Over Easter, I will be answering a number of the reader questions that were submitted via this article. If you didn’t take part this time, don’t worry as I will be re-running this feature in the Summer. Feel free to expand on or critique my answer using the Comments section below!
Today’s question is from av who asked:
“I have roughly 13k BA EC Avios (collected through my BA Amex), as I am new to the whole Avios thing, I would like to know what the best thing to do with them? Is there any way to swap these into Membership Rewards?”
Well, the good news is that Avios is one of the few airline programmes that offer good value redemptions for small quantities of miles. And by ‘good value’ I mean both in terms of the miles needed AND the taxes required for a short-haul redemption.
With 13,000 Avios points, you will be limited to European redemptions using Reward Flight Saver, assuming you want to come back as well!
Because British Airways also offers ‘cash and Avios’, which allows you to save up to 50% of the Avios points required in return for paying a small amount of money, you can look at any route requiring up to 26,000 Avios return.
As I outlined in this article on Reward Flight Saver, 20,000 Avios + £30 will get you a flight to anywhere within 2,000 miles of London. The same flight can be bought using ‘cash and Avios’, and the best fit for your 13,000 Avios collection would be 12,000 Avios + £100. That would get you a return Economy flight to Moscow, for example.
If you want to take a friend, getting your collection up to 15,000 Avios would allow you to get 2 ‘cash and Avios’ economy seats to, say, Madrid or Rome.
Even for domestic flights in the UK, using full Avios points and not ‘cash and Avios’, 13500 points is enough for 3 one-way flights between London and, say, Edinburgh.
Don’t forget that you can also redeem on BA’s short-haul partners, although Reward Flight Saver is not available here and you need to pay full taxes.
Options include Vueling (to various destinations in Europe from London, Cardiff and Edinburgh), Sun-Air (to Denmark), Finnair (to Helsinki) and lots of airberlin European routes. Search the site to find relevant posts.
You can also transfer your avios to avios.com and redeem on flights on Air Malta, Aurigny, Monarch and Flybe.
‘Cash and Avios’ is often not available on non-BA flights, however. You should also compare the Avios taxes to the cost of a cash flight, as you may be getting a poor redemption deal.
And if you REALLY don’t want to fly with your Avios, ba.com lets you redeem them for a hotel room or car hire (13,000 is worth about £100 of hotel booking) or you could redeem them via avios.com for wine, theme park tickets, Eurostar tickets or other bits and pieces. None of these necessarily offer great value, however – you should be looking to get 1p per Avios if you can.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
SPECIAL OFFER: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.