(EDIT: This post was updated in October 2014)
I recently had an email asking ‘What is the best credit card for earning Avios points?’.
This is not as easy an answer as you might think. Whilst there are the BA and Lloyds / TSB cards which issue Avios miles directly, there are other cards which offer points which can be converted into Avios points. If you are intent on squeezing out every free Avios that you possibly can, you might want to get these cards as well!
If you applied for every single credit card which offers Avios points or points which could be converted to Avios, you would earn over 100,000 Avios!
But which of these is the best credit card for Avios? Today I am focussing purely on sign-up bonuses. Tomorrow I will compare the same cards in terms of their day-to-day earning capacity.
Some of these cards offer a higher bonus if you are referred. You can find full details of these in the relevant entry on our ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page.
The best Avios-earning personal credit cards:
Listed in order of highest sign-up bonus:
30,000 Avios – American Express Platinum Charge Card
30,000 Membership Rewards points convert into 30,000 Avios. £450 annual fee, refunded pro-rata on cancellation. Issuer: Amex. Spend £2,000 in 3 months to trigger bonus.
20,000 Avios – American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Charge Card
20,000 Membership Rewards points convert into 20,000 Avios. No annual fee for the first year. Issuer: Amex. Spend £2,000 in 3 months to trigger bonus.
18,000 Avios – British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card
£150 annual fee, refunded pro-rate when you cancel. Issuer: Amex. Spend £3,000 within 3 months to trigger bonus. Cannot hold both this card and the BA Amex.
10,000 Avios – Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Card
10,000 Starwood points convert into 10,000 Avios. £75 annual fee, refunded pro-rata on cancellation. Issuer: Amex. Spend £1,000 in 3 months to trigger bonus.
4,000 Avios – IHG Rewards Club Premium Visa (unavailable until mid October 2014)
20,000 IHG Rewards Club points convert into 4,000 Avios. £99 annual fee, non-refundable. Issuer: Barclaycard. Bonus is triggered with your first purchase.
3,000 Avios – British Airways American Express Card
No annual fee. Issuer: Amex. Spend £500 in 3 months to trigger bonus. Cannot hold both this card and the BA Premium Plus Amex together.
2,000 Avios – IHG Rewards Club Visa Card
10,000 IHG Rewards Club points convert into 3,000 Avios (although you need to convert in 10,000 point chunks). No annual fee. Issuer: Barclaycard. Bonus is triggered with your first purchase.
nothing (2,400 if referred) – Tesco Clubcard MasterCard
No fee. Issuer: Tesco Bank. There is no sign up bonus. However, once you have applied, you can claim 1,000 Clubcard points (2,400 Avios when converted) by sending in a ‘refer a friend’ form to say that you were recommended by someone. Email me at raffles [at] headforpoints.co.uk for a referral form. If you have recently got the Tesco card you can still claim 1,000 points for being referred.
2,000 Avios – Marriott Rewards MasterCard
10,000 Marriott Rewards points convert to 2,000 Avios. No annual fee. Issuer: Creation. Spend £200 in 6 months to trigger bonus.
Tomorrow, I will look at the earning rate on all of these cards.
(Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.)