It is around this point every year when all the hard-earned tier points get wiped from my account and the balance is reset to 0.
In the last year, I have done more flying than in previous years, and was able to accrue exactly 1500 Tier Points to reach Gold status. This will give me access to Galleries First, more Avios for flights, more reward flight and the ability to use the Gold line.
The reset point is also an opportunity to reflect on the previous flying year. I did this last year, and it is an interesting comparison to see how things have changed.
I took a total of 42 flights which were made up of my wide-bodied jet tour of Europe with my Mum, my epic trip of 7 flights to get to Aberdeen, a trip to the West Coast of the USA, as well as a couple of trips to Nice. I was also able to try Swiss for the first time and take advantage of my Star Alliance Gold card.
I spent 243,351 Avios from 1st March 2016 – 28th February 2017, although in actual fact, more were used; this was just the amount debited from my part of the household account. All of these were on flights, with a mixture of pure redemptions and some part-pay with Avios.
To spend them, you need to earn them! Here is how mine have broken down this year.
|Flying (Tier bonus)||18,868|
|Flying (Cabin bonus)||15,871|
|Avis Car hire||3,108|
|AmEx Membership Rewards||39,500|
|BAPP (BA spend)||10,689|
|BAPP (Non-BA spend)||5,084|
|Accor Le Club transfer||2,000|
My total does not match how much I spent, but I also need to factor in about 25,000 Avios for my wife flying, and 40,000 in transfers from AmEx Membership Rewards, so we are about at break-even point. The other thing to note is that some of the payments made in this year are for flights in the next year; likewise, some of the earnings this year were paid for with part-pay using Avios which were counted as spent in the last year.
This year the amount of Avios from flying as increased – more flying in higher premium cabins means more Avios. This is obviously reflected in the amount of tier points collected and the Gold card I now have, although I fully expect to drop back to Silver next year as I don’t have the same level of flying planned.
Earnings from the credit cards is fairly similar, as it the amount from Tesco Clubcard, although I expect this to drop significantly given the dearth of bonus point offers recently. Another opportunity that is falling by the wayside is Topcashback. You used to be able to send cashback to Tesco at 1p:1 point, and then onto Avios, meaning the maximum £50 cash was worth 12,000 Avios. This stopped, and for a while there was a 25% for transfers direct to Avios, so the £50 would get 6,250 Avios. This stopped literally overnight, so your £50 is now worth 5,000 Avios. I have stopped taking the Avios and will just withdraw the cash when I have a purchase I want to make.
This year is still busy, although less lucrative in terms of tier point and Avios earning.
Cash + Avios part pay with positioning flights on Avios
|May||LHR-HEL-TLL-HEL-LHR||200||7,670||AY Business including A350
|June||LHR-NCE-LHR||BA CE AmEx 2for1 redemption with 18,000 Avios|
|July||LTN-KEF-LTN||EasyJet – school trip|
|August||LHR-IAD-LHR||BA First AmEx 2for1 redemption with 160,000 Avios|
There is no point really chasing higher status, as I haven’t got enough natural travel booked in to make it worthwhile pushing for Gold renewal. I will get a soft landing to Silver which will maintain my lounge access and ability to choose seats at the time of booking which are the most valuable perks to me. The most efficient thing to do would be to push for Gold as early on in my 2018-19 year from the Easter holiday onwards to maximise the time at Gold, but this is only worth doing if there is enough flying being done anyway.
I mentioned at the end of last year’s post that the LGW-JER-AMS-LHR-GLA-LSI-ABZ trip had caught my eye, and I was able to strike that off my bucket list. I was also able to go to St Martin and visit Maho beach with its incredible runway views. I am not sure what is in store for this year. I still would like to try the Upper Deck on a 747, and I would also like to do BA1 from LCY to New York, having done BA2 before. I have tried BA/AA/IB in long-haul business this year, and have a Finnair A350 lined up in May, so would like to also think about heading East and trying out some of the Middle Eastern carriers like Qatar.
I look forward to reporting back next year to see what I have been able to do!