Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Do you need travel insurance to cover your redemption ticket?

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I get the occasional email regarding travel insurance for mileage redemption tickets.  To be honest, I have never fully seen the point unless you have a pre-paid hotel reservation at your destination.

With Avios, for example, British Airways allows you to cancel a redemption ticket up to 24 hours before travel.  (BMI used to allow you to do it with one hour notice!)  The chances of becoming ill during that 24 hour window are slim.  Virgin Atlantic has a similar policy.

Even if you do want to insure your miles, an independent insurance company cannot replace them for you.  It does not have the ability to put miles into your account.

Avios does offer travel insurance policies which protect your milesYou can find details here.

The policy document is fairly unclear about what happens with Avios tickets.  If you cancel your trip, you can claim for costs “(including the value of payments using Avios which you cannot recover)”.  What does this actually mean?  Do you get your points returned?  Or do you receive some nominal cash sum based on the perceived value of the points?

I would be surprised if many people had ever claimed on this given the tiny 24 hour window between free cancellation being available and the time of travel.

Virgin Atlantic used to offer travel insurance when you book a flight with them but it seems to have disappeared since the website revamp.  The wording used to be:

“Please note: If payment has been made using frequent flyer points, airmiles, loyalty card points or the like, settlement of your claim will be based upon the lowest available published flight fare for the flight originally booked if they are non-transferable.”

This always seemed remarkably generous in some ways.   Whilst Virgin wouldn’t sell you this policy without a Virgin flight booking, which limits their liability somewhat, imagine booking an Upper Class ticket for Flying Club points, being forced to cancel and then claiming back the cash cost based on the ‘lowest published fare’.

If you have any experience of claiming for ‘lost’ frequent flyer miles from travel insurance, or know of any other insurance policies which cover them, please comment below.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2024)

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 £15,000 Read our full review

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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus 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

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 sign-up 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 (42)

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

  • Tracy says:

    It isn’t just the 24 hours before your flight. Travel insurance would cover you if you needed to fly home at a different time or had a medical issue whilst abroad.

  • fiona says:

    Insurance isn’t just about your initial flight. I am surprised why people would even ask.

    • Nick_C says:

      It’s a valid question.

      If my annual policy has lapsed, I usual take out insurance as soon as I book anything.

      But I’m planning a trip next June. So far, the only thing I have booked is a redemption flight. Until I actually book anything that is non refundable, there is no point taking out insurance. If all the hotel bookings that I make are refundable, then I’ll leave insurance to the last minute.

      • Adam says:

        It comes into use when you have a complicated itinerary with long stopovers using Avios. To offer a simple example if you was to book as follows maybe to get a first segment on before a voucher expires

        01JAN MAN-LHR
        10APR LHR-MIA
        20APR MIA-LHR

        Then once the first segment is flown the remaining flights become non refundable and non changeable therefore making an insurance covering frequent flyer points a must.

        Tesco travel insurance also offers cover for miles used on redemption flights although they don’t offer any refund but will rebook identical flights for you within three months of your original flights.

        • Polly says:

          That’s useful to know about tesco.,imagine you had an F BA 241 to HKG return, would they really book an equivalent F seat for you within 3 mths. That would be super amazing.

          Injuries CAN happen within the 24 hr window, unfortunately. My OH did his back in the morning we were flying BA F using our 241 to HKG that night. He ended up sitting almost forward the whole flight. Wheelchaired around the Bali resort for 3/52 by tiny me! Pool helped tho. Now he is banned from playing sports within 48 hrs of any LH departure. Just in case!
          Would our Plat insurance refund the cost of our miles, l wonder, then we could re purchase them in a sale or whatever?

          • Reddot says:

            My OH managed to crack his ribs at work and we were just saying that the silver lining is that we weren’t flying out to Singapore for precisely the same reason. I think your ban is well-justified !

          • mark2 says:

            On our trip to Canada last year we almost missed our flights.
            Because we were flying in the afternoon we decided to drive down (about 100 miles) rather than stay the night. There had been a big pile up on the M40 and we had to leave when we were warned on the matrix signs. We were delayed in leaving when our niece came round for a shower just as we were leaving (her bathroom was being refurbished). If we had left at the planned time we could have been stuck between junctions for hours or even been involved in the accident.
            This is why I cannot understand the purpose of checking in online when not at the airport.

  • Phil says:

    Are Avios bookings from IberiaPlus refundable? ISTR that they aren’t – in which case one might want to insure those bookings.

  • mark2 says:

    I think that travel insurance is an area where we could usefully share experiences. I have only travelled on holiday a couple of times a year and have been fortunate to have never had to claim. I always wonder how I would claim if one or both of our cases went missing. Should me make a list of the contents before we leave home? I cannot believe that many people do this. Also our clothes have been accumulated over many years, often on holiday in Italy or Canada and I never keep receipts. Do the insurance company accept an estimate? Has anyone had to do this?

    • Polly says:

      Might be useful to pay by card, from now on when clothes shopping, even abroad. As when our cases were destroyed by rain, left out in rain on Tarmac in LGW one time, the insurance accepted our bank receipts for shopping ie Topshop, River Island, Laura Ashley etc. They just deducted 10% for every year of age from the date. Got quite a lot back from them, enough to replace the detroyed clothing.

      • mark2 says:

        Thanks Polly. As you would expect I do pay for everything by card but often not in an exclusively cloths shop e.g, John Lewis, TK Maxx.

        • mark2 says:

          Oh No!!
          I mis-wrote( as Hillary would say) ‘cloths’ instead of ‘clothes’..
          This was completely accidental and I deeply apologise.

        • Andrew says:

          Although if you bought in John Lewis, and swiped your loyalty card, a copy of all your receipts are stored in your digital wallet.

    • HAM76 says:

      I have scans of my personal receipts going back 20 years. I realize I was an exception back then, but these days, scanners as part of a printer are cheap starting at £30. £50 gets you a stand-alone printer-scanner combination that lets you insert a memory card. Just scan receipts when you are next to the scanner, let the scanner store the scan on the card and very occasionally file the card and swap with an empty one. No need to look at the scans or organize them until you have to claim. Total effort a few seconds per receipt.

      If you aren’t concerned about privacy issues, you can pay a little more and get a cloud connected scanner. Scan straight to the internet and gives you access to all receipts even while you are traveling.

  • Mike says:

    I would certainly appreciate an article on travel insurance

  • Dave R says:

    For anyone thinking of using Avios travel insurance… I was planning to use them for a F trip to NYC last summer but they told me that, although they do cover Avios bookings, this is only for bookings via and not BAEC.

  • Choons says:

    I used Columbus Direct. I just hoped they would cover things if anything happened.

  • Boi says:

    I am in that trap….I might pay for not reading the T&C’s fully. I thought my hotel booking will be automatically covered by Amex platinum travel insurance as I used the card to book it-I paid for the redemption flights with a virgin black as I was going to earn more FC miles with that. Unfortunately I had to cancel the trip, The flight part is ok BUT Amex have said for me to claim for the hotel booking the whole holiday needs to have been paid on the card.
    Thanks, Rob, I think this is an important topic. I may have been stung by the rules….

    • Genghis says:

      Have you gone back to Amex with the terms I quoted yesterday?

      • mark2 says:

        Thanks for that quote yesterday. It was interesting to see that the limited travel insurance from using an Amex card included those issued by other banks and that it also applies when the card is used to pay the charges on a points redemption.

      • Boi says:

        Waiting for medical certificate from GP then I will go back to them once I have it.

        Thanks for the quote….even a slim chance is better than nothing. She made it sound like it’s set in stone.

        Normally we have separate travel insurance but this time stuck to Amex…..then this happens. Never claimed before

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