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.

  • Rob says:

    This is due to BA commercial agreements.

    • Cate ⛱️ says:

      Thank you for your reply on the Bit’s thread.

      Ok, will wait for the dust to settle to see what the new lay of the land is.

  • JamesB says:

    Thanks, good article produced at short notice. Tip on the Lloyds cards potential longevity good to hear.

    • James says:

      Agree on both fronts.
      I suspect we’ll get more information & certainly in a more understandable fashion from Rob than we will from BA/IAG or Avios.

  • Graham Walsh says:

    I would move my points if my login works, Nearly every time I log in, I have to reset my avios password.

  • Andy says:

    Rob, my Lloyds Amex / MasterCard avios rewards card is due for its yearly renewal in August. I only pay the £24 fee & spend on this card for the upgrade voucher. I have already earnt the upgrade voucher for the current period. Should I now cancel this card and concentrate my spending on a different Amex card, in the event that new upgrade vouchers will no longer be offered after the merge? Thanks!

    • Rob says:

      There is no sign that you won’t be able to get a new upgrade vouchers, I wouldn’t be too worried about that – especially as only £24 is at stake.

      • Andy says:

        Thanks Rob

      • Tim says:

        There are some FAQs which deal with this on the Avios website. Essentially you will still be able to earn a voucher although when the Avios.com website is turned off you will have to call in by phone to redeem,

    • Doug M says:

      Also, 1.25 Avios on the Amex is pretty good, not to mention 3% saving on the forex fees, this is one card that really pays for itself, spend £800 abroad in a year and that’s the £24 back.

      • Mark says:

        Except that there are other cards with 0% foreign exchange loading, although admittedly not (so far as I’m aware) that offer points or miles earning opportunities on such transactions. Alternatively the 1% loading on Curve means you’d need to spend £2400 abroad through that route before the loading cost reaches £24.
        I agree though that the 1.25% with zero loading on the Amex makes it worthwhile having, as does the fact that all the foreign spend on both cards counts towards the upgrade voucher earning. The one thing that I particularly like about using the Amex overseas where excepted is that so far as I’m aware Amex doesn’t allow DCC (or at least I’ve never been “offered” or been presented with a fait accompli DDC when using it).

  • Andrew_A says:

    On the Avios site it says
    “Will I still be able to use my Lloyds upgrade voucher?
    Yes you can you can still book online with your voucher until the programme closes. After this you’ll need to contact us to book on 0344 49 333 49. Please make sure you use it before the expiry date”
    Just now I believe it is book before the expiry date not “use it” before the expiry date. Has this changed or is it just the wording that’s different?

    • Lev441 says:

      I think they mean the same thing… as in use the voucher by the expiry date..

    • David says:

      Don’t you “use it” at the point of booking? You don’t need to turn up at the airport waving a copy of your voucher…

      • Mr Dee says:

        yes you use it when redeeming

        • Andrew_A says:

          Yes but the date you use the voucher to book isn’t the same as the date you fly.
          I was under the impression you could book a flight with it and then still fly after the expiry date of the voucher, which you can’t do with a BA 2 for 1

    • Alan says:

      Just sloppy wording from them, they’re just meaning spending the voucher by making a booking, not by taking the flight.

  • Alice says:

    Very sad to hear the demise of the Lloyds Avios cards. As someone who is probably on a much lower salary than most of your readers and also spends about half my time in the USA (you can probably guess my job now hehe) I’ve found the Lloyds cards to be a godsend. The 0% foreign transaction fees are perfect and the USD rate was always very good on the Amex. My upgrade voucher combined with using the cards like debit cards and paying off in full not only allowed me to build a good credit score, but to be able to afford a CW redemption twice. I could never afford to fly CW without this even with the avios earned from the cards. As someone who almost always flies solo, I will struggle finding an alternative. Looks like it’s WT from now on 🙁

    • Lev441 says:

      They’re still around for now….!

    • Alexey says:

      Out of curiosity – what kind of job is that ? 🙂

    • Ali says:

      Cabin crew?

      • xcalx says:

        No. they always fly CW LOL

      • Alice says:

        Cabin crew yes but not with BA 😉 otherwise I’d be getting staff travel! Most of my colleagues use revolut for the cheap foreign transactions but as someone who makes a lot of BA/OneWorld/partner redemptions for routes my airline doesn’t fly, I need the avios.

    • Alan says:

      This article actually makes me relieved they’re staying around for longer than we expected – I thought they’d be gone by the end of this year!

  • Pack says:

    Just transferred my Iberia Avios instantly to BA will no issue.

    If you email them they can fix the issue for you and it doesn’t happen again, in my experience.

  • pauldb says:

    I always had a bit of trouble getting my wife enough avios in her own name to make full use of her Lloyds voucher (long haul). Hopefully we can no spend our BAEC HHA pile on it???
    If for any reason you need to move some avios between your family this is a last chance to do it: move the avios to avios.com, form an HHA there and direct the split-out as you choose.

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