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    • eagle
    • By eagle 16th Nov 16, 9:14 AM
    • 582 Posts
    • 57 Thanks
    eagle
    I travel up to twice per year, usually long haul and I don't tend to favour BA or any particular airline.

    Most times I travel alone. In the past 5 months my spend on average has been in the region of £800 per month. This included a very expensive month (£1800) in unexpected vet bills. My usual spend has been between £300 to £600 per month.

    Most of this will be on the visa and will be mainly eating out, some fuel, some food shopping (sainsburys and asda) , local shopping I don't tend to spend a lot in traditional chains or department stores etc.

    I have a Santander account and a 123 credit card. Which credit card would be best for me? Should I look at a cash back card rather than an airline card?
    Originally posted by kittykat23uk
    Jo, with your spend sort of level, I think you can still pool enough miles for some redemptions, but it will depend on many factors.

    - You mentioned not favouring BA. That's OK, but we will need some idea of which airlines you do favour. There are cards for Virgin, Emirates, Etihad, various US airlines and those in the Star Aliance (e.g. Lufthansa). Some of these have very good earning rates on their cards (e.g. Virgin), others not so good (e.g. Etihad).

    - It's important to note that credit card spend alone probably won't help to get you on your way to somewhere far away. I for one supplement my points using various sources like special offers, clicking through my airlines 'estore' to earn extra points when shopping online, converting Tesco points into miles, points from filling up with petrol/diesel, etc.

    It's going to vary a lot as to which card you go for and that may well depend on the routes you take or t he places you visit.
    • jeallen01
    • By jeallen01 16th Nov 16, 10:23 AM
    • 190 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    jeallen01
    AVIOS

    Had an email from them yesterday as below - been using credit cards to save Airmiles/AVIOS miles for holidays (including our honeymoon!) since the late '80s, but will now be looking to change card providers (and we need to use our 143k Avios Miles to book a holiday before 31st Dec this year!)


    "Hello Mr XXXXX

    Make sure you don't miss your chance to spend Avios with some of our holiday and travel brands*.

    We're making a few changes to the way you can collect and spend Avios. From 1 January 2017, it will no longer be possible to book package holidays, cruises, ferry crossings, Disneyland® Paris Hotels, or Eurostar™ tickets by spending your Avios.

    The good news is that you'll still be able to collect Avios when you book with holiday and travel brands online via Avios eStore and with Direct Ferries when you book through avios.com. And of course, you can still spend your Avios on flights, hotels and much more"
    • uk1
    • By uk1 16th Nov 16, 1:25 PM
    • 996 Posts
    • 647 Thanks
    uk1
    AVIOS

    Had an email from them yesterday as below - been using credit cards to save Airmiles/AVIOS miles for holidays (including our honeymoon!) since the late '80s, but will now be looking to change card providers (and we need to use our 143k Avios Miles to book a holiday before 31st Dec this year!)
    Originally posted by jeallen01
    You can avoid the need to spend those miles by opening a BA Exec club account and transfer the miles online from Avios to BA Exec. At the same time open an account for your partner and link them into a family account.

    (You could of course at some point in the future transfer them back to Avios and start the clock again ...... )

    Instead, you could double their value by getting a BA Amex Premium Plus card which will increase your pot by 25000 miles if you spend £3000 in the first three months and if you spend ennough in the first year ie £10k then you will get your 241. This will double your 143000 plus your 25000 ie 168000 to 336000 miles spending power plus your spend miles over the year for £195. If you spend enough on cards you could look at "complemetary" cards such as the SPG Amex where you get a bundle of miles in SPG that will give you bonuses on transfer to BA. There are sometimes offers over the year that give excellent join-up bonuses and if you are patient sometimes BA gives a transfer bonus on top. The card could give you another 33k BA miles if you are patient and get the timing right for spending a few thousand on that card.

    If your spend between you both justifies it you could refer your partner and both of you will get the above bonuses and you will get a referrer bonus. You might now have two 241's per year each with a two year life from when they are triggered.

    Once you have triggered the 241 on the BA you could cancel the card and get a pro-rata refund of your fee but get two tickets for wherevever your 168k+ miles or whatever you have produced will take you.

    Jeff
    Last edited by uk1; 16-11-2016 at 1:44 PM.
    • jeallen01
    • By jeallen01 16th Nov 16, 3:19 PM
    • 190 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    jeallen01
    Jeff

    Thanks for that very valuable info - we do spend enough on our TESCO credit cards (deliberately, in order, so far, to get the AVIOS miles) to get some of those bonuses to which you referred.


    The main question in my mind is just how widely the BA Amex cards are accepted by major "feet on the ground" and internet retailers, and I will have to look into that,


    The other part of the equation is what we could spend the BA miles on - especially as the aim to-date has been to build up a pot to be spent on big package holidays every couple of years or so. OTOH just buying flight seats is not really a viable thing because my wife likes to have the assurance that (hopefully) comes with a full "package" with reps on the ground at the other ends of the journeys to sort out any problems we might have when we get there.
    • uk1
    • By uk1 16th Nov 16, 4:31 PM
    • 996 Posts
    • 647 Thanks
    uk1
    Jeff

    Thanks for that very valuable info - we do spend enough on our TESCO credit cards (deliberately, in order, so far, to get the AVIOS miles) to get some of those bonuses to which you referred.


    The main question in my mind is just how widely the BA Amex cards are accepted by major "feet on the ground" and internet retailers, and I will have to look into that,


    The other part of the equation is what we could spend the BA miles on - especially as the aim to-date has been to build up a pot to be spent on big package holidays every couple of years or so. OTOH just buying flight seats is not really a viable thing because my wife likes to have the assurance that (hopefully) comes with a full "package" with reps on the ground at the other ends of the journeys to sort out any problems we might have when we get there.
    Originally posted by jeallen01
    No probs, happy to help.

    I'd urge you not to think of packages as such but to use the miles just on premium cabin seats and use your ingenuity to get good deals on hotels. That optimises the value of the BA miles. To illustrate the difference. My trip to Vienna in three weeks on BA holidays using Club and the exact suite we have is £3200 for the four night stay ... it's ex-Heathrow rather than Gatwick which seems to pump up the price although when using miles it's the same. I have used some miles which I value at around £120 and paid £100 in taxis. So I have basically "paid" £220 for a £3200 trip. My Singapore trip in January is prices at around £28,500 on British Airways Holidays. I used £1300 worth of miles on my valuation, £1200 on taxes and I have done a deal on my suite ..... currently an ongoing deal ..... where I get my chosen suite and a load of other benefits for a total cost of around £1600. So for just over £4k I have a trip that would cost me £28.5k if booked as a BA package. I took three such trips in 2015.

    I think you are over-valuing the package. I never encounter problems I can't sort out and there are other upsides to making your own arrangements. In fact reps cause an extra delay when resolving issues.

    For example redemption BA tickets are virtually flexible tickets so for a small fee you can cancel or change them. You can do this with your hotel. If you buy a package you may be locked in with penalties if you cancel. Sometimes we change our minds a week or so away and cancel. With your package, you pay for it in full, with my arrangements it cost us virtually zero. By a strange quirk in 2015, we were on one flight where the in-seat entertainment failed and the electrics and although my wife's ticket was the 241 we were both given 100,000 miles each making the First class return flight virtually free. On another flight my seat wouldn't fully recline automatically although they could do it manually. I think I got 75,000 miles on that one - all done on board by the Cabin Services Director. So I did well ..... Not certain you'll get exactly the same sertvice on a package.

    Also if you get there and really hate the hotel, you book out and go somewhere else, although this has never happened to me but if you have made the bookings yourself ........ We make an effort to make friends with the staff in the hotels and we get exceptional rates and exceptional treatment.

    You simply need to plan a year ahead once you have the miles and be a little flexible on the exact dates. Book the outward flight when it opens just after midnight 355 days out as a one way and call them when the return opens up and add it. They won't make a charge for doing this over the phone because it can't be done on line.

    With respect to "where to", we started by simply because I wanted to take my wife at least once to Australia, preferably in Club. In fact we ended up going over many years in First with stop offs in Singapore. We have ended up just going to Singapore a few times a year. So my suggestion is have an aim and go for it, but make it somewhere where aspirational. First class to Sydney is the BA aspirational use of miles ....

    We are currently down to our last 1.9m BA miles ........

    Jeff
    Last edited by uk1; 16-11-2016 at 4:38 PM.
    • jeallen01
    • By jeallen01 16th Nov 16, 5:27 PM
    • 190 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    jeallen01
    Jeff

    Thanks again for the additional advice - I'm not too worried about booking separate flights and accommodation, but I know that my wife is because her health is not good in a number of areas, and sometimes we have needed very quick access to a rep (it happened late at night a couple of months ago on a Riviera Tours holiday to Italy) because of that.


    Nevertheless I will be looking into all that you said!
    • nkkingston
    • By nkkingston 1st Dec 16, 7:27 PM
    • 448 Posts
    • 513 Thanks
    nkkingston
    I'm getting married next year, and it occurred to me that if we put everything on an air miles card, that'll contribute to the honeymoon costs (especially if I go via a cashback site too). We normally only travel short haul budget airlines once a year, and we don't spend on credit cards except where we need the additional protection, so this is really about looking for ways to make our money go further so our honeymoon is extra special.

    I had an MBNA airmiles card previously, but I got it just as they were switching from BMI to BA and never got the sign up bonus, and I use it so rarely I don't think I've got any points on it at all. And the scheme it linked to is closing, and I think they're replacing it with something else but frankly, I stopped caring a while ago. It makes sense to me to start afresh (and get that sign up bonus), but I'm a bit concerned it's going to turn into the same kind of muddle and be a waste of time.

    The idea is we'd put around £15k on the card over the course of the year leading up to the wedding in December, paying it off as we go along (we've got the savings to cover it). We'd probably cancel the card after the wedding. The hope would be to take the honeymoon in January, but we haven't picked a destination yet, and obviously some of the wedding expenses wouldn't hit the card until December. Is it even worth it, considering our spend? If it is, who is it worth it with?
    Mortgage
    June 2016: £93,295
    December 2017: £79,667.26
    • jpsartre
    • By jpsartre 1st Dec 16, 8:13 PM
    • 2,783 Posts
    • 1,850 Thanks
    jpsartre
    I'm getting married next year, and it occurred to me that if we put everything on an air miles card, that'll contribute to the honeymoon costs (especially if I go via a cashback site too). We normally only travel short haul budget airlines once a year, and we don't spend on credit cards except where we need the additional protection, so this is really about looking for ways to make our money go further so our honeymoon is extra special.

    I had an MBNA airmiles card previously, but I got it just as they were switching from BMI to BA and never got the sign up bonus, and I use it so rarely I don't think I've got any points on it at all. And the scheme it linked to is closing, and I think they're replacing it with something else but frankly, I stopped caring a while ago. It makes sense to me to start afresh (and get that sign up bonus), but I'm a bit concerned it's going to turn into the same kind of muddle and be a waste of time.

    The idea is we'd put around £15k on the card over the course of the year leading up to the wedding in December, paying it off as we go along (we've got the savings to cover it). We'd probably cancel the card after the wedding. The hope would be to take the honeymoon in January, but we haven't picked a destination yet, and obviously some of the wedding expenses wouldn't hit the card until December. Is it even worth it, considering our spend? If it is, who is it worth it with?
    Originally posted by nkkingston
    It's always worth it if the alternative is just to spend on a card that gives you nothing. That said, keep your expectations low. Even with a signup bonus and the spend, you're not going to be left with enough to cover a longhaul upgrade for both of you, much less a redemption outright in a premium cabin. Keep in mind also, that reward seats are limited and that you sometimes need to book a long time in advance. Some schemes (such as BA's Executive Club scheme) allow you to off-set some of the cost of cash tickets with frequent flyer point so that might be a way to make use of points. Using points for hotels or car hire might also be an option.
    • Marchitiello
    • By Marchitiello 1st Dec 16, 9:14 PM
    • 269 Posts
    • 100 Thanks
    Marchitiello
    It's always worth it if the alternative is just to spend on a card that gives you nothing. That said, keep your expectations low. Even with a signup bonus and the spend, you're not going to be left with enough to cover a longhaul upgrade for both of you, much less a redemption outright in a premium cabin. Keep in mind also, that reward seats are limited and that you sometimes need to book a long time in advance. Some schemes (such as BA's Executive Club scheme) allow you to off-set some of the cost of cash tickets with frequent flyer point so that might be a way to make use of points. Using points for hotels or car hire might also be an option.
    Originally posted by jpsartre
    £14,000 spend on the Lloyds Avios duo, will give you 2 X 2 ways upgrade plus, double Avios on the first 6 month spend with the Amex card and if someone recommend you, you get another 4500 miles bonus
    • jpsartre
    • By jpsartre 2nd Dec 16, 9:33 AM
    • 2,783 Posts
    • 1,850 Thanks
    jpsartre
    I thought the Lloyds card upgrade vouchers could only be used for Avios bookings?
    • Marchitiello
    • By Marchitiello 2nd Dec 16, 7:00 PM
    • 269 Posts
    • 100 Thanks
    Marchitiello
    I thought the Lloyds card upgrade vouchers could only be used for Avios bookings?
    Originally posted by jpsartre
    Yes, and that scheme work across BA, Iberia and Air Lingus.

    It also allow part payment in cash/miles
    • uk1
    • By uk1 2nd Dec 16, 11:52 PM
    • 996 Posts
    • 647 Thanks
    uk1
    I'm getting married next year, and it occurred to me that if we put everything on an air miles card, that'll contribute to the honeymoon costs (especially if I go via a cashback site too). We normally only travel short haul budget airlines once a year, and we don't spend on credit cards except where we need the additional protection, so this is really about looking for ways to make our money go further so our honeymoon is extra special.

    I had an MBNA airmiles card previously, but I got it just as they were switching from BMI to a BA miles account and never got the sign up bonus, and I use it so rarely I don't think I've got any points on it at all. And the scheme it linked to is closing, and I think they're replacing it with something else but frankly, I stopped caring a while ago. It makes sense to me to start afresh (and get that sign up bonus), but I'm a bit concerned it's going to turn into the same kind of muddle and be a waste of time.

    The idea is we'd put around £15k on the card over the course of the year leading up to the wedding in December, paying it off as we go along (we've got the savings to cover it). We'd probably cancel the card after the wedding. The hope would be to take the honeymoon in January, but we haven't picked a destination yet, and obviously some of the wedding expenses wouldn't hit the card until December. Is it even worth it, considering our spend? If it is, who is it worth it with?
    Originally posted by nkkingston
    I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but your BMI card closed for earning and transferring miles a few days ago and any BA miles needed to be transferred from the BMI account to BA before the cut-off at the end of November. They are now lost. Sorry. In it's early days it was a magic card and many earned literraly millions of miles on it through a glitch ....

    I think the bottom line for you is if you follow some of the other advice about upgrade tickets etc, just make sure you understand what the limitations are with respect what you can upgrade and how likely it is for their to be availibility.

    A possible plan for you might be for you to apply for a BA Premium Plus card and once you have hit your £10k spend, then refer your partner for a card and once the points for referring hit your account (I think it is when the new card hits a certain spend) then cancel your card and ensure all future spend is on the new card. That will you will get two sets of signup points and a referral and you will get a pro-rata refund of whatever you had left on your card. If more than 6 months elapse since you cancel your card before the 2nd card hits £10k spend .... then your partner can refer you and you should get both the referrer and new card sign up points. Each £10k spend will release a 241 Avios voucher with a 24 month life.

    That would be the best chance of maxing miles, but to be honest you are only going to earn enough miles for flights you can easily buy anyway if your planning horizon is short say a year or two. And you'd bin a few 241s whilst you saved miles.

    My advice is to see miles as a long game and set yourself something really aspirational that you wouldn't be able to afford with cash .... say the aspiration of acquiring enough miles for the pair of you (with a 241) to go on a long-haul trip in First say on your 5th or 10th anniversary. My daughter did this and she had a great time going over to the West Coast and doing an extended trip. It took her three years to realise that dream.

    Anyway that is my 2 cents .... either forget it or have a long-term plan.

    Jeff
    Last edited by uk1; 03-12-2016 at 12:31 AM.
    • nkkingston
    • By nkkingston 9th Dec 16, 9:51 AM
    • 448 Posts
    • 513 Thanks
    nkkingston
    Thanks for the advice, guys. I have to be honest, as someone who almost never uses credit cards, I'm currently leaning towards not bothering. I have a strong suspicion that since the odds of getting to use miles on the honeymoon itself are low, due to the need to fit the scheme's schedule rather than ours, we'd probably forget we had the points at all and let them lapse before we used them.
    Mortgage
    June 2016: £93,295
    December 2017: £79,667.26
    • Marchitiello
    • By Marchitiello 9th Dec 16, 10:16 AM
    • 269 Posts
    • 100 Thanks
    Marchitiello
    Thanks for the advice, guys. I have to be honest, as someone who almost never uses credit cards, I'm currently leaning towards not bothering. I have a strong suspicion that since the odds of getting to use miles on the honeymoon itself are low, due to the need to fit the scheme's schedule rather than ours, we'd probably forget we had the points at all and let them lapse before we used them.
    Originally posted by nkkingston
    One thing to note is that Avios and BA Avios do not lapse as far as there is some activity on your account at least once in three years.

    You can accumulate Avios fairly easily and even in few years time you could book a long week end in a nice European destination for visrtually nothing. I have just booked a long week end in Venice, BA Club Europe return for two for 50,000 Avios that I had earned in the last 6 months via various bonus offers. Plus, thanks to a separate credit card accruing hotel points, two nights at a 5 star hotels were also free...
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 9th Dec 16, 12:34 PM
    • 36,214 Posts
    • 153,081 Thanks
    silvercar
    Jeff

    Thanks again for the additional advice - I'm not too worried about booking separate flights and accommodation, but I know that my wife is because her health is not good in a number of areas, and sometimes we have needed very quick access to a rep (it happened late at night a couple of months ago on a Riviera Tours holiday to Italy) because of that.


    Nevertheless I will be looking into all that you said!
    Originally posted by jeallen01
    You can book BA holidays and use reward flights for the flight part. If you had a BAEC Amex it comes with emergency travel helpline.
    • nkkingston
    • By nkkingston 9th Dec 16, 3:19 PM
    • 448 Posts
    • 513 Thanks
    nkkingston
    One thing to note is that Avios and BA Avios do not lapse as far as there is some activity on your account at least once in three years.

    You can accumulate Avios fairly easily and even in few years time you could book a long week end in a nice European destination for visrtually nothing. I have just booked a long week end in Venice, BA Club Europe return for two for 50,000 Avios that I had earned in the last 6 months via various bonus offers. Plus, thanks to a separate credit card accruing hotel points, two nights at a 5 star hotels were also free...
    Originally posted by Marchitiello
    The points I had on the MBNA card did lapse from lack of use (so there was nothing to claim when the BA scheme closed anyway); the only reason the account is still open is because I added my OH since he's got no credit record whatsoever. I'm not a natural budgeter, so I get very wary of putting normal expenditure on CCs because I could get myself in a mess far too easily, and I just don't have the spare mental capacity to go bonus chasing.

    Buuuuuut.... I am tempted by the idea of being able to cover a city break every few years, though: our main annual holiday is four nights someone in Europe in January each year. Though with Brexit looming that's probably going to happen less too, what with having to sort visas in advance and so on. Gonna miss the simplicity of figuring out where to go only a couple of weeks before we set off! Swings and rondabouts, anyway. A long weekend away a year probably isn't going to earn enough points for next year's.
    Mortgage
    June 2016: £93,295
    December 2017: £79,667.26
    • PeacefulWaters
    • By PeacefulWaters 9th Dec 16, 3:34 PM
    • 7,311 Posts
    • 9,060 Thanks
    PeacefulWaters
    Pre uk joining the EU visas weren't needed for many member nations. I'd be surprised if they're needed after brexit.

    If you'd moved those MBNA points to an BAEC account they'd have a three year life. The three years starts every time you add to or spend on the account.

    A £2.50 Tesco Clubcard voucher converted annually is an option. Or the BA Avios credit card sending points across monthly.
    Last edited by PeacefulWaters; 09-12-2016 at 3:43 PM.
    • uk1
    • By uk1 10th Dec 16, 11:40 AM
    • 996 Posts
    • 647 Thanks
    uk1
    A £2.50 Tesco Clubcard voucher converted annually is an option. Or the BA Avios credit card sending points across monthly.
    Originally posted by PeacefulWaters
    Another easy option is to use a Shell garage once every three years or so with a registered Shell card. Transfer the few points you earned into an Avios account and leave it there. When you need to nudge a transaction on your BA miles account to keep it current just transfer over those few miles from Avios to BA.

    Jeff
    • uk1
    • By uk1 10th Dec 16, 11:44 AM
    • 996 Posts
    • 647 Thanks
    uk1
    The points I had on the MBNA card did lapse from lack of use (so there was nothing to claim when the BA scheme closed anyway); the only reason the account is still open is because I added my OH since he's got no credit record whatsoever. I'm not a natural budgeter, so I get very wary of putting normal expenditure on CCs because I could get myself in a mess far too easily, and I just don't have the spare mental capacity to go bonus chasing.

    Buuuuuut.... I am tempted by the idea of being able to cover a city break every few years, though: our main annual holiday is four nights someone in Europe in January each year. Though with Brexit looming that's probably going to happen less too, what with having to sort visas in advance and so on. Gonna miss the simplicity of figuring out where to go only a couple of weeks before we set off! Swings and rondabouts, anyway. A long weekend away a year probably isn't going to earn enough points for next year's.
    Originally posted by nkkingston
    I'm a great fan as I previously said about the miles schemes. It has literally changed our lives. However you say that you are a poor budgeter and reading between the lines, I wonder whether you are sufficiently "well organised" or determined enough to ensure you get much worthwhile from these schemes. It does take a bit of an effort to get anywhere. On balance in your situation, unless you are happy to make quite an effort I'd avoid the travel schemes and look for an easier option. Just my two cents worth and in the spirit of trying to be helpful.

    Jeff
    • uk1
    • By uk1 10th Dec 16, 11:58 AM
    • 996 Posts
    • 647 Thanks
    uk1
    Jeff

    Thanks again for the additional advice - I'm not too worried about booking separate flights and accommodation, but I know that my wife is because her health is not good in a number of areas, and sometimes we have needed very quick access to a rep (it happened late at night a couple of months ago on a Riviera Tours holiday to Italy) because of that.


    Nevertheless I will be looking into all that you said!
    Originally posted by jeallen01
    You can book BA holidays and use reward flights for the flight part. If you had a BAEC Amex it comes with emergency travel helpline.
    Originally posted by silvercar
    Extremely dangerous advice I'm afraid.

    jeallen01 said clearly that his wife's health is poor in a number of areas and has needed emergency support in the past.

    Amex doesn't offer free medical cover to those that ask for help whilst away with anything related to pre-exisitng medical conditions unless they have been declared and accepted by Amex. Basically Amex are not likely to accept anything declared as they do not wish to collect extra premiums for the includedpackaged cover intended only for those in perfect health.

    Even if they provided "help" they would need to have extremely deep pockets to pay for treatment or repatriation if they hadn't bought insurance. The interpretation of what most people believe they need to declare is too often proved to be way off the mark and they only find this out wqhen they actually need the cover. jeallen01would not be covered by the packaged health cover and would find themselves in a potentially highly vulnerable situation with no financial help even if on a package holiday or with an Amex card.

    jeallen01 needs to arrange specialist health cover with am insurer that has accepted all the risks that jeallen01 must declare and it would be extremely foolish imho to travel anywhere without that cover.

    Jeff
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