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Most people assume you have to do lots of flying to get them – you don’t. There are various ways you can earn air miles from your day-to-day life, from the stuff you already do. If you’re starting out with the air miles game, the first thing you need to do is decide what sort of flying you intend to do – long-haul or short haul and from which country.
You’ll probably also want to decide which scheme to collect points in, but there are ways you can keep your options open.
The BA connection may be why this perk has since been dropped (given that BA has its own Amex), but it may get replaced with something similar (if it doesn’t, I imagine Amex will see its Platinum renewal rates plummet).
In the meantime, you get top-tier Priority Pass membership, which gets you access to a different – but still pretty good – set of airline lounges around the world.
Some go to town on it, but my view is don’t take the p*ss…
But even with just modest churning, you should be able to average about 40-60,000 miles (if not substantially more) each year, just from sign-up bonuses.
Both the Virgin Black Amex and BA Premium Plus give you a companion voucher when you reach a certain spend, albeit the Virgin one is pretty useless – you only get the ‘free’ companion ticket when you buy a top-notch full-fare ticket; it’s usually cheaper to buy two discounted tickets and earn some miles instead.This is known as card churning – sounds dodgy, but the card companies are well aware of it and appear to accept it; presumably their KPIs are based on customer acquisitions, not relationship longevity… Things may well change in the future – it wouldn’t surprise me if six months becomes a year, or even two years at some point soon.Indeed, MBNA is apparently far stricter, only awarding the sign-up bonus once – ever – for each brand of card (so once you’ve got, say, the MBNA Virgin Amex, you can’t cancel, wait and sign up again – well you can, but you won’t get the miles; however you could sign up for another of the MBNA branded cards, say Emirates, and get that sign-up bonus).For example, BA is part of One World, which means you can spend BA Avios on any One World partner (e.g.
American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, Finnair, JAL, etc).
Head for Points is also well worth keeping a regular eye on once you’re into playing the game. It’s worth keeping in mind that every time you apply for a credit card, your credit score will be temporarily impacted, although usually only by a few points (which won’t matter much if your score is up in the 900s).