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 to HfP, this article runs through five 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, if you use the ‘middle price’ of the five options usually offered.
Would you buy a separate ticket to Madrid if you could use 68,000 Avios and £220 of tax to fly to New York in Business Class, return, on Iberia compared with 100,000 Avios and £850 on tax with British Airways from London? I think you might.
…. 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 (£220) and London-NYC (£850) …..
…. 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?
All you need to do is open an Aer Lingus AerClub account, wait for the Avios to turn up after your flight and then transfer them for free into your British Airways Executive Club account.
You can’t earn any tier points on United, however.
…. 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. These are usually £50 per person.
As long as you are not using an American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher on Aer Lingus, which obliges you to book on ba.com, you can save £50 by getting your head around how to book redemption flights on avios.com instead.
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 (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 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.