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 14 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 20,000 Avios for signing up? (OK, you get 20,000 Amex Membership Rewards points but they convert at 1:1 into Avios). If you and your partner got one of these cards then that is 40,000 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 £250 fee BUT the fee is refunded pro-rata when you cancel. Cancel after two months and you’ll get about £210 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, Nectar 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 2.3 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.)
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)
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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
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.
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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
There are also good bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These are available to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.