Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

British Airways to pay 2.2 BILLION Avios points to settle a US Class Action lawsuit settlement

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

If you lived in the United States between November 2006 and April 2013, you could be in line for a windfall following the proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit against British Airways over Avios redemptions.

The case – put simply – was that British Airways added surcharges to Avios redemptions in breach of Executive Club terms and conditions.  Whilst these were called ‘fuel surcharges’ there was no proof that they bore any relation to changes in the cost of aviation fuel.

For clarity, British Airways has not admitted it was at fault and no court has found otherwise – but the airline is handing over a pile of money to make the case go away.

Avios wing 9

You are in the money (well, Avios) if:

You booked an Avios redemption (100% Avios, not ‘cash and Avios’) between 9th November 2006 and 17th April 2013

You had a United States address on your BAEC account at the time of booking and gave a US address for whoever was flying, if it was not you

The taxes and charges paid included a fuel surcharge

You will get:

12,500 Avios for one redemption

20,000 Avios for between two and five redemptions 

35,000 Avios for six or more redemptions 

Avios will be awarded within 30 days of the final settlement being agreed.  The court is expected to rubber stamp the settlement on 27th July but BA has further rights to appeal which could extend the process by another year or more.

Alternatively, you can opt in to take a cash alternative which is roughly 17% of the fuel surcharges you paid.

Assuming that everyone takes Avios, a total of 2,228,677,500 Avios will be awarded.

The Avios will be awarded automatically to all BAEC members who made qualifying redemptions during the period.  If you want the money, you need to specifically opt in by 29th July.  If you have closed your BAEC account in the interim, your only option is to receive cash and you need to specifically opt in.

You retain the right to opt out of this settlement and sue BA directly if you wish.

Don’t worry about sending a thank you note to the lawyers.  They are asking for almost $15m in fees and expenses for their work (the fee represents 28% of the settlement value) although you are allowed to object to this if you wish.  The court will consider your objection before deciding whether to approve the payment.

PS.  This settlement is only for US residents.  Whilst UK residents paid similar fuel surcharges over this period, they are not included.  Will any UK law firm now raise a similar case?

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2022)

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

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £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 UK’s most valuable card perk – the 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.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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 a long list of travel benefits 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 (80)

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

  • Mikeact says:

    It all makes my high six fìgure stash look a bit feeble….

  • konstantinos alesandro papadopoulos says:

    To be honest, I think that BA will make changes soon and to make it much more difficult for people to enjoy their travels. Over the past few years I think it has been obvious that the paying customer has been hit hard. The only thing I can think is that the redemption customer has not taken a BIG whack since 2015, which, to BA must seem like a big lifetime ago. Interestingly it appears that earnings rate across the one world team is fairly consistent unlike some other alliances, so if they want to make big changes, they may not want other alliances to offer a better deal, otherwise no one would waste on their terrible deals – the economy redemption half offer, as a case in point. So I just wonder whether it will be a few very basic changes. A reduction in the number of zones for example, and a more continental approach. One rate in same continent, and one rate between continents. That way they can the spin of an efficiency. LHR-JFK return = 100k in economy. 200k in business. 300k in first.

  • Mark says:

    Thanks for the heads up re potential devaluation. We’ll probably try to bring forward some of our spending as we normally use avios to book expensive flights.

    Looking at the amount of Avios they’ll be awarding, I would expect the payout will hit American domestic redemptions harder than BA flights. Now i wonder if that IT glitch really is a glitch lol.

  • Mr(s) Entitled says:

    Made me click.

    Won’t make me spend.

    The award is small compared to the amount being issued annually and in circulation. One thing is for certain though, the devaluation will occur. They always do. We each run credit risk to BA. Always worth considering how best to mitigate this.

    • Genghis says:

      Earn and burn

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        Best strategy there is.

        • the real harry1 says:

          Some people don’t really have the choice (or manufacture for themselves a situation where they think they have no choice). I am forced to stash points because until the kids leave home for university, we won’t be taking any long haul flights. Perfectly good holiday home in the European sun (sunk costs) vs 5x LH redemptions & hotels? No contest.

          So I stash the points, BAEC & Virgin together look very healthy as a total but obvs won’t once we start redeeming properly on LH. Yes I will be somewhat p’d off if devaluation robs me of some value but I’d rather be where I am, ie plenty of points all ready to go once the green light shows – as opposed to squandering them earlier than necessary.

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          One’s circumstance doesnt detract from the best stratergy.

          To be fair, I dont follow it myself. I tend to travel where I want and if airline or hotel points help I will use them, if not I’ll go all the same. Life is too short to allow points to dictate my travel. It’s also sometimes too convoluted with two school age kids and limited windows.

          That said, in not burning the points and holding a large balance I accept the risk I am running. As long as people consciously do the same all is well and good. The danger is sleep walking into devaluation.

        • Evan says:

          No body is forcing anyone to stash points or for that matter earn them in the first place. Plenty of cash back cc options out there or other ways to spend one’s time rather than buying/selling ink cartridges. I’m with Mr(s) Entitled – earn and burn is best strategy, although of course some folks might only accrue fairly slowly. I use points airline or hotel when it helps out with my own plans – but again I’m lucky enough to be in that position.

        • the real harry1 says:

          Laughable answer, @Evan. The only possible answer is: YMMV, horses for courses, what works for you best.

          Nobody mentioned some ill-defined person forcing me to stash points, not sure where you got that from.

          Earn & burn is definitely not the golden way, the correct answer, the right way to go —> for some people, including mygoodself 🙂

  • A says:

    So not applicable to UK members who redeemed ex-US one ways or rtns?
    I did – a lot.
    I can’t honestly remember what address I put down when booking (probably a Ukraine address ) but my BA account has remained UK based to keep the BA amex, even though I reside in the US.

    • Peter K says:

      In which case you’ve no doubt saved far more than the 35k (max) avios the Americans will get.

  • Tom1 says:

    BA might also get some more business out of it.
    I wonder how many of the beneficiaries will use the points for their own flights, and buy a cash ticket for another person.
    I can’t imagine BA is first choice for many US travellers, but given a stash of Avios to subsidise one ticket, it might be more tempting.

    • Callum says:

      I’d guess American users are more likely to use them on AA than BA.

      If they’re redeeming for AA short haul I’d assume BA would be paying AA quite a bit?

      • GUWonder says:

        If everyone entitled to this took BAEC Avios points and redeemed them all for AA flights, the amount of money AA would get from BA for this would be well less than $15 million, and probably several million below even that amount.

        BA/IAG should be hoping everyone opts into the Avios option rather than into the cash option. Why? Because it would mean a much lower cash outlay for BA/IAG than the alternative.

  • Charlie T. says:

    According to the Avios Group Ltd accounts for 2016, 102 bn Avios were issued in 2016 and 84bn burned. I can’t see an increase in issuance of an incremental 2bn causing a material effect on the value of the currency especially when the stash of unused Avios most stand north of 50bn.

    Whether IAG use it as an excuse to trim their liability through a devaluation for the hell of it is another question.

    The number that really shocked me was their profit before tax of £171m. I know Rob has called AGL a cash cow more than once but I hadn’t realised the extent.

  • Mr(s) Entitled says:

    I lived in the US during the entirety of this period. Unfortunately my BAEC account was registered in Portugual to take advatange of the lower teir point thresholds.

    You win some, you lose some.

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.