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What is the best use of Avios points?

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What is the best use of Avios points?  This is a question I hear a lot.  In truth, the answer is ‘to go somewhere that you really want to go’.  Your Avios are a tool to getting a great trip without spending a lot of money on your travel.

If you get a great holiday by using your Avios points, then you got a good deal.  End of story.

That said …. there are various ways of ensuring you aren’t getting a bad deal.

What is the best use of Avios points?

The new Nectar partnership has changed the game

In January 2021, Avios and Nectar unveiled a partnership.

You can now convert up to 50,000 Avios per month into Nectar points, at the rate of 1 Avios = 1.6 Nectar points.  As 1 Nectar = 0.5p to spend at Sainsbury’s or Argos, this means 1 Avios = 0.8p when converted to Nectar.

It would be silly to do any other Avios redemption if you were getting under 0.8p per Avios of value.

Don’t book long-haul economy flights with Avios

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.  This Head for Points article runs the maths on a few sample economy flights to show you how bad a deal it is.

You WILL get good value redeeming Avios for:

  • short-haul economy
  • short-haul business
  • long-haul premium economy
  • long-haul business
  • long-haul first

This article looks at what an Avios point is worth based on various different redemption scenarios.

What is the best use of Avios points?

Don’t use your Avios for ‘part pay with Avios’

British Airways is trying to encourage people to use their Avios to get a discount on a standard cash booking.  This is almost always a bad deal.

You can get good value by redeeming a very small number of Avios – you can often get £10 off for 1000 points – but at higher levels you are usually offered closer to 0.5p per Avios.

Do not accept 0.5p per Avios.  You should be looking to get 1p+ per Avios as this article shows and cashing out via Nectar will get 0.8p per Avios.

Don’t use your Avios for hotel rooms, car hire or wine

Whilst flights are clearly the best use of Avios, you can also use them for other things.

This article shows you how to redeem Avios for hotel rooms.  You can also spend your points on car hire, wine and various travel ‘experiences’ via ba.com.

In general, you’ll only get 0.5p to 0.55p per Avios when you do this.  A flight redemption should be nearer 1p and a Nectar conversion will get you 0.8p, so don’t book hotel rooms via BA with your points.

If all your Avios come from work trips, you can ignore this advice.  If they don’t, don’t.

If your Avios come from travel paid for by your employer, you didn’t pay a penny for them.  In that case, you might be more flexible in what you will accept when you redeem.  Free is free, after all.

However …. your Avios were NOT free if you got them from credit card spending, converting Nectar points etc.  You could have used a cashback credit card instead, or used your Nectar points for a different redemption.  In this scenario, you owe it to yourself to fully maximise the value you get from your Avios.

(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 2.0 million monthly page views.  Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios?  Click here to read our latest news storiesclick here to join our email list and click here to read our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.)


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of 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

50,000 points bonus until 2nd October – 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 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.

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.

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