As has become somewhat of a tradition, the March reset of my Tier Points is as good a time as any to look back over the last year of flying and to look forward to what the next year might bring. I did the same in 2015-16 and 2016-17, and it is very interesting to see what I was thinking back then, and what has or has not happened.
At this point last year, I had a few long haul trips booked – one to Las Vegas and a school trip to New York (both in Economy) and a First redemption to Washington, coupled with short hauls to Tallinn, Iceland and Nice. As it transpired, I put in a couple more trips to Nice, Stockholm, Inverness and Barcelona to make a total of 36 flights for the year. This was down on the 44 the year before, but I actually ended up flying almost exactly the same distance of 37,000 miles in about 100 hours in the air.
I spent 367,000 Avios from 9th March 2017 – 8th March 2018 although, in actual fact, more were used; this was just the amount debited from my part of the household account. All of these Avios were on flights, and I also parted with my millionth Avios on First Class flights to Singapore.
To spend them, you need to earn them! Here is how mine have broken down this year. I have put in +/- to compare them to last year’s figures.
|Flying (Base)||14,874 –|
|Flying (Tier bonus)||31,090 +|
|Flying (Cabin bonus)||2,670 –|
|Tesco Clubcard||22,300 –|
|Avis Car hire||2,000 –|
|BA Holidays||2,000 +|
|AmEx Membership Rewards||51,000 +|
|BAPP (BA spend)||11,000 +|
|BAPP (Non-BA spend)||13,700 +|
|BAPP (Referral / Bonus)||10,500|
My total does not match how much I spent, but I also need to factor in about 5,000 Avios for my wife flying, and 25,000 in transfers from AmEx Membership Rewards, so we are about at break-even point. Earnings from credit cards, shopping and other sources are fairly similar to last year with a few changes here and there. I earned a lot less from cabin bonuses, with fewer long trips in Business, but that was offset by the uplift of the tier bonus between Gold and Silver.
The biggest change was the status extension granted after the IT Meltdown on May Bank Holiday. Our flight was cancelled and we were rebooked onto a later service, so we eventually got to our destination, but my wife and I were both granted status extensions until 2020. This is a fantastic result, as it means that there is no need to think about requalifying for Gold until Easter of 2020 – with the 610TP I did earn I would have dropped down to Silver.
I tried Icelandair for the first time as a result of a passport issue of one my students that required a return to school, new paperwork, and the 9am booking of a 1pm flight. I went to my first FlyerTalk Do in Tallinn, which lead to a second in Barcelona resulting in the forming of some excellent friendships. I also bought Avios for the first time when I worked out that it was cheaper to do so and instantly redeem then for a Gold Priority Reward rather than paying cash for fares. I have used these GPR tickets on three occasions and they are excellent value when one is limited with flexibility.
This year is already more booked up with flights.
|Gold Priority Reward / RFS|
|June||LHR-MAH-LHR||Gold Priority Reward / RFS|
|August||(LHR-)OTP-LHR-JFK-LAX-PHX [-LAS-PHX]-LAX-JFK-LHR-OTP(-LHR)||1,250||44,888||[PHX-LAS] trip paid for using AA Transportation Voucher|
|December||LHR-SIN-LHR||2for1 redemption in First – 280,000|
Given that at this stage last year I was only at 365TP and ended up on 610TP, I would imagine that I will hit the 1500TP normally needed for Gold requalification. If I did not have the status extension then I would be making sure that I did as I have really valued Gold over the last year. The next current earning threshold is 2500TP where a Gold Upgrade for Two voucher is awarded allowing the purchase of a Business Class ticket for cash or miles and then have it upgraded to First. As I understand, the best value seems to be buying a World Traveller Plus ticket and upgrading to Business. The only way this would happen would be another long-haul trip earning 600TP and then upgrading some existing sectors, so it is probably out of reach.
I know that there will probably be a couple of trips to Nice or Geneva which are not already in the calendar; hopefully coupled with some skiing which I had to cancel this year. I am heading East, but on British Airways for my longest flight ever rather than on Qatar as I thought might happen last year. From Singapore there will probably be a short hop to somewhere like Bali, although that is to be decided.
I look forward to reporting back next year to see what I have been able to do!