(This is a step by step guide for newbies to the hobby of miles and points. It is not applicable to all but I know it will help some.)
I know some of the things, if you are hearing this for the first time, will go over your head so I have created an (almost) first free trip. This is a non-complicated and easy way to understand how this works for you and your family. It is so easy to get hooked on this miles and points option if you have a life example to follow.
For the sake of simplicity, I will use Avios and the American Express Gold card since this is the easiest way for Muslims to accumulate some points without the interest.
Let’s say you sign up for the American Express Gold card either in North America or the UK. If you are in the UK you can get 2,000 extra points by me referring you as I am always grateful to people who use my links as it helps support the site. So if you are thinking of signing up I am happy to refer you, just drop me an email in sha Allah (God willing).
I consider these points to be free because if you were to spend the money with your debit card you would have received no reward. Of course, they do carry a value but this is for another section.
Sign up for the American Express Gold which is a charge card so you must pay full every month. You can find more information about the card here. You will have to spend a certain amount to receive the points. In the UK this is £2000 in 3 months or £650 a month. Quite reasonable if you have a large family and you put all your spending through this card. Once you hit your target 20,000 points (22,000 if referred) will be added to your account.
Once the points are in your account transfer the points from American Express to British Airways Avios. You will, of course, have to have a BA account it is free and easy to sign up on their website. If you are not sure how to transfer points from American Express to British Airways check out this guide.
Points take approximately 3 working days to transfer to your account. Once they are in your account you can redeem your Avios for flights. With British Airways Avios you can book pretty much any flight on a Oneworld Alliance or with British Airways. If you are not sure how to search and look for availability on Avios check out my video here.
From the UK you can book flights with British Airways to Paris, Milan, Geneva and many more places. Recently they changed their Avios redemption table and now they have peak and off-peak. You can find a nice tool on their website showing you where you can fly with your points. Check it here.
A flight from London to Milan, for example, will cost you (off-peak) 8,000 Avios points per person return and 9,000 Avios points in peak season plus £35 in taxes. Not bad considering you have more flexibility and a luggage allowance.
From the USA you can book flights with Avios since they are a partner with American Airlines. This means you can find flights on the reward system and book with Avios. For example, you can book a flight from New York to Washington for the weekend for only 9,000 Avios points and $11 in taxes.
If you want to find where your Avios can take you then I recommend logging into your BA account and doing a reward search flight. You can also see my post on US redemption here.
There are plenty of hotel options that can be very economical. Usually, the most expensive part is the flights.
Find a property that is appealing to you and within your budget. Then sign up for a Topcashback account if you don’t have one; find the chain or third party website and click their link. Shop as normal. Once you have paid and stayed in the hotel you should receive the indicated % back into your TopCashback account. When the payment clears you can redeem into Avios or directly into your bank account.
Another great option is to look through TripAdvisor for the prices they are showing from various third parties. I have found amazing deals there for five-star hotels. You can watch here the guide to using TopCashback.
Enjoy your holiday with a great saving. 🙂
It is easy to get addicted to this game and it can be very rewarding. The above is a simplified version for people who are just starting and I hope you enjoyed it. You can watch our training videos here.