Eight Avios secrets you probably don’t know

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As an introduction to the sort of topics we cover every day, I wanted to run through eight travel hacking tips for Avios collectors.  I am 99% certain that you won’t be familiar with all of these, however experienced you are.

Click through the links in the headlines if you want to know more about any particular statement.

So …. did you know …..?

Avios banner

… that you can get 20,000 Avios points quickly, and for free, by signing up for the FREE American Express Gold charge card?

Most people know that American Express issues an ‘official’ British Airways card.  Few people know that points from its Gold card can also be transferred to Avios at 1:1 – and that the Amex Gold card has a ludicrously generous sign-up bonus.  Find out more here.

… that the tax on Iberia redemptions is 60% lower if you transfer your Avios to Iberia Plus and book via their website?

Iberia Plus does not charge the full range of airport taxes and fuel surcharges imposed by ba.com.

Let’s look at Madrid to New York in Business Class, return. Iberia, when you book on iberia.com, will charge £159.

A BA redemption from London to New York (via ba.com on a BA plane) on the same route in Club World costs £502 in taxes and charges! That is, by any stretch, a big difference. It makes it well worth heading to Madrid to start your trip if you are price conscious.

More interestingly, if you try to book the Iberia Madrid to New York flight on ba.com using BA Avios, it will charge you £361 of taxes! This is for the SAME Iberia flight which costs only £159 of tax on iberia.com using Iberia Avios.

that the Iberia Plus redemption chart has certain quirks which make some redemptions exceptionally cheap?

The Iberia Plus chart is in this article.  It is ALMOST the same as the BA chart, but not quite.

The difference is most pronounced in Band 5.  Business Class flights on Iberia to Band 5 (which includes New York) are 68,000 Avios return off-peak and 100,000 Avios peak.  British Airways redemptions in Band 5 are 100,000 Avios return off-peak and 120,000 Avios peak.

Would you buy a separate ticket to Madrid if you could use 68,000 Avios and £159 of tax to fly to New York on Iberia compared with 100,000 Avios and £502 on tax with BA from London?

… that British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia have different off-peak dates which leads to arbitrage opportunities? 

British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus do NOT share the same table of peak and off-peak dates, especially around half-term school holidays in the UK.

You can see the 2018 peak and off-peak dates for BA and Iberia in this articleAer Lingus is in this article.

This means that New York in Business Class can be as low as 68,000 Avios return from Madrid (on an off-peak date) on the same day that BA wants 120,000 Avios return from London (because BA treats it as a peak day).

… that you can earn Avios when you fly on Emirates as long as you book a Qantas codeshare service?

I got my wife to test this out and it works fine as this article shows.

… that you can earn Avios when you fly United Airlines – even though it is a Star Alliance member – by crediting your flights to Aer Lingus AerClub?

I genuinely expected this feature to go away when Aer Lingus AerClub was launched but, for now, it is still there.

… that there is more Avios availability on Iberia flights if you move your points to Iberia Plus and book from there?

It isn’t clear why this is the case, but it is.  Don’t rely on what ba.com shows you if you want seats on Iberia.

… that Aer Lingus redemptions have lower taxes if booked via BA on the phone than via the avios.com site?

You can finally now book Aer Lingus redemptions online via avios.com.  There is some jiggery pokery going on with the taxes, however.  If you keep your Avios in British Airways Executive Club and ring them to book – it can’t be done online – you will pay a lot less.

Make sure you read Head for Points regularly if you want to keep up to speed with tips like these and build up your UK travel hacking skills.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios and other airline and hotel points.)

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