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.

  • Marcw says:

    If you’re worried about the IbPlus – Avios – BAEC , just open an AerClub or Vueling Club Account – the background site is Avios.com

    • Marcw says:

      I meant to say to transfer Avios across programs

      • Marcelo says:

        But how do you transfer Avios from BAEC to AerClub?

        • Rob says:

          Your AerClub number is an avios.com number, so just do BA to avios.com using your Aer Club number.

  • Stuart says:

    So will Lloyds duo Avios automatically go into BAEC after the switch? If so, this will save the monthly faff! Not too fussed about the upgrade voucher TBH

  • Cate ⛱️ says:

    Looks like they will still be honored. Anna’s forwarded a good suggestion of taking screen prints ‘just in case’.

    • Andreas says:

      What about the Avios for Hilton purchases that they are taking away from our Avios accounts? 🙁

  • Alexey says:

    Re “There is nothing to worry about here.@
    There is definitely things to worry about :
    1)
    I have unused upgrade voucher in my avios account – looks like I will not be able to use it online ?
    2)
    I suspect there will be no new upgrade vouchers and lloys will close the card ?
    3)
    I used to have household BA account and separate Avios account , that combination allowed me to book flights in all scenarios
    4)
    I had issued transfering avios from Iberia to BA and had to use avios as intermediary – will not be able to use that now

    • Rob says:

      1. Correct but you can call
      2. No, Avios told me on the phone this morning that the Lloyds deal is ‘long term’ so it may be around for a bit
      4. Agreed

    • Alan says:

      Those outwith London have always had to call to use the vouchers anyway 😉

      • guesswho2000 says:

        I live in Australia and I’ve always used the LTSB voucher online ex. HKG

  • JPV says:

    Slightly OT: my father has offered to gift me some avios. We don’t live at the same address. Is there a way he can transfer his avios to my baec account without paying a fee?

    • RTS says:

      He needs to create at BAEC account which you can then create a household account with him. He can then transfer his avios to his BAEC account and you will then have full control of the points.

    • roberto says:

      If he is Gold – Yes.
      Or “move” to the same address and set up a Ba HHA..

      • JPV says:

        He is not, but thank you for the advice

        • Genghis says:

          Note that members of a HHA although should in theory have the same address, don’t actually have to live at the same address…

    • Lawro says:

      He should use Combine My Avios to move the Avios he wants to gift to from his BAEC account (if that’s where they are) to his Avios.com account.

      Then change his/your Avios.com account addresses to ensure they match. Create a household Avios.com account.

      Before the Avios.com changes fill out the form that allows you to break up an Avios.com HH account and allocate all of the Avios to yourself. Then use Combine My Avios to move the Avios from your Avios.com acc to your BAEC acc.

      • Lawro says:

        You can of course create a BAEC HH account – but you may not want to limit yourself in terms of who you can redeem for etc.

        The above method allows you to circumvent that and still transfer the Avios to yourself.

        • JPV says:

          Thank you – yes, I would prefer not to fiddle for with my baec account so the avios.com route seems attractive. I didn’t realise you could have HH on avios.com while still having a solo baec account.

          Thanks for the advice, seems like I should move quickly!

      • Louie says:

        As far as I can see, there’s no longer any way to create a new Avios.com HH account. Happy to be corrected – and pointed in the right direction – though.

  • Dan says:

    My concern is the variation in ‘charges and taxes’ across BA/Avios/Iberia, with BA invariably being the most expensive platform through which to redeem. For an Iberia flight redemption, booking through avios.com is always significantly cheaper. What are the odds this won’t be retained in the move to BAEC?

    • James says:

      Yep. Any features beneficial to the customer will no doubt be ‘enhanced’ out !!!!!

  • roberto says:

    We all knew that changes were afoot with regards to the lloyds voucher/avios card so this whilst a pain is not the bigger issue. The Lloyd’s card has bee a dead man walking for 6 months or so.

    The problem I foresee is the same as many others have pointed out. Its transferring avios from Iberia to a Ba HHA that is the elephant in the room.

  • HighestBidder says:

    Should we all be proactively transferring our existing avios.com avios balances over to BA ourselves, rather than waiting on the typically incompetent IT migration to send them to a no doubt duplicate account?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Yep. Tbh do that anyway now and again but baec is my main account once the Avios have hit Iberia or avios.com

    • Rob says:

      That is what they recommend, yes!

    • James says:

      Hands up who trusts BA IT to get this right ?!

      Or Cruz to not be telling them to deliberately lose a few million Avios in the process ?!

      Screenshot your balances people.

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