Avios points: time running out to bag thousands of bonus points

You can help yourself to thousands of extra Avios points, slashing the cost of your next trip, by signing up to bonus deals from the likes of American Express and Barclaycard – but be quick, as the deal on bonus points ends soon.

Avios is a loyalty points scheme which can be used to cut the cost of flights, hotels and even car hire. You can earn Avios points by shopping using credit cards from both American Express and Barclaycard and, so long as you pay off the bill in full each month, they are a great way to get upgraded flights and hotels at a discount. 

In fact, with Barclays you can currently help yourself to more than 125,000 bonus Avios points.

  • 100,000 points are on offer if you open the Barclaycard Avios Plus credit card and the Premier Account with Barclays Avios Rewards
  • 25,000 points are on offer for signing up for the Barclaycard Avios Plus card if you spend £3,000 in the first three months of opening
  • You can earn 1.5 Avios points for every £1 you spent on the card 

However, you will have to move quickly to take advantage, with the deal being pulled at the end of the month (November).

Here’s what you need to know about collecting Avios points and how the scheme works. 

Before you apply, it is a good idea to go through an eligibility checker, such as the one on our sister site Go.Compare. 

Get over 125,000 Avios points with Barclays – ends 30 November 

If you move quickly, you can get an enormous 125,000 Avios points by opening both the Barclaycard Avios Plus credit card (see below) and the Premier Account with Barclays Avios Rewards.

Those bonus points are enough to get two flights to North America, so that’s a serious reward. However, there are costs to bear in mind here. The Avios Plus card comes with a £20 monthly fee, while the bank account will set you back £12 a month. In order to qualify for the bonus Avios, both accounts will need to be open for at least four months.

Between them, those fees come to £384 a year, so it’s not cheap, but is likely to work out less than those flights would cost.

One other thing to bear in mind is that with the Avios Plus account, it’s easier to qualify for a cabin upgrade voucher, as you will only need to spend £10,000 across the year in order to be eligible.

Barclaycard Avios point cards 

Barclaycard Avios 

  • No annual fee 
  • Bonus: 5,000 points 
  • Representative APR: 23.9% 

The Barclaycard Avios card is fee-free, while should you spend £1,000 on the card during your first three months you’ll get 5,000 Avios bonus points. You then earn one Avios for every £1 spent. 

Should you spend £20,000 with the card during a 12-month period, then you’ll qualify for a cabin upgrade voucher which you can use on a flight booked using your Avios points. The card comes with five months of Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+ and Apple Arcade free too. 

Be warned, you will be charged for these services on an ongoing basis afterwards unless you cancel. 

You can either apply directly or go via Go.Compare’s eligibility checker to see if you will be accepted for this card. 

Barclaycard Avios Plus 

  • Avios points bonus: 25,000 
  • Monthly Fee: £20 
  • Representative APR: 72.4% 

The Avios Plus card is more costly, but comes with the potential to earn greater rewards. You‘ll earn a welcome bonus of 25,000 Avios should you spend £3,000 in the first three months with the card. After that, you earn 1.5 Avios for every £1 you spend. 

You can either apply directly or go via Go.Compare’s eligibility checker to see if you will be accepted for this card. 

How to get 30,000 bonus Avios points with American Express 

Barclaycard isn’t the only credit card provider that offers Avios-affiliated credit cards ‒ you can also earn points as you spend with American Express.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card

  • Bonus points – 30,000 (ends 8 November) 
  • Annual fee: £160 (free for the first year) 
  • Representative APR: 69.2% 

Right now, you can grab as many as 30,000 bonus Avios points if you are new to the Amex Preferred Reward Gold Card. To qualify though you will as long as you spend at least £3,000 in the first three months of opening the account. The bonus 30,000 points is enough to get £150 worth of Amazon.co.uk Gift Cards.

Again, you will need to move swiftly in order to take advantage, as the bonus deal ends on 8 November. After that the welcome bonus will drop to 20,000 points. 

You will earn one Avios point for every £1 you spend using the card, but double on direct airline bookings and three times more on American Express Travel transactions. 

You can either apply directly or go via go.compare’s eligibility checker to see if you will be accepted for this card. 

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

  • Bonus points: 25,000 
  • Annual Fee: £250 
  • Representative APR: 104.8% 

If you are new to the British Airways American Express Premium Plus, then there are 25,000 Avios points on offer as a welcome bonus if you spend a minimum of £3,000 in the first three months of opening the account. After that, you will earn 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent, which is then doubled when you spend with British Airways or BA Holidays. 

Should you spend £10,000 across the year, then you will qualify for a companion voucher. This entitles you to a second economy class seat on the same flight for a companion travelling with you.

Again, the card isn’t cheap, coming with a £250 annual fee, though depending on how you use your card and how often you travel, the fee may be worthwhile for some. The card has a hefty 104.8% representative APR – so you should always look to pay off your bill in full each month. We explain below how much the points are worth in real terms. 

You can either apply directly or go via go.compare’s eligibility checker to see if you will be accepted for this card. 

British Airways American Express

  • Bonus points: 5,000 
  • No fee
  • Representative APR 26.6% 

If you would rather not pay an annual fee, you can opt for the British Airways American Express credit card. It comes with a welcome bonus of 5,000 Avios points when you spend a minimum of £1,000 during the first three months of opening the account. After that, you will accumulate one Avios point for every £1 spent on the card. 

What’s more, if you spend £12,000 with the card in a year you’ll be eligible for a companion voucher. This means that when you book a flight, you can take someone with you in the same cabin, though you can also use the voucher to get 50% off the Avios price you pay for the flight. 

The card has a representative APR of 26.6% so you should always aim to pay off the bill in full each month. 

You can either apply directly or go via go.compare’s eligibility checker to see if you will be accepted for this card. 

What are Avios points worth? 

Of course, the big question is how much those points are really worth, and how much they can save you on your travel plans.

Let’s take an example, and say that you spend an average of £2,000 a month on each card. You would earn 29,000 points with the British Airways American Express card, including that initial bonus, which would be more than enough for a flight to Europe. 

However that same spend with the Premium Plus card would see you rack up a whopping 61,000 points. That would be enough to cover a far longer flight, for example to the Caribbean or South Asia. 

Existing American Express customer? Here’s how to boost your Avios points 

While the bonus Avios are only on offer to new American Express customers, there are further ways to boost your Avios balance if you’re an existing customer. 

For example, American Express runs a “Refer a Friend” scheme. If you have the fee-free British Airways American Express card and get a friend to take one out too, then you’ll pocket an additional 4,000 Avios. This isn’t limited to a single friend either ‒ you could make up to 90,000 extra Avios from selling the benefits of the card to your friends, should they then be approved. 

The rewards are even more significant on the Premium Plus card, with a 9,000 Avios bonus for each friend. The same 90,000 bonus Avios annual cap applies, however. 

How to make the most of your Avios points 

Making the most of any form of rewards card, whether it’s tied to the Avios scheme or even offers straightforward cashback, is to put as much of your regular spending as possible on the card.

That’s money that you would be using anyway, but it means that you always get something back for that spending. As a result, you can maximise the rewards, ensuring you build a bigger Avios balance and therefore can cover more flights. Doing so also makes it easier to qualify for those companion flight deals.

It’s worth bearing in mind that this is not always easy to do with an American Express card, as not all retailers accept them.

However, it’s crucial that you do not see the Avios offers as a reason to spend more than you are comfortable repaying. These cards are really only suitable if you’re going to be able to clear the balance in full each month.

If you don’t, the hefty interest rates on these cards mean that the interest charged on the outstanding balance will erode the value of any of the rewards that you have accrued.

Outside of the credit cards, there are ways to boost your Avios balance. For example, British Airways has its own e-store, which works rather like a cashback site. You shop online via the links on the BA website with retailers including John Lewis, M&S and Selfridges, and any money you spend is tracked. You then earn further Avios based on how much you spent.

The offers will vary depending on the retailer in question. For example, if you spend with Booking.com you can earn up to eight Avios for every £1 spent, but with John Lewis this drops to up to two Avios for each £1 spent.

How does the Avios points scheme work? 

Avios is the name of a points scheme, with travellers able to convert their Avios points into discounts on flights, hotels and car hire. 

If you are using Avios to cover the cost of a flight, you will nonetheless have to pay taxes and fees, even if the cost of the flight itself is entirely covered by the Avios points. 

You will need different numbers of Avios to cover those flight costs based on your destination. For example, a trip to North America will start at 50,000, but this drops to 18,500 for flights to Europe.

Other factors will influence the Avios required too, such as the time of your trip. Travelling during off-peak times will generally cost fewer Avios than if you head off at the busiest times.

You don’t need to cover the entire cost using points either; you can use the points you have and then top it up with cash in order to pay for those flights, hotels, or car hire. 

While British Airways is the main airline associated with Avios, you can also use your points to book flights with partner airlines such as Aer Lingus and Iberia.

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