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Avios has launched, as a trial, ‘Avios Advance’. This has been knocking around for a while on a limited basis but is now popping up for more and more people.

This is something new for airline loyalty programmes although Marriott has been doing it for years with its hotel programme.

You can book an Avios flight even if you don’t have enough points.  You have until 35 days before departure to earn them.

Avios wing 6

How does it work?

This is an avios.com initiative.  You will not find it on ba.com and so you cannot combine it with a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher.

If all of your Avios are in British Airways Executive Club, you will need to move them over to avios.com before you can do this.

rsz_screenshot_2017-02-21_155155

The exact rules for ‘Avios Advance’ have not been published.  This is how it seems to work – but please do not take this information as fully accurate:

You seem to need to book 6 months ahead of travel

You seem to need to have 75% of the Avios required already in your account

Note that there is no guarantee that you will be offered ‘Avios Advance’ even if you do meet these criteria.

Go through the flight booking process on avios.com and, assuming your potential booking meets the criteria above, the box above will appear on screen.

It invites you to ring the Avios call centre and make your booking.  This is what happens:

Avios reserves your seat

You pay your existing Avios balance plus the full taxes for the ticket (the box only mentions £35 Reward Flight Saver taxes but I assume you need to pay the full taxes figure)

You have until 35 days before departure to earn the balance of the Avios required

It isn’t clear what happens if you don’t have the remaining Avios in your account 35 days before travel.  Do you forfeit your ‘deposit’ (ie all of the Avios you used)?  That sounds too excessive.  I am guessing that the booking is cancelled and you receive your Avios and taxes back less the usual £35 cancellation fee.

What do I think?

This is an interesting move by Avios.  It is customer friendly but also has the potential to cost Avios money:

It saves the customer from buying Avios points to top up their account at the punitive 1.6p per point rate

It creates additional call centre work as these bookings cannot be made online

Let’s see how it goes – the fact that it is now being offered more widely implies they are happy with it.  Hopefully it will be a success.

PS.  The Marriott version of this scheme is FAR more generous.  Marriott Rewards members can make reward redemptions without having any points in their account,  You have until seven days before arrival to earn the points you need.  I have a Ritz-Carlton booking for October currently booked via this route.


British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

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

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 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 and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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.

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

Comments (55)

  • Nick says:

    This is a canny move for another reason too – look at the booking deadline…
    When BA changed EC rules to guarantee at least 6 spaces per flight, a line a lot of people ignored stated that this applied until 45 days before the flight, implying they could be closed if not already booked (not guaranteed or automatic but they reserved the right to). If you cancel at -60 days and that flight was limited to the 6 seats this means they will release for resale. If you book an Avios award without the required points and it auto-cancels at -35, these don’t then have to be re-released…

  • Mark says:

    This would make sense if offered by BAEC and would only allow you to book using avios that you will earn from flights that have already been booked but not flown (There would still be an issue if flights were canceled/missed).

  • Swanhunter says:

    The LH SEN overdraft used to be 160,000 miles. Then Star Alliance did a big UK status match, lots of people chose LH and used the miles for a J return to Australia then abandoned their account. The good old days!

    That abuse triggered the reduction to 50,000 and the invoice for any negative balance when downgraded.

  • Joe says:

    OT… my son turns two on April 7th and we have a 2-4-1 to use if we fly outbound before he is two and return after is second birthday will BA try to charge full Avios for return leg for him? Reason I ask is recently called BA to price a fee redemptions and operator told me if he was over 2 on return journey we leagally have to have a seat for him… but last year I booked return business to Singapore flying out before is birthday and back after but they never mentioned it or charged more or forced me to get a seat for him was this a mistake ?

  • Joe says:

    but…last year your son would have been aged under 2 for both legs of your trip to SIN?

    • Joe says:

      I booked it last year for this year just been a change of plan and had to cancel…

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