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Boost Avios Points 30 ways to max Avios points

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If you've got Avios points stashed, there are tons of hidden points boosters to help you push it (baby), push it real good (apologies to Salt-N-Pepa).

We've put together 30 ways to help max your Avios points, including the best reward cards, how to earn 10,000s of bonus points and the best value redemptions.

Confusingly, the main Avios, BA Executive Club, and Iberia Plus points schemes are all called Avios. This guide applies to the specific Avios scheme, and largely covers BA Exec and Iberia Plus too - see more info on the differences between them.

0 1

How Avios works

Avios is a points scheme formed from Air Miles and BA Miles in 2011. Many mistake it for a frequent-flyer scheme. Actually it's a points scheme like Nectar and Clubcard, earnable in Shell, Tesco and by spending on reward credit cards, though its rewards are travel-focused.

Here are some examples of how long it takes to earn enough to travel.

Where you could go
Action
Includes
Points needed
Taxes (1)
Exchange £37.50 Tesco Clubcard vouchers
Eurostar rtn to Paris/Lille/Brussels
9,000 (2)
None
Exchange £37.50 Tesco Clubcard vouchers
Return to Prague
9,000
£35
Sign up for BA Amex & spend £11,000 (3)
Return to Athens
20,000
£35
Buy 30,000 litres at Shell
Return to Rome
15,000
£35
1) To pay the £35 fixed Reward Flight Saver fee, you need to have collected at least one point in the last year - otherwise you'll pay full taxes. 2) Eurostar only releases a limited number of 9,000 returns for each day – after that the points price goes up. 3) If you spend £1,000 within the first three months, which will trigger 9,000 bonus points on top of the points earned per pound spent.
0 2

Avios vs BA Executive Club Avios

The main Avios, BA Executive Club, and Iberia Plus points are all called Avios. Points are usually worth the same, regardless of scheme.

Avios says the main Avios scheme's better for irregular travellers while the BA Executive Club's best for frequent flyers, offering benefits such as free airport lounge access for members in certain tiers. You can move or pool Avios and BA Executive Club points at any time, so if you change your mind later, it doesn't matter.

A boon for high spenders is that the BA Amex credit card gives a free like-for-like companion ticket if you spend over £20,000/year (always repay in full or it's 15.9% representative APR).

0 3

You pay taxes under Avios

You pay taxes on these Avios charges passengers taxes and fees on flights, wiping some of the gain. These can be up to £100 or more for British Airways return flights in Europe.

But under its Reward Flight Saver scheme, you pay a fixed £35 fee on most short-haul economy flights, as long as you earn at least one point during the year before you book. See below for more info.

Avios customers can book one-way and 'open-jaw' tickets – say, London to Las Vegas, Los Angeles to London. You can also use points to upgrade cabin class.

0 4

Use the best Avios credit card

We've crunched the numbers on the big Avios credit cards to find the best way to earn points while you spend.

You'll need a reasonable credit score and a decent income. Applying without either of these will leave a search on your file, even if you're rejected. See the Credit Rating guide for more details.

Never aim to borrow on these cards. You're far better off focusing on getting the lowest interest rates (full info in the 0% Spending Card and Best Balance Transfers guides).

And always remember...

The Golden Rule

Always set up a direct debit to repay the card in full each month, so you'll never pay interest

The BA Amex card is the clear winner for most people. There's no annual fee and it offers a free companion ticket if you spend more than £20,000 in a year.

British Airways

Companion ticket on £20k spend* BA Amex - Taxes not included.

Good if... you're a higher earner but want a fee-free card, with the opportunity to get a companion ticket

On the BA Amex* (you can use our pre-application eligibility checker for this card) you accrue one Avios point for every £1 spent. In addition, spend £20,000 on your card in a year and you'll get a 'free' companion ticket to use when you redeem your miles.

So it's good for bigger-spending couples wanting long-haul flights - though you must pay taxes and charges.

London to...
Paris
New York
Cape Town
Class
Econ
Econ
Biz
Passengers
1
2 (1)
2 (1)
Spend
£9,000
£40,000
£100,000
Approx
taxes
£35 (2)
£660
£1,120
(1) Incl 'free' companion ticket. (2) Under the Reward Flight Saver scheme.

Introductory offer: 9,000 Avios points

Apply now and you'll get an extra 9,000 Avios points if you spend £1,000 within the first three months.

Be sure you repay in full, otherwise the gain will be eroded by the 15.9% representative APR.

If you want to boost your Avios quicker, and will make paying an annual fee worthwhile, see the BA Premium Plus card.

If you're willing to pay a hefty £150 fee, the BA Premium Plus card is the best way to boost your points as you get 50% more points per £1 than the standard BA card above. Plus, you only need to spend £10,000 for a free companion ticket.

A fee that big is a risk - you'll need to be a big spender for it to be worth it. For full details on all these cards see Airline Credit Cards.

It is possible to earn Avios points via a Tesco Clubcard credit card, but this never comes top. The main advantage is it gives 0% for 19 months on new purchases if you want to spread the cost of a big purchase. For full details see 0% Spending Cards.

You can boost Avios by 18,000 points

Apply for selected cards, spend a trigger amount and you could see your Avios boosted by up to 18,000 points. For full details, see the Airline Credit Cards guide.

Avios cards compared BA* Lloyds Avios*BA Premium Plus* Lloyds Premier Avios* Tesco*
Avios per £1k spend: 1,000 1,250 1,500 1,500 600
Sign up bonus: 9,000 Avios (£1,000 spend in first 3 months) Double Avios for the first 6 months when using Amex 18,000 Avios (£3,000 spend in first 3 months) Double Avios for the first 6 months when using Amex 19 mths 0% on purchases
Annual Fee: - £24 £150 £140 -
Amex? Yes Yes plus Mastercard YesYes plus Mastercard No, Mastercard
Companion flight? £20,000+ spend -£10,000+ spend £12,000+ spend -
Minimum income £20,000 household - £20,000 household - £5,000
Rep APR:
(see Official APR Examples)
15.9% 22.7% (incl fee) 56.4% (incl fee) 50.8% (incl fee) 18.9%
0 5

You're not getting something for nothing

Don't think Avios is giving you something for nothing. Loyalty points schemes are incorporated into pricing policies.

So the golden rule is: choose where to shop on price, not because you get Avios points, but always get points when you're spending there anyway.

0 6

You pay nowt if you redeem on Eurostar

Swap Avios points for Eurostar return tickets and you don't pay taxes or charges, which makes it an excellent value exchange. Plus it's rare to find hefty discounts on Eurostar fares.

Return tickets to Paris, Lille or Brussels all start from 9,000 Avios points (redeem this way and 1,000 Avios points are worth £8ish). You need to book ahead for peak times, as Eurostar only releases a limited number of 9,000 returns for each day – once those have gone, the price in points goes up.

0 7

Short-haul flights are great value

Avios charges passengers taxes and fees on flights, which can be up to £100 or more for European return flights.

Yet under its Reward Flight Saver scheme, charges on most short-haul economy BA flights are currently fixed at £35. The fee is £50 for business class flights.

Destinations in these zones include Moscow and Marrakesh - check whether where you're going is covered on the Avios website. You must earn at least one Avios point the year before you book to take advantage.

0 8

Tesco shopper? Time your Avios trade-in

When you convert Clubcard vouchers into Avios points, £10 becomes 2,400 Avios points. This means £37.50 of Tesco vouchers buys a Eurostar return to Paris. It could also get you to Prague or Milan in economy (plus £35 fee).

But it occasionally boosts this to 4,000 Avios for every £10. So if you've no plans to use your points yet, hold your horses until Tesco runs one of these promotions. See Boost Tesco Points for more on getting max value for Clubcard vouchers.

0 9

Pick redemptions carefully

Choose how you spend your points with care. 1,000 Avios points can be worth anything from £1 to £50 depending on how you spend them, so aim to exchange them for things giving better value.

Always check what it would actually cost to buy in cash first to see if it's a good value exchange. We've used estimates in the table below, so it's best to check yourself before booking to make sure it's worth using your points on the flight.

How much are Avios points worth?
Action
Points
Taxes
How much to buy direct
How much are 1,000 points worth?
Eurostar rtn to Paris
9,000
Zero
£70
£8.80
BA economy rtn to Prague
9,000
£35 (1)
£158
£13.70
BA economy rtn to Amsterdam
9,000
£35 (1)
£106
£7.90
BA economy rtn to NYC
40,000
£365
£459
£2.35
BA biz-class rtn to NYC
80,000
£540
£1,930
£17.40
2x business class rtns to Rio (with 2for1 BA card voucher)
120,000
£1,312
£4,696
£28.20
1) To pay the £35 fixed Reward Flight Saver fee, you need to have collected at least one point in the last year - otherwise you will pay full taxes.
1 0

Watch out with long-haul economy

Back in the days of Air Miles, folk used to squirrel them away for a trip of a lifetime, such as long-haul economy flights to New York. But if you're going long-haul, Avios economy charges can now be similar to paying to fly on a cheap airline (see Cheap Flights for how to compare prices).

When we checked, an economy return to New York was 40,000 Avios points plus £365 taxes. The same flight cost £459 direct from British Airways, so 1,000 Avios spent on this would be worth £2.35.

The exception's if you want an economy long-haul flight at expensive peak times. For example, if you flew around Christmas and were lucky enough to find space on an Avios flight, this could boost your points' value.

1 1

Buying business class tickets is top value

Using your points for long-haul business flights gives you a better cash equivalent return than economy. Plus, while you pay taxes on long-haul flights, on pricey first class tickets these make up a smaller proportion of the overall ticket price.

Use your points on an economy New York return and 1,000 points can be worth £2.35 - but use them to buy a business-class return and those same 1,000 points are worth £17.40.

This is, of course, based on business flights' list values, and you pay a huge amount more for that extra comfort (often days' of five-star hotels' worth). So it depends on how much you value flying in luxury.

You get more flights using your points for economy short-haul trips, and don't have to wait as long to earn enough.

A story from Martin...

One Christmas, I used a couple of years of saved-up points and a credit card companion ticket to treat Mrs MSE to a New York trip, flying out biz, back first class. If I'd paid cash, it would have cost £12,600 – completely unjustifiable. Yet with total charges of £875, it was cheaper than economy during that peak time."

Upgrades are also good value - yet there are catches

You can use Avios to upgrade when you make a cash booking with British Airways, Iberia or American Airlines.

These can be fab value for points. On a typical London - Boston return, you can upgrade from Premium Economy (usually £790) to Business Class (usually £2,014), using 20,000 Avios points. Based on list prices, spend your Avios this way, and 1,000 points would be worth £61.20.

There are a few catches. Perhaps most annoyingly, you can only upgrade on certain types of fares. Only fully flexible economy tickets are eligible. Though you can upgrade all British Airways fares in World Traveller Plus and Club World using Avios.

Upgrades depend if there's room in the class you want to upgrade to. You can only upgrade one cabin level up - so usually premium economy to business, not economy to business. Though the next cabin up varies depending on which flight you're on.

You can only book upgrades via its call centre, not online. If you're keen to upgrade a flight, before you purchase, call 01925 848619 to check the ticket type is eligible.

1 2

You may be able to bag a £30 flight

The downside of spending your Avios points on short-haul flights is that some destinations may be served by budget airlines, so it could be possible to fly for around £30.

Our FlightChecker tool cleverly tells you when to go for super-cheap prices. You just say "find any £30-and-under Barcelona flights during August" or set a price and pick "I’ll go anywhere".

Though, of course, with British Airways flights you can put baggage in the hold without extra charges. See Budget Flight Fee-Fighting for a full guide to beating budget airline fees.

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1 3

Combine one-way tix with budget flights

You can book one-way tickets – they simply cost half the number of points as a return flight.

This is a boon, for example, if you find a super-cheap budget airline flight for your outward journey, but can't find a cheapie on the way back.

To find budget flights, use our FlightChecker tool to find "all sub-£30 flights in May" either to a specific destination or just "I’ll go anywhere".

1 4

Always earn at least one point

Points on all Avios schemes expire if you don't collect or redeem at least one point in three years.

Plus under its Reward Flight Saver scheme, you pay a fixed £35 fee on most short-haul economy flights, as long as you earn at least one point the year before you book.

1 5

Book quick, quick, quick for peak times

Availability is much more limited than when paying for flights, so ensure you're flexible when booking.

Tactically, the ideal time to start checking is a year before - this is when seats start to be released. Though keep checking, as sometimes there are no seats available when a flight's launched, but extra seats are released later.

If you want to fly at peak times such as Christmas or school holidays, book well in advance. Use Avios's zone map to find routes with availability.

1 6

Avios e-store - useful but beatable

Avios's e-store works like a cashback site: you sign up, then click through it to buy something. The site gets paid for sending traffic and gives some of this cash to you in the form of Avios points.

Sounds great, yet the top cashback sites almost always beat it. For example, spend £50 at House of Fraser and you'd get 200 Avios points, yet spend £50 at House of Fraser via Topcashback and you'd get £2.10. Full info's in our Top Cashback Sites guide.

Though if you're buying something small and haven't collected an Avios point in the last year, this is an easy way to ensure you earn the points you need to qualify for Reward Flight Saver or bonus points offers.

1 7

Earn Avios points for your opinion

Sign up for Avios e-Rewards and you get paid points for your opinions. To become an e-Rewards member, you have to be invited. This isn't guaranteed, but follow Avios's instructions to get your name on the waiting list and you usually get an invite.

If you do, wait for survey alerts to land in your inbox and zip through the questions. The number of points you can earn depends on how many surveys you qualify for - once you earn 1,200, they convert to 250 Avios points.

Some MoneySavers who take part say they've earned 500 points a year, so you're not going to build up points quickly this way but it will boost your stash. For more ways to earn with online survey sites and focus groups, see the Top 20 Online Survey Sites guide.

1 8

Earn via American Express Currency Exchange

For every £1 you exchange at an American Express airport currency exchange, you'll get one point, but always check you're getting the best deal first - it's not worth doing just for Avios. Our TravelMoneyMax tool compares over 40 online bureaux to find who gives the most for each country.

When paying abroad, stealth charges abound, whether you go to a bureau de change or pay by plastic (unless you've got a top specialist overseas card). For how to maximise your holiday cash, see Spending Overseas.

1 9

Trade in cashback site earnings for Avios

If you've money squirrelled away with cashback site Topcashback*, there's another trick to boost your Avios points stash. You can trade in every £10 of cashback for 1,050 Avios points.

You could also use cashback for Tesco points and convert them into Avios to get even more points - 2,400 per 1,000 Clubcard points (600 Avios per £2.50 of Tesco points).

For each account, you can swap a maximum of £50 Topcashback earnings for Tesco points. This equals £52.50 to spend in in-store, but 12,600 Avios points. There are step-by-step instructions in the Tesco Points Boosting guide.

If you're new to cashback sites, they work by giving you a cut of revenue earned for directing you to retailers and providers. See full help and warnings in the Top Cashback Sites guide.

2 0

You can combine Avios & BA Exec accounts

You can combine Avios points from different Avios schemes (eg, BA and Iberia) and different family members' accounts online - handy if you're saving for a dream trip.

To do this, log into the Avios scheme you want to put the points in, go to your account and click 'combine your Avios' or 'create a household account'.

If you have a free companion flight, it usually makes sense to combine accounts, so you can fly further. The companion must be named on the household account, as well as the cardholder.

2 1

Earn points at Shell...

Flash your Shell Drivers' Club card when buying petrol at Shell and you bag 10 Avios points per 20 litres of fuel.

To sign up, pick up a card at your nearest Shell, then register it online and swipe it each time you spend. You earn 50 bonus points when you opt into Avios within 28 days of signing up. Every 20 Shell Drivers' points equals 10 Avios points.

It's also worth signing up for Shell's mobile app, which occasionally has promos such as "buy 30 litres, get 50 extra points".

2 2

...though Tesco fuel beats it

Earning points via Shell is slow going. You'll need to fill up 30,000 litres of fuel (about £45,000) to earn enough points to get a flight to Rome (plus fees).

But buy £45,000 of fuel at Tesco, and you'd get £225 Clubcard vouchers, which convert to 54,000 Avios - enough for four Europe Zone 1 returns, plus a £35 Reward Flight Saver fee per flight.

2 3

Check availability on Avios and BA Exec

Bizarrely, flight availability sometimes varies between the main Avios site and the British Airways Executive Club website. If you're struggling to find the flight you want, check availability on both sites and move your points into the scheme with flights available.

Buy extra points if you're short

2 4

The Avios scheme lets you buy extra points, so if you're short, you can top them up.

The points aren't cheap, at £31 per 1,000. So only do this if you need to travel soon and don't have time to earn them.

To buy them, visit Avios or the BA Executive Club*. The cost varies according to how many you purchase. Here are some examples:

Number of extra Avios points
Price
1,000 points
£31
2,000 points
£47
3,000 points
£63
4,000 points
£79
Max number of points you can buy per year
27,000

Also keep an eye out for promotions when buying points, because sometimes you can get up to 30% extra free.

2 5

Earn via BA & Iberia flights

Avios members can still earn points in the same way when flying on BA and its partner airline Iberia, as well as a few other airlines. So remember to collect if you were flying on those airlines anyway.

2 6

Use companion tickets wisely

Some Avios credit cards give you a companion ticket when you spend over a certain amount, so you get to take someone else with you under exactly the same conditions for no extra points.

So if you're going business to Sydney paid for with Avios, they can come for free (though you need to pay taxes for both of you).

If your card does that, it's worth waiting until you have the companion voucher before spending your points, as you get much better value from them.

2 7

What not to spend Avios points on

Think twice before spending Avios points on hotels or car hire. In our research, we found these gave poor value for points - you're usually better off redeeming on other rewards, like flights or upgrades.

2 8

You can change bookings for £35

It's worth noting changes or cancellations can be made for £35 up to 24 hours before a flight. So if you change your mind about a flight, you needn't lose your points.

2 9

Play with zones

Avios divides the world into nine geographical zones with each costing a specific number of points (see its zone map).

Within these zones, some destinations are better value than others. Zone 1 covers Paris, but stretches as far as Prague – both cost 9,000 Avios (plus £35). Zone 5 includes popular charter-flight destination Orlando, but also more exotic, pricier destinations such as Cape Town and Beijing – all cost 50,000 Avios (plus taxes).

3 0

Keep your eyes open for sales

Avios sometimes holds points sales that temporarily cut the number of points needed to fly to certain destinations. Be ready to pounce if they happen.

Join in the Forum Discussion:
Boost Avios Points
If you haven't already

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