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

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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 (December 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 10,500 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.

  • Michael says:

    What an absolute joke.

    A number of NHS trusts have declared a ‘climate emergency’ those are the exact words used. An Emergency. The same meaning as Greta, that we are heading for a climate catastrophe, people are dying and we are about to be extinct. Yet, in the same breathe they are accepting an Avios donation for NHS staff to fly about and pollute the planet and make us all extinct?

    Will those same NHS trusts be opting out of this because of the absolute hypocrisy of encouraging their staff to travel?

    Let this be a lesson to anyone here who would ever think of offsetting, reducing their flying, going along with projects like HS2 meant to reduce pollution. If you believe for even a second there is such a notion as climate change and you think this donation is acceptable then you need your heads looking at.

    The ONLY acceptable thing would be to accept a donation to the NHS charities from BA and even that is on shaky territory because if you declare a climate emergency, that would be like taking donations from a plantation owner while supposedly fighting for slave rights. No ifs, no buts.

    One rule for them, another for the rest of us. Absolute scum. This should never be forgotten.

    • Spaghetti Town says:

      do you not believe in climate change?

      • Alex M says:

        As a geologist, I believe in climate change and I can tell you that we currently live in ice age.

    • Charlieface says:

      Considering the percentage of world pollution that comes from aviation, then the percentage of that which represents Avios users (bearing in mind the majority of Avios seats would fly empty anyway)…

      Oh, dunno why I’m wasting my breath…

  • James A says:

    I absolutely won’t donate if they trusts management decides who the Avios go to’.

    No chance. Come up with some other way to distribute them BA.

    • Lady London says:

      Lottery? only enterable by.staff.below a certain grade?

  • Dave Barron says:

    I presume the lucky (and very deserving) NHS staff who receive these Avios would still be screwed over by British Airways for taxes and fees?!?

    • Anna says:

      If you read the article – you can get a short haul flight now for 60,000 avios and £2 RFS fee, so not necessarily.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        Long drive from Carlisle though.

      • mr_jetlag says:

        I am willing to bet that the majority of the recipients won’t find the RFS option, and will balk at paying “taxes” that are more expensive than a Ryanair flight. Still, one hopes the awardee receives a nice email explaining exactly what options they have that cost the least cash out of pocket (even if it is car hire or hotels).

  • Baji Nahid says:

    I am very hesitant do not have the confidence to do so sorry. Could’ve done better. And I am a front line NHS NURSE

  • GaryC says:

    This feels like what often happens with charitable donations – that the highest profile and most obvious beneficiaries get the lions share of donations and publicity, and it doesn’t necessarily go to the most needy. It felt the same with free donations of meals and the dominos £4m pizza giveaway to NHS, postal workers etc. I’d much rather see donations targeted at people who are genuinely losing out as a result of this crisis, so to people who are losing their jobs or their businesses etc.. To this end I’ve re-directed my own donations at food banks, and would gladly donate some of my avios to a group targeted at giving genuinely needy a break. Employed people are a lot lower priority for me, though I do appreciate that work is a lot more challenging for many on the front line.

  • Alan says:

    I wonder if this is England-only with the reference to Trusts or if they are intending it to apply UK-wide?

  • Thinking Point says:

    Doctors can still afford to fly themselves, these should be for low paid NHS workers. I also feel all the food, travel etc discounts and freebies are for NHS staff only. They are indeed doing a fab job but then so are teaching staff looking after their children while they go to work. Nothing for them. Also, postal workers, supermarkets drivers etc. So many who are also exposed doing their job.

    • Geoff Allwright says:

      I don’t think you have understood how it works, you can all get free flights

  • Sue says:

    So a nice piece of PR here for British Airways and I’m sure there will be fall out from their staff who will see this as a way of spending their money on that PR exercise but as an NHS employee I’d like to say thank you. They didn’t have to do it but they did so if I’m lucky enough to receive a prize I’ll be very grateful.
    I’ve been collecting Avios for years now and I do that through my own usage and yes the odd card referral here and there.
    Thanks to this site I’ve been able to use those Avios for some cheaper getaways but to the likes of me 60k is a big number.
    So thanks BA for taking the time and effort

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

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