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

More out of hope than anything else, I went onto 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 from UK credit cards (September 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

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

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

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points 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.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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.

  • JK says:

    Excellent use of points 🙂 We used NIKI for a flight from MXP-VIE a while back (paid flight, it was very cheap). The weird thing is it was a Meridiana codeshare, which gave us seat selection and checked bags for free, whereas booking on NIKI we would have had to pay for all that. Check in was handled by AB, so we used my QF Plat (OWE) card to get priority check in. The in-flight experience was good, the hosties were young Austrian girls wearing jeans which made for a casual atmosphere, but in a good way. I think there was a snack and drink but can’t remember – you can preorder decent food though. The downside was that they lost our bags, and you get directed to AB for that – who are notoriously awful at handling lost baggage. We only got our bags after 4 days by leveraging a contact at the airport. Good luck and hope the holiday goes well!

  • Waribai says:

    Nice work Raffles! Have you booked your accommodation? Mallorca prices seem to be fairly high this summer.
    I think 300 euros is to be expected. After all Easyjet are charging £250 from LGW in August.

  • Londonbus says:

    Well done. I suspect the best use of Avios is for one way short-haul flights – on days like this.

    Devaluation has seriously reduced the value of long-haul premiums – and wih the possibility of cheap cash ex-EUs on Qatar or Cathay – looks better value to pay there.

  • James67 says:

    I had a similar experience with BA. My partner needed a return flight from Edinburgh to Bangkok on specific weekend dates to meet commitments both here and in Thailand, and as usal insisted on BA (yes really!). After( a lot of grumbling I burned 111000 avios plus almost £1100 booking the flight far in advance, a CW redemption out and WTP-CW UUA for the return. In my view it was a total waste of avios given revenue fares available on other carriers at the time. However, as it happened, the flight filled up fast and soon after booking BA were already charging an astonishing £2000 WT and over £6000 CW for flexible tickets on the same dates. I still think it is a bad option compared to competitors revenue fares but at east now take some comfort that I got great vkue ehen compared to BAs own revenue fares for the flight.

  • Henry C says:

    Less obscure, but I was surprised how cheap US domestic redemptions on AA are compared to back home.
    Also I can highly recommend the Es Molí hotel in Deia if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Mallorca. Deia is a beautiful village too, give it a go.

  • Nick says:

    V impressive! I just booked 3 tickets from my local airport DSA to jersey middle of August to visit family. Fully expecting to get nothing locally on flybe I couldn’t believe it there was 9 plus seats most days. Even Saturday had 4 seats showing on Cash price for the hop would have been close to £500 with a bag , but 27k avios and £100 was a fair price to me. Threw in another 5k avios I got a car from Avis for £75, cash price £175. So all in I hit 3 flights plus car for a week for £175 in August in jersey. I was pleased to use on a route I expected availability to be be on existent on. Only negative is I had to pay for seat selection to be certain sitting together.

    Avios on line chat also told me that I can use for Thomson package holidays didn’t know about that!

  • timezonehopper says:

    I recently had to fly my wife and daughter from Hanoi to Tokyo in Business class (my daughter had had knee surgery and needed a flat bed configuration seat). The one-way JAL flights were an eye-watering £1100 each. I paid 37500 Avios and £20 for each flight.

    • Gavin says:

      8500 Avios and £17.50 in charges one way to Larnaca when Y fares are over £300 is my best redemption, getting EC261 compensation and 3000 avios back as service recovery made it profitable!

      • Danksy says:

        I’ve done exactly the same for 5 of us this summer return flights!

    • tony says:

      Was just going to add, we picked up some great value redemptions in Asia last summer. One way cash fares in premium cabins seem quite punchy (£500-£600 for a 3hr flight) and availability was prolific!

  • Paul L says:

    Could be good to run an article on how BA Gold status carries (lounge access, baggage allowance etc) across other One World partners… And including airlines such as Alaska.

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

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