Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Avios Group donates 210 million points to NHS staff – and you can help too

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

Taking a leaf from Qatar Airway’s book, Avios Group has announced it will be donating 210 million Avios to NHS staff.

You can also donate your own Avios so that more staff will be able to benefit.

Unlike the Qatar Airways promotion, this is not a first-clicked first-served system.  The Avios pot will be distributed amongst at least 3,500 doctors, nurses and other NHS staff.  NHS staff and management will be able to nominate candidates later this year, with each individual receiving 60,000 Avios.

Avios Group donates 210 million points to NHS staff

60,000 Avios has been chosen because it allows two genuinely free flights under the new short-haul pricing structure, and in some cases will also pay for a hotel.

For example, 34,000 Avios + £2 is enough for Economy flights for two people to Nice if you choose to use additional Avios to reduce the taxes to £1 per person with the new £1 charges model introduced last year.  This would leave 26,000 Avios which would let you book roughly £130 of hotel room via the British Airways hotel booking portal.

To maximise value, of course, a couple should actually pay 20,000 Avios + £50 of taxes instead of 34,000 Avios + £2.  This would leave 40,000 Avios to book £200-worth of hotel rooms.  This HFP article shows you how to book hotels using Avios.  As you can see from the examples in that article, you will get around 0.5p per Avios.

There is complete freedom as to how the Avios can be used.  The offer is being promoted as offering the ability to also use the points for car hire, wine or West End shows.  The best value is in using them for flights, of course – if you want to find out how to maximise the value of Avios when booking flights read our article here – but NHS staff outside the South East may find non-flight redemptions more practical.

British Airways and Avios are also giving you the opportunity to increase the size of the Avios fund and increase the number of recipients by letting you add your own Avios donation.

Avios chief executive Adam Daniels said:

“We are keen to play our part in thanking NHS workers. But on top of this, we’ve had feedback from Executive Club Members who have been asking for an opportunity to donate their Avios to a worthy cause. We’re therefore glad to be able to offer them the option to increase the pot if they feel they’re able, meaning we can thank more workers. So if you have any spare Avios, please do consider donating.”

You can donate to the NHS Avios fund here.

Donations are in fixed 500, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 or 25,000 increments.  There is also an option to donate more than 25,000 Avios if you wish.

This might be a good opportunity to donate any ‘orphaned’ points that are held by friends or family members.   A donation also counts as ‘activity’ which makes a 500 Avios donation an easy way to reset the 3-year expiry date of your points.

If you were thinking of a larger donation, however, it might be more efficient to give cash to a similar charitable venture – allowing both you and the charity to claim Gift Aid – than donating points which may end up being used for sub-optimal redemptions.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (November 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.

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

30,000 points and unbeatable travel 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 £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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 (52)

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

  • Stephen says:

    Isn’t this like regular economics where you can’t just print more money? Surely this will devalue Avios?

    • Rob says:

      Technically it does, but they issue 1 million per minute anyway (in normal times) so it’s a drop in the ocean. The BA Amex alone generates well over 1 billion per month.

      • Spaghetti Town says:

        Wow 1 Million per minute – i wonder how much avios is in circulation at any given time.

        • Andrew says:

          And of course they aren’t issuing any at the moment because no one is flying.

  • Trevor says:

    Hi folks
    What is the vehicle for nominating recipients of this?

    • Rhys says:

      Not clear yet – I imagine that will happen sometime in the autumn

    • Rob says:

      It’s not clear, but the public will not be involved.

  • J says:

    “allowing both you and the charity to claim Gift Aid” – There’s something brilliant in the idea of withholding tax to support public service workers 😀

    • Charlieface says:

      Well it means you can direct the funds where you like rather than it going into the Consolidated Funds to be used by BoJo at will.

  • David S says:

    Lovely idea but who decides which NHS staff get the Avios donated?

    • Anna says:

      Also I would imagine a lot of people aren’t in BAEC or know anything about using Avios! It’s a great idea, but might have been more practical just to donate flights?

      • mr_jetlag says:

        per Rob, only people within driving distance of LHR would benefit from flights, this gives the recipient other options.

        Being more cynical, I expect issuing “free” Avios that may never be fully redeemed, or else be used at far less than 1p, is a much better deal for BA than free seats on flights.

    • Rhys says:

      I believe it is NHS staff and managers who nominate recipients

  • Alex W says:

    If you want to reward a specific person can you just add them to your friends & family list and book a flight for them?
    Frankly if I donated Avios and someone used them for a hotel booking, I’d rather have them back and give them the cash instead!! Or at least book them a hotel with hotel points, not miles.

    • Rhys says:

      Or, if you aren’t part of a household account, you can just buy them a ticket

  • Gary says:

    I work in the NHS as a community nurse.
    I’m not a frequent flyer. NHS and frequent flyer status very rarely match up!
    I do however casually collect Avios to book or upgrade to business class when we and travel.
    Even managed to get first class for Mrs and me in …. March to MEX ….. Yup was cancelled lol
    But at least didn’t loose the Avios
    I think this is a lovely idea and would really boost the coffers for some, but many people I talk to in the NHS look at me blankly when I talk about Avios so choosing who would benefit should be carefully considered.

  • Lady London says:

    they would do better to allow donations of any amount of avios. 500 minimum..why? Its the little holdings people cant do anything with that would be easiest to get… and totalled up would get a nice amount off the books.

  • Sundar says:

    @Rob – Just a thought – Might be worthy for you to suggest to Adam about pointing people to HfP for best uses of avios. Lot of people may not know the best ways to use so pointers would definitely help.
    It looks like a promotion but helping NHS people is the cause !

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.