Once my last flights of this tier point collection year had posted, I did a short analysis on my flying year. I thought that it would also be interesting to see where the miles and points have come from, and what I have used them from.
|In flight retail||118|
|AmEx Gold Transfers||17500|
As you can see, I earned on average 12,000 Avios a month from a variety of sources; only 25% were from flying.
Car Hire: 5 car hires using Avis attracts an additional bonus; make sure you are signed up for the Avis Preferred scheme to get quicker access to the car, and to collect the bonus Avios.
BA Holidays: This is stackable with the car hire and flight Avios. If you book a flight and car or flight and hotel, you can often save some money, and get some more Avios.
In-flight Retail: I had to buy a watch as mine had broken on a holiday, and there was one I liked the look of in the in-flight magazine, so I got some more Avios. These are in addition to the ones earned for paying on the BAPP card.
Gate365: An online shopping portal, similar to Topcashback or Quidco. Particularly useful for John Lewis purchases which do not get cashback on the other sites.
Tesco Clubcard: You can earn 600 Avios for every £2.50 of Clubcard vouchers exchanged. Some of these come from everyday shopping, but most come from bonus promotions and Topcashback. Tesco often runs 500 or 1000 bonus point offers with wine purchases. You can also transfer your cashback from Topcashback to Tesco – 1 CC Point per penny. Many of the hotel booking sites offer around 10% cashback, so spend £400 and you will get £40 cashback = 4000 CC Points = 9,600 Avios, which is more than enough for a return flight to Nice. You are limited to withdrawing £50 per year to Tesco; you can take out more straight to Avios, but this is obviously less lucrative. If you are not already signed up to Topcashback, please consider using this link.
AmEx Gold: You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points 1:1 into your BAEC Account.
AmEx Referral: For everyone referred and accepted, you can earn 9,000 MR points or Avios depending on which card it is.
BAPP AmEx: You earn 1.5 Avios / £ spent, except at BA, where you earn 3 Avios / £. This also includes car hire and hotels separate from flights.
As well as the almost 130,000 Avios outlined above, I have a new 241 voucher, 24,600 AmEx MR Points and £85 in Tesco Clubcard points which, together, are worth another 45,000 Avios. I would always advise people to keep these points in their native forms for as long as possible or until you need them for an upcoming redemption. This will allow you to take advantage of the occasional bonus promotion as well as use them elsewhere if there was a good deal available.
In total, I spent 104734 Avios from my account. It is not as easy to see where these have been spent, as I have a Household Account with my wife and the Avios are debited proportionally, regardless of who the redemption is for. In the past year, I have redeemed 9,000 for return flights to Dublin, 18,000 for return flights for 2 to Belfast, 15,000 for part pay on flights to Nice, 60,000 for part pay on flights to San Francisco, 18,000 for Club Europe seats to Nice, and 25500 for my last-minute day trip to Rome to collect my iPad. I think there might have been some other domestic legs, which would bring the household account redemption total to about 150,000.
IHG Rewards Points
My other main credit card, the default where AmEx is not accepted, is my IHG Barclaycard. I also use IHG as my go-to hotel chain for work stays and they tend to win out on my personal stays too. I am staying 7 nights in InterContinentals and Crowne Plazas in California, and another 4 nights when I go to Frankfurt and Madrid.
In the last year, I have earned 322,271 IHG points, of which 42,217 counted as Qualifying. You need 40,000 qualifying points for Platinum level, although this comes automatically with the credit card.
Of my points earned, nearly 30,000 came from the credit card, with is 2 points / £ on most spend, with 4 points / £ on foreign exchange and in IHG properties.
A further 35,000 came from an IHG focus group I am involved in. I bought 34,000 points and hot another 34,000 as a bonus. 15,000 came from my Ambassador renewal and 58,000 from the Accelerate promotion where I completed my first mattress run.
In the last year, I have redeemed 335,000 points, a Barclaycard Free Night and Ambassador 241 Certificate for a number of stays, including 5 InterContinental nights in California and 4 nights, including 2 points plus cash nights, at airport Crowne Plaza, with a total value of over £2000 on the equivalent cash price for the rooms.
These miles and points have all been obtained through careful planning and organisation; you have to be on the ball with the up to date options and deals, but the rewards can be huge. You just have to make sure that you are using the right credit cards and looking in the right places for deals. As always, if you are not paying off your cards in full, you probably need to use different cards. I would also make sure that you do not buy anything that you don’t need just to earn points if you have not done the maths and know that the redemption will save you money overall.
As always, I am always happy to help and offer advice or guidance – just ask in the comments section!