Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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.

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.

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.

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.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 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 £12,000 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 – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes 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

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

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

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) 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 (385)

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

  • RoyC says:

    I tried your link which worked fine but when I tried to transfer my balance from Avios to my BAEC account, it told me the service wasn’t available.
    I then received an email from Avios confirming that the service hadn’t been available but more annoyingly, stating that my account had actually been debited but I had to call an 0844 number to get it credited back again. So this is now going to cost me as an 0844 number has to be paid for (connection charge plus 25p/min for mobile). As it’s not such a large amount of points and not sure how long I’ll be on the call, I don’t think this will actually be worth it.
    Not impressed that I will be penalised for a system fault of Avios.

    • John F says:

      try 01925 848619 got this from sayno 0870, listed as;-

      Bookings, Customer Services & General Enquiries
      Also: 01925 848837
      formerly AirMiles Travel Company

      • RussellH says:

        Some years now since I phoned Avios, but yes, 01925 848619 is the number I always used.

        Also, with 0844 / 0843 / 0845 numbers, it does no harm at all to try just replacing the ‘8’ with a ‘3’. Many customer service lines, including BA, did this when the premium rate ban came in.

    • Lady London says:

      I think since 1st October 2016 it’s illegal for any business not to offer a telephone number that begins with n 01- 02- or -03, to an existing customer. That means 0844 etc., and 087n etc., are outlawed if they are the only numbers reasonably findable or provided.

    • John says:

      For anyone else with this problem, just use the live chat. Or better still, wait until the live chat people have gone home and it will let you send an email instead which is easier.

  • guesswho2000 says:

    I’m a bit confused, despite having read through a million comments! My Avios account and Aer club account (which never did give the 250 free Avios for opening!) seem to be linked, so I understand there will be no change? I assume the Lloyds bank voucher/Avios will appear in here as normal then? And will I still be able to transfer between BAEC and Avios/AerClub?

    With the rumours circulating of SPG stopping airline mile txfers, this is turning into a terrible week for airmiles! Of course it could all be fine!

    • Anna says:

      As far as we can tell, your Lloyds voucher will go into your BAEC account, but you will have to contact avios.com by phone to redeem it.

    • Lady London says:

      I think my avios account might have been linked to an Aer Club account as well. This was done without my being asked to agree it. And no I didn’t receive the 250 avios promised into my Aer Club account either… still.

      What a dog’s dinner.

  • Gin and Tonic Please says:

    My email just arrived, and it looks like things are a little different if you have an AerClub/Vueling account already. Quote from the email:

    “In the coming months, the Avios Travel Rewards Programme will move to the British Airways Executive Club. As you are also registered with AerClub and/or Vueling Club, your Avios balance will remain in your AerClub and/or Vueling Club account. You’ll still be able to collect and spend Avios with these airline programmes as you do today.

    So that you can continue earning with your Avios collecting credit card, and collect with UK partners including Tesco and Shell in the future, a British Airways Executive Club account will be automatically set up for you.”

    • arthur11 says:

      the big question is will we be able to merge a new baec account with an existing one to have all our points in the one account

      • Mikeact says:

        Why a new account if you already have one……they will be merged together.

        • Keri says:

          Hi Mikeact,

          You may have already found this out … I spoke to someone at Avios.com and asked that same question and was informed that if the emails are the same on both your ba.com account and your Avios.com account they will be able to link them up and use your existing ba.com account.

    • PererK says:

      I spoke with Avios this morning who confirmed that my Avios will be held in my Vueling account if I don’t take action to move to my BA Exec account. If I keep them in Vueling post the closure of my Avios account then I won’t be able to move them into my BA account. The agent did confirm if I had an Aer Lingus account then I could transfer to BA at a later date.

      • guesswho2000 says:

        That’s what I was hoping to hear re AerClub/BAEC transfers continuing. Will have to see what happens I guess.

      • Margaret says:

        Has anyone an answer to the issue transferring from Iberia to a family BAEC account yet? I understand i can only have one BA account, but does this make the Iberia one (and Groupon deals) redundant?

  • Ian says:

    The only thing I ever used Avios.com for was to find availability on Aer Lingus flights, then booked them by calling BAEC. I am not sure I understand why the taxes+fees on Avios.com were/are so much higher than calling BAEC. I am curious now which set of taxes+fees will ultimately prevail. BAEC’s are more accurate, as they charge the actual YQ from the Aer Lingus flights. The Avios.com taxes+fees for Aer Lingus seem to be pulled from thin air…

  • Alex H says:

    We’re away just now in the Big Apple so apologies if this has been asked already as I’ve not not managed to read all the comments.
    If you book a flight using the Lloyds upgrade voucher and you have a BAEC household account will the Avios come out of the HH account on a pro rata basis or just that persons account??

  • MarkH says:

    That explains why I can longer login to my avios account after transferring the balance to BA.

    Will need to speak to Avios to find out where
    my Lloyds points are going to go.

    Good job I haven’t been soending on it recently…

  • Mark says:

    I think that’s nonsense. I’ve always kept our primary avios balances in the BA household account, periodically sweeping everything out of Iberia Plus and avios.com. Consequently the avios.com balance on our accounts has often been zero but they’ve never been closed.

    Mine has been zero again since I moved everything out of it yesterday evening, and I can still log in with a zero balance.

  • 1DES1 says:

    O/T – HSBC Premier Question.

    I qualify for Premier based on income alone. What is the easiest way to qualify with an “investment product” and what is the minimum investment they will take in order to be granted Premier Current Account?

    Finally, do I need to open a regular account and then upgrade or can I do it all at once into Premier level?

    Thanks very much, Chris.

    • Craig Strickland says:

      I did it all at once in branch, it took a while but went through without a hitch and they let me open before I took out the investment product. Although I didn’t have a mortgage at the time I knew we had a hefty home improvement project coming up, I took out a small mortgage to cover part of the cost and intend to pay it off fairly quickly, I would have needed a loan anyway to cover the shortfall. It will be interesting to see what they do when I clear the mortgage?

    • Memesweeper says:

      Personally I just purchased some additional life cover that I needed anyway. Did this online.

    • Bonglim says:

      Global investment centre £100 investment.

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

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