‘I got £4,000 off a business class flight to Los Angeles’: Avios pros share their secrets
Collecting British Airways Avios and redeeming them for your dream holiday takes commitment.
For many, getting enough points to make it worth it will be a pipe dream, and some will give up on the entire endeavor out of frustration.
But for avid collectors who travel regularly, know how to game the system and maximize their winnings, the rewards can be huge.
Take the reader who told us he got a British Airways business class flight from London to Los Angeles for £450, otherwise the cash fare would have been 900 per cent more at £4,500.
California Dreamin’: One Avios fan managed to score two business class flights from London to Los Angeles for £450 each
Use your last Avios to buy a new Apple iPhone and watch via Argos.
We asked our readers to anonymously send us their best tips for collecting Avios, and we’ve summarized their nuggets of wisdom below.
1. Think in terms of nectar points
Nectar points can be converted into Avios points. They can be collected from retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Esso, Ebay and Expedia.
You can set your Nectar points to automatically switch to Avios once you reach a certain level, so you don’t even have to think about it.
One reader told us their strategy: “For petrol, I have my John Lewis card saved in the Esso app, so I don’t need to go to the kiosk to pay.” I then get Nectar points which convert into Avios, and I also get John Lewis voucher points.’
2. Treat your Amex like a debit card
Some die-hard Avios collectors put all their daily spending on American Express cards, as well as larger purchases.
However, you must pay off your card in full to avoid hefty fees — so some people transfer money after every purchase they make with their Amex card or every few days.
You can also schedule a direct debit from your Amex card a few days after payday, so you don’t have to worry about not having enough in your account.
One reader says: “My husband and I have a BA Amex card and we spend all our daily spending on the card as well as large purchases.”
3. Try to carry an accompanying coupon with you
If you spend £12,000 a year with the British Airways American Express Card or £10,000 a year with the British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card, you’ll get what’s called a companion voucher.
One reader says: “We are using our voucher for a trip to Budapest in March for £1 each, flying on a Friday and returning on a Monday evening.
“The hotel is a three-star hotel and is priced at £250 for four nights, so overall it’s a cheap city break for two.”
Companion vouchers allow you to get a second seat for a companion traveling on the same flight without additional Avios.
The downside to the companion voucher is that with the BA American Express card this is an economy seat, and the voucher is only valid for 12 months.
The BA American Express Premium Plus card comes at a cost of £250 per year and gives you a voucher that can be used in any class of travel and is valid for two years.
If you’re traveling alone, you can use your companion’s voucher to get 50% off the Avios price for the trip.
Melissa Littlewood and her family used Avios to visit Disneyland Paris in the school holidays when cash prices were very high
4. Buy additional Avios
If you only have a few thousand points left to buy a flight with Avios, you can buy extra points or use the boost function in the BA Rewards app to buy more.
Sometimes you can purchase these items for less than their rewards value, but always check the values.
One reader says: ‘I agree you have to have plenty of money for a flight, but you can partly pay with it. I’ve just paid for an extra bag for a trip to Sweden in June – £50 off.’
5. Use Quidco
Instead of using the Avios shopping portal, you may be better off getting cashback using links on cashback sites like TopCashBack or Quidco.
Most of the time, these benefits give better returns – meaning more money can be put toward other purchases or spending that will earn you Avios.
When making large purchases, go through Quidco and pay with Amex. Not only will you get cashback, but you will also collect Avios.
This works especially well for electronics, appliances, and insurance.
6. Pay for large group purchases
If you’re organizing meals, days out or trips with larger groups of friends and family, offer to pay for the group using Amex and then ask them to transfer the money to you.
This should help you rack up points quickly and you can pay off the card with the money you transfer.
It should go without saying, but only do it with people you really trust and who you know will return your money.
One reader tells us: “I have a large family, 18 of us are going on holiday in a cottage over Easter and we have used Amex to pay for the cottages.
“This only works if you all agree to split the bill equally, or it becomes too much of a hassle.”
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(Tags for translation) Daily Mail