How many points and miles can your family earn in a year?
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While TPG U.K. has discussed why your family shouldn’t hoard miles, what about families just getting started? How long it will take you to save up for a holiday varies from family to family based on your annual spending.
Below, we’ll break down a few specific spending categories and see how your family’s spend can add up to an amazing redemption.
Credit card bonuses
If you’re ready and in the right financial position to get a credit card, the first step is to see if there are sign-up bonuses that you have yet to earn. The second is to make sure that you’re using the correct credit card for your spending. Many U.K.-based points collectors aim to earn these three point currencies: American Express Membership Rewards, British Airways Avios and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
In most cases, these are the best cards to start with:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card: Best for beginners who want transferrable American Express Membership Rewards and no annual fee for the first year (£140 each year after).
- British Airways American Express Premium Plus Credit Card: Best for earning the most valuable UK credit card benefit (the British Airways Companion Voucher) and the highest rates of Avios (at 3x on British Airways, 1.5x otherwise). There’s a £195 annual fee.
- Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard: Best for when Amex is not accepted or if you are a loyal Virgin flyer. There’s a £160 annual fee.
Keep in mind that these cards might not be the best for all consumers in all situations. Read TPG U.K.’s credit card reviews for an idea of which card might be best for you.
Annual earnings: If you’re just getting started, you can earn up to 25,000 in Avios or up to 15,000 Flying Club Miles, depending on your bonus offer and card eligibility. Note the strict new restrictions on welcome bonuses issued by American Express. Also note that in addition to the sign-up bonus that comes with each of the cards, you’ll earn bonus points or miles for every pound spent on that card on your path to meeting that minimum spending requirement.
According to the Bank of England, the average family in Britain spends around £30,000 a year across spending categories. The spending varies greatly depending on location. While you can’t put everything on a rewards-earning credit card, families should try to put as much of their spend on points earning cards as possible.
Annual earnings: Assuming £1,250 per month of spending goes on a rewards-earning credit card, in this example, you can earn at least 15,000 to 22,500 Avios or Flying Club Miles or at least 15,000 American Express Membership Rewards per year. You’ll earn more points or miles if you spend in each card’s respective bonus category.
Earning miles for transport
According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the average family in Britain’s largest spend after housing is transport. The average family in Britain spends £80 a week on transport.
For families that have a car, BA has the Shell Driver’s Club, where you can get 10 Avios for every 20 litres of Shell Fuel by converting Shell Driver’s Club points. If you purchase 60 litres of fuel a week, you could earn approximately 1,560 Avios per year at Shell Driver’s Club. If you spend £80 per week at Tesco filling Stations, you’ll come out with 2,080 Avios for the year.
By using the trainline.com via on shopping.ba.com, you can currently earn 3 Avios per £1 spend. On Virgin’s Shops Away portal, you can earn 2 Flying Club Miles per £1. If you could do all of your transport spending there (check the Ts & Cs), you could be looking at up to 8,300 Flying Club Miles or 12,000 Avios for the year. Based on TPG U.K.’s most recent valuations, those points are worth £100 or £132, respectively.
Annual earnings: Based on spending £80 a week in transport, you can earn up to 12,000 Avios or up to 8,300 Flying Club Miles per year depending on how you travel. Plus, you’re going to earn bonus points for every pound spent.
The average British household spend £61 a week on food shopping (without alcohol) according to the ONS. The amount of the average shop varies depending on family size and location within the country. For example, if you spend the national average of £61 per week at Tesco, you would spend approximately £3,200 a year.
Both Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are transfer partners of Tesco Clubcard Vouchers. You can cash in £2.50 of your Tesco Club Card Vouchers for 600 British Airways Avios or 625 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles. Essentially, each Tesco Club Card points becomes 2.4 Avios or 2.5 Flying Club Miles upon conversion.
Annual earnings: In this example, 7,680 Avios or 8,000 Flying Club Miles plus any additional points or miles you’ll earn from your credit card per pound spent.
Before you head for a cheeky takeaway, check to see if it could also earn you additional points or miles. The average U.K. family spends around £10 a week on food outside the home.
By using the shopping portals, you could earn additional Avios or Flying Club points on a number of popular takeaway venues, such as Pizza Hut or Uber Eats.
At the moment, you can earn 480 Flying Club miles if you sign up for Uber Eats for the first time via Virgin’s shopping portal. Based on TPG U.K.’s most recent valuations, those miles are worth £6 — not a bad return.
Also, with American Express Shop Small, you can earn £5 back on purchases of £10 or more at many local retailers. While you won’t earn additional points, it is cashback on your statement that you can save towards whatever you would like and huge savings at up to 50% back. I have found it most helpful at local coffee shops like Euphorium Bakery, where my total comes to £10 and then another £5 comes right back to my statement. Make sure to check that the Offer is available on your American Express card and then save it to your card.
Annual earnings: By checking the portal before you place a takeaway order, you could easily be racking up on food orders that you would already be making. Because these bonus offers change so often, it’s hard to put an exact figure on how many points or miles you’ll earn. Check for Amex Offers for cash savings or bonus points. Plus, you’re going to earn bonus points for every pound spent.
According to the Bank of England, the average U.K. household spends an extra £800 in December. Christmas shopping is a time to explore the airline shopping portals. By connecting your BAEC or Virgin Flying Club number to a company you already use, you’re opening up a great way for families to accrue more points with either carrier.
One that my family is eying for this Christmas is the increased 8 Virgin Flying Club miles per £1 on Lego via Virgin’s Shops Away. If I were to spend £100 on gifts for my sons, that’s a bonus 800 Virgin Flying Club miles — worth £10 based on TPG U.K.’s most recent valuations.
Annual earnings: If spending £800 on presents and goods, a family could earn an additional 800 to 8,000 — or more — miles depending on the shopping portal offer they use. Plus, you’re going to earn bonus points for every pound spent.
And, of course, travel
The above ways of earning are done without ever stepping foot on an aeroplane. How much you earn from travel varies depending on the fare class of your ticket as well as what level of status you hold with a particular airline. Using an example of one long-haul holiday to New York on British Airways for a family of four for £1,200, your family could earn another 10,000 Avios on a discounted economy ticket for the miles flown with the lowest-level Blue status. You would also earn 3,600 miles if you put the spend on your British Airways American Express Premium Plus Credit Card. The numbers are similar to Virgin depending on status and could earn more using a miles booster.
Annual earnings: In this example, 13,600 for a family of four flying economy to NYC without premium status once this year.
While spending habits vary widely amongst families, the categories for the average family tend to be pretty consistent — food, transport, travel and Christmas spending. From our calculations above, your family could be earning thousands of points and miles this year before adding any bonuses on top. With a Reward Flight Saver, it won’t be long until a family of four can be off to Lisbon, Alicante, Dubrovnik or Stockholm (6,500 Avios each way per ticket off-peak) by just maximising your regular annual spend.
Featured image by Getty.