Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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  • Fife Flyer 9 posts

    Thanks to heads for points, I’ve managed to acquire about 320k Avios, but I’m really struggling how to use them (other than transferring them to nectar) so I’m looking for some inspiration on how to use them for a family holiday. I live in Scotland, so may need to connect via London, although direct flights with QR, AA, AY, and I2 are an option, I’m happy to increase the number of Avios or aim for a 2 for 1 voucher if a suitable suggestion was made. Ideally I would like my family to experience long haul business class, but I’m open to any inspiring ideas!

    NorthernLass 8,494 posts

    Hi – you probably need to be a bit more specific about the kind of thing you want to do, there are endless possibilities!

    The Savage Squirrel 611 posts

    If you have certain dates or a date range in mind then you can use Seatspy’s tool (subscription required) to see which routes have business class availability for your group size on your dates, which seems a good way to start getting inspired.

    Froggee 1,006 posts

    Yeah – I kind of read that and thought where do I start. E.g. are you taking toddlers, teenagers or granny?

    Given your Fife reference I’m guessing Edinburgh Airport is your preferred departure. You could do worse as a starting point to look at the direct flights from Edinburgh and see if any of them grab you. You have options for Florence, Palma, and Chambéry plus the Channel Islands and Southampton. Availability tends to be very good and there is no harm in booking flights as an option for summer 2023. It only costs £35 per person to cancel.

    Further afield, the best value comes from long haul business which you are still a little bit Avios poor to indulge in if I assume there are four of you. But if the stars align and you can get a cheap WT+ fare and there is Avios availability in J then that would be easily affordable.

    Short and mid-haul is a bit rubbish as you have to pay for the EDI-LHR add-on so Avios tend to be poor value for money on these routes. Generally you’d be better paying cash. If you are happy with Economy long haul then Reward Flight Saver flights to E.g. the east coast of the US can offer good value.

    If your kids are school age then the early break-up vs England is your friend. Historically Mrs Froggee and I have been successful getting four J seats to Singapore immediately school breaks up. We then cancel them nearer the time when Mrs Froggee changes her mind. It’s a fun hobby. Easter is west coast California although she’ll probably want to cancel that also once we are closer to going.

    Scott 258 posts

    If USA interests you, a couple can fly from UK (Gla via LON) in business class off-peak for roughly 150k Avios plus £1700 surcharges.

    If flying ex EU instead you could knock £1k off the surcharges, with an increase in the Avios to cover the leg to LON (e.g. +30k ex Dublin)

    So multiply this by two for a family of four, and the small matter of earning 2 x 241 vouchers, and then all you need to do is find availability!

    Some popular destinations at popular times of year sell out of reward seats very quickly, whereas others have plenty availability – how about Colorado in May?

    Lottie 31 posts

    If you are interested in long haul we have done a few with our son on Avios. Two favourites were Malaysia, into Singapore out of KL. couple of days in Singapore then Mulu, lots to see there with the bat cave, boat rides etc and the flight in and airport were a hit in themselves. Then Borneo to see the orang-utans, we went to the sanctuary in the south as it was a lot less crowded.
    We have also done a trip into Chile out of Lima, atacama desert, followed by Amazon rainforest and machu piccu . My son also loved this. Also India is well worth a trip and the more southerly airports normally all have pretty good Avios availability.

    Fife Flyer 9 posts

    Great advice and apologies for the vague request last night, but I’ve certainly been inspired! I’ve signed up to SeatSpy, booked 4x RFS tickets direct to Palma, during the school summer holidays next year (kids still at primary school) the cash price is £1666, I’ve paid £140! and I’ve decided to double down on Avios collecting to focus on long haul economy options to SE Asia or Japan.

    The reality is, I’m not convinced that younger kids would get much value from long haul business class, so I’ll either have to wait until they’re a bit older or leave them at grannies, while the wife and I escape somewhere for a long weekend!

    Froggee 1,006 posts

    I still remember Freddo at age 3, very loudly saying “does this seat turn into a bed?” and looking very disappointed when getting an answer in the negative as we got comfortable on our Ryanair flight to Faro a few years ago. Long haul business class clearly not wasted on him!

    One big advantage of your Palma flight is the seating is 2+2 not 3+3 so a whole lot better for a family of 4.

    marshy11 248 posts

    I’ve decided to double down on Avios collecting to focus on long haul economy options to SE Asia or Japan.

    The reality is, I’m not convinced that younger kids would get much value from long haul business class, so I’ll either have to wait until they’re a bit older or leave them at grannies, while the wife and I escape somewhere for a long weekend!

    Long haul economy is not a good value for your Avios.

    I’m with Froggee, but for the reason the J cabin was better for us (not just mini-me) and that meant we all had a great time.

    NorthernLass 8,494 posts

    @Froggee – ha, similarly when my son was about 8 and we flew to Malaga with easyJet he asked very loudly, “Why do we have to pay for the food?” 😂

    @Fife Flyer, yes the value of award bookings in school holidays can be astonishing as you’ve seen. If you’re going to carry on with avios and aim for long haul redemptions it’s a great idea to get the BAPP and the companion voucher and/or the avios Barclaycard (plus your partner if applicable).

    – long haul redemptions in Y can be good value when cash tickets are very expensive. Obviously not hugely comfortable though!

    AJA 1,158 posts

    Don’t forget booking WTP and upgrading to Club using Avios. I think this is one of the best ways to spend Avios on long haul as it uses less Avios and the cash paid isn’t very much more than the tfcs on a pure Avios booking in Club and you still earn TP and Avios for the underlying WTP fare or if you’re lucky with BA IT you might get the CW points.

    NigelHamilton 232 posts

    As you live in Fife, don’t forget that if you start your journey from Inverness, you avoid the Air Passenger Duty which can be pretty pricey when taking children in business. Another option if going to the US is to do an economy day flight out and then a business return overnight, which saves a bunch of Avios and no APD for under 18’s but obviously is not quite the same experience! We are doing that with our family of 5 to Canada this autumn, which cost us 219,000 Avios but that included two 2-for-1 vouchers.

    NorthernLass 8,494 posts

    I prefer Club out and Economy back – you don’t get much in the way of F and B on an overnight return and sleep quality still isn’t great. However, if you fly back from NYC or BOS, there are short day flights back to LHR which are perfectly doable in Y but you would also get the full J experience if you picked that option (hopefully – our CW return from BOS in April was pretty rubbish as they hadn’t loaded enough food but one hopes things have improved since then!)

    Fife Flyer 9 posts

    I really appreciate everyone’s suggestions. Plenty of food for thought and it’s great to hear how other families are using their Avios!

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