What do you need to know about the closing of the Avios Travel Rewards Programme?

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Starting on Monday, avios.com (as opposed to British Airways Executive Club) is emailing members that the avios.com platform running the Avios Travel Rewards Programme is to be wound down.

You will no longer be able to have an avios.com account.  All Avios account balances for UK members will be transferred to a British Airways Executive Club account, with new accounts opened where necessary.

This is a massive process, with 2.4 million avios.com account holders impacted by the closure.

EDIT:  Avios has given me this telephone number – 0344 49 333 49 – for anyone who wants to discuss any aspect of the closure and their accounts.  This avoids having to use the 0844 number on the website and is charged at standard rates.

Avios Travel Rewards Programme changing

Why is avios.com closing?

The reason – which is not in the Avios email you will receive – is that IAG is moving to a ‘one Avios’ platform.  I understand that the avios.com website will remain and it is where ALL members of any Avios-based loyalty scheme (except perhaps Meridiana) will go to redeem their miles.

avios.com will be just a platform – it will no longer be a stand-alone scheme in which you can hold an Avios balance.

The other reason it is happening is failure.  Avios was meant to become a stand-alone ‘coalition’ (as we call them in the trade) loyalty programme, like Nectar.  Ironically, of course, Nectar has also just thrown in the towel and been sold to Sainsbury’s.

This was never going to work.  For Avios to succeed on its own, it had to offer valuable rewards to people across the UK.   With British Airways remaining a London-centric airline, that was always going to be hard.

Avios DID have partnerships with other airlines.  Unfortunately Monarch went bankrupt and Flybe, with its own financial problems, changed its route network every ten minutes.  Aer Lingus added a few more options but Avios wanted ludicrous sums in taxes and charges.  Air Malta and Aurigny were little known redemption options and in any event were pulled in early 2017, as were Eurostar redemption options.

The killer blow was doubling the cost of BA short-haul redemptions in 2015 – previously regional connections to Heathrow were free.  It made no sense at all for someone in Newcastle to pay 18,000 Avios plus £70 in taxes to fly to Nice via Heathrow.

There were two other issues:

Tesco has been playing down the role of Clubcard, with big reductions in the number of promotions available making it harder to run up large balances to convert to Avios

The new EU credit card fee rules, combined with Amex’s withdrawal of the licence it gave Lloyds, meant that the Lloyds Avios Rewards credit card was on borrowed time

The bottom line is that there was little benefit in anyone outside the M25 collecting Avios via avios.com if they were not a frequent flyer.

Avios Travel Rewards Programme closing

Will I lose out when my account at avios.com closes?

No.

The only possible issues are:

some partners who are only on the avios.com platform may disappear if they do not want to transition to being BA partners (some may not be able to due to conflict with existing BA partnerships)

moving Avios from Iberia to BA may get harder, as ‘Combine My Avios’ rarely works when you try it.  Most people end up going Iberia to avios.com and avios.com to BA, a route which will now close.

the little-known ability to slash the taxes on Aer Lingus redemptions by calling BA and using Avios sitting in BAEC may disappear

When is avios.com closing?

At some point between 21st May and the end of July, your avios.com balance will be moved to a British Airways Executive Club account.  You can access virtually the same redemption options, at the same prices, via BAEC.

If you don’t want to do this – and I can’t think of a good reason to refuse – you can fill in a form on avios.com to opt out.  This must be done by 20th May.  You will have six months to use your points before your account is closed.  The opt-out period lasts 30 days.

What is happening to the Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards?

They will continue for now, although they will remain closed to new online applications.  You will need to call to use your upgrade voucher.  The same goes for those with the old TSB Avios cards.

Avios told me today that the Lloyds agreement is ‘multi year’ and will continue.  This implies either that they will keep it closed to new online applications but let it run on for some time for existing cardholders OR there is a medium term plan to launch a new Visa / Mastercard product.

Avios travel rewards programme avios.com closing

How will I collect Avios from Flybe in the future?

Flybe its launching its own Avios-based loyalty programme which will run on the Avios platform.  It will be very similar to the Aer Lingus and Vueling schemes.

Avios told me today that this will launch ‘in 2018’ but is not imminent.

Will estore continue?

Yes, via ba.com.  Some retailers may be withdrawn because they will conflict with BA’s commercial arrangements with other partners.

What happens if I auto-convert Tesco points to avios.com?

All is fine, they will automatically be redirected after the closure of avios.com.

I have an avios.com Household Account.  What happens when that is shut down?

There is guidance here.  The account will be split equally unless you tell them otherwise (you can ask for one person to get 100% of the points).  If any of the Avios accounts are linked to Aer Lingus or Vueling then there may be issues as these will not be transferred to BA.

What is happening to Avios South Africa?

Nothing.  That programme will remain open.

Conclusion

There is nothing to worry about from the closure of avios.com and the UK Avios Travel Rewards Programme.  The end result may even be a cleaner, easier to follow Avios landscape.  It is not, repeat not, a hidden devaluation!

More information can be found on ba.com here.

(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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Comments

  1. Graham says:

    For anyone interested in what will happen to any e-rewards accounts that are set up to credit directly to Avios, I raised the question with Avios today.

    Any e-rewards a/c will be converted to BAEC automatically (though whether a new or existing a/c – who knows)

    I thought it unlikely that IB Plus would be offered as a) it is invite only unlike Avios and BAEC and b) the redemption rate is significantly better.

    • Interestingly I signed up to e-rewards through Le Club Accorhotels. I can therefore redeem for LCAH, BAEC, Iberia and currently, avios. LCAH is by far the worst redemption option amongst those so I’ve never redeemed for them. I tend to be able to scrounge together enough survey credit each month to get 2×1,000 (BAEC and Avios) and 1×3,000 (Iberia) so I’ll miss the avios opportunity!

    • Thomas says:

      I heard from e-Rewards today regarding the Avios redemptions..
      Good news – “Your account will not be closed and you will be able to redeem points via BA Executive Club once the transition has been completed”

  2. If I opt-out to move to BAEC:
    1) Will I still retain my Lloyds upgrade voucher in my Avios.com account to use in the next 6 months?
    2) Will I still be able to Combine my Avios in Avios.com with e.g. Iberia or my existing BAEC account over the next 6 months?

    Thanks in advance.

    • This has been answered so many times and is also on the avios FAQ page. Basically it will go into your BAEC account (either current or newly created), but you will have to call avios.com to redeem it.

  3. Gethryn Cadwallader says:

    I assume the Tesco Club-Card option to receive Avios is an endangered species? Tesco has been reducing the benefit for some time and since January 1, 2018 no longer can the firms through which you use the Tesco MasterCard can charge you!

  4. For those who are registered with AerClub:- “As you are also registered with AerClub and/or Vueling Club, your Avios balance will remain in your AerClub and/or Vueling Club account.”
    Where is this to be?

    Also should I transfer my IB AVIOS to BAEC now as I MAY need the AVIOS route?

  5. pommy ray says:

    Pity avios.com is going they had better seat availability than ba themselves. let’s hope ba improve the availability which most other oneworld partners have access to and offer they also offer 3 avios per pound spent on ba flights bought through ba.com at the moment!

  6. Thanks for the top tips on here.

    Thought I was clever sweeping all my Iberia, Are Lingus Avios in to my BA a/c.

    Then read the will auto close Avios a/C’s with zero balance, jeeez..

    Hence I’m sure I’m not alone hastily doing and seeing the following…

    Your transfer
    You transferred 1 Avios from British Airways to Avios.

  7. PS. Flybe website would not accept my Avios for a booking last weekend. Could it be related?

  8. My wife’s Avios account seems to have been automatically closed as the balance was 0; it was only ever used to move points from IB to BA as this doesn’t work directly. Not sure how we will move her IB points across in the future.

  9. Rob
    what about your HFP Kaligo special avios boost ?

  10. Peter K says:

    If anyone has a veiling club account within their Avios account then please note. Even if you already have a BA Exec account the Avios within your Avios account won’t auto transfer over to BA. I was told by Avios that if I take no action then eventually my Avios balance would be locked within my veiling club account as there is no transfer facility between veiling and BA. I was told by Avios that its not the same problem if you have an Aer Lingus Aer Club account within your Avios portfolio as you can transfer between Aer Club and BA.

  11. RussellH says:

    Until this week there was never any probvlem for me shifting avios points (are we allowed to say that??) between my personal IB+ and BAEC accounts, either using the Iberia site or the BA one.
    I assumed that this was somehow connected with the avios .com business. However, it in fact seems to have been due to a Ghostery upgrade. I just paused Ghostery and was able to transfer all my Iberia avios to BAEC as normal.

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