There is a lot more – a heck of a lot more – to the Avios frequent flyer scheme than most people think.
If you are a new reader who came to HfP today as part of your 2022 holiday planning, this article runs through seven interesting Avios quirks which you may not know about.
So …. did you know …..?
…. that the Iberia Plus redemption chart has certain quirks which make some redemptions exceptionally cheap?
The Iberia Plus redemption chart is in this article. It is ALMOST the same as the BA chart, but not quite.
The difference is most pronounced in Band 5. Business Class flights on Iberia to Band 5 (which includes New York) are 68,000 Avios return off-peak and 100,000 Avios peak. British Airways redemptions in Band 5 are 100,000 Avios return off-peak and 120,000 Avios peak.
Would you buy a separate ticket to Madrid if you could use 68,000 Avios and £205 of tax to fly to New York on Iberia compared with 100,000 Avios and £685 on tax with British Airways from London?
…. that British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia have different off-peak dates which leads to arbitrage opportunities?
British Airways Executive Club, Aer Lingus AerClub and Iberia Plus do NOT share the same table of peak and off-peak dates, especially around half-term school holidays in the UK.
Aer Lingus, for example, doesn’t have an October and February peak season during the UK half terms. The April peak season is also one week shorter and there’s also no peak season towards the end of May / early June.
This means that New York in Business Class can be as low as 68,000 Avios return on Iberia from Madrid (on an off-peak date) on the same day that British Airways wants 120,000 Avios return from London (because BA treats it as a peak day).
And that is before you factor in the difference in taxes between Madrid-NYC (£205) and London-NYC (£685) …..
…. that you can earn Avios when you fly on Emirates as long as you book a Qantas codeshare service?
Qantas is the only British Airways partner where you earn Avios and British Airways tier points on codeshare flights on non-oneworld partners.
(A codeshare is when your flight has a Qantas flight number but is actually operated by a different airline.)
I got my wife to test this out and it works fine as this article on earning Avios on Emirates shows.
The same trick also lets you earn Avios when you fly KLM between Amsterdam and Singapore on the Qantas codeshare. Whilst not covered in that article, the same applies to Air France services between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Singapore or Hong Kong on Qantas codeshare services.
…. that you can earn Avios when you fly United Airlines – even though it is a Star Alliance member – by crediting your flights to Aer Lingus AerClub?
I genuinely expected this feature to go away when Aer Lingus AerClub was launched but, for now, it is still there. This article explains how to earn Avios when flying United Airlines.
We may see the end of this arrangement in 2022 because Aer Lingus has received approval to join the British Airways and American Airlines transatlantic joint venture.
…. that there is more Avios Economy availability on Iberia flights if you move your points to Iberia Plus and book from there?
There is always better Economy availability for Avios flights on Iberia if you book via iberia.com. This is because Iberia Plus has two levels of Economy reward pricing and ba.com only shows the cheapest level. Don’t rely on what ba.com shows you if you want seats on Iberia.
This article explains how Iberia ‘Blue Class’ Avios pricing works.
…. that Aer Lingus redemptions have lower taxes if booked via avios.com than via ba.com?
You can book Aer Lingus redemptions online via avios.com (avios.com is still ‘open’ for anyone who opens an Avios account via AerClub or Vueling Club) or via ba.com.
There is some jiggery pokery going on with the taxes, however. British Airways is adding additional surcharges if you book its site than via avios.com.
Make sure you read Head for Points regularly if you want to keep up to speed with tips like these. You can subscribe to our daily or weekly newsletters via the links at the top and bottom of this page.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.