All of the advice so far has been on the basis of two people travelling together. Working as a couple, you can maximise the referral bonuses, make use of the 2for1 voucher and pool your Avios in a Household Account. You are also more likely to spend more on household bills if there is more than one person at home.
But what about those solo travellers? How might the strategy vary?
The first place to start is, I think, still the AmEx Gold card and then the BAPP AmEx for the sign up bonuses. Together in 6 months you could have 47,500 Avios in your account by spending the minimum amount for the threshold spend.
I recommended continuing on to the £10,000 threshold for the 2for1, but if you are travelling alone, there is no point in having the voucher. Therefore, I would probably switch spending to the SPG AmEx which I discussed here. This would give a sign up bonus of 10,000 SPG points for a spend of £1,000 in three months. Any further spend would probably be back onto the BAPP as it gives the best return of 1.5 Avios per pound.
I would also think about doing some multi-point flying when I was flying rather than going direct to give more miles from the distance, and the status multiplier from the additional tier points. An exEU may well be cheaper in a higher cabin than economy from the UK so you could also get a cabin multiplier.
The latest flight on my radar, thanks to the ever-informative FlyerTalk, is to Saint Martin (SXM) in the Caribbean. According to Wikipedia, “Saint Martin is part of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean Sea. It comprises 2 separate countries, divided between its northern French side, also called Saint Martin, and its southern Dutch side, Sint Maarten. The island is home to busy resort beaches and secluded coves. It’s also known for fusion cuisine, vibrant nightlife and duty-free shops selling jewelry and liquor.” It is also home to Princess Juliana International Airport where you can get insanely close to the incoming aircraft whilst relaxing on the beach.
I think the most direct oneworld flights are LHR-MIA-SXM-CLT-LHR which, if starting from no tier points, would earn 360TP and 14,064 Avios in Business for £1442 return.
Compare this to the economy flights on the same route, except going by PHL on the way home instead of CLT. The lowest economy buckets would earn a mere 50TP and 2,716 Avios for the same bum-in-seat miles at a cost of £1313. I would always bay the additional £129 to get into business in that case. (For completeness, you can also get a £840 fare with AirFrance via Paris which was the cheapest on my comparison dates, but this would earn you no Avios!)
If you were set on Sint Maarten, you could fly as above, or you could save some money and do this:
This routing would cost you £1079 – £363 less that the other business class fare. Assuming again that you started with no tier points, by the end of this route, you would have 620TP, giving you a Silver card, and 19,100 Avios. The saving is more than enough for cheap positioning flights and you would pick up more points and miles for them too.
Unless you have a travelling companion who is keen on travelling too, you may find that you do this solo anyway, regardless of your relationship status!
Even as a solo traveller, using the sign up bonuses across the cards, doing some multi-point flying and making the most of the shopping tips here, you could easily have 100,000 Avios in a year which would see you to Australia in Economy or New York in Business on the 32-seater pseudo-private jet-esque London City-JFK service – an experience not to be missed.