Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Sometimes the oddest Avios redemptions can be the best value

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There are many articles on Head for Points about how to get the best value for your Avios points.  This article on ‘what is an Avios point worth?’ is the one I link to most often.

Sometimes, though, you can get great value in very obscure circumstances.  I just saved myself £1,000 over the weekend!

We are currently finalising our family holiday for the Summer.  My wife has already booked us into a family focussed hotel in the Dolomites near Innsbruck for a week.  Because she wants a two week break from the office, she wanted to add a week in Mallorca beforehand.  You can the German out of Germany but …..

This meant that we needed to get from Mallorca to Innsbruck on a fixed day in August.  You can imagine, when I typed that request into Expedia, I wasn’t very hopeful.

Amazingly, such a flight exists.  NIKI, the Austrian low cost airline now owned airberlin, flies it.  I couldn’t believe it.

I then saw the price.  €331 per person, one way.  Impressive pricing for a ‘budget’ airline but it is a Saturday in August.  And I didn’t have many alternatives.

airberlin, of course, is a oneworld alliance member.  This means that I can books its flights with Avios points on ba.com.

NIKI

More out of hope than anything else, I went onto ba.com to see what was available.  Amazingly, there were SIX economy seats available for Avios on the flight.

I promptly booked four of them.

I was going to pay (€331 x 4) €1,324 which is £1,040.

I paid 30,000 Avios plus £35.

You can’t argue with that.

I now need to get to the bottom of whether, despite having BA status, I need to pay for a NIKI seat reservation.  The evidence is confusing although the airberlin website thinks I should.  That is a problem for another day though.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 2022)

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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

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.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (73)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Clve says:

    OT – 15% bonus on Clubcard transfers to Virgin announced.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Has to converted by June 10th which is tight, or impossible?, for voucher to post and then convert as collection period ends on 28th May

      Don’t know if I should auto convert as would want to wait and see if theres a BA deal

      • Danny says:

        The current collection period ends on 5th May.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Ah misread the app. Vouchers arrive by 28th May. Plenty of time

      • harry says:

        there won’t be a BA conversion deal just yet, last one was just a few months ago

        • harry says:

          however the way BAEC threw out many free 24000 Avios makes it worth waiting for 🙂

    • Arun T says:

      Also a 1000 mile one off bonus if you set up an auto convert between 1st May and 10th June.

      This along with the Virgin ISA sign up bonus is nicely topping up my Virgin account!

  • littlefish says:

    I don’t know if you’ve ever looked in to it Raffles; but the train Innsbruck to Zurich is stunning and pretty decently priced. Not sure how old the kids are but it creates further options, and adventure, for travel to/from Innsbruck … and airports to consider.

    • Toby says:

      Seconded – although I started the journey in Vienna. Absolutely beautiful way to spend a day.

  • Wally1976 says:

    Can anyone beat the value I got for my flights to Nice for the Monaco Grand Prix? 9,000 avios + £35 RFS for flights initially quoted at £956 (10p per Avios) return but now over £1040 (11p per Avios)! If I was paying cash I’d probably have paid £300-£400 for an indirect flight from BHX but even so that’s 3-4p per Avios.

  • David says:

    I think I’m in the top 10 at least: Had to fly Hong Kong to Chongqing during Chinese New Year (only a 2.5 hour flight), and the low cost airlines had sold out months in advance. The cheapest seat left on Dragonair was quoted as £1,600 in economy (this was only 3 weeks before departure). Booked for 2500 Avios + £52.30 tax instead!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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