“How to get a discount on airport car parking” is a difficult and long-winded question, especially at Heathrow. Luckily for me, the good people at moneysavingexpert.com have written a long article on the subject, which you can find here. I can therefore focus on the ‘miles and points’ angles.
We wrote a similar article on how to get the best deals on Gatwick Airport car parking here.
Earning and burning from official Heathrow Airport parking
The official Heathrow Airport car parks are not the cheapest option but are certainly convenient.
The rather cool driverless ‘pods’ are now back in operation after a long suspension. You can find full details on the airport website.
We did a trip report on the ride on the driverless pods (and a video, because we’re sad) which you can find here.
Use Heathrow Rewards points to cut the cost of the official car parks
You can reduce what you pay for the official Heathrow car parks by redeeming Heathrow Rewards points.
The rate is a £10 voucher for every 500 points you redeem. This is a very good deal, because the alternative would be receiving 500 Avios – and I certainly don’t value an Avios point at 2p – or a £5 shopping voucher.
You can also earn points with Heathrow Rewards, convertible to Avios or various other airlines, when you book the ‘official’ Heathrow car parks, at the rate of 1 point for every £1 spent. The website for the official Heathrow car parks is here.
Earning Avios from offsite airport parking
You will usually save money by parking at an unofficial car park near an airport, although the trade off is a longer transfer time to and from the terminal.
British Airways has a parking partnership with ParkVia.
What is new with the ParkVia partnership is that it is NOT just UK only. As well as allowing you to book parking at multiple UK airports, it also covers much of Europe, Canada and the USA. If you find yourself needing to prebook airport parking in, say, Hamburg, it can be done very easily.
You will earn 5 Avios per £1 spent on parking. You can book via the BA-branded ParkVia portal which you will find here.
Earn Avios with valet parking
You can also earn 5 Avios per £1 on pre-booked valet parking at Heathrow Terminals 3 and 5.
The valet parking offer is outlined on this page of ba.com.
Earn Virgin Points from airport parking
Virgin Flying Club has partnerships with Holiday Extras and Purple Parking. Full details are on the Virgin Atlantic site here.
Holiday Extras offers the option of a ‘meet and greet’ service as well as on- and off-airport parking. They will collect your car at the terminal and bring it back on your return. All Flying Club members get a discount – even those on the free Red level – and you will earn 250 to 500 points depending on what service you book.
Purple Parking offers 500 Virgin Points for ‘meet and greet’, 350 for ‘on airport’ park and ride and 250 for ‘off airport’ park and ride.
Using Clubcard vouchers for offsite airport parking
Tesco Clubcard has a partnership with airport parking group APH. You can see details of the deal here.
You receive 2 x the face value of your Clubcard vouchers if you redeem them for APH parking.
Use Zipcar Flex and avoid parking altogether
If you are a member of the Zipcar car sharing club, you may be familiar with Zipcar Flex. This allows you to pick up a Zipcar as usual and take it on a one way journey, with no requirement to drop it back at its original location.
The only rule is that, obviously, the place where you drop the car has to be an approved Zipcar Flex location. You can find these at Heathrow and at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal.
This HfP article tells you more about how Zipcar Flex works at London Gatwick. The Heathrow drop off point is now in the Holiday Inn / Staybridge Suites hotel complex on Bath Road which is far less convenient for Terminal 5 than the old location inside the T5 short stay car park.
Earning hotel points with ‘hotel and parking’ packages
I wrote an article last year on the semi-secret ‘park and fly’ Park Stay Go rates offered by IHG One Rewards via a little-known corner of their website. This is worth a look. You may find that you can book a hotel room for the night before plus solve your parking problem for less than the cost of an official car park.
The benefit of booking an ‘official’ IHG package rather than using a consolidator like Holiday Extras is that you will earn IHG points for your stay and your elite benefits should be provided if you have status. Full details of IHG’s Park Stay Go are on the IHG website here.
Other Heathrow hotels may have similar packages via their websites.
Staying at the Heathrow Thistle for a quick pod transfer
If you are flying out of Terminal 5 at Heathrow, take a look at the Thistle hotel. Image above.
This is, frankly, not the most modern of hotels. The reason to book a ‘park and fly’ package here is that you can use the driverless pods to reach Terminal 5 as they operate from the official car park behind the hotel. There is a £7 per person charge for this but it makes for a fun and trouble-free start to your holiday.
I stayed at the Thistle Heathrow back in 2018 and took the pods to Terminal 5 the next day. Here is my Thistle Heathrow hotel and pod transfer review.
Get an ‘under the carpet’ deal at one of the Heathrow hotels
For a three week stay or longer, a monthly subscription slot booked via YourParkingSpace is likely to be the cheapest option. You can cancel your subscription with 30 days notice.
…. or borrow the drive of someone nearby
There is no simple answer to the cheapest airport parking at Heathrow, or elsewhere in the UK. It is all about the trade off between the distance from the airport and the price you want to pay.
If you would need a hotel the night before anyway, then a ‘hotel plus parking’ package is probably your best option – but remember that these packages, unless booked direct, are unlikely to earn hotel points or give you elite status benefits.
If you are price conscious, then don’t be distracted by the Avios or Virgin Points on offer from various operators. Focus on the bottom line price. If you are spending your employers money, or are not price sensitive, there are numerous opportunities to earn Avios or Heathrow Rewards from the pricier, more convenient parking options.
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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
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.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.