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Compare credit cards that earn Avios points directly
Compare credit cards that earn points you can exchange for Avios
If you’re a regular traveller, it’s worth knowing that some credit cards let you exchange their loyalty points for Avios. At the time of writing, American Express Membership Rewards points can be exchanged at a rate of 1:1 (in multiples of 1,000), for example, and you can also swap 400 Sainsbury’s Nectar points for 250 Avios. HSBC has also periodically run promotions allowing Premier customers to exchange reward points for Avios.
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What is Avios?
Avios is a frequent flyer scheme that allows you to earn points towards the cost of a flight as you spend. You can earn points through flying, spending with Avios partner brands or converting points from other programmes, such as the Sainsbury’s Nectar points scheme.
The number of points you can collect from flights you buy depends on which airline you fly with, how far you fly, and whether you’re flying economy, business or first class. How much you can collect through partner brands will depend on the scheme and where you shop.
BA Executive Club
In 2018, all Avios members were moved to the BA Executive Club. You can choose to collect and spend your Avios with BA, Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus. You can also fly with LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, S7, Royal Jordanian, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Finnair, Qatar, Japan Airlines, Air Italy and Alaska Airlines.
Can I convert Tesco Clubcard points into Avios?
As of 18 January 2021, you can no longer exchange Tesco Clubcard points for Avios. Now, Avios is partnered with Nectar.
How can I compare cards that offer Avios points?
There are different factors you should consider when choosing a card. These include:
Which credit card is best for Avios?
The right card for you will ultimately depend on whether you are happy to pay an annual fee. For both British Airways credit cards and the American Express Rewards cards, for example, the sign-up bonuses and earn-rates are considerably more generous if you’re willing to pay an annual fee.
The earn-rate of Avios points on the British Airways Premium Plus is 1.5 for every £1 you spend, rather than the 1 point for every £1 you spend with the standard card. This would give you 10,000 extra Avios points on a spend of £20,000. You also get an extra year to use your Companion Voucher.
Although an annual fee can put some people off, it’s always worth weighing this up against the extra benefits that these cards typically entitle you to. Ultimately, whether or not the fee is worth paying will come down to how many points you expect to earn over the year, and how much those points will then go on to save you – you could be surprised.
If you don’t want to pay a fee, the Amex Gold is the best for sign-up bonuses, with an offer of 25,000 membership rewards points, which is the equivalent of 25,000 Avios points. However, the annual fee is only waived for the first year.
It’s worth noting that many of these cards have a foreign exchange fee of around 3%, so you may wish to get a separate credit card for spending money abroad.
Can I get a 0% credit card with Avios?
None of the dedicated, Avios-earning credit cards offer interest-free spending (in fact, interest rates tend to be high which means it’s important to clear your balance in full each month).
However, as of 25 January 2021, Sainsbury’s customers can exchange Nectar points for Avios air miles. And the good news is that Sainsbury’s does offer 0% deals.
Sainsbury’s cards allow you to earn Nectar points which can then be exchanged for Avios. You’ll collect up to 3 Nectar points for every £1 spent on Sainsbury’s shopping, and 1 Nectar point for every £5 spent elsewhere. That means, for example, that if you’re putting a hefty purchase on a Sainsbury’s 0% card to spread the cost, you’ll be able to earn Nectar (and thus, indirectly, Avios) on your purchase.
Under the Nectar/Avios scheme, all existing and future Avios air miles can also be converted to Sainsbury’s Nectar points at the rate of roughly 0.8p per Avios. This means you can use your Avios air miles towards purchases at places like Sainsbury’s, Argos, eBay and many more. To convert points, you’ll need to link your Nectar and British Airways Executive Club accounts.
How do I spend my Avios points?
You can redeem your Avios points via the Avios website. You can use them to book flights, a hotel or car hire, or to book days out and experiences or even order wine.
The number of points you need to use per flight depends on the zone you travel in. The zone depends on the distance between your departure airport and your destination, and there are 9 zones. Generally, if you’re travelling in Europe, your flight will be within Zones 1 and 3 (up to 2,000 miles away). For example:
- 20,000 Avios will get you one return flight from London to Athens
- 15,000 Avios will get you one return flight from London to Barcelona
- 9,000 Avios will get you one return flight from London to Berlin
You still need to pay taxes and charges on flights. But under Avios’s “Reward Flight Saver” scheme, you can pay a low, flat fee to cover taxes, fees and carrier charges, and a fixed Avios amount. Depending on where you are flying, you can pay as little as £1 and 18,500 Avios. To qualify, you will need to earn at least 1 point during the year before you book.
The cost of flights in Avios points is fixed – it doesn’t fluctuate as it does if you’re paying in cash. However, availability can be lower, so book early if you want to use your points. Booking generally opens 355 days before a flight.
What are the pros and cons of Avios points cards?
- You can use your points for long-haul business trips and lounge passes.
- Companion tickets – you can take someone on the same conditions as your flight – so if you fly long-haul in business class, they can join you.
- You can use them like any usual credit cards for your everyday spending – and as long as you pay off in full every month, this could mean more points.
- If your card is a credit card (rather than a charge card), you’re protected by section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if you buy anything costing between £100 and £30,000, at home or abroad.
- Availability is more limited when booking flights, so it helps to be flexible.
- You still need to pay taxes and charges on flights, so they’re not entirely free.
- Some do come with annual fees.
- You should only use them if you know you will pay them off in full every month, because of high interest fees.
- For some, only high earners are eligible.
Are there any alternatives to Avios credit cards?
There are other frequent flyer cards, including the Virgin Atlantic Reward card , which offers double points on Virgin flights, as well as offers from Virgin Experience Days, Virgin Trains and Virgin Wines, which can help you earn miles. Other schemes include Emirates Skywards Miles, Iberia Plus, and Miles & More.
There are also cards aimed specifically at hotel stays, such as the IHG Rewards Club credit card (no longer active), which included offers for IHG properties like Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn.
Do Avios points expire?
You’ll need to spend or collect 1 Avios point on your credit card every 36-month period to avoid losing any points.
Frequently asked questions
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