Flight Redemptions

Buying Avios: Your Ultimate Guide to Making the Most of Your Points

Updated: February 19, 2024

Looking to get the most out of your travel experiences, while saving money in the process? Buying Avios might just be the answer you've been searching for. Avios, the reward currency used by various frequent flyer programmes such as British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus, can help you unlock a world of travel benefits. You'll find that by strategically buying and spending Avios, you can make those luxurious vacations and flights more attainable.

Purchasing Avios allows you to top up your points balance whenever you need. This can be especially valuable if you're just short of the points required for a particular reward or want to avoid spending cash on flights or hotel stays. It's important to keep an eye out for promotions and offers, as buying Avios during these events can often lead to substantial cost savings.

Remember, not every Avios purchase will result in great value. To make the most of your investment, it's crucial to have a clear plan in mind and to be aware of how many Avios you actually require for your preferred rewards. By doing so, you'll be well on your way to enjoying the numerous perks and travel experiences offered by these loyalty programmes. So, why not explore the world of Avios today and start saving on your next adventure?

Understanding Avios and Their Value

As you consider buying Avios, it's essential to understand their value and how they can benefit your travel plans. Avios are loyalty points earned with the British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus, and Aer Lingus AerClub. By accumulating these points, you can unlock various rewards such as flight bookings, cabin upgrades, and more.

To determine the value of Avios, you'll want to consider the options for redemption and the conversion rates they offer. Some common ways to redeem your Avios include:

  • Flight bookings: You can use Avios to book flights with multiple airlines, such as British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus. However, the value you receive will depend on factors like travel class and destination.
  • Flight upgrades: Avios can be used to upgrade your cabin class, giving you a more enjoyable flying experience. This option can provide great value for those looking to upgrade their travel experience.
  • Hotel bookings: Your Avios can also be redeemed for hotel stays through participating hotel partners.
  • Car rentals: You can redeem Avios for car rentals, allowing you to save on transport costs during your trip.

One key factor in determining Avios value is understanding their conversion rates. These can vary depending on the partner airline or redemption option, but here's a general idea of Avios conversion rates:

Avios RequiredReward Type
8,000 to 20,000Short-haul, economy class flight
25,000 to 50,000Short-haul, business class flight
30,000 to 80,000+Long-haul, economy class flight
50,000 to 150,000+Long-haul, business class flight

Moreover, the actual value of Avios may depend on the redemption option you choose. For example:

  • For reward flights or cabin upgrades, an Avios valuation of 1 pence per point or higher can be seen as good value.
  • For hotel bookings, an Avios valuation of 0.5 pence per point can be considered fair value.
  • For car rentals, the valuation is variable and may be less than 0.5 pence per point.

You should also consider how you earn Avios—through flights, credit card rewards or purchases, online shopping, or transferring points from partner programmes. Each method may offer different earning rates and affect the overall value you derive from your Avios. By understanding the value of Avios and choosing the best redemption options, you can ensure your hard-earned points bring the most significant travel benefits.

Why Buying Avios Makes Sense

Buying Avios can offer numerous advantages and opportunities for savvy travellers. Here are some reasons why purchasing Avios might be a smart decision for you.

Cost-effective travel: Purchasing Avios can save you money on flight expenses. Imagine if you're just short of the required Avios for that dream trip, topping up your balance by buying some extra can make a world of difference. It's also possible to find deals or promotions where buying Avios directly is less expensive than the cash price of a flight.

  • Upgrade to premium cabin: You can use your collected Avios to upgrade your flight to a higher class of service. This can make your journey more enjoyable, with added benefits such as lounge access and priority boarding. This can be a more wallet-friendly way of experiencing a premium cabin without spending a fortune.

Flexibility: Having a large Avios balance enables you to book flights without costly last-minute fees. Purchasing Avios can come in handy when there's a need to make unexpected travel plans or get that much needed break you've been longing for. Plus, you can potentially use them on partner airlines, providing you with a wider choice of destinations.

Promotions and discounts: From time to time, there are promotions when buying Avios. This can often represent a great deal, since you could buy them at a significantly discounted price. Additionally, you can occasionally find deals where you earn bonus Avios on purchases. This means you’ll essentially receive a greater value than the cost you paid for them.

Gifts and rewards: Buying Avios as a gift or a treat for yourself can be an ideal way to treat someone special. The recipient gets more travel opportunities, and you don't have to break the bank.

To help you better understand the value of buying Avios, here is a markdown table that shows you some potential savings:

Flight RouteCash CostAvios CostApprox. Savings
London to New York£50040,000£150
London to Barcelona£15015,000£50
London to Tokyo£80060,000£200

Remember, these are just estimated savings, and specific routes and redemption options will vary. By understanding these benefits and utilizing your Avios smartly, you’re one step closer to your next amazing adventure.

Knowing When to Purchase Avios

Knowing when to buy Avios can significantly impact the value you'll get from them. It's essential to keep a few things in mind when looking to make your purchase. In this section, we'll shed some light on the factors and circumstances that can help you determine the right time for you to buy Avios.

Timing is crucial when it comes to buying Avios. Generally, the best time is during promotional periods when providers offer bonus points or discounts. These promotions usually occur a few times a year, so keeping an eye out for these opportunities can save you money and provide you with better value.

However, buying Avios during promotional periods isn't always the best choice. You should also consider your travel plans and available redemptions. If you have an imminent trip that would require miles for an upgrade or award ticket, you might find it more cost-effective to purchase Avios instead of using cash. Additionally, evaluate the number of points required for the desired redemption and ensure it's worth the investment.

Consider the following factors to make an informed decision:

  • Expiring Avios: If your Avios are about to expire, buying a small number of points can not only extend their validity but also provide you with enough miles for your desired redemption.
  • Top-up Miles: Sometimes, you might be just a few thousand Avios short of your desired reward. Buying the remaining points could be a good investment, especially if the redemption offers significant value.
  • Limited-Time Offers: In some cases, attractive and high-value redemptions become available only for a short period. If such an offer aligns with your travel plans, it might make sense to buy Avios to take advantage of it.

When considering a purchase, always compare the cost of buying Avios with the cash price of your desired ticket or upgrade. Determine the cost per mile by dividing the amount you would spend on purchasing Avios by the number of points you need. If the cost per mile is lower than what you would pay using cash, it's generally a good time to buy.

To summarise, when deciding whether to purchase Avios or not, you need to weigh your travel plans, available redemptions, and any promotions against the cost of buying miles. By carefully considering these factors, you can make sure you're using your hard-earned money wisely and getting the most value out of your Avios purchase.

Best Places to Buy Avios

If you're looking to buy Avios, there are several reputable platforms and programmes to choose from. Here, we'll outline the top options that offer flexibility, value for money, and a range of additional benefits.

The first place you should consider is the British Airways Executive Club. As the primary programme for earning and using Avios, it provides a seamless experience for members.

  • Purchase Avios directly from the British Airways website
  • Access Member-only offers and promotional sales
  • Participate in the Household Account functionality to share Avios with family members

Another popular option is Iberia Plus. As a fellow oneworld Alliance member, Iberia's loyalty programme offers similar benefits and perks to British Airways Executive Club.

  • Accumulate Avios with Iberia and partner airlines
  • Redeem points for flights, upgrades, and other travel experiences
  • Enjoy a global network of partner airlines, hotels, and rental car companies

If you want to buy Avios at a discount, keep an eye out for regular promotions offered by these loyalty programmes. These limited-time offers give you an opportunity to acquire a bulk of points at a discounted rate, boosting your Avios balance significantly.

ProgrammePromotion PeriodTypical Discount
BA Executive ClubMultiple times per yearUp to 50% off
Iberia PlusOccasional promotionsUp to 50% off

Outside of these primary programmes, you can also earn Avios with your financial partners. Many major banks offer credit cards where you can collect Avios on everyday spending. Popular options include:

  • American Express British Airways cards
  • Lloyds Bank Avios Rewards cards
  • Santander All in One Credit Card

Lastly, it's a good idea to make the most of partner rewards programmes. A number of companies allow you to convert their loyalty points into Avios, potentially offering you a better return on your spending.

  • Convert Tesco Clubcard points to Avios
  • Transfer Heathrow Rewards points to Avios
  • Exchange Shell Drivers' Club points for Avios

When buying Avios, always make sure to compare prices and weigh up the benefits on offer, so that you can get the best value for your hard-earned money. By regularly checking for promotions and making full use of partner programmes, you'll see your Avios balance grow faster than ever before.

Earning Avios Through Credit Card Rewards

Earning Avios through credit card rewards is a smart way to accumulate points for future flights, upgrades, and various travel perks. Several UK credit cards offer attractive Avios earning rates to help maximise your rewards. You'll want to choose a credit card that aligns with your spending habits and financial goals.

Some popular UK credit cards that offer Avios rewards include:

  • British Airways American Express Credit Card
  • British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card
  • American Express Gold Card (you can convert Membership Rewards into Avios)
  • Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card
  • Lloyds Bank Avios Rewards Credit Card

When looking for the right credit card, consider the earning rates for each card. The earning rate determines how many Avios points you'll receive for every pound spent. It's crucial to be aware of the differences between each of the cards, as they can offer varying earning rates and benefits.

Avios Earning Rates per Card:

Credit CardAvios Earning Rate (per £1 spent)
British Airways American Express Credit Card1 Avios
British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card1.5 Avios
American Express Gold Card1 Membership Reward (convertible to 1 Avios)
Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card1 Avios (in first year)
Lloyds Bank Avios Rewards Credit Card1.25 Avios (Amex), 1.25 Avios (Mastercard)

Be sure to take advantage of bonus offers when signing up for a new credit card. Many cards offer introductory bonuses if you meet a specific spend threshold within a certain time frame. These bonuses tend to feature a substantial amount of Avios, boosting your overall reward points balance.

Keep in mind that credit cards often come with fees, such as annual charges. It's essential to weigh up the cost of a card against the potential Avios rewards you'll earn. Don't forget to pay off your balance in full each month, as interest charges can outweigh the value of rewards gained.

In summary, by choosing the right Avios rewards credit card and making strategic purchases, you'll rapidly build up points for your dream holiday or even enjoy the occasional upgrade. Keep an eye on bonus offers and earning rates, and you're sure to make the most of your spending.

Buy Avios Promotions: Grabbing Deals

When you're looking for ways to buy Avios points at an affordable price, don't miss out on the regular Avios promotions. With these deals, you'll find opportunities to increase your points balance at a lower cost. In this section, we'll outline what these promotions typically entail and how to take advantage of them.

One example of a promotion you might come across is a bonus Avios offer. This type of promo rewards you with extra Avios points when you buy a specific quantity. Pay close attention to these offers, as they can provide substantial savings. To ensure that you never miss a deal, consider signing up for the British Airways Executive Club newsletter or regularly checking the Avios website.

Another promotion to look out for is discounted Avios points. From time to time, they'll offer a percentage discount when you buy Avios, helping you save on your purchase. For example, a 30% discount on a 5,000 Avios purchase would reduce the final cost.

Discount PercentageExample - Avios PurchasedFinal Cost
30%5,000 Avios3,500 Avios

Some Avios partners also run promotions, giving you the chance to earn double or triple points when you purchase through them. Be sure to check their websites and sign up for newsletters to stay informed on these offers. For example, if you're shopping through the Avios eStore, you could potentially double your Avios rewards with a special promotion from a participating retailer.

To make the most of these Avios promotions, keep these tips in mind:

  • Stay informed by subscribing to newsletters and regularly checking the Avios website for updates.
  • Utilize Avios partner promotions to boost your points even further.
  • Keep track of the promotion expiration dates to avoid missing out on deals.
  • Only buy Avios points when you have a specific reward goal or travel plan in mind, ensuring you use them wisely.

By carefully monitoring Avios promotions and being strategic about when and how you buy Avios points, you'll get the most value out of your purchase. Keep an eye out for promotional alerts and deals, giving you the chance to stock up on Avios points and save on your future travels.

Transferring Avios Between Accounts

When it comes to buying Avios, there may be times when you want to transfer your points between accounts. Whether you're pooling points with family members or simply consolidating your rewards, it's important to know the process and what options are available to you for transferring your hard-earned Avios.

First, take note that there are three types of Avios transfers: Combining Your Avios, Family & Friends Pooling, and Transferring to a Partner Frequent Flyer Program. Here's a quick overview of these options:

  • Combining Your Avios allows you to move your Avios between your British Airways Executive Club, Aer Lingus AerClub or Iberia Plus accounts.
  • Family & Friends Pooling enables you and up to six other people living at the same address to combine your Avios.
  • Transferring to a Partner Frequent Flyer Program lets you transfer your Avios to a partner airline's loyalty program, such as American Airlines AAdvantage and Qantas Frequent Flyer.

Combining Your Avios is a straightforward process. Start by logging into your account on the airline's website where your Avios are stored. Then, select the 'Combine my Avios' option and follow the on-screen instructions. Keep in mind that you'll need active accounts with both airlines, and your personal information must match on both accounts.

When it comes to Family & Friends Pooling, you'll first need to create a Household Account. You can invite up to six people to join this account, as long as they live at the same address. Once everyone has accepted the invitations, you can start pooling your Avios together. This is especially handy when saving up for group trips or splitting the cost of a reward flight.

In cases where you want to transfer your Avios to a partner frequent flyer program, it's crucial to consider the change ratios and any fees involved. For example, when transferring to American Airlines AAdvantage or Qantas Frequent Flyer, the conversion ratio is typically 5:4. For every 5 Avios you transfer, you'll receive only 4 points in the partner program. Additionally, keep an eye out for any promotions that may offer enhanced transfer rates.

In summary, the following options are available for transferring Avios:

  • Combining Your Avios
  • Family & Friends Pooling
  • Transferring to a Partner Frequent Flyer Program

Keep these transfer methods in mind and make the most of your hard-earned Avios to make your travel experiences even more rewarding.

Pooling Your Avios with Family and Friends

Pooling Avios together with your family and friends can help you reach your reward goals faster. You'll be able to use these accumulated Avios for booking flights, hotels, and other travel experiences. Let's see how this process works, and how to make the most out of it.

British Airways allows up to seven people, a head of household plus six others, to create a Household Account. This way, whenever one of you earns Avios, it'll be shared among all members. Here's how to create a Household Account:

  1. Log in to your Executive Club account
  2. Head to 'My Account' section
  3. Click on 'Create a Household Account'
  4. Add your family members or friends

It's important to know that all members must live at the same address. If you'd like to pool Avios with friends living in different addresses, you can create a Friends and Family list. This list allows you to spend your Avios on up to five people who don't live with you. Keep in mind, though, that your Avios won't be pooled together with those on your Friends and Family list.

Here are some benefits of pooling your Avios:

  • Reach rewards faster: By combining your Avios, you can redeem them sooner for flights, upgrades, and more
  • Simplify tracking: You'll only need to keep track of one balance, making it easier to manage your rewards
  • Share with loved ones: It's an excellent way to share rewards with family and friends

However, there are also some potential downsides:

  • Limited flexibility: All members must reside at the same address to create a Household Account
  • Conflicting travel preferences: You might not agree on how to spend the shared Avios

If you're planning a trip with your family or friends, pooling your Avios can be a smart option as it increases the chances of redeeming more exciting rewards. However, be sure to discuss how you'll use these Avios with everyone involved, and keep their preferences in mind to avoid disagreements. Pooling your Avios can be a game-changer for your travel goals, so don't hesitate to take advantage of it.

Making the Most of Your Avios for Travel

To make the most of your Avios, it's important to be strategic and flexible in your travel plans. Here are some tips to help you maximise the value of your Avios for travel:

  1. Choose off-peak travel dates. Flying during off-peak periods will not only save you Avios but also increase your chances of finding availability. To give you an idea of when to travel, consider these British Airways off-peak dates for 2022:
MonthOff-Peak Dates
January5 - 31
February1 - 28
March1 - 31
April19 - 30
May1 - 26
June6 - 30
September6 - 30
October1 - 15
November1 - 30
December1 - 14
  1. Utilise Avios & Money. Instead of paying with Avios alone, you can opt for Avios & Money. This choice allows you to pay a portion of the fare using Avios and the remainder in cash. It can be a flexible way to stretch your hard-earned Avios further.

  2. Target popular reward flights. Some destinations have a higher reward availability compared to others. It's worth researching and targeting popular routes that tend to have more frequent redemptions:

  • New York
  • Los Angeles
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Tokyo
  1. Keep an eye out for new routes. Airlines often offer promotional redemptions on newly launched routes, so be proactive and watch out for these opportunities. Subscribing to newsletters and following your preferred airline on social media can help you stay updated with these developments.

  2. Book last-minute redemptions. You might be able to snag appealing last-minute deals as airlines tend to release unsold seats for reward redemption. If you're feeling spontaneous or can handle a last-minute trip, this can be an excellent opportunity to get more bang for your buck!

  3. Consider using Avios on partner airlines. British Airways is part of the Oneworld alliance, which means you can redeem your Avios for flights with several other partner airlines. Noteworthy partners include:

  • American Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways

Remember that being flexible and adaptable in your travel plans can go a long way in helping you make the most of your Avios for travel. Happy flying!

Conclusion: Is Buying Avios Worth It?

So, you've reached the final section of this article, and now it's time to answer the all-important question: is buying Avios worth it? Let's summarise the main points and weigh the pros and cons before reaching a decision.

There are quite a few factors that come into play when evaluating the value of buying Avios. They include:

  • Promotions and offers: at times, Avios run promotions with bonus points or discounts. This can make purchasing Avios a better deal.

  • Flight availability and route flexibility: sometimes, you may find seat availability in reward flights limited or have to make adjustments to your itinerary to accommodate your desired points redemption.

  • Price comparisons: purchasing Avios should only be considered if the cost of the points is less than the cash price of the flight you intend to book.

  • Elite status and future plans: travellers with elite status or those planning to achieve higher tiers may find purchasing Avios more valuable due to additional benefits they receive.

Reflecting on the points above, some travellers might find it worthwhile to buy Avios, while others may not see the value.

Here's a quick reference table for better clarity:

Factors Affecting Avios ValueEffect on Purchase Decision
Promotions and offersPositive
Flight availability and route flexibilityNegative
Price comparisonsVariable
Elite status and future plansPositive

Ultimately, it's up to you to analyse your travel preferences, budget and frequency to decide if buying Avios is worth it. The bottom line is if you're able to maximise the benefits, find discounted rates or promotions, and carefully plan your flights around availability, there could be significant value in buying Avios. On the other hand, if your travel preferences are less flexible and you rarely travel, it may not be the best investment.

Keep these factors in mind and take time to carefully consider your options before making a decision. With thorough planning and a comprehensive understanding of the Avios programme, you can ultimately make the most of your travel experience.

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