What is the best Avios credit card? (Part 2: on-going earning rates)

(EDIT:  The post was updated in September 2014)

Yesterday, I did my best to respond to an email I received asking ‘What is the best credit card for earning Avios points?’.

Because you can earn Avios points both directly and indirectly (eg via Tesco Clubcard or Amex Membership Rewards), the list of possible cards is longer than most people think.

Yesterday’s post comparing sign-up bonuses was the most important part of the exercise.  The easiest way to build up your Avios points, after all, is by card churning to earn multiple sign-up bonuses.

It is also worth running over the various earning rates, though.  For simplicity, I have separated these into ‘best American Express card for earning Avios’ and ‘best Mastercard / Visa for earning Avios’.

Before you apply for anything, though, consider the size of the sign-up bonus (see yesterdays post) and annual fee as well as the earning rate.  Many cards also offer a better sign-up deal if you are referred rather than apply direct – you will find full details of referral deals on the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page of HFP.

Let me be very clear on one point.  I am not suggesting that the best use for the points from all of these cards is to transfer to Avios.  Frankly, you’d be crazy to convert 50,000 Hilton points to 5,000 Avios when you could get a valuable hotel stay out of them.  However, I have listed all of the options for completeness.

Credit cards

American Express cards:

(Click the links for the official website of each card)

1-2 Avios per £1 (1.5-2.5 if spending £15,000 pa) – American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Charge Card

1 Membership Rewards point = 1 Avios.  Double points on supermarket and petrol spend for Year 1, double points forever on foreign and travel spend.  7,500 bonus points on renewal when you spend £15,000 per year, equivalent to an extra 0.5 points per £1.

1.5 Avios per £1 – British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card

Double points on British Airways spend (3 per £1) plus 2-4-1 Avios redemption voucher when spending £10,000 per year.

1.5 Avios per £1Lloyds Premier Avios Rewards American Express

2-4-1 Avios redemption voucher (Economy only) when spending £12,000 per year, voucher to upgrade one return Avios flight by one class when spending £5,000 per year, no foreign exchange fees on overseas spend

1.25 Avios per £1 – TSB Premier Avios American Express

Double points on foreign spend (2.5 per £1) plus 2-4-1 Avios redemption voucher (Economy only) when spending £15,000 per year

1.25 Avios per £1 – Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Card

1 Starwood point = 1 Avios, but you get a 25% bonus when converting 20,000 points at once.

1.25 Avios per £1 – Lloyds Avios Rewards American Express

Card also has no foreign exchange fees on overseas spending, voucher to upgrade one return Avios flight by one class when spending £7,000 per year

1 Avios per £1 – American Express Platinum Charge Card and American Express Green Charge Card

1 Membership Rewards point = 1 Avios

1 Avios per £1 – TSB Avios American Express

Double points on foreign spend (2 Avios per £1)

1 Avios per £1 – British Airways American Express Card

2-4-1 Avios redemption voucher when you spend £20,000 per year

MasterCard and Visa cards:

1 Avios per £1HSBC Premier MasterCard

This card is only available to HSBC Premier current account holders and requires substantial savings or investment products to be held with HSBC to qualify

0.6 Avios per £1 Tesco Clubcard MasterCard

1 Clubcard point per £4 spent per transaction.  1,000 Clubcard points convert into 2,400 Avios.  Note that your actual earnings rate will be lower because each transaction is rounded down to the nearest £4.

0.3 Avios per £1Lloyds Premier Avios Rewards American Express

2-4-1 Avios redemption voucher (Economy only) when spending £12,000 per year, voucher to upgrade one return Avios flight by one class when spending £5,000 per year, no foreign exchange fees on overseas spend

0.25 Avios per £1 – Lloyds Avios Rewards MasterCard

Card also has no foreign exchange fees on overseas spending, voucher to upgrade one return Avios flight by one class when spending £7,000 per year

0.25 Avios per £1 – TSB Premier Avios MasterCard

2-4-1 Avios redemption voucher (Economy only) when spending £15,000 per year, double points on foreign spend

0.4 Avios per £1 – Priority Club Rewards (now IHG Rewards Club) Black Visa Card

2 Priority Club points per £1.  10,000 Priority Club points convert into 2,000 Avios.  Double points on foreign spend.

0.2 Avios per £1 – TSB Avios MasterCard

Double points on foreign spend

0.2 Avios per £1 – Priority Club Rewards (now IHG Rewards Club) Visa Card

1 Priority Club point per £1.  10,000 Priority Club points convert into 2,000 Avios

0.2 Avios per £1 – Marriott Rewards MasterCard

1 Marriott point per £1.  10,000 Marriott Rewards points convert to 2,000 Avios.

0.1 Avios per £1Hilton HHonors Platinum Visa

1 Hilton point per £1.  10,000 Hilton HHonors points convert to 1,000 Avios.

(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.)

Tesco has lost the auto-convert Avios transfers - that's why you've not got your miles
39,000 American Airlines miles post promptly from my MBNA card !
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Comments

  1. What about BMI Diamond Club?

    • Closed to new applicants so I thought it best to leave it as this is really an intro for newcomers

      • Agree and disgaree – some people might have a BMI card at home that they no longer use, but is still active.
        I certainly confined mine to my desk draw until they announced the new killer earning rate – now I use my Virgin Black for Amex and BMI DC for Visa.

  2. The gold charge card can 3 Avios per pound in some cases (I.e. double bonus points), for example when buying fuel at a supermarket filling station in the first year.

    In addition…

    Shell fuel spend seems to count as travel spend so gets triple points in the first year and presumably double thereafter.

    Hotels.com reliably gets triple points as well – not sure why.