of 100k point IMHO, flying economy seats for 3.5 hours seems a waste. Much better planning ahead, paying cash, booking emergency exit (way better seats than club (including row 1), then picking up some of the very good dinning options from Fortum and Masons, Gordon Ramsey etc for in flight dinning… Now with my 100k i would look on qatar.com to get myself a super lux, super long haul trip somewhere that could be once in a lifetime type thing (e.g. 90k to NZ.AUS)…. (obviously i would need more points for a return trip)…

    • Rob says:

      Er, yes, apart from … kids can’t sit in the exit row, 3×3 seating doesn’t work well for a group of four. Apart from that ….

      • babyg says:

        Your kids probably have status, so theoretical seating will most likely give you a blocked middle seat unless the flight is packed, adults in Exit-row, kids in the rows in front of you. Or what about doing an RJ flight to AMM, 787, proper lay flat beds, 1970s trolley food and beverage service… just saying 100k on CE is very uninspiring….

  • e14 says:

    Seems an excessive use of Avios 🙂 for the trip to Baltimore, when an ex EU cash fare can often be had for a similar amount of TFCs (and with the right TA almost similar cancellation fees).
    I have friends in Baltimore that I’d like to see and you can fly direct from Heathrow to Baltimore in Club World for 50,000 miles each way (plus almost £1,000 in taxes and charges) on off peak dates.

  • Dawn says:

    Is it easy to upgrade from the free credit card to the paid monthly one?

    • Rob says:

      If the app lets you do it, you can do it. Barclays won’t show the option in the app if it doesn’t believe you are suitable for the paid card. You lose your ‘year to date’ spend towards the voucher.

  • Mikeact says:

    Shame this forum has been hijacked with Barclaycard comments..(me as well!)

    • Mikeact says:

      But then, I suppose they have ‘sponsored ‘it.

    • Richard says:

      My fault. Sorry. My penance:

      What I’d most like to do with 100K Avios is to arrange a reunion with a good friend of mine, who emigrated to North America a few years ago. It would be particularly nice to meet up again in our old stamping-grounds here in the UK, so if they were amenable, I’d look to get a ticket for them to come here rather than the other way round… taking advantage of the fact that you’re allowed to use Avios to book a ticket for someone else, even if you aren’t travelling with them.

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