Turning left on a plane and flying business class has always been an aspiration of mine. Don’t get me wrong, most economy service on long-haul flights are absolutely fine to get you from A – B, but i’ve always secretly hoped to get a cheeky upgrade last minute and be one of the lucky ones flying business class.
Tragically, the air fare for business is astronomically higher than economy so it just doesn’t make financial sense for normal people like me to afford it. £3000 when you could fly for £500? Those savings are more than most people’s monthly salary, so for the sake of a few hours of discomfort, my sensible thrifty side always prevailed when making a booking.
But this year, I have flown business class from Leeds to London and London to Singapore as we jet off to our new life in Australia, and no I didn’t take the plunge this time and pay for it. I found probably my favourite travel hack of all time; Air Miles.
Obviously air miles have been around for a long time, so i’m by no means brand new in telling this information. But James and I built up enough air miles in 9 months so that we could fly business class (you needed 100,000 for our route) so i’m going to let you in on how we did it.
How To Collect Air Miles For Business Class Flights
Like most people, you will have monthly expenses. Some are fixed, such as rent and bills and some are variable, e.g a new laptop, a holiday, new clothes etc.
Obviously the amount you’ll spend per month depends on your salary, but the common denominator is this; you’re spending money.
I love proverbially killing two birds with one stone, so when I realised that by getting a British Airways American Express credit card, I could spend money yet earn air miles at the same time, I knew that this could be my ticket to finally flying business class – without having to pay full price for a ticket.
You see, when you join American Express you get bonus air miles as a welcome gift. For me, this was 10,000 air miles (enough for a flight from london to europe). Then for every £1 that you spend, you get air miles, which accumulate every month and go into your Avios (air miles) account. Avios air miles work with a huge number of partner airlines, so you don’t just have to spend them on British Airways flights, but here’s the thing; if you spend over a certain amount in the year you qualify for a free companion voucher when booking a reward flight with your Avios points.
So if you book a business class flight, you get one free for a companion of your choice. Buy 1 get 1 free on business? Excellent! Already half way there.
Then, to boost your points balance, you can refer friends to also get cards. They get a bonus sum of air miles when they join and you get 4000 for introducing them straight away. You’re able to do this for up to 10 people, so we earned 40,000 air miles just by referring friends.
Many of American Express’ partner companies also run promotional offers whereby you can get bonus air miles in certain shops or products. For example last month you could get 500 air miles for spending £25 on Amazon, or 3000 air miles if you spent £200 in Mulberry.
If you’re buying the things anyway, you may as well get some bonus points to tot up your air miles balance.
American Express Avios Tips
Pay It Off Monthly
Obviously the card is a credit card, so you need to spend responsibly. But with AMEX, you only have around 21 days interest free period from the date of your statement. For this reason, I didn’t use my AMEX like a credit card as such, but more like a charge card where I’d buy everything on the AMEX and then pay it off straight away when the statement arrived.
If you spend responsibly and pay it off, it gives your credit score a boost too.
Pay Bills With It
If you have bills, deposits or any other regular outgoings that you can put through your AMEX then 100% do! It’s a great way of building up avios points without dipping into your disposable income.
Get a supplementary card holder
Twice the people spending, twice the avios points earned. If you have a partner, consider adding them to your card so you can rack up the points together. They are probably then the obvious choice for the free companion ticket when you hit the spending quota!