Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Are Avios points useless and worthless?

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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, British Airways 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.

Are Avios points useless and worthless?

Myth 2:  The taxes and charges make redemptions poor value for money

Again, I can’t deny that long-haul economy redemptions with Avios tend to be poor value.  The additional fees required can be the same as a cash ticket, although the Avios ticket is refundable.

(That said, economy flight prices have been so high since the pandemic that – especially at peak periods – Avios redemptions can make sense.)

You WILL get good value redeeming Avios for:

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

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

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 American Express 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 four airport lounge passes when you sign up and £120 of Deliveroo credit.

Are Avios points useless and worthless?

Similarly, the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card has a sign-up bonus of 25,000 Avios.  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 againThis article explains the rules about getting American Express sign-up bonuses.

Do you have the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard? This card comes with a 25,000 Avios sign-up bonus. There is a £20 per month fee but you can cancel as soon as you’ve banked the bonus if you wish.

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 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 You can also convert them into Nectar points and spend them at Sainsburys, Argos, eBay etc.

Myth 5:  My Avios will expire before I have time to collect enough

Not true.  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.  This 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 2.5 million monthly page views.  Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios?  Click here to read our latest news stories and click here to join the mailing list for our weekly or daily email newsletters.)

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2024)

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

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £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 famous annual 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 £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable 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 10,500 Avios.

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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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