Are Avios points worthless and useless? It is a question I often hear, although rarely from readers of this website who are smart enough to know where to find real value.
In this article I want to show you why Avios points can and do have lots of value if you use them properly. Because this is a big topic, you’ll find links next to most of the points I discuss which take you to another article which expands on that particular idea.
Myth 1: You can’t get seats on Avios when you want them
I can’t deny that, yes, you will definitely find pinch points, especially on peak school holiday dates. If British Airways can charge crazy sums over half term (an economy return to Salzburg in February half term will be £500 return, Saturday to Saturday) then it clearly isn’t going to give seats away.
However, BA guarantees to release at least six Avios seats on every flight on the day the flight opens for booking. This article explains how early you can book Avios flights on British Airways.
Myth 2: The taxes make redemptions poor value for money
Again, I can’t deny that long-haul economy redemptions with Avios are poor value. The taxes required will almost be the same as a cash ticket, although the Avios ticket is refundable.
You WILL get good value redeeming Avios for:
- short-haul economy
- short-haul business
- long-haul premium economy
- long-haul business
- long-haul first
Myth 3: I can’t earn enough Avios for a decent redemption
Really? Do you know that the FREE (in year 1) American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card comes with 10,000 Avios for signing up? (OK, you get 10,000 Amex points but they convert at 1:1 into Avios). If you and your partner got one of these cards then that is 20,000 easy Avios. You even get two airport lounge passes when you sign up!
Similarly, the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card has a sign-up bonus of 25,000 Avios. It has a £195 fee BUT the fee is refunded pro-rata when you cancel. Cancel after two months and you’ll get about £160 back. If you and your partner got one of these each that is another 50,000 quick Avios.
Once you’ve cancelled the card, you can reapply after two years and get the bonus again. This article explains the rules about getting American Express sign-up bonuses.
You can also convert points from certain other reward schemes into Avios. This includes most major hotel loyalty schemes, Tesco Clubcard and Heathrow Rewards.
Myth 4: You can only book flights with Avios points
Not true. Whilst flights are clearly the best use of Avios, you can also use them for other things.
Myth 5: My Avios will expire before I have time to collect enough
Total rubbish. This article looks at the Avios expiry rules in detail. This articles shows you how to extend your Avios so they don’t expire. In summary, as long as you earn or spend an Avios point every three years, they won’t expire. That isn’t difficult!
I hope this article – and the articles I link to from it – have helped to convince you that you can get good value from your Avios points. If you read Head for Points on a regular basis you’ll keep up to date with the latest collecting and spending opportunities.
(This article is part of our ‘BA Q&A’ series which explains how British Airways Executive Club works. You can see all of our ‘BA Q&A’ articles here. )
(Head for Points is the UK’s biggest frequent flyer website with 1.5 million monthly page views. Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios? Click here to read our latest news stories, click here to join our email list and click here to read our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.)
Get 20,000 Avios from Amex Gold, or 30,000 Avios from Amex Platinum! (April 2021 offer)
The sign-up bonus on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold converts to 20,000 Avios and the card is free for the first year.
You don’t qualify for the Amex Gold bonus if you have a British Airways American Express card. You DO qualify for the bonus on The Platinum Card, which converts into 30,000 Avios – find out more here:
If you have your own small business, the best way of earning Avios is via the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa. It has a sign-up bonus which converts to 10,000 Avios:
You can find out more about ALL UK credit cards which offer travel rewards in this article, updated monthly.