Last year Sean and I started earning Avios points, which we are going to ‘cash in’ for cheap flights, hotel stays and experience days. We’ve built up quite a balance already, just by doing our regular shopping alongside a few other methods to boost our Avios balance. This is how to get started earning Avios points, how to maximise earning your points, and where you can spend them to get cheap flights and more.
What Are Avios Points?
Avios used to be called Airmiles, and are a loyalty scheme much like Nectar points. Like other loyalty schemes, Avios points are awarded for both your regular spending and for taking part in certain offers. When you’ve earned enough of them, you can swap your points for rewards.
What Can You Spend Them On?
You can use Avios points as part-payment for flights, so you can end up paying little for flights all over the world if you have enough points. You always have to pay tax on flights, so they are not completely free. However, you can get significant discounts by using Avios points. You can also spend the points on things like hotels, car hire, champagne and wine, airport lounges and days out.
How Do You Earn Avios Points?
There are multiple ways you can start earning Avios points. Once you get started with an Avios account (I’ll go into this below), you can start collecting points by doing your regular shopping activities. You can also earn them when booking flights, answering surveys, booking trains, buying wine, hiring cars, parking at airports, and filling up your car with petrol. There are many more ways, including taking part in special bonus point offers.
How Do You Get Started?
The first thing to do is to open a free Avios account. This is one of the places that you will ‘bank’ your Avios points, and you can also earn via this site (more on that below). The second thing to do is open a free British Airways Executive Club account. This is also an Avios point ‘bank’ and a route to earning points. While you’re there, create a Household Account too and add your other half and other members of your household so you can all earn points together. Finally, create a free Iberia Plus account.
You will earn Avios points in all of these accounts, and they can be freely transferred back and forth between all three.
Start Earning Avios Points
There are so many ways you can earn Avios points. Below is a list of the main things that I do to earn points in my everyday life.
Use A Special Credit Card For All Your Spending
This is the main way that we earn Avios points. You need a special credit card for this. I have a British Airways AMEX which has been brilliant. With this, I earn points every time I spend on it, no matter what I buy. So I use it for our every day shopping, fuel purchases, online shopping etc. You must make sure, of course, to pay it off after each use from your regular current account. You’re not spending any more by buying things this way, but will be earning points as well. The British Airways AMEX has a welcome bonus offer at the moment giving you 5,000 bonus Avios points if you spend £1,000 on it in your first three months. If you sign up via my referral link you will earn bonus points and get 6,000 points as a welcome bonus instead of 5,000. With this card, if you spend £20,000 on it within a twelve month period, you automatically earn a Companion Voucher. A Companion Voucher means you can take a companion with you on the same BA flight you book with your Avios through the site.
We have a relatively low credit limit on this card, and we make sure to pay it off after every use. So far we have earned thousands of Avios points doing our regular spending this way. These points go into my BA Executive Club Avios balance. Remember, the accounts are all interchangeable so I can move the points to my Avios or Iberia Plus accounts and back again for free. It’s best to be signed up for all three to maximise points earnings. You can then combine them all in one account when you’re ready to spend them.
Shop Online Via The Avios Store
This is much the same as clicking through a site like Topcashback to earn cashback on online purchases. Instead, you earn Avios points by shopping through the Avios store. There are hundred of retailers you can click through to, all of them the mainstream ones from ASOS to Zooplus. Every time you are going to make an online purchase, sign in to your Avios account, click through to the retailer and have the Avios ‘cashback’ credited to your account.
An added bonus to having the British Airways AMEX is that, when you buy online in this way and use the AMEX to pay, you earn Avios points twice over.
Convert Your Tesco Clubcard Vouchers Into Avios
I convert all of my Clubcard points into Avios so I don’t receive Tesco vouchers. Instead, the points are automatically credited to my Avios account once I hit a voucher threshold. Every £2.50 you earn in Clubcard vouchers converts into 600 Avios points. More information about how to set this up is here. You can also convert existing unused vouchers into Avios points.
Convert Topcashback Earnings Into Avios
You can also cashout your Topcashback earnings into Avios points instead of cash. You get one Avios point for every 1p of cashback you earn. More about this here. If making an online purchase, it’s worth checking both Topcashback and Avios beforehand to see which offer is the better deal in terms of Avios points.
Earn Avios Points When Shopping In Store
As well as online shopping, you can earn points when shopping in stores. The offers change every now and then for where you can shop to earn points. Currently, you can earn Avios points when buying inside places such as Caffe Nero, Chimichanga, Oliver Bonas and Prezzo. You should register all your payment cards in your Avios account so that these purchases are automatically tracked, and the points automatically credited to your account. I have registered all mine and Sean’s debit and credit cards, including the AMEX card. Again, paying with the AMEX means I earn points twice for the same purchase.
Turn Petrol Into Points
If you fill your card up at Shell garages, you can earn Avios points too. You need a free Shell Drivers’ Club account. You can pick up a membership card in a Shell garage, and you register this card on the Avios site. Points from your purchases at Shell (including anything within the shop) are automatically credited as Avios.
Earn When Booking Flights, Hotels, Train Tickets, Car Hire & Travel Insurance Via Avios
If you are going anywhere or booking anything, it’s worth checking the Avios shop to see if you can earn points while booking. Both booking.com and hotels.com earn you points if you click through the links from the Avios website. There are many other travel companies on there, as well as car hire and travel insurance companies. Flybe and Aer Lingus bookings can also earn you points if you book with them via the Avios site.
For a full list of ways to earn points via the Avios website, visit the site and look under the ‘Ways To Collect’ dropdown at the top of the page.
Earn When Booking Flights & Shopping Via British Airways
If you are booking flights, hotels or car hire with BA then make sure to enter your BA Executive Club number with each booking. This ensures that any Avios you earn from these bookings are credited to your Executive Club account. BA also has an online ‘cashback’ style shop which operates like Topcashback, earning you Avios when you click through their links. There are lots of household name retailers on the site. Make sure you are logged in to your Executive Club account and then click through from BA’s online shop. You can also earn points in store, including at Bicester Village!
The Iberia Plus account is very similar to the British Airways Executive Club account. Again, you can earn points when buying travel on the Iberia website.
Keep An Eye Out For Bonus Offers
There are a few bonus offers which come through each month from Avios in particular. Make sure you are signed up to receive their e-newsletters so you don’t miss out on earning any extra Avios where you can.
AMEX is also a good source of bonus offers. For example, ALDI just recently started accepting AMEX in their stores. AMEX are currently running an offer which gives you £5 cashback on your card when you spend £10 in ALDI. To get this, you need to load the offer on to your AMEX via your online AMEX account. I have just taken advantage of this offer myself.
HOW AND WHERE TO SPEND AVIOS POINTS
So now you have earned thousands of Avios points, how and where can you spend them? The main way to spend them is in part payment for flights, and you can do this on any of the sites (Avios, British Airways and Iberia). You can also swap them for experience days out, cases of wine or champagne, and hotels and car hire. Have a good browse of each site for the best deals before spending, and make sure to make the most of any bonus offers to make sure your points are taking you as far as they possibly can. You will still need to pay taxes for flights so they will not be free, no matter how many points you have. However, you can get a great discount on flights for the whole family once you have enough points. You can move the points freely between your Avios, British Airways and Iberia accounts. When you are ready to spend, transfer them all to the account on the site you want to buy from.
We are really enjoying seeing our Avios balance grow across all three accounts and have our eye set on a discounted trip to the States in the future.
Do you currently use Avios? If not, are you planning to start earning Avios points?
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