Earning Avios points when booking a package holiday via avios.com

A lot of people are not aware of the excellent deals being offered by avios.com when you use them to book a package holiday.  I thought a reminder was in order!

The first thing to note is that these are avios.com promotions, so you will need an avios.com account to collect Avios points. These can be transferred to British Airways Executive Club later if necessary.

Avios holiday

The avios.com homepage for package holiday deals is here.

The first thing to notice is that they do not just work with ‘bucket and spade’ operators. The list includes some decent names (this is just a sample of the list):

  • Elegant Resorts
  • First Choice
  • Inghams
  • ITC Classics
  • Eurocamp
  • Kuoni
  • Mark Warner
  • Neilson
  • Thomas Cook
  • Thomson
  • Travelsphere

The recommend way to book is to search for whatever you are after directly on the website of the tour operator and then simply call Avios to make the booking.  Don’t use the expensive 0844 number on the website, use 01925 848619 instead!

Secondly, the earnings rate is excellent at up to 10 Avios points per £1 spent.

Thirdly, as I mentioned above they accept Amex and there is no surcharge for using any credit card.

Finally, the holidays team appears to have leeway to reduce prices if you can find a comparable deal – and you will still earn your Avios on the bookings

The only downside is that you don’t receive your Avios points until 28 days after your holiday, so you may be waiting a while for them. This is only a small inconvience, though, and this certainly seems to be an interesting option if you are booking package holidays.

In the past, holiday spend charged to a British Airways Premium Plus American Express card has triggered the ‘double Avios for British Airways spend’.  This no longer seems to be the case.

It is worth noting that you can also REDEEM Avios points for a discount on a package holiday.  I do not recommend this.  The discount is just 0.5p per Avios point you redeem which is poor but, to be honest, I could live with it.  More important is the fact that you will not receive any Avios points for the portion of the booking which you pay in cash. This makes the net outcome substantially worse.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

Flying Blue Petroleum - another good scheme for oil and energy sector employees
Uber £15 free credit still available, as it adds 6- and 8-seaters vehicles
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  1. Never knew that! Will def take a look?

    Anyone know whether the prices are normally the same or is the avios.com price higher (so in effect you pay for the avios through the back door)?

    • Phillip says:

      If you are looking for simple flight and hotel bookings, you will find major mark ups by these companies. If you are looking for something more bespoke or specialised, such as skiing holidays (Inghams/Thompson), or a safari holiday for example (Kuoni), then you can get some great deals.

    • squills says:

      Deffo need to check that. Eg the 10% off flying BA on BMI Amex card membership route = higher BA fare vs mkt, ie a complete con. Cheats.

      Likely you’ll save more by shopping around than by getting Avios thru this route,

    • The Avios starting price is normaly the tour operators standard price.

      This usally includes late booking discounts and open special offers but will exclude internet/direct only discount or where they offer discounts only through their in house high street travel agent.

      Often if they offer low deposits this is only for direct customers.

      90% of the time it is straight forward judgement between the Avios Earned and credit card fee saved vs the tour operators internet / in house sales discount lost.

      Other than the list above it is worth remembering that you can also book on the phone UK breaks (Warners, Butlins, Hoseason, Cottages for You) and Ferries, Cruise companies, Disney Paris and Eurostar. I don’t think the earn rate is the same for all the products.

  2. squills says:

    JP Sartre said ‘hell is other people’ (OK I know he didn’t) and that’s what you get on these organised holidays.

    Other people.


    • Lady London says:

      So, Squills, other than that, you don’t mind other people on your holidays?

      • squills says:

        Well, point being you’re stuck with them for the duration 😉

        Apologies all, I was tense, had a big submission to make, just met the deadline today.

  3. Phillip says:

    All the above mentioned companies tend to give avios.com a commission of between 10-20%, so well worth some bargaining. Most of them, like Mark Warner, Inghams etc, have online booking systems so you can get an idea of what’s available before booking. And as they are all package companies, they always offer last minute deals. For ski holidays, additional extras such as ski hire tend to also earn Avios.

  4. I found their hotel prices way higher than booking.com for instance, but didn’t know they can price match . I actually asked them to do that last year, they refused, so I didn’t book through them in the end. Obviously now they realise that people want price matching. Good news if we can get those extra avios that way.

  5. Having just booked a £4,500 cruise I wish I knew this a month or two ago! The extra 45,000 Avios would have been very welcome…

    • I would never dream of booking a cruise with any UK based TA. I always use an online US agency and have saved thousands over the years.

      I leave on 1st of Nov for a 14 night TA . When I booked the pricing was US £380 pp against UK £1589pp
      This cruise is followed by a 7night Caribbean US £230pp against UK £780pp.

      Its knowing when and who to book with

      • Here is an example of same ship,cruise cabin and date( live pricing as of 10 mins ago) of the savings that can be found. copied and pasted from both sites

        UK online booking with cruise company

        2 x Pax
        8 Day to Southern Caribbean
        Save 5% by booking Online
        Your Price:

        If booked with online US agency
        Passenger Fare Taxes/Fees Total
        #1) $199.00 $87.98 $286.98 USD
        #2) $199.00 $87.98 $286.98 USD

        Subtotal: $398.00 $175.96 $573.96 USD

        Grand Total: $573.96 USD

        • Heather says:

          Can you share your US TA please?

        • Craig V says:

          I use VacationsToGo. Beware some of the add-ons, but usually its way cheaper than UK agents especially for last minute. Always got the best deals for Windstar. Sales guy Steve Rios very helpful:

  6. squills says:

    Raffles, all your tips in the article are valid apart from the fact you don’t mention the headline price will be awful, if price match doesn’t apply 😉

    Pay through the nose for a holiday from hell with new non-friends you don’t like?

    No thank you!

    • Missing PTS?

    • trickster says:

      That’s a somewhat unnecessary snobbish attitude, which I notice you felt the need to post twice. For many, booking a package holiday is the right thing to do, so this could be an added benefit.

      From my experience last year, they would not price match Thomson direct, and the difference was not worth the extra Avios at the time. They may have changed though

  7. TheChiefExecutive says:

    I’ve done this a few times and agree it is an excellent avios earning opportunity. I’m in the process of doing it again, so a couple of observations about the post. These notes only apply to Thomson as that’s what I’ve been looking at.
    1. The Avios price is approx between 4% and 5% more expensive than the discounted Thomson web price. Avios know this, they won’t price match (in my experience, how ever hard you try). As they correctly point out Thomson charge a credit charge surcharge and they don’t (as you say they also take Amex which Thomson don’t).

    2. I’ve paid in the past with a BA Amex. It didn’t class as BA spend. This time I plan to use a Gold preferred Rewards Amex (first year) and expect to get double points on a travel spend. The spend will also trigger the sign up bonus.

    3. One last thing. If you book inside of 14 days of deaprture Thomson require Avios to add a £30 late booking fee (which they don’t seem to do for their web customers)

    • Sounds like the offer might be too good to be true then…

      I know cruise operators basically fix prices these days and there’s very little wiggle room, so hopefully at least for cruise bookings the prices will be the same as booking direct/though a TA.

      Thankfully I’ve found a TA that, for my loyalty, doesn’t charge me for Amex now anyway, but for 10 extra points per pound it would be worth trying Avios.

      • thechiefexecutive says:

        Why not try a dummy Cruise booking and price compare (if you can bear the disappointment) at least you’ll know for next time). On the Thomson package I’m looking at the Thomson web price is £798 and the Avios price is £822 each. So the Avios awarded is 16,440. The cost of those Avios is £48.

  8. craig Paolozzi says:

    Just done dummy booking and comes out the same price for a holiday in corfu considering Thomson would of charged me 45 quid for using amex card

    So I’ll earn 17k avios from avios and further 3k from.amex as still within my first year so should get travel bonus

    Sounds great deal to me

    • Phillip says:

      Travel bonus and outbound spend bonus is a permanent benefit of the Amex MR Gold card, not just for the first year.

  9. Points have already hit my account from a Thomson booking and I am still by the pool in the sun.

  10. Wow – we’re just about to book a 6k holiday with Thomson. I’ve made some profit following your posts over the years but this seems exceptional, thanks!

  11. squills says:

    Not just RSH 😉

    Loads of stuff owing from 2013 has just gone payable lol

    • Thanks. I just checked yesterday and would have left it another month if I didn’t read this! OT comments are very helpful as long as you prefix them with OT :p

  12. As an update, I thought I’d try this out as I need to book a cruise in April 2016 on Celebrity for my partner and I and a couple of friends. I called on the non-0845 number and got through within a few minutes to a lovely lady called Karen who helped me out.

    I got a 1B Balcony for less than Celebrity and my usual TA charge. The cabins were £2082 each, and I got (or will get) 18,420 Avios per cabin. This is less than 10 Avios per pound on the actual cost, as I assume it doesn’t include some taxes etc. She asked if I’d had any lower prices and seemed willing to match if that was the case.

    Downside is that they don’t issue e-mail confirmations which removed the immediate gratification of booking, and Celebrity issue documents in 7-10 days. So far so good, but I’ll update if my experience changes.