How To Make The Most Of Air Miles

For some, the lack of travel over the past year has led to a surplus of air miles. If you need some guidance on how best to use them, Nicky Kelvin, head of the Points Guy UK, knows airline reward schemes inside out. Here, he tells us how to make the most of them – including the routes with immediate availability…
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Search In The Right Place

Online search tools like Skyscanner are useful for comparing flight prices and routes, but if you want to easily find flights you can spend your air miles on, there’s one website you should use, says Nicky Kelvin, head of The Points Guy UK.SeatSpy’s Reward Finder function helps you search flights from British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, KLM, Air France and Etihad. There’s also a ‘Where can I go?’ function to see reward availability from a specific airport." You have to subscribe to the service (£2.49 per month) but it’s an incredibly handy tool and even sends you notifications when seats become available.” 

Look Out For Deals

It sounds simple but keeping your eye on airline websites and looking out for deals is key, Nicky tells us. “Deals across the travel world pop up every day – and disappear just as fast. We often scour the internet for the very best deals and publish the results on our website – including special deals on using air miles.” The more flexible you are, the more likely you are to get to your chosen destination, especially if you book up to a year in advance, explains Nicky.

Looking to spend some points right now? Here are eight of the best routes with air mile availability over the next few months…

British Airways

  1. London Heathrow to Vancouver

Average Avios Points: 16,000 economy, 60,000 business class, 85,000 first class

Average Flight Time: 9 hours 40 minutes (direct)

From now until the end of November, British Airways has good availability to Vancouver. Ideal for a winter getaway, spend the week exploring the neighbourhoods, visiting the beautiful Grouse Mountain and hitting the cool restaurants and bars. 

  1. London Heathrow or Gatwick to Munich

Average Avios Points: 4,000 economy, 7,750 business class

Average Flight Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Between London Heathrow and Gatwick airport, there are daily flights throughout November and December to Munich. A long weekend is best spent visiting its traditional Christmas markets, drinking at the beer halls and, if you have time, taking a day trip to the magical Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau. 

  1. London Heathrow to Cape Town

Average Avios Points: 6,000 economy, 60,000 business class, 85,000 first class

Average Flight Time: 11 hours 45 minutes (direct)

From Monday 15th November to Thursday 2nd December, there are ten flights from Heathrow to Cape Town in South Africa. On the way back, there’s plenty of availability towards the end of December. Going on a safari is a no-brainer, as is exploring Table Mountain and Cape Point.

SeatSpy’s Reward Finder function helps you search flights from British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, KLM, Air France and Etihad. There’s also a ‘Where can I go?’ function to see reward availability from a specific airport.

Virgin Atlantic

  1. London Heathrow to Barbados

Average Virgin Points: 10,000 economy, 27,500 premium class

Average Flight Time: 9 hours 10 minutes (direct)

Over the next few months, most business and first-class seats to Barbados (via Virgin Atlantic) are sold out, but there are still plenty of economy seats available, particularly during one week in mid-November. A ten-day or two-week trip offers plenty of time for relaxing on the beach with a rum cocktail in hand.

  1. London Heathrow to Sri Lanka (via Delhi)

Average Virgin Points: 10,000 economy, 15,500 premium class, 37,000 upper class

Average Flight Time: 8 hours 30 minutes (to Delhi)

Although you can’t fly direct to Sri Lanka, you can get a connecting flight from Delhi Airport, which has lots of air mile availability over the next few months. From there, it’s another three or four hours to reach Sri Lanka, but the stunning landscape, natural wonders and friendly locals are well worth the trip. 

  1. London Heathrow to Los Angeles

Average Virgin Points: 10,000 economy, 15,500 premium class, 37,000 upper class

Average Flight Time: 11 hours 15 minutes (direct)

There are daily flights from Heathrow to LAX Airport in November and December, but you’ve got to be quick if you want to fly economy. Ideal if you’re after winter sun, the Californian city has it all, whether you want to hit the shops, ride the waves, or hike the hills.

  1. London Heathrow to New York City

Average Virgin Points: 10,000 economy, 15,500 premium class, 37,000 upper class

Average Flight Time: 8 hours 15 minutes (direct)

Few places hit the spot at Christmas like New York City. There are daily flights from London Heathrow in November and December, with lots of premium and upper class seats available in the run up to Christmas. 

 

*DISCLAIMER: At the time of writing, all routes listed had air mile availability as stated. Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice and entry requirements before you book anything. Visit Gov.uk for more information

 

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