Air Miles and Loyalty Programs
Updated: Apr 2
Air Miles and loyalty programs. When I first read or heard about them, I didn’t have a clue. I didn’t realise how they worked, it all seemed complicated and I didn’t want to bother.
But, bother you must. As it helps you make the most out of your expenditure. I’m going to discuss the basics of Air Miles\Loyalty programs.
Firstly, I’ll make sure that its understood that, these loyalty programs are just like other customer programs you have a card for like Tesco Clubcard, Nectar, M&S Sparks etc. They all reward us with points which can be used for purchasing items or services. They can be used to help buy First Class tickets on airlines for (almost) FREE!
I say almost, because when redeeming flights via any of these points, i still have to pay taxes and service fees.
So, I'm going to write about two Programs that I have joined that are probably the most prominent. American Express Rewards and British Airways Executive Club.
American Express Membership Rewards
#AmericanExpress The name itself has an elite image. They are for the high rollers and subsequently out my reach. But I was wrong. Yes it won’t be for everyone, BUT most people should be able to apply and be accepted for an American Express card. There’s different types of Amex cards, but I will focus on the Gold card.
They won’t be accepted everywhere, but more and more retailers are joining.
American Express Rewards (or Amex MR), like other loyalty programs, are a form of digital currency Linked to Amex cards. They are currency which can be used to pay for Airline tickets or Hotel nights for example. Amex MR currency is very flexible. This is because it can be transferred to other airline and hotel loyalty programs like British Airways, Singapore Airline, Hilton hotels etc.
As mentioned, there are many Amex cards. I applied for the Gold card as my first one. This is free for the first 12 months. After that its £140. Although you can cancel it anytime within the 12 months.
If you wish to apply, then subscribe and contact me.
You will then need to scroll down and select the Gold card to apply for. You can actually apply for any of the cards, all give different benefits.
After filling the form in and you are accepted, you will receive a bonus of 12,000 Amex MR points after spending £3,000 in 3 months. If you don’t use the link above you will only get 10,000. Just to let you know I also get a referral bonus, win-win (hurrah!). This is a great way to start off your air miles journey. The value of 12,000 points when redeemed is enough to get a free return flight to Paris!
Please remember these are credit cards. Please do not apply if you are not able to pay of the Amex bill on time. Do not repay it with interest, as it’s never good. Plus, it wipes out the benefits you receive. As such you must note the APR that comes with them, and the extra charges. Eye watering!
Representative APR 57.6% APR variable & Purchase Rate 22.9% variable for purchases
When I got my card, I started to use it instead of my normal cards. Every £1 is 1 AMEX Reward Point. And I also get the following benefits
2 X Airport lounges via the Lounge club (a separate card was sent)
Double Points when buying airline tickets from Airlines
Basic travel protection
Rewards & cashbacks via the Amex app
Just remember to cancel the card before the 12 months are up!
BAEC is the British Airways Executive Club which uses Avios as its currency. (Don’t google BAEC as it comes up with Bromley Adult Education College 😊)
I signed up to BAEC as it’s free and the benefits for UK residents are probably the best out there, in terms of availability to gain points and spending them.
Avios are collected and used on all BA flights, and its partners in the alliance that is called OneWorld. https://www.oneworld.com
This is what I have used most of the last 12 months (Yes, I am very late to the party). Once you have joined, you will get a membership number which you use to claim points. Mostly people think that BA Avios points are collected through flights and BA holiday alone. But you can get them from elsewhere, which as I said before is why it's so popular.
You can collect Avios points by simply shopping at Tesco (using your Clubcard), John Lewis online etc. You must go through the shopping portal after you have logged on with your account so it can track your Membership number to attach the points. With Tesco Clubcard you will have the option to convert £2.50 vouchers to 600 Avios points.
At the moment, the value of 1 Amex MR=1 Avios. So, you can transfer them from your Amex Rewards account to your BAEC account.
I am currently aiming to redeem a First-class ticket to Australia via BA. This requires a LOT of points (almost 400,000!). But with help from the BA Amex card (I'll cover that another time), which has a 2 for 1 voucher, it can be reached sooner than it seems.
If you want to apply for the BA Amex card then please use the same referral. But i would not recommend you apply for this card yet as you can get the free Gold card first. The BA cards (yes there’s 2) have pros & cons. If you are sure and confident which BA card then let me know.
I’m hoping this has given a brief overview of for two of the biggest loyalty programs in the UK. The basic idea is to make sure that if you are spending money on day to day things, that you get something from it. It doesn’t require a lot of time, and most are free to sign up with.
I’m going to cover some trips next with Lounges, airlines, Hotels and restaurants.
Thank you for reading.