Maximising AMEX MR points / Avios

Discussion in 'Miles & points via credit cards' started by lostnomad, May 2, 2019.

  1. lostnomad

    lostnomad New Member

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    Hi

    New to the forum and new to the game so apologies if this is not the correct place. I currently have 30k MR points having taken out AMEX Gold before the sign up changes last month. I intend to make a few referrals and get my friend a supplementary card to add to my points haul (I'm currently single but hopefully not forever!). I also have a small business so I'm thinking of getting AMEX gold business and churning this six monthly. Am I correct in thinking I can generate referrals from this too and can I refer myself to get the business card? I'm thinking of paying my corporation tax and some other business expenses using the Capital on Tap card as apparently it's accepted by HMRC and has a 20k Avios sign up bonus. I am slightly hesitant though as it comes with a £250 fee (effectively £200 if claimed as a business expense) and accumulates Avios- a non convertible currency, has devalued quite a bit in recent years and is associated with high taxes in UK airports (I don't know too much about this side so I would be grateful to be educated on this). I generally don't spend hugely both business and personally, I would look to accumulate 27-35k Avios from Capital on tap including the sign up bonus for the £200/250 annual non-refundable fee. Is this decent value? Am I being too cautious with regards to Avios?

    I would look to retain my MR points until I know where I want to convert them by downgrading to a free card after the year is up while I am churning my AMEX gold business card. Would this affect my ability in getting the sign up bonus in two years time? Is this a sensible way to go about things or is there a better way/should I just convert to Avios and cancel the card? Would it also be prudent to go for the BAPP since I think I am eligible for the sign up bonus there? My only issue here is I may be in the housing market next year and don't want my credit score being depleted by taking out too many credit cards. But I am unsure of how much the score will reduce by.

    I hope to accumulate these points to go to the Maldives in business class either next year or the year after. Sorry for so many questions in one post but any help would be great!
     
  2. CraigS

    CraigS Member

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    I can't see anything particularly wrong with what you are planning. I don't know how much HMRC charges for paying taxes with a credit card, but you need to include that in your calculations. And you should definitely keep points with Amex unless you are desperate to avoid the annual fee.

    A focus on the Maldives, however, is concerning. On the one hand having a good aspirational target is good. On the other hand you would need to book nearly a year in advance to get award space to a very popular destination - and pay large surcharges to fly on BA. And that's assuming that BA don't change the award chart (or go to what we call dynamic pricing) before your trip. You need to be far more flexible to take proper advantage of Avios.

    There are also no shortage of fare deals these days in Business or First Class. Because credit card churning is now close to dead, you might find it far easier to just jump on attractive fare sales, instead of painstakingly accumulating miles and hoping to find award space.
     
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  3. lostnomad

    lostnomad New Member

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    Hi Craig

    Thanks for the reply! My understanding of using Capital on Tap is that HMRC sees this as a Mastercard debit card rather than the credit card it actually is so I think there are no surcharges, at least not to my knowledge.

    Would you suggest retaining MR points and cards and paying the annual fees rather than converting to Avios and cancelling? Your point about the possible changes in future devaluations is definitely a valid one...hence my uncertainty in converting to Avios.

    Whilst personal Amex cards are "dead" for churning, currently the business cards can definitely be churned for 20k MR points sign up bonus for £3k spend every six months as the business cards were unaffected by the recent sign up changes I believe.

    The Maldives is just a target. I won't put all my eggs into one basket just yet but if i can get there using points I will. If not I will use my points for something else or towards hotels. Since I have just started I just want to get as many points as possible!
     
  4. CraigS

    CraigS Member

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    I am very much a proponent of hotel chains as providing much more value than airlines. You can collect hotel points and get £500 per night rooms/suites for free or you can collect Avios and get a £2,000 Business Class flight for several hundred quid in tax/surcharge + miles, or just buy it for £1-1.5k in the right sale. (I also know that I will be many nights in the hotel versus just 8-12 hours on the plane...)

    Of course other people just want to get to their destination, and will happily stay in an Airbnb or cheaper accommodation because you do need hotel status for the hotel points game to really work well...

    But ultimately there's no right answer. I'm rather anti Avios, because of those surcharges and I've never been a credit card churner. But for a lot of people Avios makes more sense than trying to figure out Krisflyer, Asiamiles or the hotel chains (as Amex partners). So converting to Avios and avoiding the annual fee works for many.

    Some of the best "travel hackers" are really good at maths. So figure out how much spend you are putting through these cards and how much the annual fees are costing. If you are generating miles at less than 1p you're probably ok.
     
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  5. Kiwo

    Kiwo Member

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  6. cinereus

    cinereus Member

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    What has changed to make this the case?
     
  7. lostnomad

    lostnomad New Member

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    AMEX changed their sign up bonus rules on their personal cards. You could previously get a sign up bonus if you had not held an AMEX for six months. They changed the time period to two years. This happened a few months ago.
     
  8. cinereus

    cinereus Member

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    Oh I knew about that. You still have six months on the Business cards with big bonuses though.
     

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