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If you regularly travel overseas — or have dreams of traveling around the world someday — you might want to consider British Airways Avios. Avios, the rewards points or “currency” of the British Airways Executive Club, gets you access to a large network of partner airlines as well as additional membership perks for frequent flyers.
Use our guide to learn how to collect British Airways Avios, redeem your reward points and get the most value. You also get tips on British Airways Avios booking for rewards flights.
What is Avios?
British Airways calls Avios its “club currency,” because you have to become a member of the airline’s Executive Club before you can start earning and redeeming Avios. Once you are part of the club, you can earn Avios by making qualified purchases, including booking flights with British Airways or any of its oneworld® airline partners.
Avios can be redeemed with British Airways or any of its oneworld airline partners to cover full or partial flight costs or pay for upgrades. Since BA’s oneworld partners include American Airlines, Japan Airlines, Qantas and more, the Avios program is a great way to save money on travel both abroad and in the United States.
How do you sign up for Avios?
Before you can earn and redeem Avios, you have to sign up with British Airways’ Executive Club. It’s free to join the Executive Club, and the signup only takes a few minutes to complete — visit British Airways’ website, enter your name and contact information, and you’ll be good to go.
Once you become an Executive Club member, you can start earning Avios — but that isn’t the only benefit you’ll receive:
- Executive Club members also earn Tier Points when they fly British Airways or oneworld partner airlines, and once you collect enough Tier Points you’ll automatically advance to the next tier of club membership. You begin your Executive Club membership at the Blue tier, and advance to Bronze, Silver and Gold membership at 300, 600 and 1,500 points respectively.
- These memberships unlock additional benefits. Once you become a Bronze member, for example, you earn 25% bonus Avios when you fly with British Airways and receive priority boarding at many airports.
- Gold members collect 100% bonus Avios when they fly with British Airways and gain access to exclusive airport lounges.
How do you earn Avios?
There are many ways to earn Avios. You collect Avios when you fly with British Airways or one of its oneworld partner airlines, but you can also earn Avios by:
- Booking car rentals through Avis
- Booking hotel rooms at a British Airways Holiday or partner hotel
- Shopping at the British Airways Avios eStore
- Purchasing Avios directly from British Airways
If you have multiple people in your household, you’ll want to create a Household Account. That way, the Avios your family earns as they travel can be combined into a single redemption pool. This is especially useful if you have young children — after all, they earn Avios when they travel too! If you’d like to collect even more Avios, you’ll want a travel credit card that earns Avios. The British Airways Visa Signature® Credit Card from Chase earns 4 Avios for every $1 spent on all purchases up to $30,000 in the first 12 months from account opening, you will then earn 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases. That’s up to 120,000 bonus Avios.
The British Airways Visa Signature card is the only credit card that earns Avios directly; however, if you have a Chase card that gets you access to Chase Ultimate Rewards®, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Avios at a 1:1 rate. High-earning travel credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve can earn you a lot of points quickly, but be aware that if you transfer the points to Avios you lose the point bonus you’d get from redeeming those points through Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you’re hoping to use your Chase Sapphire points to book a flight, for example, your points might go a little further if you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
How do you redeem Avios?
You redeem Avios by booking reward flights with British Airways or one of its oneworld partners. Log in to your Executive Club account and use British Airways’ online portal to search reward flights, then decide how you want to use your Avios: are you going to cover the entire flight with Avios (minus taxes, fees and carrier charges), or redeem Avios for part of the flight and pay the rest of the cost in cash? You can also redeem Avios for flight upgrades on both new bookings and flights you’ve already booked.
Be aware that Avios do not have the same value every time you redeem them. British Airways classifies its reward flights as “peak” and “off-peak,” and booking a peak flight requires more Avios than an off-peak flight. If you’re looking to save both money and Avios, look for a Reward Flight Saver option — with these flights, you redeem Avios and pay a flat fee in cash instead of covering the potentially costly taxes, fees and carrier charges.
If you’re looking for additional ways to redeem British Airways Avios, booking flights isn’t the only option. You can also use them to purchase snacks on select flights, book rental cars and hotel rooms or participate in tours and travel experiences.
How much are Avios worth?
Since British Airways requires different amounts of Avios for peak and off-peak flights, it’s difficult to quantify how much a single Avios is worth. Unlike other travel programs, you can’t say that 50,000 Avios equals $500 in travel rewards, for example. When you redeem your Avios, you’ll want to explore all of the available options to make sure you’re getting the best value for your rewards.
How does Avios compare with similar options?
Avios is a good choice for people who frequently travel both within the United States and abroad. Since the rewards program includes oneworld partner airlines, you’ll be able to redeem your Avios with a number of different carriers that can take you nearly anywhere in the world.
If you rarely travel abroad, you can still use the Avios program to book American Airlines flights, but you might be better served with an American Airlines travel credit card like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® or another one of our best airline credit cards. You might also consider a travel credit card that isn’t tied to a specific airline, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred®.
One more note: Unlike other travel rewards programs where points remain active as long as you have an open account, unused Avios rewards expire after 36 months. If you don’t collect, redeem, purchase or share Avios within a three-year time period, you lose access to the Avios in your account. However, if you’re the type of person who enjoys international travel, you probably don’t have to worry about letting your Avios rewards expire. You’ll be too busy redeeming them for your next big trip.
Further reading: more points program guides
The information about the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and the British Airways Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.
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