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How to Earn Airmiles Like an Expert in Britain

Welcome to #Travel Hack Thursday, a regular feature, aiming to demonstrate that you don’t need to be rich, or constantly circumnavigating the globe, to earn airmiles like an expert.

If you want to know more about the feature, hop over to Introducing Travel Hack Thursday for the lowdown. Today’s featured expert is http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP, an IT consultant from Durham. http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP is married with a four year old daughter and has been travel hacking for a few years now but he sure knows his stuff!

Introducing Expert Travel Hacker http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP

One of the great things about travel blogging is the regular conversations you engage in with people from around the globe who share your passion for travel. So it is that http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP and I got chatting about the nuances of travel hacking, the best deals for hotels and airlines and where we were heading next.

It was quickly apparent that http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP is no newbie to this game and before you knew it, I was signed up for a Curve card (if you use this link to sign up, you get a £10 credit and so do I for referring you! Win, win!) and we were trading promises for referrals on credit cards. http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP is not a newcomer to the churn and burn game.

Here is http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP enjoying the high life with his wife in First class! I like their style…straight on the champers!

Enjoying champagne in First class
Source: http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP Paolo

So let’s get on and pick http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP’s brains because he has a ton of tips to share with us.

Are you rich?

Does it count if  I am loyalty point rich? I Currently have circa 600,000 points which is derived from a mixture of IHG*, SPG, Hilton* and British Airways* Avios points. If you meant cash rich then definitely not sorry. I’m just a middle class family man!

How did you discover travel hacking?

When we were in Las Vegas a few years back I saw a lot of people paying for things using their American Express cards* and I’d never heard of them before. As soon as I got home the research started and I never looked back. I just wish I had known about it beforehand.

Anne: I hear your pain, if I think about how many business class flights I must have missed out on from my credit card spend, it really upsets me. My British Airways credit card has made a world of difference and I only found out about it because of my colleague Jeff!

Travel to Las Vegas with airmiles
Source: Pixabay

Where did you go on your first long haul trip using rewards, and how many points did you use?

My wife and I flew first class with British Airways* to Chicago and it cost me 240,000 BA miles. Yes I burnt a lot of points but it was worth it (except paying APD). Anne: What a great city too. I just hope you used all those hotel rewards for some free hotel nights.

Enjoying the first class lounge in Chicago
Source: http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP Paolozzi – enjoying the lounge in Chicago

How long did it take you to accumulate the points, and using what methods?

Believe it or not very little of my points actually come from flights and hotel spend. Hotel loyalty credit cards, American Express Gold* and Platinum cards and converting club card points to frequent flyer points are where I earn the majority of my points.

It took me two years to get the 240,000 points. Anne: I am really hoping we can help you speed up that process during our #TTG4L 90 Day Challenge although I know you are already something of an expert so the pressure is definitely on for me and Jackie.

Your top tips for others wishing to do the same?

The first thing to say is please don’t redeem avios points for Club Europe British Airways* flights…really not worth it….I’ve made that mistake before. Anne: I could not agree more although I did have a little difference of opinion on this subject with Adventurous Kate. See for yourself whether long or short-haul is better.

The best place to start is with Amex Gold.* If you spend £2,000 within two months you gain 22,000 Amex points providing you are referred. (Anne: This link is a referral link earning you an extra 2,000 points than if you go directly to the AMEX site) which can be converted to airline miles, hotel points and much more. The card is free for the first year and you also get two complimentary airport lounge access passes each year.

Be patient – it’s not going to take 6 months to earn 240,000 BA miles but isn’t it worth saving up points for two years to experience possibly one of the best experiences of your life? My four year old will be experiencing her first BA First Class flight in a few months.

Anne: Wow that flat bed is going to seem enormous for her! Lastly, as I know you have a lot of experience with hotel rewards, let’s get some of your insight into these programs.

Which is your preferred hotel rewards program and why?

My preferred hotel reward program has to be SPG and here’s why:

  1. You can share points between people at the same address for free
  2. You can redeem points for private dining sessions with celebrity chefs, big concerts in London, New York and baseball or football games among other things.
  3. They have some very generous new member deals. My first deal was to stay one night and earn one night free.  I booked their cheapest property in the UK, which is Aloft Liverpool at £69 and redeemed my free night at Sheraton Edinburgh which goes for £250 per night at the weekends. Anne: http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP, you and your wife are after my heart. I LOVE this hotel. That rooftop spa is incredible and the facilities are amazing. I so need to head back to Edinburgh to stay there!
  4.  Every 20,000 SPG points you earn can  be converted to 25,000 airline miles which is a lovely little bonus. (Anne: this one is definitely going to be my next card once I have satisfied my latest round of AMEX Gold spending).
Edinburgh city has a Starwood property
Source: Pixabay

So there you have it. http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP clearly knows his stuff and has even given me a few ideas for developing my site. Now that is a result!

He had suggested a dedicated credit card section and only last week I was asked for a dedicated hotels section so I will be working on those over the remainder of the year.

What about you?

Is there anything you would like to see in addition? I’d love to know or maybe you have some questions for http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP. Just pop them in the box below and and we will do our best.

Pin this:

earn airmiles like an expert with these tips
Source: Pixabay

This post may contain affiliate links which pay me a small commission should you click on them and make a purchase. These help towards the cost of running the site, and the occasional glass of wine, but you are under no obligation to use them.

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of TravelTheGlobe4Less. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 80 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money saving travel tips

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19 comments

  1. Great tips! I always see articles addressing air miles if you are American but not British. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I am envious of the unique rewards you can score with SPG points, but I’ve always found far more value in the Hyatt and Marriott programs. But, it depends on what you are after. The Marriott travel packages are an offer unlike any other, but few have the points to go after them.

    • Another interesting aspect of being in the loyalty program is that I occasionally get weekend offers for Spain. I had one last week for just £218 for a three night stay in Spain in five start luxury accommodation including flights for two and car hire! Of course they want to sell you a vacation home too but it’s a small price to pay

  3. This is such an insightful post. It surely helped me learn more about scoring free flights if not cheaper ones. Thanks for this!

  4. Thanks for this! We’ve started discovering the joys of travel hacking through credit cards points, especially hotel credit cards which come with both points and a free night stay on sign up. It’s difficult where I live in Australia as there are less opportunities for travel hacking here, though luckily my husband is American so we can take advantage of the points offered in the uS 🙂

  5. Really good tips. Thanks

  6. Great reminder of how to use points, I am not rich (neither with cash or points) but I keep this as an reminder 🙂

  7. Great tips! We love travel hacking and always try to find ways to get more miles. It’s hard to keep up with, but so worth it when you get free flights and hotel rooms! We need to look into SPG more–sounds like a great program!

  8. The numbers sound quite impressive. I was always wondering if it’s ever possible to come up with some global mileage/bonus points system (though maybe not in a capitalist system). For example, I collect miles in some companies (both air and bus), though the problem is they can be only used for the destinations this company covers. Somehow it puts certain restraints on travelers)

    • American Express is quite useful in the UK as it allows points to be converting into miles or rewards with lots of different companies overcoming that restriction.

  9. Some great tips here. I sometimes use my points for an upgrade but thats about it. Now I am feeling a lot more inspired

  10. My hubby is a huge fan of his cash back card as well as his card that gives us better travel and medical insurance. I don’t think i could ever get him to switch, although I will be forward this article to him.

  11. This sounds amazing! I, for one, would love to travel around the world but with budget constraints, I’m unable to do so. I’m glad its possible that people can travel over all the world just by earning air miles.

  12. Airmiles accumulation is a useful way to cut costs from the travel budget. These are very sensible pointers for optimizing this. Thanks for sharing.

  13. I am sure this article would be great value for those living in Britain who can put these tips to work

  14. What and interesting topic, I am always skeptical about how people get so many air miles and points so quickly but clearly it is doable if you know what you are doing.

  15. The thought of having yet another credit card terrifies me, but I guess the rewards outweigh the risk in situations like these! Looks like you’re living the high-life, and I don’t just mean in the air!

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