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 (April 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 £15,000 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

Huge 30,000 points bonus until 12th May 2024 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

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus 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.

  • Craig says:

    I have a household account with a friend, and I would previously move my ‘spare’ avios to avios.com when we made avios redemption bookings, so that the ‘right’ amount of avios was taken from my account and his (after much negotiation of course…). Is there another way to do this?

    • Mark says:

      Yes, this is one trick I’ve used the avios.com account for, in our case where I wanted to leave sufficient avios in my name as opposed to my wife’s to use a Lloyds upgrade voucher. Given that we’ve never used a household account with avios.com because of the complexities it created in any avios movements it wasn’t previously possible to use my wife’s avios for an upgraded redemption as the card and hence the vouchers were in my name / on my avios.com account.

      Do we know how this will work in the future? Presumably they will have to work with a ba.com avios balance, but in the case where the voucher holder is in a household account will it pro-rata miles from across the member account balances as BA redemptions do currently, or only from the account belonging to the voucher holder?

      Moving avios from Iberia into a BA household account will of course be the other challenge. I’m pretty sure it’s that specific scenario that doesn’t work currently, and needs a transfer via avios.com.

      • Polly says:

        Miles are usually taken pro rate from all members of the HHA. Can’t see that changing. They reckon it will be easier to use the upgrade voucher that way for the holder…some negotiations may need to take place within the HHA members tho, if that is how it will work in the future.

  • Stuart says:

    My only concern is the move between Iberia and BA. How will this be done if it doesn’t work, like it does for me and I have to do the via avios website route? How do you go about getting them moved then

    • Tim says:

      +1. I never redeem at Iberia.com but they are more generous for earning points than BA is often.

    • Go says:

      My mum recently transferred a big chunk of membership rewards into iberia from in the hope of a transfer bonus from Amex (the one targeted at Spanish residents). I managed to get the 20% bonus in the same promotion so she had a go. The problem is her Iberia account only opened mid March so there is no way to transfer them to BA until mid June. If Iberia to BA doesn’t work directly what are the options to move from Iberia to BA. Is it worth creating an Avios account now in the hope that it may still be open mid June (and thus allow the Iberia-avios-ba option)

  • Nick says:

    I currently run a BAEC household account and it makes sense for us to sometimes burn through one member’s avios when making redemptions. I do this by transferring out points to the other members’ avios.com accounts; making the redemption; then moving them all back again. A bit clunky, but it does work.

    As far as I can tell, I will lose this flexibility shortly. Is that correct? Thanks!

  • paul says:

    I have filled my household BA account and also my separate friends list. Avios.com then came in handy to book for people not featuring on these lists…. with the closing of the website this is going to limit how many people I can book for in the future

    • Nick says:

      Ah yes. I’ve done this too. In fact, I think Rob has said that this is how he does it too. So surely there are some downsides here?! Unless they are going to

      a) allow people to transfer points freely to one another (presumably not); or
      b) relax restrictions on BAEC household accounts.

  • Andy says:

    I have never, ever been offered a partner voucher or two for one voucher from Avios, despite being a loyal and active customer with a Lloyds Amex Avios card for years.

    It seems that there are second class citizens of the Avios world – and I know where I stand.

    I have just transferred 60,000 Avios from them to BA. I have a nasty feeling that by the time I want to use these and a load more for a 60th birth trip in a couple of years time, they will be worth absolutely nothing.

    • Lev441 says:

      If you spent over £7k on the Avios card, then you should have received an upgrade voucher which is valid for a year. It goes in to you Avios.com account… if you’ve never received these then you should be in touch with Avios and/or Lloyd’s!

      The 2 for 1 voucher is from the BA amex premium plus card or free card.

      • Andy says:

        Yes, it turns out that I have the “wrong sort of Lloyds Bank “loyalty” Amex/Mastercard” account.

        Absolutely typical.

        Avios told me that I should change my account with Lloyds to the correct sort – great, apart from the fact that Lloyds no longer offer Avios cards.

        • Anna says:

          That’s not the case – you can still apply for the Lloyds duo in branches (and possibly by phone). Also, I have always found them very generous in terms of compensation so you may get something if you plead your case in terms of the time you have been a customer etc.

  • Andy says:

    It seems that you have to spend over £15,000 pa to get a freebie seat and £7,500 to get an upgrade voucher.

    I easily spend £15,000 on my Lloyds Amex card in a year, so they have conned me out of the vouchers. Someone is trying to find out what is going on.

    I have no confidence at all in Avios any more

    • Doug M says:

      Andy. Lloyds customer service is rubbish, but they’re really good at paying compensation for their failures. Ask them to put it right, and to compensate you for the time you’ve wasted hi-lighting their failures to them.

      • Andy says:

        I have just sent them a DM via Twitter. As you say they are very good at responding, but I don’t hold out much hope for this.

        Unfortunately, on the BA Avios site, it’s very, confusing as to how to spend your Avios to book a flight.

        I suspect that they are making it much more difficult so that customers get fed up and don’t bother redeeming them. A lot of money to be made that way…

        • Anna says:

          Andy, you need to phone them and speak to an account manager, they are not good at responding to online queries. What is it you are struggling with on the BA site? I’ve actually always found it more informative than the avios.com site!

      • Anna says:

        +1, as above.

        • Andy (new here today) says:

          I phoned my account manager at Lloyds earlier.

          Nothing they can do. It’s an Avios thing

          I phoned Avios

          Nothing they can do – you have the wrong credit card. Sir.

          I made that last word up. They didn’t cal me “Sir”

          • Rob says:

            If you’ve got the old Lloyds Duo card then, yes, you have the old card. You were paying 3% FX fees on your foreign spend unnecessarily too.

        • Anna says:

          You can ask them to lodge a formal complaint, which they will have to investigate. Also, why don’t you apply for the duo card while you still can, it looks as though the upgrade vouchers are going to be around for a while yet.

        • jovanna says:

          I have spent well over £20k on my Lloyds Avios Card and have probably done so for the last few years. I have always received the upgrade voucher each year but I’d forgotten about the companion voucher for £15k+ spend. I have never received the companion voucher.

          My year end was February. I’d like the companion voucher for last year. Who do I pursue – Lloyds or Avios? What’s the best method?

        • Darren says:

          @jovanna the best method is what has been said above, ring Lloyds and make a formal complaint. Specifically ask to be put through to the complaints dept

        • Alex W says:

          @Anna, I thought the companion voucher only came with the Premium version of the card which had a £140 annual fee and was discontinued a while ago. The £24 fee version doesn’t have the companion voucher, only the upgrade voucher.

          The companion voucher was rubbish anyway, it could only be used in economy. I managed to maximise its value to Vegas, when cash fares were £900. Still, 10 hours in economy was not fun!

    • Nick says:

      Andy

      I sympathise with your frustration, but if you had the wrong card, you had the wrong card. As I mentioned in my other post which is on the next page, these vouchers are not handed out on a discretionary basis – if you have the right card and hit the right spending target you will get one. If you hit the spending target on a different card, you won’t. That’s not really Avios’ fault.

      If you don’t have a British Airways Executive Account I don’t think you can use Avios to book flights on the BA website. Once you have a BAEC account (easy, and free) it is very simple to book the flight.

      In the meantime and if you haven’t already, I really would recommend reading the “new to avios” section of this site. You are clearly not new to avios but it really is a great resource, and can cause your avios balance to increase significantly.

    • Alexey says:

      Never heard of companion voucher at 15K – is it some legacy card ? I ‘ve missed something ?

      • CountryKerry says:

        It was around until early last year. Issued by Lloyds, it was an Amex and Mastercard double pack.

        It had a £140fee, earned 1.5avios/£ on AMEX and you got the upgrade voucher at £5k? Maybe £6k?

        Also, at £15k you earned a *useless* companion voucher which allowed a 2-4-1 redemption in Economy only.

        I had this card until last February when I downgraded to the £24 card. Actually worked in my favour as that automatically triggered another upgrade voucher!

        • CountryKerry says:

          edit: I actually good value out of the 2-4-1 by using it with an RFS but I’m not sure that was ‘allowed’? I think the rule was long haul only!

        • Alex W says:

          Ha, when I tried to downgrade from £140 to £24 version, they said I wasn’t eligible! Had to cancel it and apply for a new one. Worked well though as I managed to blag 9000 Avios referral bonus, 6 months double Avios, 29 months interest free spending, and another £300 compensation. Kerching!

  • Neuromancer says:

    I bet they have not thought about something…
    You cannot transfer from Iberia Plus to a BAEC HHA, but you can via avios.com. Anyway, without the stickers game that closed years ago, this was the only real use of avios.com for me

  • Zeeshan Pervez says:

    I use my avios points for Merlin attractions. Now that avios.com is closing and points being moved to BA, I cannot see same type of Day out/theme park attractions on BA reward point. Any idea If BA offers any of these type of theme park/Day out experiences?

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