Below are some tips to help boost your Avios totals. Some of these tips require more work than others, but as mentioned before they all need you to do one thing. Spend money!
Taking out Avios-linked credit cards is where you will see the biggest Avios reward and (depending on your spend habits) can see you rack up points quite quickly. This is where the patience and effort come in though. The trick is using your card as your default payment method where possible (shopping, bills, coffee, everything where you can!) and juggling your finances so you avoid unwanted interest penalties. Nowadays with almost all credit cards being managed on apps, you can pay these off quicker and easier than ever before.
Check out my card review which details some of the most popular cards in the market so you can check which one is right for you.
One big limiting factor on which card you should opt for is how liquid you are with your cash i.e. how fast can you pay off the card balance.
For years, my two biggest Avios sources were the Tesco Credit Card (low-interest rates with Clubcard points being convertible to Avios) and the British Airways American Express Card (the free Blue one). The reason was simple. During my early airmiles days, I also spent a lot of time (and money) renovating properties so my outgoings were high. However, in doing so, I had to phase my spend meaning I needed to rely on the credit facility of the card, so wouldn’t be able to clear everything off so quickly.
Property renovation requires a high level of cash liquidity, so credit options are handy – opting for the Tesco Credit Card (which had zero % interest) and the Blue BA card meant I wasn’t stung in interest payments. The downside is even with high spend, I would be getting 1 Avios for say, every £3/4 worth of spend. On the Premium American Express Cards, this is generally a 1 to 1 ratio effectively meaning I would get 3 or 4x more than I was. However, circumstances dictated this for me in this instance, and when selecting your preferred card route, your circumstances should dictate this for you too. Don’t get stung with interest!
Tip: How to gain 50k+ in Avios ‘quickly’
One major benefit credit cards that are linked to airmiles have is the rewards they offer on spending.
Here’s an example of how to rack up a meaty amount of Avios and where it helps if you have a partner in crime. You can also have a supplementary card holder, so you essentially have two people spending on the same account. I’m going to make a few assumptions when it comes to spending limits.
Person A – sign up for BA Premium Plus (BA PP) Card which offers 25k Avios after £3k of spend in 3 months. 25,000 Avios gained
Person A – signs up for the card via Topcashback where cashback rewards can be up to £60+ (convertible to Avios at a £1:100 Avios ratio). 6,000 Avios gained. See below for more info on cashback sites.
Person A – once the £3k reward threshold has been met then refers Person B for a BA PP card. Person A received 9,000 Avios for referring
Person B – spends £3k in first 3 months to trigger their own 25k, which actually becomes 26k as they have signed up via referral. 26,000 Avios gained.
In this scenario, collectively this accumulates 66k Avios and of course the more people you refer the more Avios you can gain. This scenario also has benefits if you are working towards a companion voucher. More info on that found here.
Remember, to trigger the rewards – it makes no difference if you spend the reward limit on the last day of month 3 or the first day you received the card.
Online Shopping with the Avios e-store
Once you have registered with the BA Executive Club, another nice way to collect Avios is by using the Avios e-store (also known as Gate365). Essentially this operates like online cashback, but you get Avios instead of cash! When making purchases, you should always compare the two to see what is most rewarding.
My biggest success was purchasing a new Apple computer. Apple do not (or certainly did not at the time) pay any online cashback or offer discounts. However, they did offer Avios via Gate365 so I was able to secure over 15,000 Avios on a purchase I was going to make anyway. That’s a return flight to somewhere in Europe!
Online Shopping with Cashback Sites
This works as above, but rewards in cash instead of Avios. Some people will prefer the cold hard cash but in the world of airmiles, anyway of converting this over should be taken advantage of. I prefer TopCashBack as I find it more reliable than others like Quidco and its also easy to convert cash to Avios and in doing so you also get 5% bonus too. The ratio of £1:100 Avios is extremely favourable.
See which one suits you for your transaction – clean your cookie history – then go and make your purchase, just to be safe!
Pay via. Paypal
This is kind of a hybrid one. One thing I hear alot is that American Express isn’t accepted in alot of places. Therefore its hard to hit spend limits and collect Avios. Its probably fair to say its more limiting as a payment method than Visa or Mastercard but over the past few years its become much more widely accepted.
One cheeky way around this, is to link your Amex to your Paypal account and use Paypal if its accepted where Amex is not!
That way you are collecting Avios albeit via Paypal.
There is a secondary part to this which is even sneekier, but does come with a financial risk to it. You can do the same as above but instead of paying a company, you can opt to send cash to a friend (or even yourself if you are uber cheeky!).
This is useful if you are struggling to hit your spend limits to activate rewards, but does come at a cost. I’ve only done this once as a test and there was a 5.4% fee on top. So my £10 test transfer to my girlfriend, ended up £10.54. If you’re really up against it, it could be worth it though.
American Express block any reward points being offered on cash withdrawals. This is essentially a work around to that – albeit it with 5.4% (possibly more the higher you go) interest on it.
Buying Avios Directly
I’ve purposely put this as the last scenario as we really want to try and get Avios on spend we were doing anyway. Buying Avios has the obvious advantage in that in can top up your balance if you are short of say a certain Avios amount for a reward flight, but has the obvious disadvantage of adding cost to your redemption.
You can buy them directly from BA but note – this is seldom worth it. 1000 Avios, for example at time of writing, costs £31.
For context, the cashback ratio I mentioned earlier would cost you £10.
There is one consideration here though. BA do offer extra Avios on purchases during their ‘sale’ periods. These appear quite cyclical from what I have seen so generally every other month there will be an offer to get an extra x% more Avios on different purchase amounts.
If you hold an Amex Platinum, Gold or Green card you are able to purchase up to 10,000 reward points every 12 months (which can be converted to Avios for free – or any other scheme of course).
This costs £150 (or £15 per 1,000 reward points), which is another route and can be cheaper than buying directly from BA/Avios. This isn’t written about too much online so in order to buy, you will need to phone Amex directly or speak to their web chat agents when logged in and they can process it for you that way.