When the Avios scheme was launched in late 2011, avios.com brought in a range of new airline partners alongside BA, Iberia and American Airlines.
As per this page, it is a little known fact that you can redeem Avios on Air Malta, Flybe, Aurigny (the Channel Islands airline) and Monarch. I will look at the latter three in a separate article, but I wanted to do Air Malta separately because it links to another story.
The first thing to note is that these redemptions are with avios.com, not British Airways Executive Club. You need to open an avios.com account and use the ‘Combine My Avios’ function to move Avios from BAEC into avios.com. There is no charge to move your Avios and you can reverse the transaction if required.
Air Malta has a grand total of 12 planes, carries c 2 million passengers per year and is State-owned.
You can seach for Air Malta flights using the standard avios.com reward booking site. If there is availability, it will show up. (And there is not a huge amount of availability in the system, so be prepared to be flexible.)
Now, there is a very good site called MaltaPoints. Tom, who writes it, also reads and comments on HfP, and he took a look at the redemption offerings for me.His conclusions were (paraphrased by me, any errors below are my fault!):
The only Air Malta flights offered with Avios appear to be London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester to Malta. There are some other seasonal departure points, but they do not seem to be included. You also cannot use them to fly from a 3rd country to Malta.
Economy flights cost 20,000 Avios return plus £43 – £57 of tax depending on departure airport. Business class seats do not seem to be available.
A return flight from London to Malta for cash costs from £129 return in November to £299 in August, bought well in advance (they can top £350 at short notice).
On this basis, if you can get seats in August for Avios, you would be getting over 1p per point (but it may be a big ‘if’). Based on the November price, you would be getting just 0.36p per Avios which is a very poor deal (20,000 Avios + £57 for a £129 cash flight).
When considering ‘value per Avios’, remember that Avios bookings are refundable up to 24 hours before departure for a £25 fee. This makes them more flexible than a cheap cash ticket. (The Avios rules do say that partner airline bookings have the same cancellation rights as BA redemptions, but do double check the rules which are shown during the booking process.)
But Air Malta is joining Star Alliance ….
What makes this redemption option rather odd is that Air Malta is apparently on the verge of announcing that it is joining Miles & More and becoming a full Star Alliance partner.
Air Malta is already a de-facto Star Alliance partner. You can already earn and spend Miles & More miles when flying on Air Malta, as well as redeeming Air Malta Flypass miles for Lufthansa flights.
This may mean that the Avios / Air Malta partnership will not be with us for much longer. However, it is worth a look whilst it exists.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 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:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
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.
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.