Nutmeg Avios

The best Avios collection tip I’ve had from a reader this week ….!

I get to hear some great Avios collecting stories from readers.  I rarely repeat them because the idea is often not scaleable or would collapse if given wider exposure.  I am happy to share this one though.

With Amazon Prime Day coming on Tuesday (see our Shopper Points article on it here), this tip is even relevant.

The British Airways American Express Premium Plus card earns 1.5 Avios per £1 spent.  However, as the American Express reporting system cannot handle fractions, it always rounds up your points.

Our reader initially discovered this quirk after he popped into his local branch of Poundland and bought just one item …..

Last year Amazon introduced a very quick way of topping up your Amazon account with credit for future use.  You simply go to this page, type in the amount you want to top up and submit.  The sum is automatically charged to your linked credit card and added to your account.


Imagine that our reader wants to buy an item for £15.

Instead of buying it directly and charging £15 to his BA Premium Plus credit card – earning 23 Avios in the process – he buys 15 x £1 top-ups.

This goes through his statement as 15 separate transactions of £1.  Each transaction earns 2 Avios because Amex rounds up the 1.5 Avios due.  This means that you earn an additional 33% Avios on each Amazon purchase.

This only works with the British Airways Premium Plus card, not the free BA card which gives 1 Avios per £1 and therefore does not benefit from any rounding.  It may work with other credit cards which offer an odd number of points per £1.

If you have any similar Avios collection tips which would not be killed off if they were shared with a wider audience, please let me know.  I can’t guarantee to use them but at the very least it will make me smile to read them!

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. Gavin says:

    I can’t believe pound land would take Amex!

  2. Nick M says:

    The free BA card also rounds up – spending £1.51 will get you 2 avios, whereas you’d only get 1 if using the Gold charge card

  3. I’m curious – if you top up £0.67, in perfectly fair world you should earn 1.005 avios points – does that also “round up” to 2 points, or do you need to top up a full £1.00 to earn anything?

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Avios are calculated on the amount of the purchase and then rounded up or down to the nearest full Avios.

      For example, if you make a purchase of £25.99, if Avios are earned at the rate of 1.5 Avios per £1 (£25.99 x 1.5, i.e. 38.9, rounded up to the nearest full Avios) 39 Avios will accrue.

  4. Erico1875 says:

    Taking it further,(as we do, lol ) £1.34 x 1.5 = 2.1 . do you think they will round up to 3 ?

    • Genghis says:


    • Genghis says:

      But I think a purchase of £0.34 would become X 1.5 = 0.51, rounded up to 1 avios.

      So if you’re desperate, doing this on Amazon would be almost 3 avios per £ on BAPP

      This is the maths – not sure if it can actually be done.

      • Genghis says:

        Or in other words an almost 100% bonus

        • Simon says:

          Genghis, would this also work with an (MBNA-issued) American Airlines Amex which offers 1.5 AA miles per £1 spent, do you think? Or would MBNA adopt a different approach in all likelihood when it comes to rounding up? Thanks!

        • It will cost you £1 to find out! (Although as MBNA does not break out transactions and the points earned you may have trouble working it out, unless you don’t make any other transactions that month.)

          I get a feeling that MBNA awards points based on total spend in the month, so no benefit of doing this, but I am willing to be proved wrong.

        • Genghis says:

          My MBNA diamond club and Virgin do it on monthly spend aggregated so works in a different way and not really applicable. I presume AA is the same.

      • Well there is only one way to find out…

        Love it. I’m actually going to give this a go. I wonder if Amex will have a fit when they see scores of 34p transactions going through?

  5. Frankie says:

    Love this! I still remember the Saturday, maybe 4 or 5 years ago my partner and I drove around a few tescos in SE London buying heaps of Vina Sol wine as each bottle was worth 150 Tesco points. And then on another occasion there were the £25 tents for 500 points that tescos were selling ( we drank the wine but used to return the tents and they never took the points back). Halcyon days….

    • harry says:

      Must be a few ‘savvy shoppers’ out there…we got Double The Difference closed down lol

      • Frankie says:

        Don’t they still do double the difference? I’m sure I got it not that long ago (I do always have to point to the board behind them which states it)

      • xcalx says:

        I remember it well and I go back even further to the R&R days, so much free stuff plus the golden receipt. My best value R&R was a £299 sat nav wrongly priced at £319 = free, plus I got the golden receipt. LOL never used my clubcard back then and always cash.

  6. And the 3v runs. How many different Tesco stores and how much money soent in a single day!

    • Spent

      • Hingeless says:

        Nothing will ever beat spend £25 in Harvey Nics and get £25 statement credit, we did this on 9 cards buying gift vouchers, and then spent them all in the oxo tower.

        • Waribai says:

          Yes, we did this across 7 cards. Wife was very happy with her designer top! I think though ACHICA topped this. I actually stopped at 5 orders. I am intrigued to know what happened with those who really pushed it to the max!

        • xcalx says:

          Their seldom used email accounts were bombarded with Achica spam as I found out a couple of weeks ago when an email required opportunity was spotted and taken advantage of.

  7. Do you think my local Tesco will allow me to pay for my weekly shop at the checkout in £1 increments…? 😉

    • MR Bridge says:

      YES if you top up a gift card at £1 per time…BUT don’t be surprised if TESCO call the police

    • Brian says:

      Isn’t that what self-service tills are specifically for? 🙂

  8. Interesting technical edge case, although personally I don’t think i can be bothered to earn an extra 1 avios per transaction in this way. The benefit is definitely below minimum wage and i could earn extra avios quicker on e-rewards.

  9. Brian says:

    How about the Lloyds card, which earns 1.25 Avios per pound? Does this also round up?

    • The Urbanite says:

      Lloyds points are calculated after aggregate monthly spend rather than per transaction.

  10. Stu R says:

    Rob states “it always rounds up your points” …. this is untrue – the system rounds the Avios to the nearest whole unit, hence a spend of 99p x 1.5 = 1.485 Avios which rounds to only 1 Avios.

    As Genghis states above, the 34p transaction represents the best value.

    Regardless, I cant imagine you’d need to do many of these before Amex temporarily blocked your card for security reasons?

    • Once I topped up my Oyster with 50p thirty times and Amex did nothing. (free card – for BAPP I think 35p would be best?)

      This was while waiting for a delayed train and nobody else was queueing for the machines.

  11. OT: recently upgraded husband only from Gold to Platinum – we didn’t add me as a supp as we were only going to keep it for a couple of weeks then refer me for a new one and cancel – fee has not been charged so we are keeping it a bit longer – just been targeted by Amex to add up to 5 supps (green or gold) for free and get 5k MR pts each – does the supp get a hit on their credit score – I could add my daughter but don’t want to start messing up her credit score

    • No. Min age is 18 (to have a credit score)

    • Claude says:

      I also got an email about a 5k bonus for adding 5 cards. However my email does say

      “2. This offer is valid until 11:59pm 31 July 2016. You may apply for multiple Supplementary Cardmembers to your Account but you will only receive the bonus once. Please note, in rare circumstances it may take up to 60 days for the 5,000 Membership Rewards to be applied to your Account.”

      I take that to mean I can add more than 1 but I will only get the 5k once? Is your email different?

      • Yes it’s the same – I didn’t read note 2 below – so I will just add me then for 5k!

        • Thanks for posting this. I somehow deleted it without reading the juicy bit. Needless to say I have now dug it out of my trash and applied!

      • Simmo says:

        I was sent a 3k offer on the gold card.
        However only the first card would be free, all additional over the first one would be £45

    • Matthew says:

      I remember this last year when it was a juicy 10,000MR points per supp card. They run name/address checks not credit checks and the cards come to you!

  12. Aliks says:

    I’ve always put a lower limit of £10 on my avios earning activities. If the tip earns less than that – is it really worth the time and effort.

    This rules out the ones that pay you 150 avios for filling in a questionnaire, but rules in using Tescos clubcard even for small shopping trips.

    Having said that, there is a perverse pleasure in following some of these nifty little tricks.

    Keep ’em coming!!

    • It depends if you would be using the time and effort for something else.

      I still pick up 1p coins if I’m walking leisuirely, but not If I’m in a rush to meet a client.

  13. Linda says:

    Great way to earn Avios but is anyone else experiencing difficulties spending them since BA removed the Explorer Map? (they have been ‘working on it’ for over 2 months now) Flight Finder is a time consuming & poor substitute if you don’t have a specific route in mind…..but maybe that’s BA’s intention? 😉 Anyone know if ‘Explorer Map’ will ever re-appear?

    • Steve says:


    • Scallder says:

      I emailed Rob about this last night but download the BA app. There’s a function on there to book reward flights and within that an option to search all Avios availability. The end result is that you can search each route across the entire 355 day booking window for a specific booking class within seconds!

      • Sorry, not cleared my emails yet! That has been there for a while, it does have some uses, for eg if you are happy to fly anywhere on the US East Coast or want a Caribbean option but flexible as to where.

        • Scallder says:

          No worries Rob, certainly wasn’t expecting a quick response – know how busy you must be 🙂

          Hadn’t appreciated it had been there a while. Thought at the very least was helpful for searching for dates to then go ahead and do a booking online rather than trying to search day by day

      • Nice find Scallder – very nice option! Interesting when you run it for Oz – only 17 dates available over the next year!

  14. Steve says:

    OT, but does anyone know this?

    I have a BAPP sitting at 99% to trigger the 241 voucher which I am not yet ready to do until around October. So I can’t spend on my BA card and enjoy the 1.5 avios per £ and I am using the Lloyds avios rewards instead.

    Is there such a feature to set the account to still earn avios, but not trigger the voucher until required? It seems that Amex would love me to use the card, but the fact I am not ready to trigger the voucher sends all my spend elsewhere.

    • Frankie says:

      No such feature. Spend and it will trigger.

    • I’m the same – holding off my spend till Sept – using Platinum the moment and just applied for SPG and got approved.

  15. James says:

    What with this and the Virgin train thing, I’m starting to think some of you are losing the plot.
    Whilst I do accept that more significant offers are becoming hard to find these days HFP is becoming rather like PTS or HUKD

    • Danny says:

      Then why are you still on here?

    • It’s a Summer Saturday, James. Readership will be down. No potential advertisers etc are reading! I have always pushed sillier stuff towards the weekends.

      • Tomorrow is already done and relatively normal service resumes, including a review of the Concorde Room at JFK.

        • Bring on the Virgin Dreamliner trip report Rob! 🙂

        • I’m waiting for the IC Barclay review!

        • Let’s say Tuesday for that (although it may slip as I need to go to The Hague on Monday), Thursday for the Virgin lounge and Saturday for the Upper Class review (don’t hold me to that either as I need to be in Hamburg on Friday)?

        • Cormac says:

          +1 Staying there in a couple of weeks.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        It’s not summer in Manchester!

    • Genghis says:

      There’s limited stuff to get truly excited about these days in the world of points collecting.

      • I’ve got something cool for tomorrow morning which just came up …..

        Medium term AerClub will create loopholes and opportunities, we may even get Combine My Avios with Meridiana and Royal Air Maroc soon. A bit of recession will create loads of options too.

  16. AndyR says:

    Sorry OT question – cancelled my BAPP a few weeks ago and I had a few thousand Avios in the account at the time but I still haven’t received them in my BA Exec Club account. Just wanted to see if others have actually received any remaining Avios after cancelling? Thanks.

  17. Mr Dee says:

    Whilst the fuel saver is on at Morrisons (Until the 11th) you would get a voucher worth 10p off fuel with a maximum saving of £10, if you filled up with 100 litres then the cost of Avios by topping up would be 20p per point.

    From the 11th July, a better solution is to buy the Amazon gift vouchers from Morrisons for a £100 spend you would get £2.50 in points back vs the extra 50 points by topping up your amazon account direct, effectively meaning your paying 5p per point.

    Topping up your amazon account direct is ok if your in a hurry but better to buy the vouchers from Morrisons.

    • David says:

      Is that really the best way?

      • Mr Dee says:

        Even with their new points scheme your getting £2.50 back for every £100 and if you can buy/value the Avios points at 1p then thats an equivalent of 250 Avios as opposed to 50 Avios in the topping up your account 100 times with £1.

    • harry says:

      No max on fuel saver, you can get 100p off a litre if you feel like it

      • Mr Dee says:

        Sorry I meant on a £100 spend you would get a 10p off voucher and if you filled up with 100 litres that would be a £10 saving, there is no limit as often use £1 off and on 100 litres this is £100 off. So thats a £100 saving on a £1000 spend effectively 10% off, that is until they stop on the 11th of July.

    • Mr Dee says:

      10p voucher based on a £100 spend example

      • harry says:

        OK Mr Dee let’s ignore fuel

        So I can top up my Amazon balance @ Morrisons, I use my Amex card

        You say I get £2.50 back on a £100 voucher (Morrisons points)

        Plus I get 100/200 Avios points through my Amex

        Total for me (2 points card) would be £4.50 discount on £100 Amex spend

        • Mr Dee says:

          Yes, definitely worth buying at morrisons using your Amex over Amazon direct even with the new devalued points scheme on gift voucher purchases.

  18. Duncan says:

    I’ve always been intrigued by the use of PAYG topups to pay for things. I’ve noticed I can load cash onto a PAYG 3 SIM using my BAPP card, then use that to top up a PokerStars account, which then allows me to withdraw to my bank account. I’ve topped up my account a couple of times and emptied it back out, but wonder if that’s an opportunity to manufacture some more meaningful amount of points.

    • harry says:

      Try £500 & report back?


    • Mr Dee says:

      Interesting but some of these gambling sites will just block your account if your not using the balance ie wagering your whole deposit at least once. Then during the wagering process you could easily lose your value of points that you would be making. Worth a try though and see if it works for you!

    • I imagine that your PokerStars account would get shut down fairly quickly if you did this repeatedly or in large amounts. It earns the bookie nothing (which they don’t like), and it’s probably a technique used by people trying to launder money which will get your account flagged.

      If you wanted to take it a step further you could matched bet (back something at Pokerstars and then lay the opposite at a betting exchange like Betfair) so that the money is “lost” at Pokerstars which would keep them happy, but I think it would be more trouble than it’s worth for the points.

    • Genghis says:

      Give it a go. Just don’t tell anyone. Oh wait…

      Also don’t muck about (too much) with PAYG Oyster.