Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may support the site by paying a commission.  See here for all partner links.

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.

  • Gavin says:

    Combine my avios now working – using Avios App to push to BA

  • Pete Richardson says:

    As a longstanding Tesco /Avios customer, my exchange rate into Avios is 800 miles per £2.50. If the Clubcard rate is transferred directly to BAEC will I continue to receive the higher rate which was guaranteed a few years back?

    • David says:

      I get 800 on BA as well, do a test with a small amount to see if you do.

  • Tessa says:

    How will the Lloyds Avios credit card companion voucher work, can I use Avios points and companion tickets together which I normally do?

  • J Schneck says:

    How can you do that?

  • Tessa says:

    Use Avios points for one ticket and voucher for the other ticket.

  • Nathan J says:

    I have yet to receive an email…are they still working their way through?

    • Anna says:

      Rob pointed out they have about 2 and a half million to send out so it might take a while to get round to everyone! I’ve not had one yet.

    • Craig Strickland says:

      Mrs S has and she hasn’t had an account for long whereas I haven’t and have been a member for much longer.

      • Keri says:

        Perhaps they are working in reverse order ? newest first ? 🙂

        I haven’t received one either – I have been a member since 1996 … 🙂

  • Rebecca says:

    Has anyones avios reappeared yet? Mine is still on 0… I guess its only been 21 hours and they said 24…

    • Andrew* says:

      Got mine back by contacting online chat – they were able to retrieve them!

      • Andrew* says:

        They said CMA is back but wait a few hours until trying to move them again…

        • Rebecca says:

          I still didn’t have them back so contacted Avios via twitter and they’ve reinstated them.

    • Isa says:

      Nope, It’s been just over 24h for me and my points are not back yet, I’ve spoken to Avios CS and they’ve told me to leave it a while longer and wait until tomorrow.

      • Andrew* says:

        I found the phoneline people spectacularly useless yesterday; Abbey on the web chat seemed to know what she was talking about today.

        • Isa says:

          I do really feel sorry for the people at Avios having to mop up BA’s mess. I’ll leave it for now, I don’t need to redeem any points right now so another day won’t make any difference. I’m just really p*ssed off with BA, doesn’t fill me with confidence having to use their shopping portal from now…

    • Peter K says:

      Its now approaching 48 hours since the failed transaction to move my Avios to BA (I had phoned Avios to do the transfer as the online transfer system was not working, I had tried 4 times online without success). I was told it would take 24 hours for them to automatically reappear back into my Avios account but this hasn’t happened yet!.

      The email I received confirming the failed CMA (combine my Avios) transaction doesn’t mention anything about the auto re-credit after 24 hours and says I must call them to get them back onto my Avios account.

      I’ll give the system another 24 hours and then if my balance Avios remains at zero then I guess I’ll have to contact them. Its a good job I am not wanting to use my Avios in the short term!.

  • Jamie says:

    Argh, after weeks of trying to transfer points from BA over to Avios (but getting transfer error messages), and finally succeeding on Monday, the option to setup a Household account is no longer possible….I know they want to split them up and move them over to BAEC, but that’s still over a month away.

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.