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Avios is starting its own ecommerce business, starting with wine

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Yesterday we told you that British Airways and Laithwaites were severing their long term (20+ years?) partnership.

From 30th September you can no longer earn or spend Avios at Laithwaites Wine.

BA implied that a new wine partnership was being created, but with which company?

BA Galleries Club Heathrow T3 spanish sparkling wine

After all, most UK mail order wine groups are actually owned by Laithwaites, including The Sunday Times Wine Club and Averys.

If you ignore The Wine Society, which isn’t really in tune with the scale of the BA proposition, you have Virgin Wines (obviously not happening) and Naked Wines, which is a very focussed proposition.

We now know which wine company will be offering Avios …. IAG itself.

Yes, it seems that Avios / IAG Loyalty is getting into the online retail business.

A new business, IAGL Retail, is launching later this year. It plans to be a broad based ecommerce business, but the first product category will be wine.

IAG Loyalty Avios launching its own wine business

To quote from the IAG careers website:

Together with our professional expertise in the category from our careers in travel and hospitality we have a unique ability to bring, a first-class ‘edit’ from the world of wines, including many from the British Airways inflight and lounge offering. 

And combined with the power of the IAG Loyalty platform, not only are we providing outstanding products, but we’re also giving British Airways Executive Club members the opportunity to discount their purchases using their Avios or to collect points when they buy from us to use on future reward flights.

Except ….

The problem with the British Airways inflight wine operation, of course, is that it isn’t great. You will get better wine at your school PTA fundraiser than you get in British Airways business class.

Click here to read the infamous Jancis Robinson article in the Financial Times from 2019 which explains why she resigned as BA’s wine buyer, noting that wine from BA’s First Class cabin was available in Morrisons for £4.50 per bottle. To quote:

“BA’s wine buying is currently in the hands of two young Frenchmen working for the parent company IAG who have no wine-buying experience ….. All submissions in a recent First Class tender for wines over €6 a bottle from the cellar door were rejected.”

It will be amusing if IAG Loyalty starts to sell the wine from the British Airways First Class cabin at £4.50 per bottle ….

Anyway …. you now know what is happening. Let’s see what the end result is like.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

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:

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 (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable 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 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.

Comments (64)

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

  • Mark Janes says:

    For a dose of nostalgia, here’s an episode from “Inside British Airways”, ca 1990. The bit on wine starts at about 18 mins in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBof5dHjGAw
    (Spoiler alert; they chuck 1300 bottles of champagne down the drain because their in-house wine taster doesn’t think it’s up to scratch!)

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

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