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  • MGOR 18 posts

    Looking for some thoughts on my future collection options. A bit of background. I’m based in NW so unfortunately Manchester is nearest option (Liverpool better but fewer points options). I’m hoping to retire in next 18 months or so so will have more time to travel. Pre 2020 I was lucky enough to have the points and 241 vouchers to get to Chile return in 1st and Grenada in business. Since 2020 for obvious reasons and also health I’ve not had the option to travel as much and lost a couple of vouchers un used but accumulated over 300k of avois. I have a free BA Amex (rarely used) and free Barclaycard and just got 7,000 avios for hitting £20k spend. Couldn’t see the point of an upgrade as unlikely to use it. Spend was unussually high as paid off a car finance loan – wouldn’t take Amex!

    Me bad as forgot to cancel BA card so can’t benefit from signing up and getting sign on bonus. I’m worried if I cancel now then I could be retired in a couple of years and won’t qualify for paid card even if my anticipated pension will be over £40kpa.

    A couple of questions:

    1 Question from Manchester is there any point with BA – it seems the sweet spot is S America via Madrid (separate flight there to save on taxes) and Iberia?

    2 To get the 241 is there a risk cancelling and waiting to re apply to get any sign up bonus but risk not qualifying on income grounds as will be on a pension? Should I just bite the bullet and get the paid card whilst working as I should qualify now from an income perspective and miss any bonus which is not guaranteed?

    I’m looking to fly with my wife in business at least annually on long haul once retired. We’re on with 7 hours on Qatar economy but any longer and we value comfort!

    I think I know the answer but would welcome views

    Thanks

    simonbarker 61 posts

    > Question from Manchester is there any point with BA

    I think you get extra reward availability if not starting a flight from London? So yes I think worth it.

    > Should I just bite the bullet and get the paid card whilst working as I should qualify now from an income perspective and miss any bonus which is not guaranteed?

    You longer term loss from missing out on the card is greater than the short term gain for a sign up bonus. So unless you are happy to work another year or two to get the income requirements and SUB bonus I think you’re better off just getting the card from a risk/reward perspective.

    The Savage Squirrel 612 posts

    The answer is that the extra availability generated by a domestic connection and a 2-for-1 here are ideal for your needs and location. Manchester is actually better than living in the South East! The loss of sign up bonus is offset by the option of generating two 2-for-1 vouchers in that time period (which last for 2 years, unlike your current ones – so no harm at all in stacking one or two ready for retirement). BAPP …. chaaaaaarge! I think you knew this was the answer already.

    meta 1,466 posts

    You can also use 241 on Iberia via Madrid. It’s actually worth getting the card with annual fee. In 18 months with clever planning you can squeeze two vouchers valid for two years that could potentially be used all the way until early 2028z

    With free version voucher you can now only use it in economy.

    Cat 141 posts

    To add to what @meta said – many Iberia flights cost significantly fewer Avios than their BA equivalent, and the taxes/fees are lower.

    Look into business flights from Madrid – the BAPP is totally worth the annual fee.

    NorthernLass 8,549 posts

    You can be accepted for the BAPP as a retired person, but they seem to prefer it if you have some sort of paid work you can declare, even if it’s just a few hours per week. Absolutely no logic to this, of course, as a pension is the most reliable income you’re ever going to have but who knows how the algorithms work 🤷‍♀️

    Going east, using avios on QR from MAN is definitely the future, even if they never accept the 241!

    Going west, you can still make it work, like saving £00’s using a 241 to fly F from (e.g.) DUB.

    can2 580 posts

    I second the benefit of 241 as well, and it’d be worthwhile to get it perhaps before officially retiring so that you can keep having vouchers every year.

    MGOR 18 posts

    Thanks for those replies – I’d forgotten about the extra availability from the regions. Not sure about going west to US at the moment as I’ve had some frightening stories from colleagues who’ve just returned from there re costs and tipping. It has confirmed my thoughts about biting the bullet and getting the paid card in time to earn the points and get a 241. Onto the fun bit planning destinations!

    NorthernLass 8,549 posts

    Agree re the US being unattractive just now, but there are plenty of other destinations not served from MAN such as the Caribbean and South America.

    simonbarker 61 posts

    I need to go to Florida in September for family reasons and I am dreading the cost of everything, we planned to do 3 nights in NYC on an open jaw return and and after costing it up we’ll just be doing one night thanks very much 🙁

    Also, US in an election year?! What am I thinking?

    NorthernLass 8,549 posts

    We spent Xmas/New Year 2022 in Florida and actually had a great time. We mostly stayed in apartments (booked with points) with kitchens so kept costs down by not eating out all the time (though restaurant prices weren’t too bad, we’re used to GCM, after all!) In the Keys the grocery stores (mainly Publix) were ridiculously expensive but when we moved to Ft Lauderdale we shopped at Aldi which was 1/3 of the price!

    The tipping culture is crazy though. Americans get very upset when you challenge it in conversation, but don’t seem to understand that paying a decent wage is the answer, not effectively holding your customers to ransom!

    simonbarker 61 posts

    Ah that’s good to hear, we are staying in an Airbnb in Lauderdale By The Sea for 7 nights – I’ll hunt down the Aldi!

    New York we plan to use Platinum dining credit for dinner, Melia discount room with breakfast and then dinner in the lounge before the night flight back. So only really need to pay for lunch.

    NorthernLass 8,549 posts

    I really liked Ft Lauderdale, we had planned to spend the last week in Miami but had a late change of plan due to all the reports of violent crime and road casualties! It was a fantastic trip (starting by flying to IAD in F), mostly paid for with avios and hotel points, which would have cost about £10k if we’d paid in real money!

    Richie 1,083 posts

    S America from Madrid sounds a good idea. IBeria’s A350 operated flights seem very good.

    Being time filthy rich means opportunities on AA from Dublin to the US are very doable.

    NorthernLass 8,549 posts

    We’re doing MAN-DUB, then DUB-LHR-MEX in November, with 2 nights in Dublin, saving £600 on BA’s F surcharges. First visit to Ireland even though it’s geographically closer to me than London!

    MGOR 18 posts

    Caribbean would be great but from NW it’s a pain. Since BA stopped flights to Gatwick I’ve tried driving to Gatwick and train down the night before staying overnight neither of which were great options particularly on the return.

    NorthernLass 8,549 posts

    NAS/PLS/GCM/BDA all depart from LHR.

    MGOR 18 posts

    I’m being picky ! Prefer the likes of Grenada St Lucia and Tobago. Want to try Bequia / St Vincent St Kitts and Antigua next. I suppose there’s the option of Virgin at LHR but not sure if connecting with BA is an option ?

    NorthernLass 8,549 posts

    Picky? Those are some of the most expensive places on the planet 😂. Few All-Inclusives and mass tourism isn’t encouraged as the financial sector is much more important (except NAS, but you have to stop there to get to GCM and PLS). BDA also often has F availability.

    MGOR 18 posts

    And therein lies the answer – expensive! Can’t beat the simple things in life – a cold Carib at the dodgy dock in Grenada ahh now I’m getting wistful and thinking time to go back……Now if only there was some availability with Avios!!!! Time to look at retiring methinks.

    NorthernLass 8,549 posts

    I can definitely recommend retirement – among other things you can jump on those rare avios seats without worrying about whether you’ll be able to get the time off work …!

    Ihar 242 posts

    Florida isn’t so bad for prices (at least last time I was there). SFO was insane, esp the tipping culture (even though they are one of the highest min wage states)! I think if you’re flexible on dates/destination then Avios is fantastic. Rack up as many AMEX 241 vouchers as you can 😉

    NorthernLass 8,549 posts

    Agree re Florida – apart from the Keys! Even Hampton Inn was nudging $500 pn, albeit over Xmas. Has to be one of the best use of points ever, that trip!

    Whatsthepoint 133 posts

    When we went to Florida last year, we didn’t think restaurant prices had gone up that much compared to the UK. Ironically, grocery prices seemed much more expensive. As for the Keys, we loved them. Quite expensive but still value for money to be had if you look hard. Airbnb and VRBO worked well (loads of Avios earned too). Key West though, a different story. Very expensive for ordinary accommodation. We stayed in what was a highly rated B&B downtown and found it very average. Cost was about £275 a night. As for points strategy. We’re also retired so applying for new cards is a challenge especially as we’re actually living on savings at present. However, I’ve found retention bonuses to be pretty good when you threaten to leave. Our spend is probably more than ever and I’m glad we’ve retained each a BAPP, Virgin plus, Bc plus and Platinum. It helps that our daughter is getting married. The spend on that alone will get us half a return to Florida.

    simonbarker 61 posts

    It helps that our daughter is getting married

    My version of that is “renovating a house” a Tapi Carpets purchase through EC shopping portal and Plat card was a decent chunk of point alone.

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